Thursday, January 29, 2004


Ian Whitcomb writes a monthly column on his website called Letter From Lotusland. He's a fine writer, and his humor and honesty about his life are quite moving.

Every Monday I look forward to the Salon at "Conrad's" restaurant in Pasadena. We've had these salons for over a decade now but the location has changed. "Conrad's" is the most congenial of all. The staff treat us well and our waiter remembers exactly my order. Always the same -- salad with beets and croutons and ranch dressing, followed by the Spanish-style ground sirloin with side dishes of mixed vegetables and sauteed onions, and a plate of garlic toast. The same dishes every week. How satisfying! How soothing!  When I enter the restaurant at around 6.30 I have a vodka martini with two olives at the bar. Always the same -- until last night when the barman, including a five dollar bill in the change,
remarked: "I know, senor, that you dislike singles". What could he mean? And then I realized: I usually tip him a quarter on the $4.75 drink. Personally I think that's enough but my colleagues tip in dollar bills. So as it was near New Year and got him to change the five dollar bills into singles and I gave him one. "Gracias, gracias, senor!". Well, I so love the steadiness of this place that it was worth the over-tipping.


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