Mrs. Pincus got an offer for a "Buy One, Get One Free" entree at the Hard Rock Cafe for her birthday. On Friday, we decided to take them up on it.
My wife loves to drive, so I was a bit surprised when she conceded to take the train into Center City (where the Philadelphia outlet of the Hard Rock is located). Around 7:30, we headed to the train station, in much the same way I do every morning to get to work. I think the last time Mrs. P was on a train (not counting Disneyland) was three years ago, as opposed to my three hours ago. The train arrived and we selected a seat and settled in for the brief ride. A conductor soon came by to collect fares. As a daily commuter, I flashed my monthly trans-pass, which allows full access to all public transportation. My wife gathered some money from her purse, not sure of the actual fare. The conductor smiled and said to my wife, "How 'bout a free ride?" and he kept on walking down the train's center aisle. Unsure of what just happened, Mrs. P and I looked at each other and laughed. Cool! Free train ride!
|Mmmmm.... cedar paper.|
We walked a block from the downtown train station to the Hard Rock. We were seated within a few minutes and presented menus. Our waiter appeared, introduced himself and explained the menu as though we had never been to a restaurant before. We each ordered the same thing - grilled salmon with broccoli and mashed potatoes. We also ordered an appetizer of the signature "Nachopalooza," a large plate of tortilla chips, cheese, beans, jalapenos, pico de gallo and sour cream. The waiter complemented us on our selections (whatever!) and said our order will be out shortly. We sat and talked, watched some vintage and current videos on the monitors scattered among the display cases of memorabilia (I got to hear my first Miley Cyrus song!), and waited for our meal.
A different waiter delivered our dinner to our table, announcing "Two salmons," as he placed the platters before my spouse and me. We looked at the plates (which looked and smelled delicious), but realized that we didn't get our appetizer. I scanned the dining room for our waiter. I looked among the tables of weary-looking tourists - beleaguered parents and tired children who had seen enough Liberty Bells and Betsy Ross Houses for one day - but our waiter was nowhere to be seen. Finally, he emerged from the kitchen entrance. I waved for his attention and motioned him to come to our table.
"How is everything, guys?," he asked. (I hate the new trend of waiters addressing an entire table as "guys" - but that's a rant for another blog.) I explained that while our dinners looked great, we had not received our order of "Nachopalooza." He looked shocked and broke into a flood of apology. Actually, he over-apologized, but crossed the line when he revealed that he never put in the order because he was preoccupied by a larger dinner party. Not cool, dude. Don't ever tell a customer that another customer is more important. Anyway, he promised to put the order in now and they would be free of charge. Cool! Free train ride and nachos!
We finished our dinner as the nachos arrived. While it was a little unusual, we had them instead of dessert. And they were really good. (Granted, I love any form of Mexican food, even corporate chain restaurant versions of Mexican food.) Together, we cleared the plate. My wife produced her "free entree" coupon when the waiter asked if we'd like anything else. He returned to our table with a check for a mere twenty dollars. Cool! Free train ride, free nachos and one free dinner!
We made our way back to the train station for the ride home. Birthday celebrations are always fun and to quote a friend: "If it's free, it's for me."