I have never been so aware of being American in my life. I am defined as “The American.” In Italy, of course. Which is funny, because at home, I don’t actually think about my cultural identity as an American. If anything, I feel more rebellious and self righteous towards America’s culture and want to cling to my Sicilian/Persian heritage for dear life. But when I am in Italy, I sing America’s praises. I am completely insatiable. Always looking at life through an anthro-analytical glass, trying to identify the inconsistencies and paradoxes.
So the point is that I went to The Diner in Florence craving a weekend brunch fix of eggs benedict with some fellow anglo pals who decided to be guest Americans for the day for the sake of bagels and pancakes. The irony of it all is that in America, I turn my nose up at most “diner-y” places and anything that isn’t local, gourmet, foodie and has marketing which pleases my west-coast profile as a liberal “foodie” Seattlelite who read “The Omnivore’s Dilemna” in college. Or! If it isn’t a cutesy “bistro”, it has gotta be a complete dive run by scary (or cute) men with tattoos and piercing who are probably more hungover than me.
But I went to The Diner with hopes to have an American fix- not just greasy spoon brunch but to order in English and for someone to not glare at me as if I just slapped their mother every time I order a café americano. And what did I get instead? Awkward service, burnt eggs and some stupid side salad that didn’t come with the advertised ranch dressing. I got two words: Faux. Paux. I have a question: HOW DO YOU SCREW UP EGGS? College kids straight off their mamma’s milk and undocumented nanny’s 3 square meals could have made a better scramble than this.
1st offense: “Can we order coffee?” Oh, we only bring drinks with food. <— how can you call yourself an American Diner??? Not only is that a huge no-no in the American code of service, but that’s just not what a diner is like!
2nd offense: “May I have the eggs benedict?” (mind you, there are 4 different kinds which made up at least 20 percent of the breakfast menù) Um, we don’t have any bread.
??? You ran out of BREAD on a Saturday brunch? Are you guys idiots?
3rd offense: “Okay, I’ll have the western omelette.”
DO YOU NOTICE BREAD, HERE? Yes. They MEANT to say that they did not have English muffins. AND even so- PROBLEM SOLVE IT! Use your people skills and ask me if I mind TOAST as a sub for English Muffins since your kitchen manager is too much of a knob to keep english muffins in stock on a Saturday which make up the essential base of at least 5 menù items!
The omelette was terrible. All the filling slid to the ends and was completely tasteless. I felt like it was like smashing a piñata and having to dig through all the crap candy to find the one piece of (tasteless) cheddar cheese. Almost inedible. But I ate it. Why? Well, I obviously moved to Italy because I wanted to torture myself so what’s a little burnt egg going to do to any remaining dignity I have left? And what the hell was up with this salad and side of hamburger lettuce??? What am I supposed to do with that?
They were busy with other pseudo Americans desiring similar pseudo experiences, I get that. It is not easy to run a business in Italy. But c’mon- you guys really really need to step it up when you’re in a city practically colonized by Americans. It took a lot of akward glances and hand waves to ask for the bill and even longer to get it. I was tempted to leave a penny as a tip for this whole s**** show. So ridiculous. I will probably never return.
Yours in irony, honesty and sassy sarcasm,
p.s. I’m going home for a visit. I may or may not be posting for a while:) Too busy with oysters, bubbly and REAL brunches to bother glueing myself to a computer. Kissesxoxoxo