Murphy in the Back Seat, Bon Qui Qui in the Kitchen

Saturday, May 08, 2010 Road Junkies 1 Comments

Salisbury, MD to Rehoboth Beach, DE
Ever have one of those days? First, one little thing goes awry, and it's a minor irritant, but no big deal. You press on with your day, and then something else happens. And yet more. Finally, you turn around to have a look, and sure enough, there's old Murphy sitting in the back seat with a demonic smirk on his face because he knows that you know his law, and he's got you in his crosshairs.We left Salisbury, MD, this morning heading to the shore and looking forward to a nice drive up coastal Delaware. A search on Atlas Quest indicated that a good number of letterboxes were awaiting us on our journey. Great. It should be a terrific day.

That was before we discovered our passenger.

In many roadside fields we passed on our trip through Virginia and Maryland, we have seen small family cemeteries. Curious, we decided to stop this morning and visit one. As soon as we began driving into the field, a strong wind stirred up a cloud of dust. Opening the car window in the opposite direction of the wind for just a few seconds to take a photo was enough to coat the inside of our car with grit.

Returning to the highway, we found traffic stopped because an elderly couple had been driving the wrong way on the divided highway. Murphy - 2, Us - 0.

We arrived in Ocean City, MD (a very generic beach resort) and looked for our first letterbox of the day. Finding the location was our first problem. The street it was supposed to be on didn't exist. Then when we found the area described, the box was not there. At the location described in the clue for the next box, we found only a geocache. When we finally found one letterbox, the stamp was broken into three pieces. And on it went. We searched for 9 boxes and found three.

Never had we experienced such a low find rate. We were beginning to get suspicious as the string of conicidences accumulated.

When we arrived in Rehoboth Beach around 5 p.m. with a list of clues for letterboxes here, we decided it was time to find a hotel and call it a day. After we checked in, we went out in search of dinner. Although we usually like to try local restaurants, our string of bad luck throughout the day made us leery. When the GPS indicated a Carrabba's was only a mile from the hotel, we opted for something we know.

But when we arrived at the address, there was no Carrabba's. However, we were on a street with lots of local eateries, so we parked and walked up the sidewalk to a local Italian restaurant we had passed. On the menu posted outside, we found only meat and seafood dishes. No problem, we had passed another Italian place up the street. Except we discovered it was only a caterer, not a restaurant.

Finally we stumbled upon Hobo's restaurant. We were standing on the sidewalk perusing the menu posted near the outdoor seating area when the host greeted us cheerfully, telling us without our asking that there were many vegetarian dishes and the chef uses only organic foods. Intrigued by this pleasant coincidence, we asked to be seated. Lest you think we had ditched Murphy, think again. He had lured us into Bon Qui Qui's territory. (If you aren't acquainted with Bon Qui Qui, you can meet her here.) In the virtually empty restaurant, we were seated at a table in a dark rear corner near a very dusty ceiling AC vent. At a nearby window, a fly was struggling to escape. (No doubt, he would have abandoned his efforts when our food arrived.) Our request to be seated at another table was granted and we were given menus. Printed with a tiny font in light brown ink on a sheet of beige paper, the menu offered a lengthy list of dishes, but none had descriptions to explain what the dishes were, like the menu posted outside.

When our server came to the table, we asked for a menu like the one on the street but he didn't know what was there. After checking it out, he reported that it was the lunch menu and the dinner menu was the one we were given. He also told us he would be glad to describe any item on the menu or have the chef come out to talk to us. We assured him that we didn't need a conversation with the chef, asked about some dishes that sounded appealing, and ordered even though he stumbled and bumbled trying to describe the dishes' contents.

Unwilling to leave well enough alone, Murphy badgered Dianne into asking the server to tell the manager that from a customer's point of view, a menu with no descriptions was quite frustrating. When he delivered this message, Bon Qui Qui emerged from her domain in the kitchen.

She didn't bother to introduce herself but we quickly figured out from the conversation that she was the chef/owner. She informed us in no uncertain terms that it is the responsibility of her servers to describe every item on the menu, that the menu changes daily and no one knows what is in those dishes because they come out of her head, and that she has to explain them to her servers when they arrive at work every day. Huh??

She demanded clarification on what I ordered (a caprese salad). "I can make that; it's a traditional Italian dish, but it's not what's on my menu. (In Bon Qui Qui's usual lingo, "You want a complicated order that's not on the menu? Don't mess with the integrity of my recipes. RUDE!") Then in her "global eco-fusion" Bon Qui Qui manner, she asked Ken how he wanted his veggie burger cooked. His polite reply drew more sarcasm from her and that's when we walked out-- before she started calling "sukooity" (security) on us.

After debating between skipping dinner and trying again, we played it safe and went to Outback. Delaware has not been our favorite place on this trip. We're looking forward to boarding the ferry to New Jersey tomorrow.