I’ve gone out every weekday this past week for dinner and drinks. This is probably not the best idea, since I’m spending Euros and not US dollars, but I’m sure my spending habit will be curbed in a few weeks when reality sets in and I see my bank account.
One night we went to the Westin downtown. It was quiet at the bar maybe 2 other people besides the two I was with. That was until Jerry the loud and obnoxious U.S. Air Marshall arrived.
Jerry literally stood at the end of the bar where there was no chair or stool and awkwardly close to my friend as if he was waiting to be invited into our conversation. My friend has a good relationship with the bartenders and we were generally enjoying their company. Until Jerry made an appearance… I guess when you are in a foreign land and you hear other people speaking your native tongue you sort of have an overwhelming desire to talk to them or at least listen and feel comforted in the fact that in some small way, you are not alone in this big foreign place.
Jerry made it very clear that he was from the Jersey Shore, but really he was from Queens or Brooklyn rather. He actually sounded just like he could be ‘The Situations’ father.
Jerry insulted the bartender; made several accusations about my friends and I, and almost got into a fight with a British guy who offered his input on a question we were having trouble answering. Oh, and somewhere in all that he bought me a glass of wine and had 5 or 6 more beers of his own.
Jerry was literally ready to fight the British guy for trying to help us out. Jerry had asked us if we knew which popular film had recorded a scene in the Westin that we were in that night. None of us had any clue. So he offered us one, telling us it was one of the Jason Bourne movies. I like that series and couldn’t remember them being in the last one at least which would make the most sense in my mind. Anyway, we started trying to name all the Bourne movies and got stumped. That’s when the Brit yelled out the answer in a polite way. Jerry didn’t seem to take to kindly to this for some reason, however. In the end, between our smartphones, none of them were able to find this ‘fact’ that Jerry mentioned and the bartender who had worked in the bar for over 14 years knew nothing about it either. Jerry might have gotten his facts wrong.
The funny thing is that Jerry kept trying to invite my friends and I back to the lounge upstairs, which is for the premium customers and where, because he has so many hotel rewards, he can drink for free all night instead of paying for his drinks down at the bar. As his guests we would also be able to drink for free. But we wouldn’t have cared if they were paying us to drink, none of us wanted anything more to do with Jerry especially if that meant he would continue to drink and be even more obnoxious.
I was informed about a restaurant in Frankfurt, the Feldbergblick, that serves a huge meat platter adorned with an almost equally massive amount of potatoes and veggies. The kick is that it is actually served on a shovel. Yes a Shovel. The men or women who can clean their plates and down a pint of beer, wins bragging rights, and rightfully so. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s a lot more on the plate that can be displayed and I believe it comes with potatoes instead of fries.
A guy visiting my female acquaintance attempted this mighty feat. He literally had asmall leaf of lettuce left on his plate and had down all but an ounce or two of his liter of beer before he “released” it in the garden near our table. I advised him against ordering the glass of still water, as it would surely expand his stomach, making him feel fuller than he already was.
We were all rooting for him and he couldn’t have been any closer to completing the task, but I think we all recognized him as having successfully conquered the ‘shovel’.
Our waiter was having fun with us the whole time, and he gave me a particularly hard time the whole night. I’ve been trying to practice my German with bartenders and waiters and he was no exception. I ordered Kalbsrahmschnitzel (fried veal in a cream sauce) and it came with spaetzle, homemade noodles. He was trying to help me say it properly but I was failing miserably, and he wouldn’t leave until I said it properly. Meanwhile the whole table is laughing at me and I finally get it right. Then I later ask for water and a coke and repeatedly confirmed that I don’t want a diet/light coke as my colleague had ordered. When he returns, he takes my glass of bottled water pours most of it into an empty glass and then turns the glass bottle completely upside down into the glass. Somehow the water in the bottle managed to stay in the bottle. By this time the whole table is laughing hysterically. My glass of Coke was huge and as I start drinking it he says “I’ll return with a straw for the baby”. He brings back two straws, a larger and smaller one and stick them both in the glass of water, that still had the upside down water bottle. He removed the bottle from the glass without spilling it or pouring any additional water in the glass.