What to do when you’re drunk on your last night in London Part 2

Okay, where did we leave off. Oh, that’s right. We were brusquely greeted by a waitress who was not at all pleased by the fact that she was serving two young Americans, who were not only fifteen minutes late to their reservation, but also seemed unable to focus their eyes…

Disclaimer: Portland is an incredible restaurant with a chef who does culinary magic, an atmosphere anyone with even half a design brain would fall for, and a wonderful waitress who we’ll remember forever. It is not any fault of this establishment that we two dinguses made a mess of it all. 

Keep in mind, this is a high-end restaurant, beautifully decorated and curated to the last detail. Now, picture the two of us sitting there staring blankly at the one page menu they’ve brought out for us.

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On it, each item was listed beneath its corresponding category: starters, appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

Looking up at our waitress, we naively asked if we could order a starter and appetizer and then see if we were hungry enough for an entrée. The look she gave us made it seem like we’d asked to burn the place down. Like, “hey, would it be cool if we poured kerosine everywhere and lit the shit out of this place?” She was (to put it mildly) pissed off.

“No…” she responded tersely, “the kitchen’s going to close. You need to order all courses now.”

So, we revisited the menu and placed our order. We’d begin with the cheese macarons, then we’d have the *lobster rolls…

*Okay, folks this is where things get a bit hazy. All I can say is that we chose an entrée that was some sort of fish. Halibut perhaps? I think it came with seasoned asparagus and the dessert was probably a chocolate cake of some sort. I’m vaguely remembering eating chocolate cake. Oh, god. I hope it was chocolate cake…

Moving on, we gave our sunny-dispositioned waitress these requests along with, of course, a cocktail and wine order, because we needed more alcohol…

While waiting for our first course, we received our beverages and talked (god only knows how loudly…) about how hungry we were. Now, first world problem jokes aside, we were really fuckin’ famished.

As our drinks slowly dwindled and our heads got even cloudier, out came our starters. I don’t believe at this point we noticed that our first waitress had abandoned us. 

Chewy, cheesy, savory macarons, those little morsels didn’t stand a chance. I’m pretty sure we swallowed them whole. And, as you can imagine, we looked classy AF as we shoveled those little circles of joy into our mouths beneath the twinkling, atmospheric lights. Someone really should have taken our picture.

Then, of course, we just had to sit there twiddling our thumbs while we waited for those thick lobster bodies to be our next victims. I’m not even sure we talked to each other while we waited. I think we just stared down at the emptiness that was our plates and tried not think about how it matched the emptiness of our souls without the joy of food. And then we tried not to think about the food and then tried not to think about trying not to think about the food and then… YES!!! Our appetizers were coming our way.

Two things happened at this point:

First, we realized that we had a new waitress who did not look like she wanted to recreate a Guy Richie fight scene with us in the alley outside.

Second, the “lobster rolls” that were placed in front of us were not really fucking rolls at all. What do I mean by that? Instead of the thick, rice paper wrapped, sustenance-providing dishes you’d find in your average sushi restaurant, these things were TWO slivers of, I dunno, a lobster’s oblique maybe? Seriously, together, they might have equaled the size of a pencil. A FUCKING PENCIL. A #2, not a sumo grip for you ’90s kids, fucking pencil.

At the sight of those rolls, my stomach gave a lurch, and I was lost to a fit of tears and laughter. Here we were, a couple of the hungriest little piggies I’ve ever known, and this bougie restaurant was serving up lobster PENCILS. It was too much.

I scooted back my chair and went downstairs to use the restroom. I’d love to describe it for you here, because I’m sure it was lovely, but let’s be real. I don’t remember it.

Meanwhile upstairs, Cienna was chatting with our new (and may I say much improved) waitress.

“What are you girls up to tonight?” our waitress asked, “It’s Friday so you must be going out to get drunk.”

“Well, we were across the street…”

“Oh!” the waitress exclaimed, “then you already are!”

That’s when Cienna said she noticed it (though I still can’t testify that it’s true). The woman had six fingers on her right hand.

I came back upstairs and joined in the conversation with the waitress and Cienna. Did she have other tables to take care of? Thinking back on it, I can’t quite figure out how she spent so much time shootin’ the shit with two wasted Americans, but I’m so glad she did!

Sitting down, I finished my drink, and the entrée arrived. The rest of our evening was a blur of chatting with our waitress about her children, what she does in her spare time, shoveling some sort of wonderful fish into my mouth, telling our waitress about our travels, eating chocolate cake? and listening to some sort of story that I’m sure was far too intimate, but felt totally appropriate at the time.

Then the bill arrived. A good ol’ £95. Not that I was shocked. Honestly, through the happy and hazy lens that I was seeing the world, it was the most perfectly reasonable cost for a meal. It’s funny to think about how little a part reality played in that entire euro trip…

When we’d paid our bill, we stood from the table, suddenly aware that there had been quite a few other diners enjoying their quiet meals in the restaurant. The giggles hit again as I thought about the role we’d played in their evening. They had probably been racking their brains, trying to figure out how two obviously hammered twenty-year-olds had gotten into a place like this. We’re rish bishes! I wanted to yell. Thank god I didn’t. We’re not.

We walked (not so steadily) toward the door. Our waitress friend followed and told us how nice it had been to meet us. She asked if we knew our way to the Underground Station.

“Yep,” we said with confidence!

We had no idea where the station was.

She pulled out her phone and pulled up maps, showing us where we needed to head to catch a train. I should have noticed Cienna staring madly at her fingers as she typed in directions, but I think I had been more interested in the way the streetlights were blinking or how I was swaying every so slightly.

We said goodbye and started our jaunt toward the Underground.

“Did you see??” Cienna asked with wide eyes.

“See what,” I responded, because I’ve never noticed anything in my entire life and wasn’t about to start then.

“She had fucking twelve fingers. SIX on each hand.”

“You’re drunk.”

“I KNOW!” she countered, “that’s why I fucking counted them again. I was like, Cienna, your drunk. Count again. And I DID. 1..2…3…4…5…6…1…2…3…4…5…6…1…2…3…4…5…6″

“Okay, okay!” I still didn’t really believe her but we’d arrived at the Station.

We walked inside and I pressed my little card down onto the button to open the gate, but the gate wouldn’t open. I tried again. And again. Omg. My little card was broken! What was I going to do? Did I have to buy another one? Where would I buy another one? This was terrible. I tried again. It still wasn’t working.

I looked up and spotted two officers standing together chatting. Cienna took off toward them with a confident march.

“Excuse me,” she said with authority, “my friend’s card isn’t working.”

The men stared down at us and blinked.

“That’s because it doesn’t have any money left on it…” he replied and turned back to the other officer.

Red with embarrassment, I simply reloaded the card at the kiosk, pressed it down and we were on our way to the platform to catch the train. Back in the hotel room, we drunkenly tried to prepare for bed. In the morning, we would be catching a train to the airport (or so we thought, but that’s a whole other story….).

In the morning, we awoke to hangovers that were made a tiny bit better by a delicious breakfast downstairs and then went on a wild goose hunt for H2 Brun Sauce to take back to the States, like the good yankee girls we are!

 

What to do when you’re drunk on your last day in London Part 1.

As promised, today I’m writing about the time my best friend and I managed to spend $140 on dinner and became friends with a twelve-fingered waitress.

In order for you to truly understand why this momentous event is, in fact, momentous, here’s what you have to know:

During this trip across the pond, my two friends and I were suddenly filled with an insatiable hunger. We had to eat every three hours on.the.dot. And I’m not talking about little snacks. No, no. I’m talking full plates of fried fish, thick chips (those are French Fries to you uncultured Yankees), full pints of beer, and mashed peas—which aren’t as nasty as they sound. OH! Then there were the breakfasts of toast, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, and coffee.

If we didn’t get the these giant man feasts? Unleash the hangry monsters from America. Move over football hooligans (that’s soccer to you Yanks), our stomachs were ready to kick. some. ass.

Ready for that teen movie montage but with hungry monster adults?

Now, that that’s out of the way, let’s continue.

If you know anything about me, you know that I can never eat like this. Not because I’m worried about keeping my figure. Let’s be honest, that goal died years ago… but because I have some not so “cute” issues with yee ol’ tummy. Read about the burrito fiasco of 2015 here.

Anyway, the miracle of London was that these thunderstorms in my belly seemed to no longer exist! Talk about GAME ON. Food could “spice up my life” and I would still be ready to have another curry within the hour.

On our last night in the Queen’s land. My best friend Cienna and I said goodbye to our fellow traveler, Haven, and went on our own to paint the town red (or at least a nice mauve).

Here’s what to keep in mind: Haven is the responsible one out of our trio.

After our goodbyes, we checked into one of the trendiest hotel’s I’ve ever stepped foot in, The Hoxton in Shoreditch. We were welcomed in by a sexy piece of Brit at the font desk. Yes, I did have to fight off the young gay man in order to get him to assist us. And yes, I am proud of it.

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Check out this super trendy building outside The Hoxton in Shoreditch.

Once we were all settled in, we decided to go see Gringotts … I mean, Harrods (honestly, they’re the same thing).

There, we proceeded to spend upwards of $80 on important things like a pen with the name Harrods on it…

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Heading to Gringotts!

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After spending a hour or two in this incredible maze of material goods, it suddenly hit… the hunger. Yes, you guessed it. It had been far more that three hours since we’d gorged ourselves on fried potatoes and we needed food. STAT.

While in San Francisco, I’d gotten a recommendation from a real fancy lady for a restaurant in London called Portland. Yes Alanis, that is ironic.

So we looked it up, and Open Table said we could make a reservation at 10pm. It was around 9pm at this point. Cienna suggested we just head there instead, and see if they could seat us earlier. With our stomachs growling and our heads woozy from a full 4.5 hours without a massive meal, we grabbed a car and went to the little restaurant.

When we got there, the host answered the door and shook his head when he heard our plan.

“Sorry,” he said, “we’re all full for tonight.”

Not even a cute British accent could subdue the disappointment we felt at those words nor could it quell the little monsters in our stomachs and demanded to be FED.

We stepped back out onto the street, hearts full of despair, and pulled up Yelp. There had to be another place to eat nearby. Right? RIGHT?!

Wrong. There was absolutely nothing.

Desperate for some sort of sustenance (yes, I know there are starving children in Africa and I’m a brat, but we were SO HUNGRY), I pulled up Portland’s website again (No, not the state. The restaurant. Though how cool would it be if we could make reservations for Portland, the state, and just like reserve it for an hour or two… Portlandia, I’ve got your next amazing skit right here!)

Back on topic: That 10pm reservation was still showing up as available! Should I just book it? Perhaps they kept a few spots open just in case someone made a reservation. I clicked the button.

As I made the reservation, I noticed the hours listed on the website. Portland closed at 10pm… (Oh, god. Now I’m wondering what it would be like if an entire state closed at 10pm. Crazy.)

WHY in the Queen’s name would they have an Open Table reservation available for that time if the restaurant wasn’t even going to be open?! 

The hunger was really boiling at this point.

That’s when we spotted it. An English pub right across the street. And I’m talking a classic, Notting Hill-esque, straight out of a Jane Austen novel, English pub. I think it was named the Farrier or The Horse and the Hound. Something that made you go, oh my god. I’m in fucking LONDON.

We ran inside and sat down at the bar staring desperately at the young bartender. He strode over and casually asked us what we’d like.

“Food!” We cried, because Americans aren’t obnoxious at all… #Trump amiright?

“Sorry,” he replied trying not to show his dislike of the two obviously well fed, gluttonous girls in front of him, “kitchen closes at 9pm. All we have are some crisps.” For you Yanks out there, crisps are fucking potato chips… those were NOT going to quell the demons that were raging inside of us.

So, we ordered two ciders and drank down our sorrows. Remember, we had not eaten for about 5 hours, and in London, that means we’d been starving ourselves for at least a full day! By the time we finished these drinks, we were already a tiny bit tipsy. That’s when the older bartender came up to us and asked if we were ready for another. “It’s Friday!” he exclaimed, “You ladies have to have another!”

“If I have another,” Cienna told him, “I’m going to end up passed out on your floor.”

So he poured us two more.

That’s when my phone began to ring…it’s them! It’s the restaurant. I panicked. Thrusting my phone at Cienna, I demanded that she answer.

“Hello? Yes, this is she. Oh, sorry. We thought you closed at 10pm. Oh? That’s when your last seating is? Yes, well, we’re right across the street. We’ll see you in a bit.”

Downing our fresh glasses of cider—not the best idea for us—we paid our bill and ran across the street where the same host opened the doors and welcomed us in. We were seated at a small table in the middle of the restaurant and a waitress with a pixie cut and a bad attitude (or maybe she just wasn’t thrilled to wait her last table on two drunk Americans who couldn’t seem to stare straight at their menus) came to take our orders.

The remainder of the evening’s escapades (including tears at the sight of a pencil-sized lobster appetizer, the contrasting size of our bill, and our debate about a twelve-fingered waitress who pretty much saved our lives) will be in tomorrow’s post. Tune in then!

So This is What Twentysomething REALLY Feels Like

When I opened up WordPress today, I meant to write a post about my trip to London (a trip where my best friend and I spent $140 on dinner and met a waitress with twelve fingers). Rest assured, I’ll still be writing that post, but right now, I’ve got something else on my mind.

Recently, I went through something so “grown up” that I honestly never thought I’d experience it. After all, anyone who knows me is more than aware of my lack of talent in adulting.

Not that I’m totally irresponsible. I always complete work on time, can successfully use a washing machine, and am fully capable of feeding the cat when my roommate is out of town. Still, none of that prepares you for something like this.

On Friday morning, my coworkers and I found ourselves without a job. I’m not going to get into it more than that, but this totally shook me to my core. More than anything else, the way people reacted to the news—including myself—was completely unnerving.

People who had previously left the company showed their bitterness in their words and shocked me with their tactlessness when it came to speaking with someone who had just lost their job. It really made me wonder: if I had left when they had, would I completely forget all of the hard work, soul, and time I’d put into this company? Or, an even more disturbing question, had they never cared for the company or anyone who worked there at all?

But before I judge them in too harsh a light, I have to reflect on my own reactions. Immediately after it happened, I could think of no one else but myself. Anyone who wanted to talk about something other than my loss of a job and the disappearance of my company was cruel or unimportant. At the same time, I couldn’t (and still can’t) stand being looked at with pity or asked concerned questions as the center of attention. I don’t want people to delve into the situation because anyone outside of it has no chance of understanding.

So what does this leave me with?

Today, I spent the morning reading with a cup of coffee. I applied to some interesting job descriptions and fought the fears in my stomach that I wasn’t skilled enough to do any of them.

During this, I couldn’t help but ask myself, isn’t this what you’ve always wanted?

I mean, how long have I dreamed about sleeping in, waking to the sunlight dripping into my little bedroom, grabbing a cup of coffee, and getting to write and read the day away?

But the question comes with a tinge of sadness. Sadness at having watched a company that we worked so hard on end. Sadness at the realization that this isn’t something my parents can help with. I can’t call saying I have a sore stomach, be brought home, and have them reassure me that everything will be okay. It might not be.

So, here it is. This is twentysomething. It’s strange. It’s frightening. But it’s real, and we just have to discover why we’re still so happy to be in this stage of our lives.