Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Dejeuner en Venice...California

Today my good friend Barbie and I had lunch at Lilly's and while any meal with Barbie is always a good time, this flippin' French bitch waitress at LILLY'S (Venice Beach, CA) really, really pissed me off today. I like all things French except bitches (chiennes). I like brie and baguettes and batards and brioche and bon temps and bon bons and, well, I could go on for a long time, but what I don't like (and don't throw it at me because I will react) is bitchy, petulant behavior, whatever your nationality.

So I wrote a letter to the manager/owner/whoever and here are some bits from it, edited, because god damnit I'm wordy sometimes and I don't want to lose you.

I yada yada yada'd on about how I frequently dine at Lilly's and how much I yada yada normally love it, but...
Today, though, lunch was a pretty miserable experience. You'll appreciate (hmmm, I wonder if they really will appreciate it) that it's a minimum of a half-hour drive for me from Topanga and that when I choose to meet a friend at your restaurant for lunch it's because I like the place. My friend drove in from Brentwood, looking forward to her first meal chez vous. Between our two homes, we obviously have more than a few good options for lunch, but we chose Lilly's. Our server was French. I don't know her name, I just know that her attitude was almost immediately unacceptable and here's what she did or didn't do that made me close to crazy:

Our iced tea was served. It had obviously been poured a while earlier because there were only a couple of small bits of ice floating on the surface. I asked for a glass of ice. The waitress raised her eyebrows and in a style that I well remember from my own children's teenage years , sighed and said "Yes, Madame." I wanted to slug her but resisted. Our server was closer to 30 than 13...and while I can just about tolerate a too-cool-for-school attitude from a 13-year old, I have no time for it in adults. The ice came and I thanked her. I knew my food was yet to come and I didn't want her spitting in it.

We placed our orders. I ordered my favorite grilled veggie sandwich and mushroom soup. Barbie ordered the steak sandwich and soup. We asked the waitress, since my friend and I were splitting the sandwiches, if she would put one half on each plate. She replied, "Absolutely not. The kitchen is far too busy to do that." At this point there were four occupied tables. We said okay but meant fuck you. Barbie then related to me how she'd eaten at Literati Cafe twice in the last week and in both instances, at her request, the kitchen had split sandwiches. No comment, no attitude, just decent service.

The soup arrived and it was delish. Shortly after the soup was served, and well before it was finished, the sandwiches arrived. We're at a tiny table and there's no room for all the plates but we cope while she glares. Again I'm thinking "Fuck you, chienne" while we try and reorganize the petit table.

The steak sandwich was top drawer as were the pomme frites. Then we started on the grilled veggie sandwich. I commented that it tasted pretty bland compared to usual and that the goat cheese seemed to be missing. I called our server over and asked if we could have a little goat cheese, that it seemed there was very little or none in the sandwich. She grabbed my plate. Uh huh, she grabbed my plate, and said, "I will take this to the chef and he will tell me if there is goat cheese in it." Poof, she was gone and so was my food. Again I'm on a "Fuck you, chienne" kinda rant. Minutes later she returns and she honest-t0-god says to me in that petulant, pursed-lip way she had, "The chef put cheese in it." She roughly put the plate in front of me and gave me a look. That's when I said, "Follow me, we need to talk." I led her to a quiet part of the restaurant and pretty much said, "I asked you for more cheese, not for an argument. I'm the client yada yada yada..." Everything I said, she contested. I am proud to say I did not hit her. After a few minutes of going back and forth, something I have never done in a restaurant before in my life, an English waitress intervened and basically took over and with one withering look, sent the French one on her way.

Lunch was almost over, anyway, but it left a sour taste. I'm writing a long, involved, pissed-0ff letter to the owner/manager of Lilly's. Maybe they'll at least comp me a cup of coffee next time.


Blogger JB said...

Wow, Lin, wow.

I served at a couple of nice restaurants in order to put myself through college, and I have a few god-awful stories about very rude customers, as well as servers, but your story takes the cake. What a bitch!

I absolutely hate it when a nice meal with a friend is ruined because of bad service, but that server was out to get you guys in a very personal way.

I think writing to the manager was definitely the right thing to do. They need to fire her lazy, offensive ass.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Lin said...


Most of us have waited tables at least once in our lives and know it isn't easy, which is why I always treat wait staff super nicely and tip really well. Even confronting a waiter is so out of my ken. Oh well, every chienne has her day!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Meghan said...

Good for you. Petulant french trollop. I hope she gets out of the business. She sounds liek the worlds worst waitress.

12:51 PM  
Blogger AM said...

Good for you for telling that rude waitress that you needed to talk to her. What an absolute bitch! And the nerve of her to talk to you like that when you are the customer. Very odd, horrific behavior on her part. Makes you wonder how she even got the job.

I am sorry that your lunch was tainted by that woman's fowl behavior. Hopefully, you get a free lunch out of this--and hopefull when you get that lunch, this woman is not waiting on you.


7:37 PM  
Blogger cmhl said...

I hope you didn't leave a tip!! that is horrible!!

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Betsy Milligan said...

I bet she's a lousy actress too!

6:32 PM  

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