Monday, July 30, 2012

Two quick restaurant etiquette questions

Sometimes it's fun to shake things up and do something different for brunch, which in our case means go somewhere where the server isn't covered in tattoos and looks like a heroin addict and where everyone appears to have engaged in some basic hygiene in the past few days and the music playing isn't Black Moth Super Rainbow or Screamin' Jay Hawkins. So we walked about a mile from our house through a portal into a different dimension, namely the Presidio Golf Course Cafe (or maybe just Presidio Cafe; it gets called both on the various interlocking websites involved).

It was fine. I mean, the food was good and not overly expensive by SF standards and the bartender had a heavy pour on my greyhound, which was nice. There were a couple of guys wearing sweater vests, duh, and it was pretty much what you would think any golf club cafe would be like anywhere. Whilst there, however, two restaurant etiquette questions arose.

NUMBER ONE: This Marina-looking youngish couple went in right before us with the ubiquitous Starbucks to-go cups and had them on their table through their meal. So Restaurant People (and anyone in general), I'm curious: Is it OK to bring outside coffee into a restaurant? Does it depend on the kind of restaurant?

NUMBER TWO: We were originally seated in a kind of side room and nearby there was a table with a couple of families and maybe 2-3 EXTREMELY LOUD little Taylors or Jaydens or whatever. So after a few minutes of the piercing screams of the Young and Entitled, I went up to the hostess and asked to be moved and she said "Yeah, it's a little loud" and we got a table in the other room. The Wife said that if the situation was reversed and she was the one with the kids, she would feel bad and so she vicariously felt bad for them. I said I really didn't give a fuck, I can't sit in the same room with that Human Car Alarm going off every 10-12 seconds. Should we have felt bad for asking for another table and moving when it was obvious why we were moving?

ANYWAY, if your grandparents are in town and you want to go out to brunch at a place where they won't be scared and where the menu is written in Old and doesn't have items like "Pile O Spuds" or "Arugula and free range pancetta frittata with caramelized heirloom cipollini onions," then I can heartily recommend this place.

8 comments:

thesoniashow said...

As someone with a spawn, I say you absolutely shouldn't feel bad. The parents with the screaming kids should feel bad.

We've been pretty lucky so far on that front. But, when we go out with the spawn I am fully prepared to leave the restaurant if he starts crying. Folks are paying good money to eat, and they shouldn't have to listen to my crying baby.

Stephen said...

The restaurant serves coffee - it is an item on the menu. Unless you want to pay some version of corkage (brewage?), you should no sooner bring in your own coffee than you should bring in a box with some scrambled eggs in it ("I like them a certain way. Just some toast, please!")

GG said...

I'd never bring outside food into a sit-down restaurant, but that's just me. Also, you were totally fine in asking to move. It's not your fault they have failed to teach their kids the meaning of "STFU!!" and actually they were probably relieved that you moved, so they didn't have to feel so self-conscious about the noise. You were doing them a favor.

burritojustice.com said...

Re kids, don't feel bad. And like @sonia, I would evacuate the premises if Taquita Justice blew up (though the noisier the brunch place the more leeway we have there...)

And re coffee, unless there's a chance of an absurdly long Chloe's-style wait, nay on bringing in outside beverages.

Alissa said...

#1: For the coffee, I'd use the same rule as the bar/food rule. If they sell it there, don't bring it in. If in doubt, ask permission.

#2: Don't feel bad. Children aren't miniature adults and thus lack the patience and social skills to behave in a restaurant. Most parents already feel bad and embarrassed when their kids act out in public but since small children can't be reasoned with, often nothing can be done.

sfmike said...

I keep wanting to like this place because I occasionally play golf, and the Presidio Golf Course is one of the treasures of public golf courses in the world. It was Military Only for decades, so the fact that it's open to all now is one of those rare quality of life improvements I have managed to live through in San Francisco history, like seeing the waterfront liberated from the Embarcadero Freeway through that fabulous 1989 earthquake.

The cafe, though, has always felt wrong, like a wannabe corporate entertainment space that just doesn't work for anyone. The outdoor patio near the 18th green is the only place I'll eat, even when it's chilly ass cold. It's a beautiful place with that line of eucalyptus trees framing frustrated golfers ending their difficult rounds.

And to answer your questions 1 and 2, just because you bought it at Starbucks doesn't mean it's fucking sacred, and screaming kids are not acceptable anywhere in San Francisco where adults are paying to have a Lovely Brunch.

Tamagosan said...

Hmm... So I leave town for a few weeks and when I return to catch up my much-missed 40 going on 28 Important News, I immediately agree with ALL of the comments. WHAT IS GOING ON?

Nothing to add except I wish all parents had thesoniashow's attitude...

amy.leblanc said...

HUMAN CAR ALARM is my new favorite phrase.