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Vermin/Pest Alert: Luca Lounge


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Vermin/Pest Alert: Luca Lounge

Yasha | Jul 12, 2002 09:51 AM

Last night a friend and I decided to have dinner in the back garden at Luca Lounge. Although I've never been particularly impressed by the food there, it's adequate, and the nice ambiance is always the main reason for going. Their garden is pleasant and large and since we arrived relatively early (7:30 perhaps), uncrowded.

As I was perusing the menu, I saw what seemed to be a large squirrel with a very thin tail rooting about just on the other side of the fence that surrounds the garden. There is a wall that runs around the garden, maybe about two feet high, and next to that is a fence of sorts, made out of something like chicken wire, that is fairly flimsy and comes down to about two inches off the ground. In other words, a rat on the other side could easily wriggle under the fencing, at which point it would pop about basically right next to your elbow. In this case the rat happened to be about 15 feet from us, so we just decided to laugh it off. A few minutes later the rat actually did make it under the fence, jumped to the ground, and ran under a section of the restaurant building (a little hard to explain if you haven't seen how the place is laid out). When the waitress came back we mentioned the rat to her and she apologized and thanked us for not screaming.

We went ahead and ordered a pretty light dinner (the mozzarella and tomato appetizer and then one of their $20 "family"-size salads to split) and a couple of beers. After drinking a few sips of the beer I reached for my napkin to wipe a stray drop or two off my lips. As I was doing so, my friend just got a kind of dumb grin on her face and pointed at my napkin, stammering, "" I looked down to see that there was a dead cockroach, about an inch long, stuck to the other side of my napkin. It had actually been folded into the napkin.

My friend and I are both pretty intrepid travelers, used to spending time in the "developing" world, and so aren't too easily shocked. We just joked about being glad that we didn't order any meet, and how we'd have to check the salad for worms, but we decided to stay anyway (it was a nice night to be in a garden). I flagged the waitress to give her my re-folded napkin and ask for another. She seemed kind of horrified and came back out a few minutes later and said, "At this point your dinner is officially on the house." That seemed fair to us, and we thanked her and told her so.

The rest of the dinner was fine--the food decent and the atmosphere pleasant. At some point while we were in the middle of our beers, the waitress came over and said, "Can I bring you a couple of shots from the bar to ease your pain?" We thought that was a nice, if somewhat bizarrely overeager suggestion (as we weren't even half done with the drinks in front of us), but politely declined, as were had more than enough to drink and, besides, didn't want to take unfair advantage of what had happened. Later, my friend ordered a second beer.

As were were getting ready to leave, I thought, I'll just leave $15 on the table as a tip, which would have been the equivalent of about 30%--since I didn't want the waitress to get stiffed for the tip and I wanted to express our gratitude at the way she had handled things. Just then she came by and deposited the bill on our table: $18 (for the three beers). We were a bit surprised, since we thought "dinner" would include the drinks (at least those we had originally ordered with our food), but then again, the food was free, so we decided not to quibble, and ended up leaving her a good 20% tip anyway.

Later, though, I found myself wondering whether she would have charged us for those shots that she was trying to push on us while we were still working on our beers. I imagine she would have, and that seems kind of underhanded to me. Am I being oversensitive here, or should she have been more up front? Is there some kind of unspoken rule about this sort of thing that I'm simply unaware of?

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