No such luck - on the way to Fort Worth it started pouring and we almost went home. However, it slowed to a drizzle and since it wasn't windy or cold we decided to brave it. Umbrellas in hand, we took them to the Japanese gardens. It was really cool to be back there and remember the day Drew and I got married, seeing all the spots we took pictures. I would like to have re-created some of those shots but since the thought only just now occurred to me, I guess it will have to be for another time.
On the bridge feeding the koi
Just as pretty as I remembered it
Even in the rain
After the gardens, we went to Joe T. Garcia's for lunch. We'd never been and heard great things about it. It was hard to find and although we trusted the navigation, we were certain it was getting us lost. However, we arrived and the place was packed. Luckily, they seated us right away and it smelled great. No one was super starving but of course we all ate entirely too much, which was quickly becoming the theme for the entire trip.
They brought the chips and salsa with some water for us and we people-watched while we waited for our server. They are cowboys in Fort Worth! With the starched Wranglers and real cowboy hats and everything! I live in snobville Dallas, where you would get the serious side-eye for starched Wranglers unless you were inside a country bar so this was a treat. I was a little distracted when the server came up and asked us if we were ready to order.
Me: Oh, um, we haven't gotten any menus? (I always question-talk when I'm not sure if someone's being funny or not.)
Server: Oh, we don't have any. We only serve two items: enchiladas or fajitas.
Y'all, I was baffled. How do you not have any menus? How do you not have something posted somewhere? Can I get a blackboard or something? No menus? Where am I? What is this place? I was scared.
And it wasn't just me. Drew was all, 'You mean you guys don't even have appetizers?' It's not eating if you don't have appetizers! The server got annoyed, saying that he could probably put some guac in a dish or something. We were like, okay go do that please. When we left, we were all whispering and bug-eyed about the no-menu thing. Isn't that something you should TELL people? Shouldn't the server ask if you've been there before and explain things if it's your first time? And NOT get annoyed like you're the one who's wrong for going into a RESTAURANT and asking for a menu, for god's sake. Who DOES that?
How do you know how much stuff costs? I mean, we got margaritas having no clue how much they were and only after we asked if they had those, or if they only had beer and water. It was like that scene in My Cousin Vinny where the only options are breakfast, lunch and supper and you get what they give you. I wonder if a concept like that would work in Dallas, where people have to know if their chickens ate macrobiotic feed hourly and were sung to every night before they were slaughtered.
We ordered the enchiladas and the fajitas, choosing chicken and beef combos because we wouldn't want the kitchen to get confused or anything. The food was decent, but did not justify the packed house in my opinion. Then came the next shocker.
They didn't accept credit cards!! Cash only!!
What kind of place IS this? No menus? No credit cards? Who DOES that? Considering we had no idea how much the bill was going to be, it was a miracle his parents had enough cash since neither Drew nor I carry significant amounts EVER. Everyone takes debit cards! Cash is for garage sales and the valet! They did have signs posted about that, but I thought it was a mistake. Surely a restaurant as busy as this one HAD to take cards.
But they didn't. And that place was packed. And huge - there were several rooms and patios and everywhere you looked there were people. All that cash. No money spent on menus, none on advertising - they're strictly word of mouth and not too much on food - you wouldn't have to with only two menu items and two choices between those items. All that cash! That just can't be right. Is that right? Is that even legal?
Am I crazy? Are there lots of places like that? This was not some hole in the wall, greasy diner with four tables. This was a full-out RESTAURANT. I believe in the inherent good of people, but I just can't help but wonder how honest they really are if there is no paper trail to keep them accountable. If you deal in cash only, it's up to you how much you tell the government you have. I know - I was a waitress and I never claimed all my cash tips. But I made pennies compared to what this place must be pulling in. How have they not been audited? But then again, with a cash business you can write your books any way you please - right?
On the way home, we were discussing our restaurant adventure and speculating at how much money Joe T. Garcia's family must have and how they must laugh all the way to the bank, pocketing our cash from their enchiladas and fajitas.
I don't know if we should applaud and seek to replicate the ideas of people like that, or stay away so that you're not there when the FBI ambushes the place and breaks open their money-laundering ring. You know there's some back room where some shady mafia-types are just counting their money, plotting their next move. Maybe that nice hostess who seated us was actually Joe T. Garcia's daughter and she's actually the BOSS-LADY and will take you out back and end you if you get too close!
I watch too much Burn Notice.