Monday, December 10, 2007

Smoke & Mirrors

** Names have been changed to protect the fraudulent and save myself from a lawsuit **

I can remember when I learned that Santa Claus was fictional.

I can remember when I found out it was really my parents posing as the tooth fairy.

I expect, as an adult, I'm going to experience some of the same letdowns on a different scale. However, I feel as tho' I have been duped twice. And frankly, I am sick of it.

I can't mention names because I'd probably get sued but if I've learned anything this past year it's how to artfully dodge the truth and not implicate yourself while doing it. A couple of years ago a very successful chain BBQ restaurant opened a few towns over. The gimmick of this place is down home BBQ cooking and leads you to believe that the owner and his wife are overweight, artery clogging hillbillys who live in a double wide and she sends him off to work everyday with a mason jar packed with pulled pork, slaw, mac and cheese and biscuits. And heavens forbid he cut himself on the job he'd bleed three different kinds of BBQ sauce.

So, one day we were eating in said restaurant for a family dinner (who am I calling a hillbilly here?) and the owner comes over and introduces himself just like any good businessman would when he $ee$ a party of ten. The menu leads you to believe the owner is in the back wearing a raccoon tail cap standing over a smoker in a wifebeater and jeans slick with grease.

At least that's what i want to believe when I bit into the smokey goodness of a my "burnt ends."

But "Big Billy" comes over to the table in his probably cashmere cardigan, khakis and loafers. And he's far from shopping at the Big & Tall. A southern accent isn't even remotely detected and when he finds out my aunt and uncle are from Rye he begins to tell them about all the country clubs he belongs to there and all the golfing he does. My "burnt ends' started tasting less smokey and more burnt as the grungy image of Big Billy evaporated before my eyes.

Enough time had lapsed for me to forget and work up another craving for their ribs. Plus, it was Good Friday and the Boy and I have a tradition of going to meat places that are usually packed on a Friday night on Good Friday because we're under the impression there will be less of a wait.

So, this particular Friday I was about ready to bite into my burnt ends when a well-dressed lady comes over to our table tastefully dressed with enough jewelry to say "I'm not flashy but I have more money than everyone in here" and introduces herself to us as "Miss BobbyJo".

Again, I wanted Miss BobbyJo to be at home eating bon bons while watching her stories and waiting for Big Billy to come home so she can fry up a ham steak. But no. Here she was looking like she fell of a page of the Ann Taylor catalog. She asked us where were from and that led to a few other questions about us and it came out about the wedding and where it was. She went onto say how Big Billy belongs to Country Clubs up there and how he belongs to about 50 different clubs and golfs all the time and how their daughter is getting married at some country club in DC (which i later looked up and found it was like $250 a plate).

Long story short. We haven't been back since.

So. A few times the Boy has tried to coax me back into BBQ food, which, honestly, prior to my low-carb lifestyle I was never into. He started raving about some Cajun place a couple of towns over that had the best food. So. one day I relented and we went there. I read all the articles on the wall and looked at all the pictures and I was lead to believe that I was about to eat some real Cajun food that will rival something I'd find in the streets of the Big Easy. That the owner spent most of his life in the New Orleans cooking for the locals and now he wanted to bring a little of that to Connecticut. It was tasty and I happily devoured everything in my plate while listening to some blues.

We had gone back a few times since that amazing day. And every time we returned the food was more delicious than the last and my desire to see N'awlins was dying because this was just like being there. This past weekend, we stopped in for some lunch and the owner was there (as he usually was). He asked us if we wanted to try some chili and when we said sure he came over with generous samplings piled high over sausage filled jambalaya.

Feel those arteries clog. A slow death never tasted so good.

He asked the boy and I if we've ever been to New Orleans and when we said no he said, "this is what it's like. Good food and jazz playing". he went onto say how so many restaurants in Fairfield County lack hospitality. Amen to that. And how they act like they're doing you a favor to get you more water when you're spending $30 a plate. Amen to that too.

Then he screwed himself. He asked us where we were from and when we said Stamford, he said "I was raised there too. West side." I said "me too" ready to start slinging some gang signs as soon as I moved my Dooney & Burke to a less sauce soaked spot on the table. But faster than i could do that the vision of eating tasty food cooked by a Ragin' Cajun disappeared faster than those FEMA e-mails. *POOF* Gone. Duped again. He told me how he was trained at an Italian restaurant I knew very well because I was best friends with the chef's daughter. Then to add insult to injury he asked if i was around in the 60's or 70's. Oh my god, do I look like I am pushing 50? Most people don;t even believe I'm in my 30's.

Moments ago i was talking to the boy about having him cater our Superbowl Party but now I may as well have been sitting in Chi Chi's.

Duped again. Just for that I threw out the rest of his free sample. Lie to me!!!!

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