Friday, May 25, 2007

Ben & Jack's

My great-uncle and his wife are in town this weekend. They're certainly not my favorite family members but they are very nice so while I never have any particular wish to see them, it's always nice when it happens. Those kind of family members. They live in an overly tidy condo in a gated community in San Jose with a balcony overlooking a golf course. It's terribly far from the life I would want, all cut off like that.

A couple years ago, when my sister and I drove around the country, we stayed with them for a few days. We'd just come from Yosemite and hadn't showered in five days. And so we walked, filthy and bedraggled, into this house with white walls and white carpets which was just utterly spotless. Anyway, the first thing we did was wash our faces and shower because we felt as though we couldn't touch or sit on anything until we did that. And we'd been washing our faces in campground sinks and such, but apparently that was rather less thorough than we hoped because we actually left face-shaped marks of dirt on their (white, of course) towels. And then we both showered (I think I got to go first--victory!) and had to rinse the dirt out of the tub. It was simultaneously disgusting and incredibly satisfying. Although, we'd thought we were a bit tan and it turned out we were just that dirty. This is neither here nor there, but I suppose it gives you an idea of what they're like (and what my sister and I are like).

Right. So. When they come into town I go out to dinner with them, my grandparents who live a 15 minute walk from my apartment (it's my grandfather's brother), generally my step-grandmother's parents who are in their 90s and quite frail, and her sister-in-law who always wears gigantic pearls. The first year I lived in New York we went to this place called March (which has since closed and reopened in the same location as Nish) which served tiny little courses. At minimum you would get a three course meal for about $70. The food was great, I'm sure, and the service was fantastic, but it wasn't the place for a group with fussy eaters and as a result the meal was not a particular success. So since then we've pretty much stuck to steakhouses and Italian.

Ben & Jack's is the former and that's where we went last night. It's a good place to go when out with the elderly and near-deaf because you can get a private room even for a fairly small party. And in keeping with the steakhouse norm, they give you so much food that you end up with at least one extra meal. I never eat at steakhouses when left to my own devices--in part because I can't afford it and in part because it's not my favorite food by any means--so I can't compare one to another. It was good; the waiters were not as polite as they ought to be. Granted, they could fan him with palms and my grandmother's father would probably still be displeased with the service (a result of age, I think) but I can't say I was impressed. And then of course there's dessert. The end result of all this was that was that I ended up uncomfortably full and with half a filet mignon in the fridge for dinner today.

Beautiful night though. Went out and sat out on the balcony with the cat until quite late.

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