Okay, so we got a babysitter for our four monkeys on Friday and decided to go to Dory's Oar, Fremont Bistro Tudor pub...whatever you want to call it.
We tried no less than four different tables when we arrived and went upstairs. We really couldn't get comfortable for some reason (is this foreshadowing?). It's a Tudor style building with a fancy pants new California cuisine restaurant downstairs and an"English" pub upstairs. The two parts of the restaurant do not mesh well at all, but we had had an okay time there recently and decided to try their tapas style dining one more time before calling the place a bust.
We sat down and promptly drank an entire pitcher of Newcastle Ale. We ordered six small plates. We got another pitcher. The six small plates arrives and of the six, perhaps two were correct. The fried sweet potatoes turned out to be red new potatoes sliced and sauteed in a nasty red, vaguely spicy sauce. The artichoke dip in a bread bowl turned out to be a Mediterranean artichoke salad in a vinaigrette. The "Spanish" olives were straight from Costco.
We tried to re-order. The waiter took the corrections and disappeared. The beer was gone. The food was dismal. I went to the bathroom. Down the front stairs, past the only exit, and through the white table cloth dining room. Just after I left the table, Descartes went down the back stairs to the men's room. Jaster and Demanda were upstairs at the table waiting for something, a beer, some decent food, anything.
On my way out of the restroom I decided to go back up the front stairs instead of taking the much closer back stairwell...because I smelled something funny. I have a "pregnancy" nose. Even when I am not pregnant I can smell sour milk through a closed refrigerator door, poopy pants from the second floor of the house, a hint of almond in a cake before it hits my step-father's very allergic mouth. I can just smell stuff.
I went past the pretentious bar, around the corner towards those front stairs and saw a billow of dark nasty smoke. A woman on a cell phone was standing near it
"Oh, Hmm It looks like there is, like, a fire or something." and she continued talking.
I threw open the front (and only) door of the building and lifted the new organza and other man-made material flammable curtains away from the fire and threw them over the door, both to prop it open and to keep them from catching fire. I revealed a newly varnished and highly-attractive wooden booth aflame. When they did the recent remodel it appears that they built this booth INTO the wall atop of an actually *not* defunct wall heater. It was, as my sister calls it, "butt-ass cold" on Friday night, so the wall heater, in its forgotten, half-covered state decided to try to heat the damn place, and kicked on...and set fire to the booth and the wall in doing so.
I paused for a millisecond. The flames were starting to leap up the wall a bit (and would have been in the curtains had Inot moved them). I yelled, "There's a fire. Call 911. Get me some water."
I turned around and grabbed a glass of water out of some one's hand and doused the base of the flames (I did try to avoid the heating element itself). I asked for more water. No one else was doing anything. I went to the bar and yelled "Get me some water, or call 911. It's your choice!"
A little whisper of a girl ran down the length of the bar (she was the bartender ?) and handed me a giant glass pitcher with about 20 ounces of water in it. I hip-checked some idget, a stocky, stump of a man who was standing there drinking chardonnay, to move him out of my way, then I did my best to strategically throw it at the base of the remaining flames. It was smoldering now.
I stuck my head in the kitchen window (right next to where I was standing).
The men inside were still cooking. I said, as nicely as possible "I know you're busy, and it's probably not your job, but there's a fire out here, and if you could please fill up that bin with water and hand it to me it would be very helpful." He did it without smiling or making eye contact, placed it on the other window and called out like it was an order up, "water".
I threw that on it too.
At some point during this, and between me tossing water, Descartes went back up the back stairs and found my sister who was letting everyone know that something smelled like fire, and probably they should all get out. Jaster, Descartes and Demanda gathered up all of our coats and hats and bags and covered their faces and made their way down the front stairs through the thick smoke and out the door. Demanda put her hand out to me, but I was still putting out the fire.
Descartes thought I was right behind him, realized I wasn't then came back in the door and said. "Jennyalice. We are leaving. C'mon."
As it turns out, he was a bit irritated with me for standing there in the midst of the chaos... he didn't realize I had a purpose. He grabbed my hand and we went out into the parking lot and into the car. I told Descartes why I had been "standing" there.
We drove off, hungry and reeking of chemical smoke. (The first person to our table thought we had been camping we smelled so bad!) We ended up at Edgewood Golf Club. A beautiful space with friendly service and amazing delicious food. We spent probably the same amount of money we would have at the pub, but drank champagne and had lobster bisque instead.
The strangest part of the evening for me.. and the part I can't really get over...
We skipped out on our bill. I have never skipped out on a bill in my life... even when abandoned by wait staff, we have always figured out about how much we owe.
Isn't that silly?
25 November, 2007
Jennifer Byde Myers
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