Sunday, February 15, 2009
The Hidden Springs Merc...
The new owners of the Merc have turned it back into what it used to be when we first moved here, and even improved upon it. It's now the "neighborhood" gathering place where people again feel comfortable and welcome. Kids come here after school for fresh-baked, warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies and milk or a slice of pizza. Moms come and meet for coffee before they pick their kids up from school and "The Empty Nesters" group meets here every Saturday morning for breakfast. It's a comfortable place - old wooden floors, tin on the ceilings, and big old gas station garage doors that are opened in the summer for Friday night "Happy Hour".
Last night, we turned the Merc into a 5-star restaurant. Beautiful white linen tablecloths and napkins covered the tables and the rooms were lit with beautiful red candles. We all wore black pants and white shirts. Brand new 6-piece tableware and beautiful new white plates were set with rose petals scattered around. It was a sold-out, reservations-only event which started with a wine tasting, live music, and of course appetizers. That was followed by homemade soup and salad, then they enjoyed their choice of halibut, prime rib, or some fancy vegetarian pasta dish I'd never heard of. It ended with their choice of three beautiful desserts and a free glass of champagne. All of course, beautifully plated. As people left, they commented on how wonderful everything was and how much they enjoyed the evening - they had especially loved that fact that someone had taken the time to carve the beet on top of their salad into a heart shape - really, someone did that.
Then, it turned into HELL... I have NEVER seen so. many. frickin'. dirty. dishes in my life. Our dishwasher arrived at 7:00 to start on them and worked for over an hour doing load after load. At 8:00, I took over (I work a little faster) washing and putting dishes into the sanitizer. The kitchen floor was like trying to stand on ice - grease or something had spilled and it was a challenge just to stay upright. The two younger kids were putting dishes away as fast as they were coming out. Dinner plates, salad plates, water glasses, wine glasses, champagne flutes, dessert plates, plates for rolls, plates from appetizers and of course 6 different pieces of flatware. Why on earth does a person need 6 different utensils to eat ONE dinner? You need one fork and one knife - really, anything more that that is just silly.
Finally at 10:00, the owner came in and took over dish duty and told me to go home. "But look at all these dishes that need to be done!" I couldn't just leave. We hadn't even STARTED on the pots and pans that were piled high from cooking dinner and there were still lots of tables that hadn't been cleared. She insisted. I can't remember being THAT tired in years. I have no idea how long they worked - it had to be past midnight.
Anita, our photographer/waitress took lots of pictures. I'll have her email some and I'll post them later.
I hope next year for Valentines dinner we have hot dogs and use paper plates - unless of course I'm a diner...