Traffic Jam & Snug
Dear Traffic Jam & Snug: I wanted to like you. In fact, I wanted to l.o.v.e. you. I wanted to use all sorts of ♥♥♥♥♥♥ and !!!!! when I described our meeting to my friends and family. I wanted us to be a perfect match, to rendezvous again and again. I’ve had my eye on you for a while now and I couldn’t wait for us to meet. I even checked you out online. I just wish our first date had gone better. I wanted to like you. . .
Things seemed like they were going well. . .at first. You were attentive. . .and then suddenly you weren’t, despite you not being overly busy that evening. I wanted to like you. . .
When we met two nights ago — a warm, fall evening — the kind you wish would last for months, the sky was clear; the stars were out. It was the perfect night for our first meeting. The neighborhood was bustling — especially for a Wednesday — even the sidewalk was alive with midtown Detroiters walking their dogs or on their way to dinner. Your patio is really lovely with a colorful, well-tended garden and a creative recycled sink fountain on the side of the building. The patio only became more beautiful as night came and white, Christmas tree-type lights came on. I sipped a delicious Beaujolais on this fine night. I wanted to like you. . .
Your menu is delectable — so many unique options, like the Irish Egg Rolls I sampled as an appetizer – crispy, packed with delicious corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese, served with thousand island dipping sauce. Another appetizer, equally good, was the Brie cheese snuggled in phyllo dough and topped with mixed berry jam. I could have stopped right there and been a very happy gal.
I was eager to taste your Shepard’s Pie advertised on the Restaurant Week menu but was told by my waiter that not only had it been removed from the Restaurant Week menu and replaced with Beef Stroganoff (though SP could still be ordered off the regular menu), but you were out of a total of three entrees, one of which was a pork and risotto dish I also wanted to try. I wanted to like you. . .
I order the Shepard’s Pie from your daily menu — it didn’t disappoint. Ground sirloin mingling with bacon, mushrooms, all blanketed with cheesy mashed potatoes, lightly browned on top and a sprinkling of chives. Others at my table enjoyed the Beef Stroganoff, Madras Meatloaf and Shrimp Pasta.
Your attention to the most basic things, however was disappointing. Appetizers arrived at the table without napkins or utensils. When I asked for utensils, five forks were brought, along with two knives with three more knives promised to be delivered — but never were. I hope this was just an off day for you. I wanted to like you. . .
Desserts were ordered but dinner plates were never cleared off our small bistro table which was not only unsightly, but didn’t leave room for dessert plates. We opted to ‘bus’ the table ourselves onto a nearby empty table that didn’t have chairs anyway. I wanted to like you. . .
Desserts arrived in stages. My Carlotta Chocolatta Ice Cream Cheesecake arrived to the table before the others “so the ice cream wouldn’t melt”, though no eating utensil was provided with it so the ice cream did in fact melt a bit as I waited for a fork. I was also advised that you didn’t have the “normal sauce” for the Bread Pudding, but that ice cream would be served with it instead. I wanted to like you . . .
I love the City of Detroit, her beauty, her seemingly infinite number of really great restaurants, museums and sports options. I don’t believe Detroit is “coming back”. Detroit has arrived and I will be the first to tell you. I wanted to like you Traffic Jam & Snug. I really did. I wanted to use all kinds of adjectives to describe how great my experience was. I was to
ask tell readers they just had to make the trek to midtown — that they would be so impressed with you. I wanted to brag about you like you were my own child — “go to Traffic Jam & Snug — they’ve been around since 1965 — 50 years old — and going strong”. I wanted to like l.o.v.e. you.
More than anything, I’m disillusioned and frankly, because I know I deserved a better first date, I don’t know if there will be a second one.