The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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Eating Humble Pie But Still Feeling Good

SO !!  After my email to Cafe´ Amore´ expressing my disappointment in our Valentine’s Day lunch, I received a response a day later. I really wasn’t looking for any response, but a nice gentleman sent me an email explaining the Dinner Menu being used on special occasions instead of the Lunch Menu. He also apologized for my burnt Lasagne, which was very nice.

It appears I had jumped to a few conclusions – or assumptions – and I was soon made aware that I had to dismount from that high horse of mine. I decided to post the response from Cafe´ Amore´ – even though I didn’t make a copy of my original email (that was done directly from the restaurant’s web site), but there is a small synopsis of how our evening went on my previous posting. I’m also posting my reply and duly apologizing for certain assumptions made. After all, fair is fair.

Email from Cafe´ Amore´:

Thank you for your email and your thoughts regarding Valentine’s Day.

I am sorry your lasagne was dry, it is usually quite delicious and moist. I apologize for that.

We do run our dinner menu all day on three occasions each year. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

We do this for several reasons. First, these are the three busiest days of the year and there is a lot of preparation to do in the kitchen to ensure there is enough food ready. We don’t have time to prepare food specifically for lunch and then again for dinner while  trying to switch the kitchen over from lunch service mode to dinner service mode. We therefore focus on one meal service for the entire day and execute that all day long.

Second is the demand from customers who want to order from the dinner menu on special occasions. For example, this Valentine’s Day there was a party of 25 who were coming at lunch and wanted to order dinner.  It was a special day they wanted to celebrate together. Then there are others who want to have an early dinner to avoid the crowds that occur on special occasions, so they come for dinner at lunch.

We always inform people who are making reservations of the menu offered, just we did with you.

The meatball pasta your husband enjoyed is the same price and portion at lunch as it is at dinner. The large salads offered at lunch are exactly the same at dinner. There is no price difference. For lighter fare a bowl of soup and small side salad can be ordered if that is all someone really wants to eat. There are several lighter choices on the dinner menu as well.

Our intention is not to be greedy but rather to do what we can to service the demands of the day and the requests of our guests.

If you would provide me with a mailing address I can send you out some coupons to use another day to make up for the dry lasagne. I know you didn’t ask for anything but I would like to send them to you.

Thanks again for your comments.

Allan

My Reply:

Dear Allan:

Thank you so much for your response. It seems I’ve made certain assumptions regarding your Restaurant and am now eating humble pie. I was taking out previous frustrations from another restaurant that charges “Holiday” prices on at least 10 occasions and during the month of December. I should never have clumped other establishments into the same group.

I apologize if I implied your establishment was being greedy, and assumed your Dinner Menu was used more often than the 3 occasions you stated. I broke my only golden rule – “never assume”. It’s also quite apparent I’m making certain assumptions about other customers – again, my assumptions were wrong and just re-affirmed my golden rule.

I turned 68 years old 12 days prior to Valentine’s Day – so may we please chalk this whole affair up to me having a “Senior Moment” – which appears to be quite frequent for me these days.

I really did have burnt edges around my Lasagne and was a tad disappointed. I’m a “meat and potatoes” kind of gal, so when I order a pasta dish, Lasagne is my favourite. I’m going to chalk this little matter up to a busy day for your Chef and leave matters at that.

As for the coupons – I appreciate your offer, but it’s truly not warranted. As we live in Ridgeway, we only dine out at a restaurants in St. Catharines on special occasions. The coupons, I’m afraid would therefore would be wasted. We will, however, revisit Cafe Amore again in the future.

A  little anecdote:- When Cafe Amore first opened on Lake Street, we lived on Green Maple in St. Catharines. By way of coincidence our phone number was 688-1794 and the restaurant’s the same, except for the last number. We were astonished at how many reservation calls we had to re-direct. Our curiosity was finally piqued and we went for dinner just to see what all the fuss was about. We soon found out why you moved to a larger establishment. Congratulations.

Again, thank you for your response and much success in the future.

Yours truly,

******************************

I don’t regret my email to this restaurant only because I felt a need to let them know that I did, in fact, have a disappointing meal. Restaurants, as well as other commercial establishments should always be informed when there is no customer satisfaction. We’re paying for those goods and services and we at least deserve a good bang for our buck. When you’re wrong, your wrong and you should admit it or at least own up to your mistakes. I’ve also argued that anyone who “Assumes will somehow regret it or certainly be wrong in most cases. I just proved my theory right, and I deserved to be corrected.

As for an update on my disappointments with The Mandarin (Niagara Falls). I did receive a reply, only looking for further information. The response was from the powers that be higher up the food chain and I gave them my answers as honestly as I could. I never criticized the restaurant’s staff, cleanliness or service. My main concern was the downfall of the food, which I truly hope somehow, somewhere and by someone will return to its former tasty, delicious self. The Mandarin opened up a location in Niagara Falls because of public demand and I, for one, hope the public continues to get meals it deserves. I really do not want to loose a good restaurant that serves oriental food at its best.

To date, no response. But I’m not looking for one. I’m hoping to return sometime in the future for a great meal.


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Assuming Things Will Bite You In The Ass Every Time

Thursday afternoon I headed down to Niagara Square to pick up a few things from the Michael’s store. After noticing a lot of homes with decorative wreaths on their front doors, I started to wonder if Nat and I couldn’t do something similar. I felt this would add some character to our front door and maybe bring a smile to anyone who chose to visit. Of course, by the time anyone actually comes to our front door, any decorative door hanging will be covered in spider webs  – that’s how often our front door is used. It seems to be more convenient to let any visitors in the house by entering through the garage which is several yards closer than our front door. We also admit to seeing guests arrive by watching them drive past our front window, slow down, turn right onto the side street and then right again onto our drive. We usually have the garage door raised before any visitor even gets out of his vehicle. Maybe a little too anxious??

Knowing the Michael’s store, like I do, it was cheaper for me to just actually buy a decorative door ornament already made up, rather than buy the individual supplies to make it myself. I found a nice rectangular basket filled with various kinds of green foliage that would compliment our yellow/mustard front door. Even Nat felt this would work once we found out how to hang the damn thing – no hooks on the back!! Our front door is made of metal, so what were the odds I’d pick up a table ornament???? Who knew!! Needless to say my loving hubby is at the hardware store now looking for some metal wire and magnetic hooks to hang my wonderful idea. God bless ‘im!!

Since my last posting where I confessed to being one of those nosey neighbours, there’s been a complete turn around. Now, I do admit to being curious as to the comings and goings of our new neighbours, Richard and Helen from Thunder Bay, but the only thing I assumed was the size of their bank account.

Friday morning we started our regular routine – Nat getting groceries, me doing house cleaning and filling up my weekly pill container. Once Nat returned home he walked out to pick up the mail, and proceeded across the street to introduce himself to Richard and Helen who were strenuously removing a dead bush from the corner of their lot. Little Miss Nosey watched anxiously from the office window as the three struck up a pretty good conversation. I could tell by Helen’s arms pointing this way and that. He was over there for a good five minutes – I couldn’t wait for his return.

Little Mr. ‘Goody Two Shoes walked into the office with a smirk on his face. “Did you not hear an accent when you talked to them?”, he queried. “No, I didn’t talk to them long enough”, came my reply. Well, he began to tell me their story and I my chest sank.

Richard and Helen talked with a European accent, albeit faded now from living in Canada so long. We’re guessing they’re German or Austrian only because of their great work ethic. They moved down to this area after his retirement for some peace and quiet in a small community. They had originally looked at Fort Erie, but their real estate agent had suggested the quaint village of Ridgeway which was close to Fort Erie but had more charm and community feel. They really like the home they bought but it soon became a small nightmare once they moved in and actually had a chance to look deeper into to guts of the place. Nat and I knew they were going to redo the entire home, but didn’t know to what extent. As they continued on, they told Nat of the mold in the basement bathroom, the disgusting shower stall, the dripping faucets on every sink AND one of the basement walls had been all shot up by a BB Gun. It now became apparent that the son of the tenant (and brother-in-law to the owner) got very bored at times and took to shooting BBs in the basement leaving the BBs in the wall as evidence. Nat and I will admit to seeing this young lad at his father’s after school and, along with a few (girl) friends had run of the house while his father was working. These youngsters also had a penchant for sitting in his father’s old vehicle, honking the horn at night, slamming the doors and making mischief before their bedtimes. This young lad will not be missed by neither Nat nor I.

Richard and Helen had to instantly replace every tap, get rid of the moldy shower stall, remove the drywall and carpets without fail for their own health. The downstairs doors and windows also had to be replaced, along with a slew of other repairs throughout the whole house. This was now a similar scenario to ours’. We had the chance to do one room at a time as the budget permitted. We had to replace the furnace (red-tagged), change the “disabled” upstairs bathroom, remove and expand the dilapidated back patio, paint every room (especially the wall someone had used as a canvas for a beach scene painting!), and replace parts of the roof and siding when one of our neighbour’s trees fell against our house after a major rain storm in the middle of the night. Nat and I could feel Richard and Helen’s pain.

They both knew there would be renovations when they moved in, but were taken aback once the owner and tenant had moved out and the complete damage was revealed. Our hearts now went out to them. This entire mess was completely unexpected and naturally, not planned for in their renovation budget. Nat and myself had the privilege of getting possession of our new home a couple of weeks prior to moving in. We had the opportunity to do as much painting and repairs as we could during those two weeks, whereas Richard and Helen had moved down from Thunder Bay which is a two day drive from our little village to that northern City. They moved their belongings down this way, rented a storage unit and stayed in a hotel until their deal was closed.

To add insult to injury (where I assumed they had purchased a new white Chevy Silverado truck) their gold Dodge Ram pick-up had been hit while parked at the Lowe’s Store in Niagara Falls. The left side had been rammed, the driver had taken off and the truck had to be taken into the body shop for over a week so repairs could take place. The Chevy Silverado had been a loaner so Richard could at least continue on with hauling old crap to the dump while bringing in any new supplies needed.

Nat had mentioned to them during their sidewalk chat, that he admired their work ethic, but even they admitted “We’re getting tired now”. Who could blame them, not a contractor in site, only the two of them lugging and hauling large, medium and small items in and out of their new home, doing the building, installation and repairs themselves (mostly Richard) and trying their best to keep their budget in the black! When we went through all of our troubles I was ready to pack up and leave within a week but after three weeks Helen still raises her arm and waves to us with a great big smile. Now that’s a great neighbour.

This whole scenario really proves that old adage:- If you ASS-U-ME you make an Ass out of U and Me. Take heart people things are never what they seem!!!