Wednesday, 21 August 2013

And the problems with chain restaurants are...

As I mentioned, it was my parents anniversary last week. I had suggested two restaurants to take them to:

The Grand because I knew my dad would be excited about the chef being from Italy, and
The Mill St. Brewery because we went there for my dad’s 50th birthday when it was "The Mill"

I also considered that both places would have "normal" food and "normal" seating (I made the mistake of taking my dad to Baker Street Cafe and sitting on the low couches at the coffee table. I don't think he's gotten over it).

For a little background, my dad is amazing. He is generous, kind, and hard-working. But he likes to eat at three places:
- Swiss Chalet
- Red Lobster

It is VERY hard to get him out of his box.

Between the Tuesday when I had suggested these restaurants and the Sunday when my mom texted me saying we'd be going to Milestones behind Ikea, there was a flurry of communication. Basically my mom saying she'd talk to my dad, then saying I should talk to him, then him saying he'd talk to mom. 

So Sunday morning (the day of the meal) when I got the location notification, I literally had to fight back tears (if you know me, you know I don't handle last minute planning well) and just go with it. 

We arrived on a very nice sunny day around noon and sat on the patio. We had our menus from the hostess, but we'd only glimpsed our server. 

After waiting a long time (and not just by my standards when I'm hungry) for our server to come and ask if we'd like coffee (I don't like being rushed to choose a drink when I sit down to dinner - if I'm just taking off my coat, how could I have looked at the drink menu? That's just dumb. But if it's morning, it is absolutely appropriate to ask if I'd like a coffee right away - common sense, no?) he finally arrived and tried to get away with just taking our beverage orders. Little did he know that in 15 minutes of wait time, three Leone's can actually decide what they are eating. 

My mom and I both got the ultimate brunch bundle, which comes with mimosas. My dad got the Prime Rib Hash and a mimosa as well.

We waited, and waited, and waited some more before our COFFEE came - with a promise that our mimosas weren't far behind. 

When they finally arrived, my mom and I also received our fruit bowl - which was nice. What wasn't nice was that the server (not the original) did not even ask who had which mimosa (as we all got a different flavour), nor did he ask who was having the brunch bundle and would be getting the fruit. He plopped them down wherever he pleased and we shuffled things around ourselves.

Luckily for them, I am usually won over by coffee and alcohol. 

I ordered, specifically, the California Benedict. Which is pictured on the brunch menu:

Now, you tell me if what I got looks remotely like that:

Granted, I asked for hollandaise on the side, but really? What is that green stuff supposed to be? Avocado salsa? Who are you trying to fool? And can we please compare the shrimp in the two photos?
Oh - PS - this was after they brought me the wrong Benedict to begin with. 

My mom's omelette was also disappointing - what IS that?

My dad was a happy clam with his prime rib hash, of course.

The bill came. $75. For food I could have made, a million times better, with better service, for less than half that. I instantly got annoyed and tried to keep myself as calm as possible as I told my parents that I was never taking them out for a meal again. Because I always suggest somewhere nice. We always go to some chain. And it's never as good as I know it should be.

And to our server: you only got 15% tip because I consider that to be the bare minimum. If you didn't get more than that, it's because you SUCKED.

I am not a food snob. I eat at McDonalds. And I genuinely like Milestones at any other time of the day. But I like to eat food that I consider to be good and I like to get good service because I have been chastised, yelled at, and bullied by customers, clients, whomever I happen to be serving and yet, I continue to give the best customer service I can. So, when I am making your job easy by being extremely kind and friendly, the least you can do is get me a coffee at breakfast within a reasonable amount of time. 


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