Saturday, December 17, 2005

 

Taking the Show on the Road...

Miami Beach, and South Beach particularly, is the place to "see and be seen." The number of Hummers and Lamborghinis on the road suggest that there is no shortage of wealth. I wondered if the locals would appreciate a "random app."

With a few friends, I dined at Ice Box , a local eatery just off of Lincoln Road. I recounted the tales of my new "club" and suggested that, together, we send a random app of kindness. We decided that if someone came in to occupy the table next to us, we would send an appetizer. A few minutes later an elderly gentleman sat down, snow white hair, a rosy face, all dressed in black. As the waitress cleared away the second set of silverware and glassware, it became clear that he would be dining alone. Nonetheless, he ordered a full bottle of wine.

As I assessed the man, I reminded myself of the couple at Eastern Standard who did not appreciate the gesture. I had decided that some people prefer not to be intruded upon while dining out. I thought this man may fit into that category. But, my friend Nick reminded me that this was random, and I could not indiscriminately decide not to send it.

When the waitress came to take our order, I requested one order of the special spring rolls for me and one for gentleman over there. The spring rolls arrived and the server placed one in front of me and one in front of Nick. The waitress clearly did not understand our intent. We explained and she promptly placed the appetizer in front of the man, who by this point, was already cutting into a perfectly medium rare steak.

The four of us split the crispy vegetarian rolls, savoring the ponzu sauce and seaweed salad. We peered out of the corners of our eyes, we all knew he had too much food in front of him. He requested that the waitress bring the spring rolls to another gentleman who was dining alone. As we watched the transaction transpire, a table of four women clamored that they also wanted the random app. The second gentleman, already enjoying a tomato-basil soup with avocado croustini, thanked us and the white-haired man for the kindness.

The white-haired man poured his second glass of wine and called the waitress again. This time he wanted to send a glass of wine to the second man, as a way to thank him. Thank him? No matter, the second gentleman declined the wine. White-haired man then suggested our table should finish the wine, as he would not be able to. As we finished our meals, including a BBQ Salmon with Wilted Purple Kale and Roasted Sweet Potatoes, we spied him leave the restaurant, the bottle of wine empty and his cheeks a little more rosy.

Comments:
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Wow - this is the most contagious encounter that I've noticed so far... i would consider it a "Pay It Forward" for appetizers. Interestingly enough however that your description makes me realize that when food is free, people don't seem to care where it's been... I could see the headlines now "Restaurant offers floor-food for free to unsuspecting guests"...

...just an idea I suppose...
 
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