Side Dish

The Crowd Mentality; Spring Fashion Part 2; In a Handbasket

The Crowd Mentality
I prefer to dine in twos and fours. Gathering a big group of my friends together at the same time at a restaurant has proven to be a hassle in the past, so I choose to avoid it. If you think it's a pain on your end, you can imagine the challenges a big party poses for a restaurant? Sure, group dining is good for restaurants in some ways — it guarantees bodies in seats, large groups usually run up a big tab, and the waiter can tack on a gratuity — but my industry compatriots all agree that the pains don't usually justify the return. Take the recent example of Foreign Cinema, which was vilified by an unhappy patron in the Guardian's Without Reservations column. The customer complained that her party was split up and seated at two separate tables while another large group all got to sit together — and she had made her reservation way in advance.

I spoke with Foreign Cinema's general manager, Joseph Strum, to get the restaurant's side of the story. Turns out the unhappy patron had dined en group at the Mission hot spot in its opening week, and there were a lot of problems (as is the case at many a brand-new restaurant). Strum gave her his card and told her to call him directly next time she came in so he could dial her out. Well, she did and he did, but the day of her gathering the size of her party went from 10 people to 17. This obviously poses a problem for any restaurant. Foreign Cinema's largest table seats 10 to 12 people, and staff had to scramble to accommodate while Missy and her 16 friends fumed. Harry offers this helpful suggestion: When you have a party that size, wouldn't it be more fun to stay home and go potluck?

Spring Fashion Part 2
Forgive my confusion … Harry likes a well-turned calf as much as the next guy, so I consider this spring's high-water pants styles a welcome addition to runways and sidewalks. What has me spinning, though, isn't the vision of hundreds of bared ankles prancing across my sightlines; it's the dastardly vocabulary. What is the difference between clam diggers and pedal pushers (besides their apparent activities)? Then there are messenger pants and capris. And just this morning another variation reared its turned-up cuff from a Macy's ad: “floods.” Can anyone help me here?

In a Handbasket
If you stop in at the Voodoo Lounge tonight, don't be surprised if you find a flock of Hell's Angels within those flame-festooned walls. The S.F. chapter of the Modified Motorcycle Association meets on the first Wednesday of every month at this new Mission playroom. My man Pip is tending the bar and is always good for a far-fetched tale of mayhem, though I'm sure the Angels can top him. Word has it that Yo, who runs the sushi bar at the Voodoo, is frantically working on the nuts and bolts of a new concoction — the Chopper Roll, served up with a healthy side of crankcase oil.

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

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