Lunch with Brian

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The Blanton Cafe, May 7, 2009

Brian and I walked to the Blanton Cafe, part of the Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas campus. When we walked in, there was a group of people standing on the left side of what looked like a cafeteria line. Brian and I stood behind them for a short time and realized they weren't moving. They were just standing around talking. I asked one of them, "Is this the line?" I was told that no, it wasn't.

So we approached the glass case where the food was. I was a little irritated because the glass case had stuff sitting on top, and I was afraid it was one of those places where you have to order while peering between decorative items and promotional displays. But no... this was the second time I was confused about where to order.

It turns out, you have to go to the cash register at the right end of the display case where you can look at a menu and order.

I wasn't the only one who was confused that day.

People milling around the glass cases.

I was toying with a low carb diet still, so my options were limited. I had noticed a display promoting the special of the day at the other end of the case. It was a chicken stir fry, so I ordered that without rice. I also ordered Asian slaw even though I didn't know what Asian slaw was.

Brian ordered the chicken stir fry, too. It wasn't very good. Brian called it "recessionary chicken stir fry" because it was very plain looking and tasteless but cost us $8.95 each. It had less flavor than your average Lean Cuisine. I thought if all the food tasted like that, they should change the name of the cafe to the Blandon cafe. Ba doomp boomp.

The Asian slaw had more flavor, but it was a bitter flavor. I didn't like it. Brian did, though, so at least there was one thing good about the food.

As we were eating, we eavesdropped on the conversation of the group of people we had originally asked if they were in line. The discussion was lead by a man in a tall chef's hat.

A man in a chef hat talking to people in suits.

It seemed that the man in the chef's hat was bragging about how he had solved the age old problem of the line. He talked at length about how he had arranged the layout of the cafe so it didn't require a line. I suggested if we were at a bar, we could make a drinking game of it. Everytime someone said the word "line," we would have to take a drink.

Brian and I didn't know what to make of the discussion. As the chef was speaking about the absence of lines, at least one other person approached the group to ask if that was the line. Most customers didn't think that lines were bad thing, and soon there was quite a nice queue of people. Sadly, they were lined up at the wrong end of the glass case. To make matters worse, the side where they lined up to order, was the side where you pick up your food, putting them directly in the path of food and hungry patrons.

People in a solid line.

Having finished our less than exciting meal, we went next door to the gift shop. Brian was looking for a Mother's Day card, but came up empty. There was a lady in there with hair like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. They had some cool things like puzzles and bendy magnetic stick figures. A lady at the counter was instructing another lady (presumably a sales clerk) not to call the Blanton Bags "Blanton Travel Bags" because that might limit a customer who doesn't travel much into thinking that the bags are only good for traveling.

Despite our bad experience with the food at the Blanton, I think we'll go back another day. I kinda want to see if they ever *really* get the long standing problem of the line resolved.

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