Elephant Bar (Emphasis on Bar)
I am repeating part of an old post here in response to a recco for the Elephannt Bar on the L.A. board:
The Chino Wayne’s figured that the Peppermill in
Sacramento would be a good omen for a pit stop, in that its
interior was tele-ported directly from a Las Vegas casino. The
Chino Wayne’s drove two blocks past the location of the
Peppermill restaurant, passing El Torito, site of the first and last
(as in never again) road trip in which the Mother-In-Law-Of-Chino
Wayne preached on the evils of drink through an entire dinner, as
a prelude to the vacation from Hell, before realizing that the
Sacramento Peppermill was no more.
Instead, where the Peppermill once stood there arose an
Elephant Bar. So Hungry, and really needing a pit stop, the Chino
Wayne’s pulled in to the apparently recently opened in
Sacramento, Elephant bar. As in the one and only previous
experience at an Elephant Bar, it was decorated nicely and
expensively, and there were young men and young women staff
running hither and yon. Ultimately it seemed that is what the staff
are best at in this establishment, running hither and yon, but
never with enough time to refill a glass.
Mrs. Chino Wayne ordered the “Safari Sampler” and Chino
Wayne ordered the sliced tri-tip. Mr. and Mrs. Chino Wayne knew
fully well that, despite the large, open kitchen, this joint exists to
sell drinks. Chino Wayne has also deduced that in order to pay
for all of the expensive atmospheric décor, besides selling
drinks, they must also have cut a deal with the glue factory in
order to score cheap provisions. The Safari Sampler consisted of
some ersatz barbecued baby back ribs, some Buffalo wings, and
some strips of beef for fajitas. It came with fries and baked beans
and coleslaw. The Mrs. ate all of her ribs, because she was
hungry, and is a rib-a-holic, she tasted one wing and passed the
rest to Chino Wayne, and tried to unravel one of the two flour
tortillas that were apparently rolled up together, then steamed (or
micro-waved) and then put on the plate. The tortillas, in their
rolled, intimate and warm state, came apart as the Mrs. tried to
unroll them. The Mrs. tasted gristle when she was finally able to
construct a fajita. So Chino Wayne scored the remaining wings,
which were meaty, and mild as they were apparently only covered
in Tabasco and nothing more potent. Chino Wayne also took care
of the remaining meat, which was not gristly, together with the
accompanying fried peppers and onions. Mrs. Chino Wayne
would not touch the beans, ever considerate of her fellow traveler,
but Chino Wayne took a taste, they were probably the best item
on the plate. The Mrs. reported that the coleslaw was sadly
lacking in dressing.
Chino Wayne’s medium-rare tri-tip came medium. Chino Wayne
had expected that he might have tasted some additional flavor
elements that might have come from a marinade or a rub, but
instead he just tasted ordinary, tough, meat. Chino Wayne
surmised that the lack of flavorings was another way of paying for
the décor. There were some nice vegetables on Chino Wayne’s
plate, some sliced carrots, zucchini and celery. All were cooked al
dente and still had some bite to them, and the celery, while not
usually encountered in this permutation, was very nice and
crunchy and complimented the other two vegetables. There was
also a clod of garlic mashed potatoes, that did not taste of garlic
at all. This was one of the strangest permutations of mashed
potatoes that Chino Wayne has ever encountered, as they had
the consistency of flannel, and held their shape, similar to the
way sand holds it shape when wet sculpted and then dried. They
must have been prepared hours earlier, and then held in a
warming oven. The unremarkable tri-tip, then redeemed itself, at
least slightly, as Chino Wayne was able to hack off hunks of
potato “aggregate” and soak them in the meat juices and make
them a bit more palatable. Chino Wayne had also started with a
Caesar salad, which like the coleslaw, was suspiciously devoid
of more than a teaspoon of dressing. Thus Chino Wayne
registered further credence to his theory that the décor was
financed, at least in part, by a lack of condiments. The Chino
Wayne’s passed on dessert, and obligingly turned the table over
to management, as by this time the Elephant Bar was packed,
with, apparently, the non ‘houndly masses. The entrees at
Elephant Bar ran about $13.00, some of the theme concoctions
in the bar also approach that price point.
The Niki Rothmans decided to finally accede to the wishes of the revered MIL Rothman to use her senior discount card and allowed themselves to be treated to lunch at the Elephant Bar in the Serramonte Shoppping Mall, somewhere in the less civilized suburbs of the Niki Rothman's home town, San Francisco.
Niki Rothman has to agree with Chino Wayne, the food at Elephant Bar generally sucks. But Niki Rothman's personal experience, while detracting nothing from the dismal dinner suffered by the Chino Wayne's outfit, nonetheless, IS going to top their crew in the pain and suffering department.
Niki Rothman wasn't even hungry and had decided beforehand that anything a chain like Elephant Bar was going to offer was going to be below Niki Rothman's snooty chowhounding standards. But, the beloved, and well heeled Rothman MIL WAS treating Niki Rothman. Soooo...Niki Rothman allowed herself to be treated...WELL, and proceded to order the most expensive thing on the menu.
Of course divine retribution always figures prominently in a story featuring Niki Rothman's well known greediness when it comes to being treated to a free meal by her unsually thrifty revered MIL. Remember, use of the revered MIL's senior discount card WAS the revered MIL's only reason for patronizing Elephant Bar, and Niki Rothman's greed when offered a free lunch was Niki Rothman's only reason for going along with it.
Just remember, there IS, indeed, no such thing as a free lunch.
So, Niki Rothman proceeds to order the most expensive thing on the Elephant Bar menu: a big steak. "And make it RARE...BLOODY" Niki Rothman declares cockily to the waiter. The food took so long to arrive that by the time it eventually did, Niki Rothman was actually HUNGRY. In a situation like this: a hungry chowhound forced to eat chain restaurant vittles, Niki Rothman forced to pretend she was going to enjoy it out of not wanting to offend her revered MIL, the food taking an unconsionably long time to arrive...Niki Rothman's bite pressure per square inch by the time the steak was placed in front of her was astronomical.
So, Niki Rothman bit down hard on that rubbery slab of dead animal muscle...and BROKE A WISDOM TOOTH! "This steak IS NOT rare!!! was all that came sputtering out when she was able to ignore the pain long enough to utter a few strangled syllables.
Long story almost over: the Elephant Bar manager sent Niki Rothman home with a styrofoam package of properly bloody dead animal muscle, accomapnied by a solid pile of the selfsame mucillagenous mashed potatoes that Chino Wayne describes, as well as a wedge of free Elephant Bar cheesecake, intended to soothe whatever hard feelings Niki Rothman still bore toward the Elephant Bar's staff.
Well, it turned out that NIKI Rothman wasn't forced to lower herself to eat chain restaurant food after all. Because, after the very expensive dental work to install a crown to replace the broken wisdom tooth, she was unable to eat solid food for several days! The bloody slab of dead animal muscle, stodgy solid mashed potatoes, and (free! except for the $600 dental bill) cheesecake fell to MISTER Niki Rothman to "enjoy"...