The Soupster discovers a diner can know too much.
“I hope you’re hungry, Harold,” said the Soupster, as he picked up his friend for their bi-weekly dinner.
Harold put on his seat belt. “Indeed I am,” he answered. “Where shall we go?”
“Out the road,” said the Soupster. “You know — the restaurant that has all those good appetizers.”
“Beer battered shrimp, yum,” said Harold, as the Soupster steered the car out the road.
The Soupster and Harold had kept up their ritual dinner every other Tuesday for going on three years now. After Harold’s divorce, the Soupster proposed the meals as a way to make sure his friend stayed socialized.
The two men had gotten about half a mile when Harold practically shouted, ““Halibut Britannica!”
“Is that the stuff with mayonnaise?” asked the Soupster.
“That’s Halibut Olympia,” Harold answered. “Britannica has bread crumbs, cream, spinach and capers.”
“The place by the dock,” Harold said. “Turn around.”
As the two men headed toward the dock, Harold said, “Or maybe I should get Butter Butt `But.”
The Soupster knew of Harold’s love for the rear end of a halibut, poached in white wine and butter – the older man ordered the dish regularly. It sounded awful good to the Soupster right then, too. The Soupster’s stomach had burbled suspiciously when Harold had said “Britannica.” Poached halibut had to easier on the system than Halibut Olympia, Halibut Britannica, Halibut Pax Romana or any of the other dishes that used mayonnaise or cream.
Without a word to Harold, the Soupster turned off the road setting a new course for the seafood place downtown.
There was the rub. Our Town featured enough restaurants to take care of the Soupster’s tastes, but their number was limited enough that – without meaning to – the Soupster had memorized all the menus.
The good news was that the Soupster could spend a lot of time pondering his choice for the evening without someone waiting impatiently to write his order on a pad and get going in the kitchen. In fact, he often decided what to order when he was dressing at home.
The bad news was that – like this night – that same advance knowledge could lead to a lot of wasted gasoline or futile pedaling.
“It can be hard deciding what you want when you already know every item that’s on every menu,” said the Soupster. “I love Our Town, but sometimes I just want to desert.”
“Dessert!” Harold called out. “Mt. Edgecumbe Mocha Mallow Meltdown at the sweet shop. Turn around!”
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