Friday, June 26, 2009

Restaurant Somewhat Confidential: Coke, Vindaloo, and Other Things That Will Fuck Up Your Sinuses

So cocaine is making a comeback. Not that it's ever really gone away, it's just kind of taken a backseat compared to all the other wonderful drugs out there. Marijuana has been the drug of choice for movies, television, brownies, magazines, and hipster douche bags since the mid-90s. Half-Baked made it apparent that it was the comedy world's drug of choice at the time, a trend that continues to this day with movies like Pineapple Express and, of course, Weeds. Part of this was due to the resurgence of 1970s ideals and attitudes in the 90s, but now, in 2009, the 1980s are making their way back, whether it be fashion, new-age dance rock, movies, or 80s stars making their way back into our lives as more than a pop-culture reference, and riding that wave of popularity is cocaine.

While entertainment and media are usually the place to go for the latest trends, nothing beats clubs and dive bars (or, in the case of Orange County, the Yard House). Driving through the streets of the Orange Curtain, it's visible that the stoners of yesteryear have been replaced with the nouveau hipster thumbing their nose at society, and removing any evidence. If clubs aren't your scene, then look no further than your local house of Mughlai, where hipsters travel to occasionally to Yelp about their experience and maintain their diversity cred. I'll look over every now and then and see a sun-glassed douche saunter into the bathroom and exit minutes later, bursting out with new-found energy gained from, judging from the snorting sounds, either riding the white horse or harshly scoffing a silent art film.

Now, I know I'm harsh on hipsters (stupid hats/belts), but it's not just this crowd that cocaine has regained. Recently a young man out for dinner with his family managed to use the restroom 5 times within a 2 hour span. By the fourth time I could guess what was going on (I'm slow) and during the fifth I could hear that art film being judged again. When he came out after that round, he still had a little powder caked around his nose, and after pointing out to him that he missed a little (Die Hard anyone?), he just stared at me blankly, told me to fuck off, and didn't bother wiping his nose. Needless to say, their table got real quiet real fast.

We've had in-house problems with users too. Two years ago one of our busboys was constantly using, which made him binge on leftovers. Strangely, it was the eating that my dad fired him for, which leads me to believe that he didn't know about the coke use. Also, no one dares to touch any leftovers anymore.

The worst encounter though had to be 3 weeks ago with a real asshole. The guy only did like 1 or 2 lines, but he ended up getting a nosebleed at his table during dinner. Not wanting his (ditzy) girlfriend to know the real reason, he calls me over to tell me that our vindaloo was dangerously hot and had given him a nosebleed. After informing him that spinach was, unfortunately, not a vindaloo, he demanded a chicken vindaloo post haste to skirt the whole nosebleed matter.

Now, we use homegrown habaneros in our vindaloo, cooking down the pods inside to get a nice concentrated vinegar. Usually, we'll use about a teaspoon of that for each order, but being a special case, I asked for about 5 to go in this one. I may have had to wait a hour after closing, but I enjoyed watching him sweat and cry through every last drop of that dish, just to prove his point. Also, apparently too much chili really can give you a nosebleed. The things you learn.

I'm sure there are better public places to observe drug trends and rock a coke 'stache, but restaurants seems to be a good place for both. It just makes me appreciate the alcoholics more and more. At least when they ask me to join them, I actually have the option to say yes.