Sunday, May 28, 2017

Eating well

I’ve been trying to be methodical about my dinners, planning a week in advance and cooking interesting food for myself. It’s harder in Minsk because I don’t know how to buy things I’d like to use. I think the locals tend to work in the other direction: go to the store and imagine what you can make with what you find. I’m not that clever, however, and I start with recipes and struggle.

This evening I gave myself a pass. I hadn’t made a plan yet and I got home late after a long bike ride. What to do? I went onto TripAdvisor.com and looked around. I noticed that lots of people liked a restaurant called Spoon, which some friends had mentioned earlier. Since TripAdvisor thought I could eat there for a moderate price, and since I had no better plan, I rushed to the shower and called an Uber as soon as I got dressed. When I pushed the button on my app, it immediately reported that the car would be here in two minutes. I dashed to put on my shoes and get downstairs before the guy got here.

In my hurry, it turns out, I did not completely load my pockets. Specifically, I did not bring my wallet. I noticed this as I walked into the restaurant, patting my back pocket for reassurance and finding none. Oops. This place was far from home and my car had already left, so I put on my best “responsible citizen” expression and asked the hostess if, perhaps, they took Google Pay. (Fat chance. I don’t think it even exists in Belarus.) They’d heard of payments by phone, but could not help me out. I asked, then, if I might eat now and pay later. It was getting late and the round trip to get my wallet seemed overwhelming.

The hostess took me over near the manager, close enough that he could see me but far enough away that I couldn’t hear their conversation. They chatted. He looked at me. I came over and asked directly if I could eat now and pay later. He wanted to know when I’d pay, and I said I could even pay tonight if he wanted. He invited me to stay.

Guys, the food there is VERY GOOD. Delicious and interesting. Beautiful. (Sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures.) The waitress, the hostess and the manager were all super-nice. I loved it.

As I ate, I thought about how I’d pay. I’d hire an Uber to take me home, wait, take me back to the restaurant, wait, and take me home again. I could do that. But wouldn’t it be better simply to wait until tomorrow for the return trip, say around dinner time? Wouldn’t everybody like it better if I bought a second dinner tomorrow and paid for both of them at once? The manager thought so.

It sounds a lot better than going grocery shopping.

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