Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Old Sardine Factory: "I'll give you a little tippy"

Palms Thai in Hollywood will forever be the place where my date took me up on my offer to split the $26 bill with the response, "Why don't you put in $10 and I'll take the leftovers."

Sam Woo’s BBQ will always remind me of the grouchy waitress who shushed me when I asked for vegetables.

And the Old Sardine Factory in Monterey, California, will live on in my memory box as the place where I said, “I’ll give you a little tippy.”

It’s a shame really. The restaurant, an institution on the infamous Cannery Row, deserves better than that. While I’m not really a cream in my soup kind of gal (I prefer my cream in frozen form), I did enjoy the complimentary bowl of chunky clam chowder I received from my waitress in the lounge. She was kind to me – a solo diner in a sea of empty chairs and mini couches that were only temporarily occupied by older parties waiting for their tables. I was a bit of a sad sack with my sun burned face and blood shot eyes (from exhaustion, not booze), but she pretended not to notice.

My entrée, the sand dabs with chive risotto, sautéed seasonal vegetables (spinach, carrots, haricot verts), with a lemon butter sauce ($21.95), was also satisfying enough to merit more than just a flippant mention in a post centered around an unfortunate slip of my tongue. Unfortunately, it’s just not going to happen. The buttery pan-fried dabs and pedestrian risotto filled my stomach with a comforting blanket of fat, but still cannot receive the designation as the most memorable part of my evening.

Maybe if my experience at the Old Sardine Factory had ended when I signed the check, the food might have reigned supreme in my consciousness. But it didn’t end there. It ended when I went to retrieve my car from the young valet outside.

“How much?” I asked, already digging into my bag for my wallet.

“It’s free.” He responded with a coy smile. “We do it right here.”

And then it happened.

I don’t know if it was the glass of wine, my temporary stay at a restaurant better suited for my parents than a 25-year-old, or just pure exhaustion, but the words came out of my mouth before I had time to pass them through my mostly useless filter.

“Well, then!” I announced with a little demonstrative wave of my hand. “I’ll give you a little tippy!”

Regret and horror immediately capsized the pleasure from my full stomach. I shyly handed the valet a few dollars and then, once inside my rental car, I proceeded to bang my head against the steering wheel. The deed was done, and the restaurant’s fate was sealed.

The Old Sardine Factory: The place where I gave a valet a “tippy.”

The Sardine Factory
701 Wave Street
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831-373-3775


Esi said...

Hahaha. I can just picture you freaking out the second the words were out of your mouth. That's hilarious. I feel like I have been to that place before...

Gastronomer said...

Aw, that's not so bad! Hold your head up high, D. It could've been so much worse, like you could have said, "I'll give you some lippy!"

Jenn said...

Hahaha...That's what happens when you're tired. Just when you think it's all in your head, it actually happens. All you can do now is move forward. ;-D

yutjangsah said...

well, okay there pippi. if only there was a rewind function on life, but then, there'd be a lot less head on steering wheel moments. and those are good.

The Blonde Duck said...

Oh honey, don't worry. You should have flipped your hair and smiled. We're blond. We can pull it off.

Pearl said...

diana! i haven't commented in a while- i'm going to be going in LA this week - do you know a good place to recommend for lunch or dinner?

i have been frequenting toast for breakfast.

Diana said...

Esi - I felt like I'd been there before too! It's oddly like the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

Cathy - Maybe I should have given him some lippy...

Jenn - Haha, no that's what happens when you spend too much time with your parents! Yikes!

Sook - I actually sort of like that I get myself into these sorts of head-banging worthy moments. Keeps life interesting.

Miranda - So true! Though I think I sometimes live up to my hair color a little too much...

Pearl - Ah! Yes I do! Love Little Next Door for lunch/brunch. What sort of places are you thinking for dinner? What area of LA will you be? Shoot me an e-mail - link is in my profile.

DrThunder said...

Diana, only you would say "tippy" and that's why I love you! ...oopps this is Anna from bananawonder, not DrThunder. I've hacked my bro's computer.. sssshhhhh!!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

Haha you are so funny! And so cute!

Kirby! said...

I get so uncomfortable when it comes to tipping because I never know when you're supposed to do it and when you're not. My boyfriend fussed me out one time after I failed to tip a teenage bagger who helped carry my groceries to my car (you're supposed to do that?); but then, a mechanic laughed at me once when I tried to give him a tip for changing my oil. ARG.

And Cannery Row is pretty lame... but at least you didn't go to the Bubba Gump's there (where I saw a line out the door at 11:30am when I visited)

Mike T. said...

While I agree that "tippy" is funny, and had I been there, I would have had trouble holding back a laugh, that's not so bad. In fact, at the very least I'd say it's endearing.

The real cause for embarrassment is if you ever call a waitress "mom".

Melissa Good Taste said...

You were in my backyard!