Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Boston Market

s I mentioned in a previous post, I do so love to feed other people. When I have to nourish myself, I usually end up buying instant noodles or street food. While driving, I head for the nearest drive-thru. I don't discriminate, I just pick the closest one. This is when I'm in Manila and these places abound, some of them open 24/7.

I've been in Dumaguete since last month however, and there is only one drive-thru in the whole city! Burgers and fries from this place were coming out of my ears. The girl manning the window knows me and switches to English or Tagalog when taking my order. (They speak Cebuano here). It was becoming obvious that I needed just one decent meal from somewhere else. Then I could revert back to my old ways.

A few days later, I found myself downtown with a few hours to spare. It was way past lunch and I was starving! I remembered eating in a quaint Italian restaurant earlier in the year and wanted to go back. This Italian place was called, can you believe, Boston Market!? I've never been to Boston, much less their markets. Yet it's hard to imagine how this establishment could bear a semblance to its namesake.

I called my sister up and asked her to join me. The waitress took our orders then served my drink. I decided on calamari to start then a pasta (I forget which). The service took too long, but then that's another story.

Near the end of my meal, I noticed something in my dish. It was silver, stiff and a few millimeters long. I just knew it was a staple wire which could have done some serious damage to my gums!! (This was in hindsight though). Funny, but the thing running through my mind at the moment was that the kitchen didn't make anything from scratch. I imagined them opening stapled packets of spice or something to add to their sauces.

I showed it to my sister who, true to form, freaked out. It's not that I don't complain, but I just can't complain in Cebuano. She called the waitress and asked, in Tagalog but of course, what that thing was and what it was doing in my dish. The waitress inspected the specimen then said it must have been a sliver from a CAN! Again I was thinking, they use canned tomatoes??

Not satisfied with her explanation, my sister demanded that it be shown to the manager and that said manager be summoned. How it came to be is beyond me, but the waitress ended up showing the "nasty thing" to the kitchen staff!! She returned with a smug smile on her face when she returned. No, she declared, "it" was neither a staple wire or a piece of can. It was STEEL WOOL! I could have fainted, seriously.

This is a picture of steel wool uploaded from istockphoto.com. Can you imagine used particles of this in your food!? Well okay, it was a single particle. But one is just too much.

Anyway, as the waitress ceremoniously handed "it" back to us, I had an idea. I asked my sister to take pictures with her camera phone.

This was Dumaguete after all, the City of Gentle People. I didn't want to stir things up and be the bitch from Manila. I did, however, expect an apology from management or from the waitress at least. (It didn't happen). Was that asking too much? It would have been pushing it to expect free dessert or a discount. It just doesn't happen here.

Retaliation is not on my mind, though I would never eat there again. I just wanted to rant in the appropriate forum read: my blog.

Here is one more picture for posterity. Do you see it?

There! I got it off my chest. Finally.


  1. Hindi ka talaga nagpapigil ha! Can they sue you for that? Had the same experience when we went out for dinner last July.

  2. Be careful when eating out, chefs do not divulge secret ingredients.