Theft by Water

Here’s a peeve repeated. Saturday night I cooked for the Heart Association fundraiser in Washington, D.C. (Redneck Risotto with SugarToads). Afterwards Etienne (my assistant for the night, and former nemisis at Jean-Louis at Watergate) went to dinner at one of the town’s hot brasseries. We ordered sparkling water (Saratoga). Towards the end of the meal I wondered if there was any left, but the bottle had disappeared. Ah, the waiter showed up and refilled our glasses. Of course when I got the check there was a charge for two bottles @ $7 each. I noted to the waiter that I had not ordered a second bottle. He replied that Etienne’s glass was empty so he took it upon himself to refill, at my expense. I asked if that was their wine policy also…..

He got defensive and said if I wished, he would remove the second bottle from the bill. I wished.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, sadly, it has become more and more common. The first time it happened to me was at a restaurant in Charleston, SC five years ago. Now I see it as a good way for me to get free water! Please, don’t rip off the customer. Remember, it’s about passion.


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