So . . . tonight was my 8th wedding anniversary. Boyofivory and I don’t make a big fuss about it since we eloped and our January dating anniversary carries more emotional weight for us. So, we decided to just go out for a pleasant sit-down dinner in a not to fancy spot.
We didn’t want to make the 45-60 minute drive to LA spots, so we settled on trying a random spot on our local main street. Choice one was hosting a paint night event we weren’t aware of and was too full for our growling stomachs to wait. We considered the new Mexican restaurant about 1.5 blocks down, but we were starving and a bit lazy, so we settled for the brewery next door to option 1. Bad choice.
First, no host/hostess to seat us and no indication we should seat ourselves. We wandered for a minute before settling into a corner table behind a short partition. While we scan the menus on the table, a couple groups come in and are greeted and served drinks before we even get noticed. Odd, but I shrug it off. The waitress stops by for our drink order and immediately walks away after boyofivory orders water, while I’m left with my mouth literally hanging open because I was about to order a soda but didn’t even get a chance to talk. I think I got half of “I’ll” out as she turned away. Fine, I just shrug it off and remind myself to order a soda when she returns for our food order.
As we wait, I do my usual ADHD close scan of any art on the walls while my husband decides on his order. Hanging right above me on the wall is the flap of a fighter jet wing 1/4 covered in Nazi flags. Now, I live in an air force community, so plane parts as art is pretty standard, but I was instantly uncomfortable. In the brewery’s defense, flags of the enemy are traditionally painted on fighter wings to mark the number of enemy planes they have shot down, meaning the piece itself is technically anti-Nazi. Given that, however, I don’t think a random piece of decor in a brewery restaurant should necessitate a working knowledge of fighter plane markings or a googling of the plane/crew to determine if it’s racist or not. I decided it was tone-deaf at best and intentionally subversivly racist at worst. We decided we’d eat and politely suggest to the manager on duty to maybe modify the piece to cover/remove the Nazi flags before we left.
And then our food arrived. Boyofivory said his was ok but not great. Most of my food was bland or inedible. The balsamic vinaigrette for my side salad was as thick as ketchup while somehow tasting like slightly watered down balsamic vinegar and nothing else. Boyofivory said my mashed potatoes (I made him try some cause I couldn’t believe the blandness) tasted slightly of potato skin and the pepper I added myself. I ate the salad and mash anyway cause they were at least edible albeit terribly bland, but I only took 2 bites of my “pulled pork”. I use quotes cause what I was served was unseasoned shredded pork (?) so dry it was hard on top and yet a mush of congealed fat with some bits of meat underneath. I strongly suspect it was at least a few days old and reheated from frozen in a microwave. The “barbeque sauce” they served me (after I requested it because there was no sauce or seasoning on the pork as served) looked like sweet and sour sauce but tasted like a mildly savory jam . . . yeah. The waitress looked a little miffed that we didn’t seem to enjoy the food and had left a third of it untouched on the plates. It’s not our fault their cooking staff doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of seasoning meat or sauces with actual flavors
The cherry on top of the whole thing was the much larger fighter jet wing hanging above the server’s station I caught an eye-full of on my way out. About 2'×4-5' and half covered in swastikas. I’m pretty sure they hung both of those pieces on the reverse side of the room dividers facing the back walls so most guests wouldn’t even notice they existed. I kinda regret paying for the food and just walking out, but all I wanted was to get out fast. I genuinely think I’ll be leaving a negative yelp review (and I don’t ever review things on websites).
We went to a local Mexican-owned, street vendor inspired ice cream parlor to cleanse our souls and stomachs of bland and poorly prepared wipipo food. I had maracuya (passion fruit) and piña ice cream; boyofivory had guayaba/piña. I will never again forsake the cuisine of la raza due to laziness again. Flavorful food is worth a slightly longer walk, jaja—especially if it isn’t served with a side of semi-racist decor.
I’m still trippin’ on the thought process of hanging those swastika-covered wings though. Is it acceptable because they are technically in honor of the allied forces? But then, why not hang an explanatory plaque for those not completely aware of the local culture around fighter jets? I understand them as museum pieces, but as random decor in a casual brewery located in a town with a pretty racist past and a large contingent of right-wing trump supporters, they come off a entirely different.
Am I reading too much into this? Maybe I need more ice cream.