The E Files #2

Time for another round of this month’s favorite emails.


This one seems innocuous at first….

I don’t eat seafood, can you make a substitution for me?

“Not a problem, there’s one seafood course, it’s a ceviche, I can do a vegetarian version for you, I’m doing that for another guest as well.”

Great! See you soon.

…at the dinner…

“How come you’re not serving me the same ceviche as everyone else?

“You said you didn’t eat seafood, we agreed on a vegetarian option.” (the ceviche is fish and shrimp)

I didn’t mean things like fish and shrimp, I meant seafood. Everyone knows what seafood is.

Everyone is studiously observing their plates, including her husband. I’m still wondering what seafood means to her. Luckily, an easy fix, just a new plate of, apparently, non-seafood fish and shrimp ceviche.


In the same vein, but sort of the reverse….

We eat everything, no allergies, no worries.

…at the dinner… thankfully off to the side before the dinner started…

The menu doesn’t look vegetarian. We’re vegetarians.

“It’s not vegetarian, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were vegetarians, you told me you eat everything.”

Obviously we’re vegetarians, otherwise why would we have reserved at your table instead of a regular restaurant. We eat all kinds of vegetables.

“Umm, but we’re not a vegetarian restaurant, and we did post the menu in advance. But let me see what I can come up with in the kitchen.”

You advertise as a vegetarian restaurant, and you always were one. Isn’t that what puertas cerradas restaurants are all about?

“No, not really, and no, we’re not, and never have been. But give me a few minutes and I’ll put something together.”

…read the f*ing website people…


From someone who has referred numerous people to Casa S over the years…

“I just referred a couple of people I know from work to you and I understand they’ve already booked their spots. I just wanted to give you a heads up – they’re probably the two most boring human beings on the planet that I’ve ever had to sit with. Nice people, but add absolutely nothing to a social conversation.”

“Umm, you’re kidding me, right? They’re going to turn out to be the life of the dinner party…?”

“No really, they’re excruciating to be around, but they wanted something different to do, so I thought of you.”

“Did I do something to offend you?”

“No, why?”

…sigh… “I was just wondering why you’d send me people that you can’t stand to be around, to my home, for dinner?”

“Oh, but you just say hello to them and then you’ll hardly talk to them, you’ll be cooking, and they don’t speak Spanish, so it won’t bother Henry.”

“But what about the other guests at the table?”

“They won’t even notice that the other people are bored to tears, and they’ll have a good time, so it’ll be good for my business, since they’re clients.”

…there are no words…

[Followup: The people came, they were charming, great conversationalists, they had a great time, so did everyone else. And it turns out one of them has never even met the person who sent me the original email and had no idea who he was. Not that I told them what he said, of course.]


Group of 8 requesting a reservation for a private dinner. They’re students from an MBA exchange program, one of the most expensive ones in the U.S., and one which we’ve had numerous students attend from over the years while they’re here in town, so these aren’t kids with no money. All is well with the request, and response… then:

As you know, you have a very good reputation with students at XXXX, and I’m sure you’d like to keep it. We’re just students and your prices are very expensive for us, and I’m sure we could eat for less somewhere else. We could maintain that good reputation you have at our school in exchange for a 50% discount on the price.

“Thanks for your interest in joining us. We feel our price is fair, and reflects the quality of what we do, and past students from your program haven’t had any problem meeting it. We have a list of recommended restaurants on our website, I’m sure you can find somewhere else to dine for that evening, but at this point we’ll be cancelling your reservation.” [That’s the politest version of “Go fuck yourself” that I’m able to muster.]


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