Can’t things change? |

Can’t things change?

Before I begin my regular column, I wanted to talk about the gift shop at Banner Hospital. My son Doug and I went to pick up some of my crewel designs from Suzy at Jeff’s. I longed for a box of Sees candy that they sell at Banner’s gift shop.

We were close to the hospital and stopped in. You couldn’t have surprised me more about what they’re selling there these days, especially if you’re looking for special Christmas gifts. No need to go into Carson or Reno; this shop has the most beautiful, unusual, and inexpensive gifts you can imagine. This is especially true for you gentlemen who want a beautiful and unusual gift for the women in your life.

However, they’re only open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. But believe me, it’s worth that inconvenience. The sales personnel are all volunteers, and all proceeds go to their special charity. Now onto my column. It’s about local restaurants, one of my favorite subjects. Perhaps you’re tired of my discussing this subject, but it needs to be addressed. It’s important if you’re going out to eat locally as many of us do.

Following is a list of things that have happened the last few months. Doug and I like to eat out. We know it isn’t cheap these days. So when we spend our hard earned money, we at least want good food and decent prices. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. I’ll start with what happened just yesterday. The menu listed one of those double meals with appetizers and dessert included.

The meal started with an onion dish that had a really hot sauce. It was okay. Then came the entrée. Both of us ordered pork chops. All I could think was “is there anything easier?” What arrived on my plate was two pork chops so thoroughly cooked you could’ve used them as doorstops. The mashed potatoes were hard and covered with thick, tasteless gravy. Now came the small container of what passed for green beans

It contained a few soggy beans with onions that were so salty you couldn’t eat them. Thank goodness for the applesauce, it was just fine. I doubt we’ve ever been served anything this bad, and I know we should have sent those plates back. What’s the use; will anything else be any better? The cheesecake dessert was great; but we’ll not be returning there for an encore.

Then there’s the day at another location. I ordered a hot turkey sandwich. It came with that pressed sandwich stuff. When I asked the waitress for cranberry sauce, she replied, “Who’d eat that stuff?” Doesn’t anybody train employees how to act? Conversely, about 15 years ago, one of our favorite restaurants was on the edge of town. The food was just so-so. However, you always knew what you were getting and the waitress was fantastic.

This establishment had a nice bar, separate from the dining room. With its’ own tables. On Friday night it was always jammed with locals. My martini and our shrimp and fries always arrived on time and we were happy campers. After the ownership changed hands we went there one Saturday night. There was no bartender, and I had to show the owner now to make my martini.

Then the food arrived. It was way beyond good. It was fabulous. However, the service was so bad over the next few visits we stopped going. The, after seeing their parking lot filled with cars, we decided to try it again. This is what ensued. They’d just opened. Doug and I and another couple got seated. I asked for my usual martini and was told they didn’t have the ingredients to make it.

Again — as in the previous encounter — I had to show the young lady how to make my cocktail. According to the menu, dinner came with soup or salad. When I asked for soup instead of salad, the server said, “We don’t have any soup” They’re a block from a supermarket and they can’t buy a couple of cans of soup? So I opted for salad. Out came a tiny plate of thoroughly chopped up iceberg lettuce.

It also contained a few slivers of carrots. But their Thousand Island dressing, perhaps the best I’ve ever eaten, rescued it. What can I say? The entire entre was perfection. The steak and shrimp were beyond good; they were delicious. Enough for now, I’ll discuss other places later in another column.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at