The SF SPCA had its annual volunteer appreciation dinner last night at the California Culinary Academy. In previous years during our dinners at the CCA service has been hit or miss, because it is students, after all, but even so, last night was the worst ever. The portions were microscopic and the main course was the worst it's been since we've been going there for our annual dinner. It was one of those sculptural, 3-D quote-unquote creative Cali cuisine-type dealios. It looked like a miniature aircraft control tower topped by a giant waffle, surrounded by pools of motor oil and blood (actually balsamic vinegar and tomato coulis, respectively). Please, hasn't this ridiculous trend run its course by now? It is *so* '90s. One of my table-mates dubbed the entree "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which sums it up perfectly. There was an insufferable delay (45 minutes or more) between the main course and the dessert while we all just sat there twiddling our thumbs with nothing to eat and nothing to do except bitch about the lousy service. And we were denied coffee -- after dessert we found out we had to ask for it, but none of the wait staff bothered to ask us at our table (yet other tables were asked). By the time I got some coffee, everyone else at my table had left and I was all alone. I might as well have been siting alone at the counter in some greasy spoon diner having a coffee all by my lonesome. All of us at my table were unhappy and shared complaints with each other about the food (with the exception of the appetizers and the salad) and the poor service all evening long, all of which were legitimate complaints and not just griping for no good reason.
I know the SPCA has to economize, but I know they can do better than the CCA without breaking the bank. Next year will be my 20th year and I don't want to be as miserable then as I was last night. Hell, at this point I'd be happy if we all went to a pizza joint for our dinner next year. Just about any pizzeria would be light-years ahead of last night.