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Expensive Lunch at Farmer's Market

Will Owen | Apr 7, 201403:03 PM

I was down on Fairfax anyway, as I am so seldom these days, so I dropped down to the Farmer's Market to see about some lunch. I saw the FIRST 2 HOURS FREE sign at the parking lot entrance, and on a Monday there was plenty of parking. I wandered around, noting that the Gumbo Pot no longer offers their Cajun potato salad – damn! – and that I really wasn't feeling like a corned beef sandwich or Korean rice bowl after all, but more in the mood for fish. I saw that Tusquellas was offering cod fish & chips with one side for a decent (but far from cheap) price, but what the heck. So I asked for that plus coleslaw. "No fries?" the guy asked.

I was confused. "Excuse me – does fish and chips not come with fries?"

"No," he said. "Fries are a side."

Now that I'm looking at the menu and my charge slip, it appears that the much too large pile of food I got cost me only the F&C+2 that appears in the menu, plus tax. $16.33 total. And when I balked at paying for a bottle of water, he asked me sotto voce if I minded sink water. "It's just city water, right?" to which he nodded, and fetched a tumbler of it, with ice.

The fish was undistinguished but okay – smallish pieces, obviously commercial Portion Control, with an okay but too-smooth crust that did dot cling very well – but the giant pile of fries was perfect and properly seasoned, the tartar sauce was excellent (except I could have used a lot more), and the coleslaw was about the best I've found anywhere but my house.

Then I waddled to my car and pulled to the exit, only to find that I'd neglected to read the "With Validation" part of the entrance sign and now owed eight bucks for my somewhat less than an hour.

And I still don't understand how fries can be an optional extra for a dish labelled "Fish and Chips."

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