The Cheap And The Hungry

There was a new vegan restaurant that we stumbled upon on Alton Road. I had already eaten, but after trying a couple samples I felt obliged to buy something. I chose a chocolate chip cookie. There were about fifteen cookies available but the owner of the place went out of her way to give me the smallest one. It tasted delicious in the four bites it took me to finish it, but I should have seen it as an omen when we returned to the restaurant for Sunday brunch.

I was never a fan of brunch. Just the name of the meal offends my masculinity, but my love interest is a fan of the meal and I will never turn down the rare possibility to eat vegan pancakes or french toast.  When we returned to the restaurant neither of those options were offered. The owner recited what they did have. I chose a homemade waffle. My love interest ordered a tofu scramble with sweet potato hash browns. Before we sat down the owner said, “We also have a small grapefruit juice for three dollars and a large one for five.”  

We sat down and I realized I didn’t like the atmosphere. Classical music was playing on the speakers which always depressed me and the walls were plastered with posters publicizing anti-aging seminars. My mood lightened as the grapefruit juice was brought to us. The three dollar small portion of grapefruit juice came in a paper cup the size of a shot glass. Our laughter turned into panic sweats as I realized the lady never told us how much our entrées cost. Could I be getting a thirty dollar waffle?

A waffle slightly bigger than an Eggo landed on my table. There was some nice fruit surrounding it, but my toaster makes waffles as flavorful. My love interest laughed at my face as I looked at my plate. She said, “If I suggested this place as our first date you would never have gone out with me again.”

I was too open about my past. I had told her about a date I met on the internet and she never lets me forget it. This date took place at a California Pizza Kitchen which is not paradise for a vegan. Even worse the date showed up in exercise spandex and with a Bluetooth behind her ear. My first reaction was to turn around and walk back to my car when I saw her, but I am also too polite. I sat down at the table and was regaled with stories of speedwalking and business transactions. The waitress came and when I did not order anything the date pouted, “You’re not going to get anything on our first date?” I ordered a sandwich. She meanwhile ordered a pizza. She ate one slice and wrapped up the rest to go. When the check came I left it on the table. It sat there for a minute without her looking at it. Finally I realized twenty odd dollars was a small price to pay to get away from her.

Now I relished the company, but was unsatisfied by the food. The owner walked over very pleased with herself, “Isn’t that waffle delicious? Not only is it vegan, it is gluten free.” At least the gluten was priced reasonably. “Can I tempt you two with dessert?”

I was still starving, but I would take my chances eating elsewhere. We figured our waffle  and tofu scramble would be twelve dollars each. But when I got to the cashier the owner did some arithmetic in her head and informed me the meal cost $35. My love interest went outside to laugh and I handed over my credit card like a shell shocked GI would his ammunition.


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