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California Stinkin’

February 12, 2012

I grew up in a food family… we like to eat and we eat well. Part of this goes to the fact that I grew up in a restaurant… my Dad has been running restaurants since before I was born. As a result, I was taught from an early age what is good food service and not good food service, what is good food and mediocre food and so on. In short, I have high expectations when it comes to eating out.

Last night, we all went out to celebrate Rach’s 30th birthday and we were starting the evening with a group dinner at California Dreaming, which is a restaurant chain that can be found throughout the southeast.  Normally, I love California Dreaming. I have loved the location, the food and the service. In fact, I have been eating there for years. However, last night’s dining experience was so horrible and miserable, I don’t know if I will ever go back.

While the company that we had for dinner was lovely, the food and service were miserable and unacceptable. First, it took the server about ten minutes to get around to taking our drink orders. Then another 10 to 15 minutes for her to even come take our orders. Really, it felt like we were repeatedly being ignored. It was the same thing when trying to get a different salad dressing for the salad or trying to get a refill on a drink for any of us at the table.

The worst part was the fact that they forgot my order. Yep, eleven other people at the table got their order, but she forgot mine. Seriously. To add to it, the server didn’t even notice when she was bringing the food out. I had to wait another five minutes and then someone had to flag a different person down and ask them to find it. Finally, another ten minutes later they finally brought my food out and it was awful. The chicken was completely over cooked and had no good flavor. Also, the mashed potatoes were cold! It looked like they had plated the potatoes and had it under the heating lamp while waiting for the chicken to cook. The result: the mashed potatoes looked glazed over and were lukewarm. When I mentioned that they were cold the server ARGUED with me about it. She never once apologized about it.

A person who I assume was an assistant manager was actually the one to bring my food out when it came and he did apologize that they and missed the order and took the meal off my bill, which was nice and I appreciate. I really just can’t get over the bad service though, she argued with me, was inattentive and just rude. And I completely recognize that it was a Saturday night over Valentine’s weekend and they were busy…. But she did not have that many tables. Another part about growing up in a restaurant, you notice things when you go into one… like how busy they are, how many servers they have on the floor and how many tables they have in their section. She didn’t have that many and we were her only large party, there wasn’t any good reason for her bad service.

So, based on this dreadful experience I will be taking California Dreaming off of my list of places to go eat for a very long time.

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