I walk to the lobby and go to the club lounge. There are two guys in there and they look at me, kind of like, what are you doing here? I must have misread their expressions though because they immediately ask if I am Mrs. Tran and get up and shake my hand and I say, we’re going to lunch, right? (I’m hungry). They confirm that yes indeed, we are going to lunch. I ask where, and they say wherever I want. They say something about the palapa, and I’m not sure what that is, but I say I want to go to La Brisa. Only one of them goes with me, René. He tells me he knows a lot about me. He knows about my blog, my FB group, that I didn’t get my breakfast that morning, that I have three kids. It feels a little creepy. He tells me he has read my blog and I ask if he has read the whole blog. He says he had someone read it for him. Oh my! This man has “people.”
A quick word about the room service fail. I posted it on FB. I was annoyed. Probably I shouldn’t post things when I am annoyed. At any rate, someone replied to my post and said they didn’t believe it. WTF? It was such an absurd thing to say. The whole thread got way more attention than it should have because of that. In the end I just deleted the whole thing.
Anyway, back to René. I tell him that I have had people come up to me or email me and say they came to the Grand because of my blog. That people check it out because I have menus and pictures and maps.
As we arrive at La Brisa, he tells me the “presentation” typically lasts 90 minutes. I tell him he’s not getting 90 minutes of my time. 45 minutes tops. I figure that’s how long I would take to eat lunch. We are seated. René asks if I want to get food from the buffet and I say no, I am ordering off the menu. Our waiter comes by and asks what we would like to drink. I ask for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and Rene says he is working and won’t drink. I ask if we can order food and say I want Tournedos, medium rare, and french fries, hot and crispy. René says, I’ll have what she’s having. I also ask our waiter to take away one of my knives because it is dirty.
The waiter comes back with a white wine that is not Sauvignon Blanc. The waiter says they are out of Sauvignon Blanc. They only have one on the wine list. It is decent and a nice, light wine to drink at lunch. He asks if I will try this other white. I say sure. I take a sip. It is too acidic for my taste and I say I don’t like it. He takes it away and comes back with another white wine and a new glass. He puts down the glass and pours a taste of wine in it. I look at the glass, and then I look at him and say that the glass is chipped. I feel kind of bad for the waiter. He is a young kid and he is getting flustered. But there is no way I am going to drink out of a chipped glass.
René looks at me and says I have an attention to detail and he wants to know what I do for work. I tell him I’m a lactation consultant and am the coordinator of the program at my hospital, and yes, I need to have an attention to detail. But also I have two sons in the industry and they have taught me to have an attention to detail in restaurants. He says he wouldn’t have noticed the things I noticed. (Really? A dirty knife and a chipped glass?) To be fair, I have never had either a dirty piece of silverware OR a chipped glass of any kind at La Brisa, or any other restaurant at the Grand. It was unfortunate that I had both this day.
I don’t want to seem so picky and explain that I don’t usually drink white wine because I prefer red. But at lunch I like white because it is lighter and Sauvignon Blanc is one of the few whites I like. He likes wine as well, and we talk wine.
Martin, the manager appears and he has a bottle of white wine that he would like me to try. It is a 2007 and I can’t remember the name, but all of a sudden René decided he could have some wine. Martin pours me some and swirls it and Rene asks if he is a sommelier and Martin gives him the look of death, just shut up and let me make this lady happy. She’s a VIP. It was, in a word, divine. Absolutely amazing. We drink the entire bottle. He brings an ice bucket to our table to keep the wine chilled. It is one of the best wines I have ever had there.
Unfortunately, the food comes and it is horribly overcooked, but I have pointed out so many things I can’t possibly complain about the overcooked meat and lukewarm fries. I just eat it.
René and I talk and I take notes on my iPad. At one hour he lets me know how long it has been. I wave him off and keep asking questions. Then he alerts me at two hours. Then I say we are done and cannot believe that much time has passed.
Our young waiter comes back and asks if we want coffee. I say no, but I want some coconut ice cream, He gets this worried look on his face and starts to say he’s not sure. I reach out and touch his arm and tell him, they always get to for me. And so he does.
Rene and I eat the wonderful coconut ice cream, I leave the tip and we shake hands and he says he will send me some more information. I leave with a better appreciation why they are doing this vacation club thing, and a little clearer idea of what it is.
I tell him people don’t like levels. He says it works at other places. And he is right. I go back to my beach chair and the universe gives me a little smack up side my head.