I could always count on San Francisco's Tadich Grill ...when I wanted a cocktail and needed a haven...a place a little dark and cozy, with minimal chitchat.
Sometimes I just want to order a drink without saying much. ...when I don't really care about the provenance of the booze, or the fruit garnish. Tadich has always been like that, for a lot longer than I've been around. Staff in white jackets. Men's hats hanging on the wall. All kinds of folks...suits, tourists, local characters.
Playing hooky on a sunny afternoon, we sat at the bar and ordered. "I'll have a martini, up, with a twist."
The bartender...female, younger than me smiled..."with vodka, or gin?"
In my mind I replied "Oh, I'm sorry, when will the bartender be back from his break?"
Beside the fact that I love gin...just Google "what is a martini" to get an idea of what a traditionalist like me expects after placing the above order. Sigh...I didn't want a discussion and was really surprised I was having it at the Tadich.
Out loud I responded that I wanted gin...from the well was fine.
So, maybe she was being thorough. A lot of people drink vodka. Maybe a lot of women drink only vodka. I remained optimistic...until we ordered another round. My husband asked for his second Negroni.
We both watched her pour in too much sweet vermouth. With bottle still in hand she looked up, caught his eye and said "You like yours a little extra sweet, don't you." He replied "No, actually I don't."
She smiled and pushed the drink across the bar to him.
I go to a place like the Tadich because I have needs...a drink, a cocoon, an expectation of traditional values and service. It's not the kind of place where I should have to explain how to make a classic cocktail...or two. I might receive a little snark with the banter...fine, I'll give some back...but I don't have the energy to lodge a complaint about the basics.
When we went back outside, squinting in the sunshine, I was sad.