Scowling at unsweet tea...
I tried my first Burger Street today. Double beef, double cheese, pickles and ketchup only, on a plain bun -- no toasting, no buttering, no grilling... just a plain, unaltered bun. A naked bun, as some eateries call it.
That request usually stops them in their tracks, and many cooks fail it completely. At one offending Braums I sent the toasted bun back twice, and on its third try, the bread on my burger still came back twice-cooked. But here at Burger Street, that stipulation drew not one eye, or problem. They got it right the first time.
What DID raise unrest was my request for a large tea, unsweetened, no lemon.
Now, what usually trips up the waitress/counter person here is the lemon. No matter how much I emphasize the “no” in “no lemon,” I usually receive a slice... sometimes even with the refill. I came to see it as a service staff reflex action -- pour tea, pop in a citrus slice. It happened so often, I figured these gals just had to be secret members of the Stamp Out Scurvy In Our Lifetime Society (Yes, the dreaded SOSOLS). It happened so often, I made a lemon-free tea one of my Three Rules for Tipping (the other two being... well, that’s a tale for another day).
But that wasn’t the problem this time. No, the old Latino behind the counter looked at me and said, “Unsweet?”
“Not sweet?” she continued.
“Unsweet,” I insisted when my second nod drew uncertain eyes.
So she rang me up, gave me my change, and poured my large drink. I then asked for some sugar. She gave me an incredulous stare before turning to the back counter for some saccharine.
“No, sugar,” I told her. “Real sugar. The white bags.”
That drew a frown. “Look,” she said, “it would be far easier if you ordered sweet tea than unsweet.”
I explained how restaurant sweet tea is usually far too sweet for my tastes. I would have added how you never know just what a restaurant is sweetening its tea with, but her honest-to-God scowl cut me off. She then retrieved three bags of sugar and tossed them onto the counter.
I decided that was enough and turned aside, just as she started telling her cook staff in Spanish what I had done. They laughed at her tale for more than five minutes, either not guessing or caring that I recalled enough of that language to understand.