Before we begin, I need a few mysteries solved that have nothing to do with the Upper West Side, but rather, Westchester…why do all these basic ass broskies from my high school keep snapchatting me selfies at, like, 2 pm on a Tuesday? I thought snapchat was for scoping out dic pics and sending hilarious semi-naked pics with your pug after you get back from Electric Room at 3 am. Isn’t that how you’re supposed to use it? Why are people sending me these random, random, random G-rated selfies? I don’t really want to see what the guys from my high school look like while they’re sitting around, thumb in ass, picking up Xany bars in the local CVS parking lot. I’m not going to respond with a selfie of any sort at 2 pm on a Tuesday. I work in a goddamn open loft. I’m not going to be like “Oh, hold on everyone at work, I’m snapchatting with this basic ass dude who was cooler than me in high school. Back then he wouldn’t throw water on me in a fire but now, but now, since my face hasn’t fallen and i don’t weigh 200 lbs, he’s sending me a poorly lit selfie from the drivers seat of his mom’s car - GOTTA TAKE A FEW PIX FOR A MINUTE! LEMME SEND HIM SUMFIN SEXY BACK.”
The chances of that happening are slim to none, so if you went to my high school and you’ve been snapchatting me and you’re basic, you should probably give up. Probably. There’s a slight chance I may become so desperate that I actually respond to your sad CVS parking lot selfies since last night this male person who probably has an assistant pick up his Xany bars for him (read: this broskie ain’t basic) took me to dinner on the Upper West Side.
Why would anyone invite ME - someone who is perhaps a wee bit of a downtown snob - to the Upper West Side? In his defense, I was already up there for a meeting, but he invited me to dinner afterwords and I kind of just wanted to get it out of the way so I could use my weekend time to frolick, do squats at the gym, and eat bacon with BJ the pug.
So Male Person selected Pomodoro on the Upper West Side for a post-meeting bite, and then when I arrived promptly, he made the massive mistake of telling me it was the best Italian food in the city.
Red Flag. That’s a mega bold statement. Obviously, some restaurant on the UWS is more than likely not going to live up to my expectations because I’ve grown up in an Italian household and my mother’s cooking and my nonna’s cooking is gonna be worlds better. Also, we’re talking about a restaurant that is named TOMATO. I’d say the odds of a restaurant with that lame of a name serving up the best Italian food in the city are slim to none.
Also, if you’re going to be so bold as to make such a claim to an Italian woman, do yourself a favor and make sure there’s no fucking pasta that contains chicken on the menu. THAT’S NOT ITALIAN FOOD. That’s blasphemy. That’s TGIFridays food. You can have chicken. And you can have pasta. But you can’t mix the two together. What’s next? Hot Dog Rustica? It amazed me that Male Person has been a resident of NYC for ten years more than me and this was the best he could come up with on the Upper West Side. Is the Upper West Side truly that bad? Or am I biased because I live in food heaven down here in the yeast willage?
DUMBO stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and not for what I am for going to dinner with my Kind-of-Ex from four years ago.
It will be difficult for me to figure out how to take a star from Vinegar Hill House…I don’t like giving five star reviews.
My Kind-of-Ex, who I’ll just call Kindof Ex because he’s kind of blonde and I feel like Kindof sounds like a German name, also introduced me to The Diner back in the day when we were first seeing one another. Needless to say, I can trust him about food. Just not about anything else, although he could say the same for me.
We arrived on Wednesday night at around 9:30 PM when we were supposed to go at 8 PM, but judging from the way VHH cleared out while we were dining, people eat a little on the earlier side in DUMBO. I was terribly late for dinner because the forces of nature (especially sexy crucified Jesus) were trying to stop me and Kindof from seeing one another.
I mean, picture staring at this as a little girl during the most boring hour of your weekend (mass - YAWN) and then imagine no blood and no cross.
You get what I’m saying, even if you don’t want to. As a sex-obsessed six-year-old this was INCREDIBLY distracting which is why I’m terrible at Catholicism to this day. I’ve seen shirtless male bodies look like that before, but usually they aren’t hanging from a cross, they’re hanging from the wrought-iron detailing above my bed.
Back to the topic at hand: here’s why I was late to dinner with Kindof Ex:
1. I stopped off to visit my friend Cat at The Ninth Ward in the East Village for a shot of vodka and the confidence to wander into another disaster.
2. When I finally made it to the F Train (about twenty minutes later) I stood on the platform for ten minutes to learn that it wasn’t running!
Hey MTA: Stop messing with my lifestyle choices.
3. When I finally found a cab, the driver of course didn’t know where DUMBO was, so I had to Google Maps the address on my piece-of-shit Droid to show him. Incidentally, he also didn’t know how to drive. He crossed a double yellow line after we got off of the Manhattan Bridge. Unfortunately for us both, we got pulled over! I didn’t even know that cops made traffic stops in the city. Officers Frick & Frack didn’t apologize for making me later to my date. Aren’t there a bunch of hippies traipsing around this city peacefully protesting that they have to Mase…or whatever my political friends are saying on Facebook? God.
Anywho, I got out of the cab and hobbled on my platforms to meet Kindof because Destiny is the name of the whore in my first novel - and whores are not to be trusted.
Our waitress looked like she was straight out of Anne of Green Gables. Too wholesome. But very nice. At one point, Kindof Ex was so overwhelmed by my ever-increasing beauty and intelligence that he dumped our still water into my very nice glass of wine. Anne of Green Gables was very sweet about it. We were sharing a bottle, so she got me a fresh glass and didn’t act like it was odd or undignified that I drank the water/wine, too, because I’m Italian.
Italians wean their young off of breast milk with watered down wine. #Fact!
Kindof recommended the Red Wattle Country Chop, which I ordered. I ate a few bites of salad prior because Kindof was hungry since my ass was almost two hours late, and I didn’t have time to decide on an app. This made me nervous. I feel like a delicious app will always redeem a meal if the entree is subpar. My satisfaction at Vinegar Hill House was going to be entirely based on an entree with the un-sexy word “Wattle” in it. (Minus 1 Star?)
But then…THEN! I was rewarded with a really handsome, masculine plate of simple cheddar grits and a gorgeous hunk of medium rare pork. All that was on the plate? Pork and grits. Cus that’s all that needed to be on the plate, folks. In all seriousness, the meat was perfectly seasoned and my (unwatered) wine went along with the food perfectly, which means Anne of Green Gables was on top of her game. I respect that.
I could go on about hunks of meat forever. Really - all sorts of hunks of meat…and masculine chops. However, I have to pack for St. Maarten, as I’m off to the French Carreeb in less than 24 hours with Le Sam. We plan on going Yacht Hopping & Exotic Cougy-Snack Hunting. We’ll see if I’m able to somehow turn this coming week (no pun intended) into something having to do with NY Nightlifing…until then: never turn down a date with your Kindof Ex if you’re going to Vinegar Hill House.
The owners at my old restaurant were celebrity-obsessed whores.
One time, Ashanti & Nelly (they were famous five years ago) came in toward the end of my shift. It was one of those “steal-every-redbull-behind-the-bar” kinda evenings due to some ridiculously EXCESSIVE partying during the days prior. I thought I was going to get out early because I was working in the back section of the restaurant, where they only seated ugly people, and ugly people tend to stay indoors after midnight. #Fact.
At my old restaurant, every celeb or beautiful person was sat at “Table 7” so that the owners could showcase them and pretend that their restaurant was still a hotspot even though it notoriously was NOT. Anyway, Ashanti & Nelly were hip to this and requested to be sat at 101 - this table in the back room with a stupid unsanitary bead curtain on it that we used for our fucking family meal for fuck’s sake. This table in MY SECTION.
So picture my absurd devastation. I thought I was going to sleep for the first time in 48 hours and Ashanti & Nelly roll into my pretty much closed section with their entourage of ten body guards. Obama has fewer secret service agents, you guys.
Barely-relevant Ashanti acted like me taking her order was the equivalent to me requesting her autograph and a hug. Nelly was nice enough, I guess. But the body guards? They were just the worst. Completely brutal. They ordered full meals off the menu - when I told them something wasn’t available they explained to me that I had all of the ingredients to make it. Do people really believe that their whacktress runs back into the kitchen and magically makes their food?
To make matters worse, they tipped me 18% when all was said and done.
Ordinarily, there’s nothing wrong with an 18 or 20 % tip. It’s fine - it is what’s expected for good service. (15% = you’re a dickhead and your parents raised you wrong and you should probably move somewhere lame like Chicago in the loser midwest.)
(I really don’t have a problem with Chicago I just like to make fun of it, cus that’s where my ex is from.)
But there are instances when you should do better than 20%.
You’re stupid rich like Ashanti & Nelly and you ruin your whacktresses night with your evil entourage.
John Travolta is trying to use these as proof that he didn’t request an inner anus massage, and I totes approve of his tipping strategy here:
You do something TERRIBLE to your server, like poop your pants or vomit on them while at the table.
You’re comped a lot.
Now some people disagree with me on this, but I’m inclined to tip on the amount I would have spent.
I remember as a waitress shuffling back and forth delivering drinks to friend of owners or friends of friends of owners or the managers third cousin from Iowa, and it sucked. A lot of times, when people were getting comps, I didn’t know them personally… Getting tipped $4 on a $22.00 check that should have been $122.00 was the bane of my existence.
A good rule of thumb is to tip on what the amount SHOULD have been. If you can’t do that math, it’s time to find the nearest cougy snack and get your ass home!
If you’re lucky enough to be comped in this world - hell, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to dine out - you shouldn’t be shorting your waiter to save $10. Working in service for the five years I did it made me the best friends I have in this world AND also taught me about how to be a better human. Don’t be like Ashanti & Nelly, you guys.
When I was sixteen I took the train from the suburbs to Manhattan and wound up at Galaxy Global Eatery on Irving Place (since closed) where I drank a bunch of Long Islands with my friends. I wound up barfing in the Galaxy bathroom, rallying, and still making it to the concert next door at what used to be called “Irving Plaza.”
This was my first glamorous evening of New York Nightlife.
In spite of bad ass behavior, I still managed to get decent grades. I was also good at faking tears, a practice perfected when I was pulled over in my obnoxious red jetta by bored Westchester State troopers, so off I went to Tisch at NYU to pursue a degree in Drama.
Those were the days of Marquee, PM, and Bungalow, and you better believe that as a Drama major I had time to explore those castles of debauchery, as well as the many others that lay in between. I was seriously one of those clubrats at promoter tables who hadn’t quite mastered the art of walking in heels.
I felt like I’d made it.
I can’t believe I used to have conversations with uninterested jizzwads in striped shirts just for free goose.
College had to end eventually.
Much to my surprise, it was not that easy to instantly achieve fame and fortune, but I soon realized that my expensive BFA qualified me for all sorts of exciting opportunities in…the service industry. I soon found myself slinging mojitos at a restaurant on Union Square known for hiring models.
I’m 5’5” and only photograph well 28% of the time, so don’t believe the hype.
My exit from every place I worked was absolutely precious. I promise. I once threw four roasted chickens across a crowded patio in the middle of a busy dinner shift.
Side note: I firmly believe that you need to know how the machine breaks in order to understand what needs to be done to make it functional. Right?
Look at how high class I was in those days. Here’s a picture of me relaxing after work:
I no longer work in service, and my evenings out involve solid foods as well as social lubricants, and I try to not wear equestrian themed short-short outfits if I can avoid it.
Here’s what happens after dark. Here are the places I like to wine, dine, and 69.
(I’ll take care of that last item now: Your mom’s bed.)