ELITISM & BEER [Jonah Goldberg]
There's a whiff of urban legend here, but I like it anyway. From a reader:
Jonah, There's a great French restaurant in Philadelphia that has had a five-star rating for several decades. It requires a second mortgage to pay the tab and features a wine list that would greatly impress a poseur like the Sideways character, Miles. A few years ago, according to the testimony of a buddy, a rather unassuming guy booked reservations for twelve and sat down in the tres chic dining room to enjoy a convivial evening with family and friends. After the somelier went around the table, noting everyone's selections, he came to our host, who unabashedly ordered a Yuengling, the old reliable of Pennsylvania beers. The wine snob visibly winced and sniffed ,"Sorry, monsieur, we do not carry such a thing." With that, the guy stood up and announced to one and all: "We're leaving." As fate would have it, the gentleman was a direct descendent of the original Pottsville brewing dynasty. And he was more than ready to take his friends, and his cash, and walk out the door.
Okay, first, no points for catching a "whiff" of urban legend, since you claim to like this. Just give us some short essay answers:
1) Who's being elitist here: the five star French restaurant which doesn't stock Yuengling, or the guy who thinks being a direct descendent of a brewing dynasty makes him some sort of hereditary princeling?
2) Even been in a five star restaurant, Jonah? Ever been served by a sommelier? (Which reminds me, doesn't the Corner provide you with a spell checker?) Did he walk around the table taking individual cocktail orders?
3) Ever known anyone who works in a restaurant, five star or otherwise? Do you imagine they go out of their way to insult customers just for asking for something that's not on the menu? How long do you imagine the place would keep a five-star rating if the staff routinely showed its irritation at the slightest provocation?
4) Do you imagine that in a five-star restaurant a party of twelve which is unknown to the staff is seated without every member of the staff involved being informed which person is the host?
5) Ever known anyone who owns a restaurant? Are they in the habit of refusing to stock popular local products because they're too pedestrian? How many times, in an average night, would you guess someone asks for a Yuengling in such an establishment? Or a Budweiser?
Extra credit: What's the area code for Philadelphia? How many five-star French restaurants do you suppose there are? If you asked your readers to do some more research for you, how long would it take to find out?
Okay, okay, you thought it was "funny", but that's because you're a dullard. Since it's blind bet day, I've got $20 says if you find the place they carry Yeungling.