Spring Has Sprung (into Action!)

Joy is elusive. Where can I find little bursts of joy these days? For me, it is in new culinary experiences, i.e. going to new restaurants.

Pre-pandemic, I could look to lunch service or to slightly off-prime hours. These days, I see limited lunch services (usually Thu-Sun) and my old ‘blue plate special’ time of 6pm seems to be part of prime dining hours these days. Who would’ve thunk?!

I generally prefer having a reservation when dining out. And I have a list of places that I look up availability on a regular basis. I look at 12:01am, 5am, 9am. It’s been months and no dice. Reservations bots have made getting into popular restaurants impossible. And the ‘hail Mary/cross-your-fingers’ “notify me” options has never never ever come through for me.

So annoying. So far, no joy for me this spring.

Recently, I was making plans with a friend for dinner on a given Wednesday night at 7pm. I was hankering to try the Indian restaurant, Kebab aur Sharab, after reading Pete Wells New York Times review. Like really hankering.

Resy said no dice. So I searched around for other options for another hour.

But my hankering wouldn’t let me go. I really wanted some chaat, kebabs, butter chicken, naan. And I wanted the ones Pete Wells described.

You read/hear that some restaurants entertain walk-ins. So I decided that I would consider breaking my dislike for waiting in line and call the restaurant to ask how long the wait would be for that Wednesday night. It was around 9:30pm and I could hear the noises of a busy restaurant in the background. I braced myself to hear what she would say.

I explained how I was really hoping to go with my friend but Resy showed no availability and do they have room for walk-ins? She mentioned bar seating. I asked what I could expect re: wait times. She confirmed that it was for two people around 7pm. . . and said maybe she could squeeze us in. My heart skipped a beat.

OMG, a step towards joy?

I gave her my details and she found my Resy profile and confirmed a reservation. My friend and I were elated and enjoyed exploring a new menu at a new place.

The lesson learned is that the bots can’t always win and that speaking to a human who has power over the reservation books means I can can hope for getting some joy eating out this spring.