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Ah, but not in the way you’re thinking, although I’d love to hear about the most expensive/best/worst meal you’ve ever eaten when you were dining out. Remember that? I do, and I miss it, even though my family’s endeavors in that area rarely approached the exorbitant, the world-class, or even the gourmet. (One startling exception was the lunch that Dad and my siblings enjoyed at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, on one of my infrequent jaunts home. A member of our party was employed there, so we enjoyed a small discount, but even so, I think the damage for lunch was more than a fortnight’s take-home pay at the time. You’ll get the idea, if you browse the website, and you’ll also see what an absolutely lovely venue it is.)
No, I’d just as soon be replete from a meal at Shorty’s Lunch on West Chestnut Street, in Washington, PA, where two people can still eat their fill for under $10 the pair. Alas, part of the experience at Shorty’s is also that of the venue itself–in this case, 1930s diner and the grease that goes with it. The above Wikipedia link quotes Rick Sebak, a local documentarian (who, as it happens, I was at high school with), saying, “There’s no other place like it. They haven’t changed a thing in there since the place opened in the late 1930s. That’s what’s great about Shorty’s. It has a high funk factor.” True dat. In these COVID-19 days of “takeout only,” it’s clear that something is missing in the deal. Still good hot dogs, though. (They’re from Alberts, @phcheese. I’m guessing you know about Shorty’s.)
But (please observe that nothing comes before “but”) today I’m thinking about embarrassing incidents that have stamped certain restaurant experiences firmly on your heart or in your brain. I’ll go first and relate three, none of which is supremely awful–I’d have to include experiences of dining out with my mother in order for that to be the case, and I can’t quite go there right now–but which, reflected in tranquility, cause me to miss the people involved, or the life-stage that they were at when they happened. Ready?