When will I learn?

Tom with a collection of edible flowers to adorn his meal


Some days I’m about as bright as Charlie Brown, still thinking that Lucy is really going to hold the football so he can kick it.

Mike and I got our butts kicked by Levin and Weinstein this afternoon, so we were scheduled to play in the loser Swiss teams.  It was our turn to sit out, so we didn’t have to be back in until 7:45, meaning we could enjoy a pleasant dinner with our sweeties, who were both playing in the Senior event and wouldn’t finish until just after 6.

(Yes, the rumors are true:   our best board against Bobby and Stevie was the hand Mike got confused and passed my 1S opener by accident–everything split badly, I just managed to eke out 7 tricks for +80.  They went down 200 at the other table with our cards, so we picked up 7 IMPS.)

Back to the subject of dinner.  Mike, Linda, Gail and I, along with Lorin Waxman and Tom Jacobson, headed up the street to the Hilton for dinner.  And this is what I should know:  every chain hotel has a restaurant, and every damn one of the is mediocre.  Not bad, just not really good.  You get a decent meal, at a relatively stiff price, but it has no heart, no soul, no elan.

The dining room at the Hilton is called La Fontana.  This is what they say about themselves:


La Fontana

Award-winning dining. An exceptional dining experience is created by our Chef includes a refreshing array of California and Mediterranean Riviera inspired selections. Open daily for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

I can’t imagine what “award” this joint has ever won.  Note that the Chef is not named–the position changes too often.  “Refreshing” is not the term of choice for great food, only for facials and body scrubs.  Restaurants that serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are most often in the Denny’s class, not the Guide Michelin.

I had a mediocre onion soup and a so-so pasta dish.  Everyone ate their meal, but I didn’t hear any oohing and aahing or “You’ve got to taste this” or even a simple “wow, this is good”.

Presentation is important in all food, but a little variety and imagination is desirable.  Every dish except my soup was garnished with an edible flower–that’s why they are all lined up in front of Tom in the photo.  I like the idea of edible flowers, but if you put the same one on every plate it is just like a sprig of parsley–boring, boring, boring.

You’d think I’d learn.  We travel to tournaments all over the country, eating in different restaurants every night, why don’t I get it that chain hotels just don’t have great food?  You want good, interesting, different, prepared with love?  Find a place where the chef is the owner, not just employee #38578395756.



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