Monday, August 14, 2006

To Buffet, or Not to Buffet...

I know I said I'd post pics of real live fires being fought, but I haven't downloaded them yet, and you all need to learn patience anyway, so I'll tell another tale instead.

My stacker broke down the other day. I guess technically, it's not really broken, but the fan/air conditioner quit working, and that qualifies as a breakdown in my book. So I spent yesterday morning figuring out what the problem was, and we were able to narrow it down to a faulty solenoid. A rather easy fix if you've got another solenoid, which I didn't, so that meant I had to run in to town today and buy one. No problem.

Whilst I was in town, I decided to go ahead and eat, and went out to a little Mexican place that I like to eat at. Around these parts, we have a plethora of Mexican food restaurants, and they tend to fall into three categories. Those owned and run by white folks, those owned and run by Americans of Mexican descent, and those owned and run by legal immigrants directly from Mexico. The place I went to fits into the last category.

When I first started going there right after they opened, none of them could speak much English. It usually required pointing on the menu and them nodding in approval. I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing, but it does probably mean it's fairly authentic Mexican food. Over the years, their English has improved and the quality of the meal has stayed pretty much as it was in the beginning. I think that's a good thing because I like their food.

Anyway, a few years back, they started offering a lunchtime buffet for around $4.50. All you can eat, in fact. Needless to say, it has been a very popular addition to their lunchtime menu, and it's also brought in lots of business. The menu changes around, so when I looked at it today it wasn't full of dishes that I really wanted to eat. Instead, I opted for the menu item (a couple of chimichangas, if you really want to know).

About 15 minutes later, a young married couple came in with their 3 or 4 year old son and infant daughter, and got seated at the booth directly in front of me. Then they proceeded to go ahead and get the buffet.

From where I was sitting, I had a direct view of the buffet and I couldn't help but watch as everyone made their trek to the food. This couple left the little girl in the high chair and then went up to get plates for them and the boy. Of course, the little boy was right along side of them. As his mother placed things on his plate, he let out a series of whines and then he proceeded to reach up and grab a burrito off of the plate with his bare hands while saying, "Mommy, I don't want this." Of course it sounded more like "MOMMY! I DONWANDIS!" but I digress. The little shaver then proceeded to put it back ON THE BUFFET!

I was slightly taken aback by this little display, but I was even more astonished when his mother just turned with him and headed back to their table. She never said a thing, nor picked the now soiled burrito back up and explained that he couldn't do that. She just left it for the next poor schlub to find.

Right then and there, I was glad I'd decided on the menu. In fact, I think I'll probably stick to the menu evermore. I don't know that what I get is any cleaner, but at least I can't see some kid, in bare feet no less, fondling it.


Anonymous bc said...

I guess the 30 second rule doesnt apply?

Im not even worried about that. Im more worried that she just left the baby siting at the table alone.

When I was in CO it seemed that every where you went it was all of mexican decent. I love mexican food and to have it authentic is so much better.

There was this one lady that came through the base with a cart for the workers and military alike. That food was the best I have ever had. Some of the items though would require a fire hose to go with it. ;o)

8/14/2006 7:44 PM  
Blogger fermicat said...

Another example of parents NOT teaching their kids decent behavior. Makes me wonder if the parents even know how to behave in a restaurant. Ewww. Kids' hands are nasty! They'll put 'em anywhere!!

I don't like buffets in general, and what you saw is only one reason. I've also noticed that restaurants which serve buffets tend to have lower health rating scores than non-buffets. The only night PDM and I won't go to our favorite Indian restaurant is the night they serve the "grand buffet". We prefer to order off the menu, thankyouverymuch.

8/14/2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

People just don't know how to behave in public. You can't expect the little kid to know better, but the "adult" should have.

8/15/2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger LL said...

The little girl was fine. She never made a peep.

fermi and Kath - that's exactly my point. The little guy was too young to understand a lot, but there's no excuse for that kinda behavior from the parents. The rest of the story is that the he ran wild all over the restaurant for the remainder of the meal. Do you know why? Because mommy and daddy were sitting on the same side of the booth instead of blocking him in.

I'm glad I'm not going to have to put up with him in about 10 years. That kid's going to be a disciplinary nightmare...

8/15/2006 7:59 AM  
Blogger LL said...

OH! And welcome to the End of the World Kathleen! I hope you still feel fine... :P

8/15/2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

I wish we still had a Mexican restaurant here. One without a buffet.

I'd have probably gone up, taken that burrito off the buffet, and set it at their table with a smile and a "I think your little boy dropped this."

I love buffets, but now I'm going to think of this every time I go to one. Thank you for that.

8/15/2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...


8/15/2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Oh, and what the heck is a stacker and a solenoid?

8/15/2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger LL said...

No problem KTM. I try to help in small ways like that.

"Oh, and what the heck is a stacker and a solenoid?"

*sigh* City folk...


A solenoid is very simply a small device used as a relay to connect two wires making a circut. It's activated by a third wire which usually carries a much smaller voltage than the main wires. When the small wire is charged, it causes an electromagnet in the solenoid to engage and connects the two ends so that the current passes through. When the small wire is not charged, the elecromagnet disengages and the circut is broken.

Your starter on your car is an example of a solenoid in action. When you turn the key to it's full limit, you charge a small wire that engages the electromagnet in your starter solenoid. This allows the full voltage and amperage of the battery to pass through the solenoid to the starter and makes the starter work, starting your car. When you release the key, the small wire is no longer charged and the circut is broken through the solenoid disengaging the starter.

8/15/2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

You had to go into town for a new solenoid? Pffff! I would have crafted one out of dried twigs and pine cones. But if you can afford to throw away your money like that, it's your business.

8/16/2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger LL said...

Thanks for pointing out my failures... *sigh*

But there was a time element involved. Yeah, that's it, a time element.

8/16/2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yeah, just gross. I mean, sure, it's a lot of food at a cheap price, but you're getting more than your money's worth in bacteria.

8/16/2006 2:00 PM  

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