Yesterday, I had a craving for some Greek food, so I went to my favorite Greek restaurant. It is a small place, a hidden gem in the old side of town, owned and run by an old Greek man from one of Greek isles. The food is fantastic, and the atmosphere makes me feel like I'm back at Greece, with the Hellenistic art and music playing in the background. The friendly staff and the gregarious owner always made guests feel welcomed. The food is ambrosia!
It is a special place that I treat myself to as a reward for accomplishing a challenging goal. I go there to relax and enjoy a good meal by myself. I've told my friends about this place, yet I've never really encouraged any of them to join me at this wonderful little diner. And I like that it feels like my secret spot. I enjoy sitting at the back tables that look out into the garden, always full of herbs and blossoming plants and a variety of birds at the feeders.
I was really excited and eager for some Greek food. It has been several months since I had last eaten there. So imagine my huge disappointment and horror to find that the place was gone. I circled around three times to verify, and sure enough, my favorite Greek restaurant was gone! And in its place, the building had been repainted and was now a bakery!
I was stunned. What happened? Where did the Greek place go? A couple exited the bakery with a bag of goods. I rolled down my car window and asked them, "Excuse me, but wasn't there a Greek restaurant here?"
The fellow said, "Oh, yes. There used to be. But the owner passed away this summer. His sons moved back to town and turned the place into a bakery."
I was flabbergasted. It made me sad that the nice owner had passed away. And I was troubled that the sons had changed their father's restaurant into a bakery. Why? Did they not like the Greek food? Did the old man die without passing on his recipes? Was it hard to continue running a place with memories of their father everywhere? Or did the sons prefer the bakery to a restaurant?
I sat in my car in the parking lot, unsure of what to do now. I was really upset that my favorite secret spot was gone! Now what? Where else am I going to get a tasty gyro, some scrumptious souvlaki, a delectable spanikopita, or a heavenly baklava? Why didn't I come here more often? How could I have missed the passing of a great man?
I was still hungry, and I decided to give this bakery a chance. Maybe they had baklava and spanikopita. The sign said they made donuts, kolaches, and bagels. I like donuts, kolaches, and bagels. So I decided to get something from the bakery. To take a chance and try some place new.
Except there was now a Closed sign in the door. What the frak? I read the sign on the door: Open from 6 am to 1 pm. I looked the car clock: 1:05 pm.
Dammit!!! I had wasted ten minutes brooding in the car! And now, the bakery was closed. Are the food gods punishing me? Demeter, goddess of the harvest and grain; Dionysus, god of wine; Artemis, goddess of the hunt; and Hestia, goddess of cooking, why have ya'll forsaken me? Why have you abandoned me in my hour of needing some delicious Greek food? And now the bakery is closed! What the f---!?! What kind of bull$h*t is this!?!
Thankfully, the Buddha did not abandon me, as the Chinese restaurant I was curious about, just a street over, was still open. I needed some scrumptious sesame chicken to comfort me. And that comfort was served in huge, delicious portions, enough for two. But I ate it all. It has been a rough morning to discover that one of my favorite places to eat is gone. That sweet and savory, crunchy sesame chicken, with the fried rice and steamed broccoli, was manna from heaven.
On the way home, I took a slight detour to make sure my favorite Mexican place was still there. Thank the Virgin of Guadalupe the Taco Bell was still open. Where else can I get some crunchy and cheesy, savory and spicy Mexican style food that has no origins in Mexico and confuses Mexicans who ask, 'What the hell is that? That's not Mexican!' Maybe not, but it sure is divine and delicious!