If you’ve ever experienced a breakup where you really didn’t want the relationship to end but you knew it had to be done because it was for the best, then you know how painful it can be.
Over the last week I’ve been getting over a difficult loss. I’ve been mourning the end of a special relationship. However, in typical unpolished fashion, this special relationship was not with a person. It was with food. Something awful happened at my most beloved dining establishment and unfortunately it’s something I can’t forgive. Sadly, our love affair can no longer continue. My appetite is gone. I’m devastated!
Basically Blind Sighted, Betrayed And HEARTBROKEN
You see, my special place had an epic fail when they were ordered shut by the State Inspector because of an issue. When I caught wind of the situation I was horrified. Had any one of the thirty-three violations been minor and had my initial reaction to the news been anything less than desperately holding back the acid and bile that I could feel building from my stomach up to my esophagus and then to the back of my throat, perhaps I would have been able to consider turning a blind eye and offering a second chance. Regretfully, the details were just too repulsive. I was shocked, but still oh so sad. I was heartbroken. How could this have happened?
Loyal To A Fault… Even If It’s Not MY Fault
I don’t kiss and tell, so don’t ask me to name names. I can not reveal the restaurant. Even though I feel utterly betrayed, I won’t disrespect the relationship we had for the last sixteen years. I’ve been loyal to the core since the day I first stepped foot through the front door. To help put things in perspective, I will tell you that the wine list was not my priority! It was a perk for sure, but my primary passion was the cuisine. The atmosphere left much to be desired but I didn’t care. I didn’t need fancy. I didn’t need the frills or the fuss. I just needed fabulous freakin’ food and that’s what I got. I’ve never had a bad meal there. Everrrrrr.
It truly was love at first bite.
I was introduced to the eatery from a then colleague who has since remained a dear friend. Since my initial mouthful, I’ve easily recruited dozens and dozens of family, friends, other co-workers and even acquaintances to jump on board and taste the deliciousness for themselves. Assuring them that I would not let their taste buds down, they agreed to give it a shot. For the most part, it took no more than a few forkfuls before I could sense that they too, were hooked!
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Since living in South Florida, I’ve moved approximately eight times. Despite the fact that every one of these address changes left me more and more geographically undesirable to my favorite dining spot, it did not stop our mutual interest in each other! In the beginning, I lived close enough that it was possible for me to indulge multiple times a week. As I began moving farther away, I was not able to partake as often. I drove down when I could and tried to squeeze it in as frequently as my schedule would allow. My dedication remained strong and the cravings, intense. However, the owner who sat behind the counter manning the cash register was no dummy. He knew my devotion was solid, but he could tell that it was becoming a struggle for me to consistently drive the distance. Without hesitation, he offered to have the food delivered to my door. He didn’t have to ask me twice. I was elated. Some of the key ingredients to a good relationship are commitment, compromise and communication. It was obvious we had all three! Our connection was the real deal!
Just Wanted To Make Sure You Are Okay
When the story broke, the disgusting news spread like bad germs. One of my foodie friends sent me a text message with a hyperlink to the article. Another friend sent me an email with the re line: “Have You Seen This? If Not, You Should Sit Down First.” A third friend, and four more after that actually called me and the voicemails that followed sounded something like this:
“Hey. I’m sure you’ve heard by now and read the article. I know you must be crushed. It’s beyond gross. I remember when you first took me there. Ugh. I just wanted to make sure you are okay. Call me when you’re ready to discuss!
“Oh My God. Silver, I am sooooo sorry. I can’t believe what I heard. Is it true? Are you okay? I was just gonna text you to put a date on the calendar so we could drive down and have lunch. I’ve been craving those sweet potato fries for days. Jeez, sorry. I shouldn’t even be saying that. Call me. I want to see if you are alright.”
“I know you are probably upset. Obviously. But seriously, are you really that surprised? The food was great but the bathroom was nasty. Not trying to give you tough love, but you had to know this could happen. Hang in. Call me.”
Three Sides To Every Story: Theirs. Mine. And The Truth
That evening, I watched the local news and scoured the Internet to find as much information as possible. I needed to make sure I had the story straight. Sometimes the truth gets stretched. People like to embellish. Maybe the report wasn’t nearly as deplorable as I had first read. At least that’s what I was hoping for. Who knows, maybe I was also in denial. You never want to believe something so vile could be true about something you love so much. Now I know why they say ignorance is bliss. It’s so much easier to keep your head buried in the sand than having to face the facts. I couldn’t play dumb though; I had to know. I contacted the reporter myself and asked for specifics. I needed the most current and accurate status on the situation. I was desperate to get a handle on the truth no matter how ugly or dirty or moldy or moldy or moldy or smelly or roachy or roachy or roachy………….
It’s Not My First Rodeo… I Know What You’re Thinking
I know what you’re thinking: You’re being naive. All restaurants are the same. No one would want to eat off of the floors anywhere. They’re all filthy. They’re all atrocious. Blah blah blah…
You’re not wrong. I’ve watched Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Gordon Ramsay on FOX so I’m aware that many (most) professional kitchens have their shortcomings.
I’ve been eating food that has been prepared in more kitchens that are not my own kitchen for years. I fully understand that the likelihood for spotlessness is slim, practically unheard of. I’m accepting of that. I even expect to be turned off if given a tour of any number of kitchens that prepare the food I eat regularly. There is a big difference from being turned off to being completely skeeved out. Unpolished is one thing. Unsanitary is another! I can promise you, the scenario described in the State Inspector’s report falls under the skeeved out category. Please take my word.
Cloudy With NO CHANCE Of Meatballs (Or Sunshine)
I’ve been informed that as serious as the violations were, the restaurant has cleaned up its mess and successfully passed a second inspection, thereby allowing the doors to be re-opened for business. Unfortunately for me, it’s not that simple. Even though the place has resumed their operation, my feelings haven’t resumed not being utterly nauseated. It’s over for me. I can’t go back. I wish I could, but I know I can’t.
I also know it’s just a matter of time before the owner who sits behind the counter manning the cash register is going to call me to ask if I’m ready for a delivery. I get a pit in my stomach thinking about what I will say.
I don’t want to end on a sour note, even though it’s a little late for that. I don’t want to leave with a bad taste in my mouth either except I think we’re wayyy past just a bad taste.
No matter how you slice it or dice it, someone’s feelings are bound to get hurt. I plan to let him down easily, even if I have to use the oldest line in the book which we all know is the biggest crock of shit. “It’s not you… It’s me.” The saddest part about this particular breakup is that if the condition of the kitchen hadn’t been found to be the biggest crock of shit, things could have been different! Our relationship might have been able to withstand the test of time. The potential was there, or so I thought. Unmitigatedly, now that will never happen. We’re through. For good. Check please!
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW… Today as I say a final goodbye to my health food haven, there ain’t no sunshine. However, I strongly believe in the old adage, “it’s better to have lost at love than never to have loved at all. In time, my wounds will heal and I will be ready to pick up my chin and grin and say, “the sun will come out tomorrow!” Eventually, I will be able to look back on the millions of memories and the billions of mouth watering bites and remember them fondly. Even though it had to end, there’s no denying that when it was good…. it was really good!