Monday, March 9, 2015

Black napkins

Last weekend TLOML and I went out to our new favourite Hermosa restaurant, Steak and Whisky, with our two favourite South  Bay friends. The cocktails were perfect (mine, a perfect Manhattan, was literally so). The service was pleasant, and efficient. The conversation was convivial. All was good.

And then, on the horizon, appeared a danger I had never even known existed. The perils of a white napkin. Dining out, at least in dark clothing, will never be the same again.

Our dining companions requested a black napkin. I looked puzzled. I thought I was hearing things. or it was a code for a secret off menu food item. Then they asked if I needed one too.

'I don't think so', I said. 'What..., um, ... why would I?'

'For the lint!', they said, barely concealing a 'duh' eyeroll.

I looked down at my lap. Sure enough, the white napkin I had thoughtlessly accepted had left tiny little white fluffs of lint all over my indigo jeans.

The horror on my lap - dark denim, pale linen

Because I'm British and like to be seen as low maintenance I declined (brushing off the lint and tutting to myself while no-one was looking). Still, now I know. Apparently black napkins are a thing you can request in nice restaurants, if you're wearing an outfit that wouldn't look good with too much white lint.
The lint-free smarts across the table: winning!
Every time I think I've got a handle on the amazing service culture in this country, the whole set of standards get ramped up another notch.

Do other cities offer black napkins, or is it just an LA thing? And what next, I wonder? And more to the point, in a restaurant with black napkins as standard, can I request a white napkin if I'm wearing white jeans? Watch this space. No indulgence will go unreported.

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