Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bummed In The Burbs

Surburbia sucks, doesn't it?

I must admit this at the outset - I live closer to Downtown Cincinnati than I do Kenwood. I lean towards independent restaurants of all kinds and cannot find a word strong enough to express my sheer detest/disdain/hate/loathe for chain establishments.

I support a brand of culture that is found in theatres and museums - not malls and movie theaters.My political inclinations are left of center and I can't stand SUVs.

Perhaps that information gives you a better reason of why I hate suburbia, but let me explain a little further, if you'll indulge me.

I had the pleasure of spending some time out of the 275 belt while coping with Greater Cincinnati's massive power outage. At the start, 1.25 million people were in the dark. Monday morning, 600,000 people were living without electricity, and tonight I think the number has dropped to a "measly" 200,000. I found comfort at my parents' home about 15 miles away from downtown - thick in the middle of strip malls and big box stores and overly manicured lawns.

I was grateful for the welcome reception - my mom put me up in a bedroom that looked like a shrine to my childhood, my dad and I shared popsicles. Mom fixed dynamite meals and I tried to return the favor by helping Dad rake leaves. The unexpected "vacation" was kind of like a trip down memory lane - complete with an afternoon snack and homemade mashed potatoes for dinner (my favorite).

As much as I enjoyed spending time with my parents in familiar surroundings, I longed for a community with sidewalks that led to one-of stores and watering holes. I was desperate for intersections that offered more neighborhood corner meeting spots and less Spaghetti Junction.

I have since returned to my quasi-urban stomping grounds and am thankful I live in a community with a neighborhood bar, local ice cream shop and several other dining establishments a stone's throw from my front porch.

*** *** *** *** ***
As quickly as I returned to urbanity, I was yanked back to Strip Mall City.Last night's dinner plans took me to the Kenwood area - half-price sushi at Embers. I'd heard before that Embers is the meet-and-greet kind of place for the 30+ crowd (though my assessment is the crowd is more like 37+) and was excited to mange on Spider Rolls, Rainbow Rolls and the like.

I noticed the valet as soon as I pulled in the parking lot.

How absurd, a business with less than 50 parking spots offering valet, but then I remembered I was dining near Indian Hill and Montgomery and considered the clientele.

Fast forward to the exit (Julie - you can do a review of Embers if you'd like - you might be more forgiving).

I guess I should have given the "old folks" credit, because I heard someone puking in the bathroom after we settled up the tab.My friends and I walked out and I was immediately appalled - the valets had run out of parking spots - so there were people parking in the aisles, parked in the ATM drive-thru spot. Cars were blocked in - and most of the haphazardly parked cars were running.

I am so glad my car was parked in a nearby spot by m-e.

Wouldn't you be pissed if you went in to a restaurant for a bite to eat and came out an hour later - only to find your vehicle running in a non-parking spot?

Wouldn't you be pissed if you found your car's gas tank was a quarter tank lighter?

Clearly, someone is not thinking about best practices at the Embers valet stand.

1 comment:

5chw4r7z said...

We had gone out to eat at Embers when we first moved to Cincinnati and only had only word of suburban co-workers to go on. At the time we thought it was good, but someone asked us about Embers last week and I thought boy, I wonder what I would think of Embers now? I have nothing to base this on except opinion but I think after Jeff Ruby, Jean-Robert and Nada that Embers would pale in comparison. I had just gone to Trio's who I think is under the same ownership and it sucked, I was pissed, because it was so expensive and so bad.