Friday, July 18, 2014

The Mystery Event

The other evening we went out to eat at a eatery called the Stonefire Grill. I would call it casual dining which to me means you order the food at a counter and it is delivered to your table. You can order an individual portion or family style. The menu seems to have something to please everybody and the food is good along with being reasonably priced.

The place was busy when we got there and we chose a table in the far corner of the restaurant that looked out on a patio. The door to the patio had a sign that said private event. I had a seat by the window and a good view of the goings on. Being my usual nosy self, I wondered what kind of an event it was. People were still arriving, but there was a weird vibe about them. No one seemed to be talking to anyone but whoever they came with. I immediately ruled out birthday party, anniversary party, well, just about any kind of party.

At first they were just sitting in small groups with drinks. I was trying to figure out who the hosts were, but there didn’t seem to be anybody working the room. I did notice a woman with a list and then thought perhaps it was a work related event. But the people seemed even too distant from each other to work at the same company. It was like they’d never met before and weren’t mingling now.

It got weirder when some of the restaurant staff started taking out plates of food. The reaction of the group was to crowd the server and take pictures of whatever was on the plate. I know everybody takes pictures of crazy stuff with their cell phone. But I had to wonder how dull a life these people must lead if they were flocking to photograph a plate of half sandwiches. Were they going to show them off to their friends and say what? “Look at the tuna sandwiches at the party I went to last night.”

Instead of setting up a buffet with food being brought out, the servers just kept bringing the plates around and served a portion to the guests. It seemed like odd service in a casual dining sort of place.

By now we were all curious what was going on. So, when a platter of cauliflower quarters went by, we stopped the server and asked.

It turned out to be another part of the new online world. And suddenly it all made sense. They were all food bloggers and the restaurant had invited them to sample some of their new offerings.

What a great gig. I’d be great checking out all the vegetarian options. I wonder how you sign up. Hey Stonefire, does writing about the event put me on the list?


Planner said...

How interesting! I would have had to ask about what was going on, too!

Funny coincidence: Just tonight I listened to a podcast about whether restaurant patrons are lingering at their tables and slowing turnover because they're spending additional time texting and taking photos of their food to post on the Internet.

Betty Hechtman said...

If you want to see people linger just go to Starbucks. People sit there for hours hovering over their computers, often without even buying anything.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Interesting that the restaurant didn't post signs or ask if you were a blogger when you entered, Betty. Sounds like a fun event! And something you can include in one of your stories.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I think it was invitation only. Wherever I go, I get ideas. A lot of my characters are women from my gym. If they only knew....

Miriam Lubet said...

I was at a Starbucks with my cup of tea reading my book. A woman asked to share the table and I said sure. She just sat there while her phone charged. She didn't even order anything. I would never have the nerve to do that. This has happened to me twice, both in Starbucks.

Betty Hechtman said...

Miriam, I'm with you. I wouldn't take up a table without buying something. But the thing is Starbucks doesn't seem to care.