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Five Local Restaurants as Told by Its (Fictional) Patrons


Courtesy of Camden Minervino

The first part because I like food and getting off campus. The second because a list of restaurants seemed quite drab, and I happen to be in the mood for role-play.

Lavanda, Palo Alto (upscale Mediterranean, read: PARENTS WEEKEND): I am a classy businessman in my early 60s on a double date with my wife, who I met in college, and Nancy and Steve, who we also know from college. We enjoy wine and live jazz trios. At dinner, we reminisce about our days at said college in exaggerated tones and talk about cultured things, like the independent movie (I mean, film) we just saw at the Aquarius. Or the Guild. Or CineArts Palo Alto.

Reposado, Palo Alto (upscale Mexican, read: PARENTS WEEKEND): I am a 20-something member of a hip, promising start-up, and a 50-year-old investor is taking us broke 20-somethings out for a good dinner at a buzzy place that still makes him look young and exotic. He entertains us with stories of when he was a 20-something, continuing his ploy to relate to us. He is most likely a VC with a scratched up motorcycle and a lonely condo.

Oren’s Hummus Shop, Palo Alto (mid-priced Israeli/Mediterranean; good for a night out every couple weeks):  I am a carefree girl in my late 20s, out to dinner with my former sorority sistaaas for a little reunion. We all work in the Bay for different consulting firms, but like, we’re all so busy with advancing our careers and being modern women and finding the cute leader of a promising start-up – I mean, Mr. Right – that we hardly have time to loosen up like this. You girls want pita? Waiter, could we get more PITAAAH for the table and another bottle of that wine? I’m really “tryna” get my rip, dip, eat on here.

Thaiphoon, Palo Alto (mid-to-high-priced Thai, as far as Thai goes; good for a quality meal every now and then): I am a single man in my late 40s who is eating alone because, while I appreciate culinary finesse, I am a hopeless romantic who will someday resort to marrying a very loud-mouthed woman I like only mildly. I offer extra soup to the table with two girls next to me as a kind gesture, but they stare at me like I’m a creep or something. I do not like chain restaurants. (Based on true events.)

Shiva’s Indian Restaurant and Bar, Mountain View (reasonably-priced Indian; go for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $12):  I am a middle-aged woman with purple hair and purple glasses out for the first time with my newly minted husband, a fellow divorcee. We are with his adopted, grown stepchild, Young-Jun, who sits at the table in silence, and Young-Jun’s newly discovered birth mother, who also stares at me in silence. (Based on true events.)

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