What I gained by being in France was learning to be better satisfied with my own country. - Samuel Johnson
Now I'm not going to tell you the restaurant's cuisine, and no I don't have a photo of the place. What I DO have is a cartoon that an Australian friend did for me for a LFNY post a hundred years ago. It is sort of apt ...
Friday evening. A Manhattan restaurant.
It'd been a long hard week and the three of us sat down to wine and dine and chat and relax. Which we did. The food was so-so. The wine was good, and if a little pricey, only to be expected. After all, it WAS the Upper East Side. Three New Yorkophiles, two of us Australian. All women. Sitting quietly discussing a range of topics from the Australian film industry to the New York - pre-sanitized New York, before the days of mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.
Now I've been to restaurants in Europe where patrons plonk their cell phones on the table when they dine out. But even in New York, and especially on the Upper East side, it is definitely not de rigueur to use cell phones in company. But one of us - let's just call her "Lucy" - had just that evening, bought a new 4G Samsung Android phone. As I own the 3G model of the same brand, I'd helped her set it up with the basics when she'd arrived at the restaurant carrying it still in its pink and white T-mobile bag.
Suddenly out of nowhere, one of the waiters swooped on her, and saying how cell phones were banned, snatched it from her hands and proceeded to change the settings.
Lucy was speechless. I was furious. "Don't alter her phone," I complained and he laughed. I insisted, but to no avail. He changed something on it, and only then did he place on the table. He seemed to find the situation très amusant. We didn't. He started to argue with me and then the third member of our party, let's call her "Cordelia", not known for her reticence in calling a spade a shovel, came to my defense. Volubly. It was all too much. The waiter continued to stand there, giggling inanely. The disagreements and the witticisms from the council for the defense on my left, seemed to be never ending. I couldn't handle it. By this stage the restaurant was nearly empty, and I left.
Although I'd told my companions I was leaving, apparently they didn't hear me, and assumed I'd gone to the bathroom.
I found out the next day when we were having our postmortems, that they waited some time before they realized I'd gone. By then the waiters had gathered around the bar. Cordelia gave them a good dressing-down and then she and Lucy called a car service and left.
Later, Cordelia phoned to tell me she'd left croissants she'd bought before meeting us at the restaurant. That and a canister of designer tea.
"I'm going back for them," she told me. "Oh no!!" I was aghast.
"I hope it is cold enough. I'll go on Sunday and 'make an entrance'. AND I intend to wear my mink coat," she explained.
And knowing Cordelia, she'll do it with panache!
C'est si bon.