I originally wrote this in September of 2008. It needs to be published again. From time to time I still think about the dinner I had at the Stage Coach. It was good!
A tale of two restaurants.
While working in Jim Thorpe, PA a bunch of the folk I was working with told me to have dinner at Platz’s restaurant. Not only was it about 1200 yards down the road from my hotel but everyone raved about how good the food was. It wasn’t!
I was seated and my waitress, Melody, felt the need to stand about 16 inches too close to me while she was at my table. I was seated she was standing. Get the picture?
I wisely asked how much a Stoli on the rocks was. When she returned she informed me it would set me back $7.50. I told her I would have a glass of water.
Ok, so I ordered a SMALL appetizer of potato skins, a 14oz. BBQ’d Angus steak and a salad. I received 4 entire potatoes halved, burned and smothered in Cheez Whiz and Bacon-Bits. I’m a big guy but I do not remember telling her I was carbo-stuffing for some competition the next day. I also got a horribly fore-shortened plate of greens completely drowned in a cream-based-disgusto-sauce she referred to as Italian dressing. Then after about 30 minutes my so-called rare steak arrived at my table. Again Melody needed to stand there 3.6 millimeters from my face to make sure all was well. Boy, was I tempted to simply turn my head and bite one of them. My steak was of a good size but I would have cooked it for about another half hour to bring it rare!
I was hungry.
While either waiting for my food or maybe it was while eating I glanced around the dining room and realized that everyone in there was at least 300lbs. I felt downright svelte! I mean every single person in that room was well and on their way to morbid obesity. I’m pretty sure I shuddered.
I ate two of the eight burnt spud halves, a few pieces of spinach I saved from the disgusto sauce and my extremely rare steak, asked for my check and bolted as fast as I could get out of there.
On the other hand.
Tonight, just outside of Hazleton, PA, I check into this seriously flash hotel and ask the young girl at the front desk to recommend a restaurant. She tells me to go to The Stage Coach just up the road. Then she tells me her Uncle owns it. Well, shite! After last night all I wanted to do was order a pizza. About 6ish I decide to go sit alone in yet another shitty restaurant and have yet another shitty meal. It started just as I expected. The little blond bobble-head seats me and I hand her the ash tray and said to her, “You shouldn’t put ashtrays in the no- smoking section!”. She said something along the line of, “Hehehehe, I didn’t ask you where you wanted to be seated, hehehe.”. No, no you didn’t!, I responded. After reseating me my early 20-something waiter, Mike, comes over and immediately starts into the specials. I didn’t hear a word he said. I turned to him and asked for a Stoli on the rocks. While he was gone I was given a glass of water by the bimbo-blonde, no ice. At least Mike didn’t feel the need to stand too close to me. Mike returned with a glass of Russian vodka on the rocks just the size I was looking for! Things are staring to look up.
So, I told him I didn’t hear a word he said about the specials and he repeated them. Thank you, no. I’ll have the 14oz Filet Mignon with a salad and a baked potato.
The, ‘If I giggle no one will yell at me’, bobble-head blonde showed up once more and preceded to put a bit of pesto on a small plate and pour some olive oil over it. Then she put the basket of bread on the table. Cripes(!) I could have just eaten that for dinner.
First, the salad was a wonderful mixture of spinach and at least three different lettuces, lightly drizzled with a spiced oil and vinegar dressing. Yum! Things are really starting to look up! Then my filet emerged from whatever heavenly kitchen it came from. It was huge! The size of a 1966 VW beetle, it was. Well, it wasn’t but it was the largest filet I have ever seen and it was cooked just right and lightly seasoned with sea salt and some very light pepper I couldn’t figure out quite what it was. To steal a term from Grandad, JAYZUS it was good! Even the lowly baked spud was done to perfection and served with clarified butter.
After dinner my waiter, Mike, came to my table with another small jug, er’ I mean glass of Stoli on the rocks and all he said was, “This one’s on the house.”. Then he walked away.
It was an epicurean near-heaven.
So there ya’ have it. The next time you’re convinced that dinner is going to suck again just remember you may be walking into another Stage Coach restaurant.