I can’t believe this has happened to me twice in my life.
The first time was at El Torito about 10 years ago. Bill and I were munching on our complimentary tortilla chips and salsa while waiting for our meals. We ate chip after chip, not really paying attention to anything except the crunch of the corn and the spice of the salsa. Then…at the very bottom of the chips, stuck to the basket lining paper is…a chewed up wad of chewing gum.
After controlling our gag reflexes, we reported this to the manager; he acted like WE had put the gum there to try to get some kind of free meal out of him (had he bothered to look closely, he could have seen it was an old, dried-up piece of gum, obviously stuck for awhile). This is part of the reason I never eat at El Torito anymore.
Then, a few months ago, we were dining at our very favorite Mexican place El Cholo. Again innocently munching when Bill looks up at me and says “Guess what?”. This time the gum was stuck between the side folds of the paper. Again, an old dry piece, obviously not from us. But this time we were treated with respect and were comped a free meal and a dessert. The manager immediately called a meeting of the busboys and lectured them about throwing out the paper and putting in new paper before delivering chips to a table.
Obviously, I am now slightly cautious before I dive into a bowl of restaurant chips. I check the folds of the paper; I look under the last chip. Paranoid? Maybe. But you know the old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice – shame on me!
photo by danielgreene