Flaming at Matchbox

Entering Chinatown, originally uploaded by dcwriterdawn.

So I had this super-awesome, fabulous, oh-my-god-to-DIE-for lunch at Matchbox down in Chinatown. I ordered the Prosciutto White pizza, which was loaded with kalamata olives and more garlic than a vampire’s worst nightmare. Dear God, YUM.

I topped it off with a glass of King Estate pinot gris, which was (*cue singing voice*) “heaavveennnn.” The company was delightful — a group of ladies I haven’t seen in quite some time. I had last agreed to meet up with them for the D.C. Japanese Festival, but a new male friend surprised me by meeting me down there when I’d arrived and, well, I’m not a girl to keep a date with her friends when there’s a boy involved. 😉

Matchbox is a very tall and narrow red-brick building on the same block as Verizon Center and the Regal movie theater and a bunch of non-Chinese restaurants and stores, most of which have the store names written in Chinese underneath the English version. It literally does look like a matchstick, very blink-and-you’ll-miss-it from the outside, but very modern and heavenly smelling inside.

As you walk in there’s a fully stocked bar, and just beyond it are the wood-fired ovens in plain sight. Go up a half-flight and make a right, and you’re seated “outside” — there are maybe eight tables under huge red umbrellas. And today was just a gorgeous day — it was in the mid-80s with a nice breeze, so with the infamous dog-breath humidity for which our fair city is legendary not being a problem, we chose to sit outside. Glorious decision, I say.

Anyway, there were five of us with a 12:30 reservation. Four of us showed up and the fifth got tied up with work and said she’d be late. The restaurant refused to seat us. A half-hour goes by (yep, 1 p.m.) and we’re all mighty thirsty and hungry and dude, the waiting stuff was getting old because they REFUSED TO SEAT US.

We asked the hostesses why we couldn’t be seated when the restaurant was practically empty. They kept citing “policy.” And the thing is, two of our people are in the hospitality/customer service realm. Believe me, if they’re ticked? It’s my barometer to know it’s just not me blowing my little steam off.

I wanted to leave. Really. I was happy to go to any of the dozen-plus Chinese restaurants (ha! imagine!) situated around H Street, but my friends very calmly asked to see a manager. And they were so diplomatic with her as she stood there WITH HER HANDS ON HER HIPS touting “policy.”

You know, I get policy. Policies are made to keep the riff-raff at bay. Policies are meant to save your ass when you need to make a decision. But with two-thirds of the restaurant open, and four very hungry people standing there begging to order drinks and appetizers and not being ALLOWED to, well, fried my shorts.

I sat there and Tweeted while the manager stood there with her I’m-so-calm manner of saying, “Tell me what you want me to do to make things right.” The answer was, of course, to seat us, for crying out loud. I was tired and cranky and hadn’t eaten since the day before and I know me. I know how annoyed I was. My back was killing me, and standing in a doorway for a half-hour hadn’t enhanced my sense of humor.

Anyway, the server, Jon, more than made up for the auspicious start to the day. And we were all classy about it — we loved him. He was pretty on-the-ball with drink orders and refills and such. And I do give credit to the restaurant — they comped our drinks for our trouble (including my wine, God love ’em).

You know, as I put it, I am not a small girl. If you want me to eat as I sit at a table and wait for the rest of my party, all ya have to do is ask. I won’t say no. 😉 The appetizer list looked amazing, but we were all so ready to eat our own arms, we went straight for the entrees.

Anyway, all ended well so I’ll give the food five stars, the service four stars and the robotic “Sorry. It’s policy” that we heard seven times a negative four stars.

We ended up catching “Chuck and Larry” next-door at the Regal, and to say it was a one-joke movie is like calling water wet. Although, I admit that they managed to fill two hours with dick jokes rather well — some were even funny.

I did have to question how Chuck and Larry were around all kinds of other bona fide gay men whose “straight-dar” never seemed to go off. Um, hello, do either of them come across as the turd burglar type? (I figure they used “butt pirate” in the movie — might as well dig up all the old ’80s references!)

I am not certain how Jessica Biel managed to be half-naked in a gay-themed movie, but she managed. I don’t even know if she has acting ability — she’s half-naked in every film and quite honestly, I can’t remember her voice to save my life. 🙂

When she and Adam Sandler were out having a “girls’ day,” I almost missed my old harem of gay men. But given that I only hang out with the hetero crowd these days, I realize how drama-free my life has become.

Actually, that’s not true — it’s finally all about MY drama and I don’t have anyone else’s overshadowing it. Damn it — it’s about time! Although I really could use a good makeover/spa day and can’t get the vagina-whisperer-types to join me. … 😉

2 Responses to Flaming at Matchbox

  1. University Update - Verizon - Flaming at Matchbox :

    […] YouTube Link to Article verizon Flaming at Matchbox » Posted at Caterwauling on Sunday, July 22, 2007 Entering Chinatown, originally uploaded by dcwriterdawn … and narrow red-brick building on the same block as Verizon Center and the Regal movie theater View Entire Article » […]

  2. Tiff :

    Matchbox is also the restaurant that, on my first trip there, had no bathrooms in working order and tried sending everyone next door to the Subway to use theirs. Seriously. But it gets better- they hadn’t cleared it with the manager of the Subway, who was seriously freaking out and banning people from the bathrooms. So then they arranged with the restaurant down the street, which was CLOSED, to have someone sit inside to let people in if they needed to use THEIR bathrooms. But then you’d knock on the door, and they’d tell you the restaurant was closed, so you’d have to explain that you were from Matchbox, and then they’d let you in, and you could stand in line for the bathroom, because there were rather a lot of people who had been holding it for rather a long time while Matchbox management came up with a plan.

    I didn’t go back for a couple of years. 😉 But then I went again maybe a year ago and it was fine- good food, and of course, working potties.