In Flower Mound, Texas this morning, the wind wasn't consistently good enough for our friends' six-rear-old daughter to keep a kite in the air. This is rather different from the situation in Houston, where winds still exceed ninety miles per hour in places.
While the nightmarish visions of twenty-five-foot surge did not materialize in Galveston, the night wasn't without casualties: Brennan's burned to the ground. Brennan's was not only a good place to get steak, but they had an excellent turtle soup and were very diligent about refilling iced tea. I will look forward to their re-opening, which I'm sure will follow its destruction as Spring does Winter.
Some years ago, when I expected better of restaurant waitstaff, I actually used my iced tea as my sole barometer for tip calculation. If the tea long stood empty, if tea-spoons weren't forthcoming after repeated requests, and if sugar stood unreplenished after it was brought to the attention of restaurant staff, I tipped with an indignancy that probably astonished waitstaff who may have thought, for example, that getting me an entree that was still hot should count for something. The problem is that so many restaurant staff were incompetent to keep iced tea filled that my lover grew weary and embarrassed at my tip calculation, thinking it signaled that I was cheap rather than that I had high standards. Mind you, I cheerily tipped twenty percent and more for service that got the tea right, and didn't upset anyone whose meal I was picking up. However, the imbeciles who couldn't keep a glass of tea on my table did wear on me. If I can't short them their tips for fear of retribution by my soft-hearted dining companions, I will take to the Internet to expose the sorry state of iced tea service in the South.
So, I hereby launch the Iced Tea Report tag. Where you see this tag, you will be able to tell which restaurants really care about your dining experience -- and don't -- by viewing (I will post pictures of the crime scenes lest I be accused of misrepresenting the state of affairs) the evidence presented in posts so labeled.
The sad story here is that Brennan's, which actualy did a workmanlike job with iced tea, is now out of commission. Brennan's, you will be missed. When Brennan's re-opens, I'll make sure to bring you evidence of the extent to which Brennan's has been able to keep competent waitstaff despite the fire-necessitated closure.
And I'll let you know whether the steak has a smoky flavor.