Ali Baba404 South Craig St.Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (412) 682-2829
Please allow me to tell of a tale of love. For the past few weeks, I've been working on asking this girl out. We met at a party, and I thought she was definitely the hottest girl in the room, maybe the top three on the street, depending on the street. In any case, after a month's worth of buildup, I ask her out to dinner, to which I get a shy smile and a "Yes."
We make plans for dinner somewhere on Craig St. Preferably, I would've liked Squirrel Hill, but I'll be damned if I make my date wait for the infrequent bus out in 12 degree weather. I meet her at the corner of Starbucks (she looks amazing as I knew she would), and we discuss where to eat. Quizno's, Lulu's, and Subway are all not date-worthy and therefore out of the question. The long line at Union Grill wasn't helping our situation either. "How about Ali Baba? It's like really good Mediterranean food." she says as she flashes the cutest smile ever. Normally, I would like to know what to expect, but if she likes it, who am I to refuse? "Sure, sounds good," I respond as I hold the door for her.
The interior of this restaurant is cozy and warm. Curtains hang from the ceilings, evoking a feeling of relaxation. The restaurant isn't overly bright, so there's a sense of privacy, perfect for dates - or more importantly, my date. Perhaps I've been hasty in my judgment. A few minutes after we're seated, a courteous waitress brings us bread and asks if we're ready to order. I order the Lamb Shank and my date orders the Couscous. We decide to split a Lamb Kebab. Now that our orders are in, I can concentrate on making my next move with my date.
Within the first few minutes of talking with her, I realized that she's a high-maintenance wannabe hipster who likes crappy indie bands, bridal magazines, "funny" ironic t-shirts and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The moment I realized this, it was like seeing the other side of an optical illusion, one which I really didn't want to see. Thankfully, our conversation was interrupted by our waitress, bearing our food.
The Lamb Shank looked amazing, and the meat was so tender that it tore off the bone with a pry of the fork. It was up to this food to redeem this night. I took a bite of the Lamb Shank and a sense of enlightenment washed over me - and it made me feel terrible. I understand now how I didn't see how my date was such a ditz. She is like this Ali Baba restaurant and its food, beautiful to behold, but completely bland. I imagine the price of flavor at Ali Baba's to be exorbitantly high, due to an extremely low supply and high demand, but then again, I've only taken Econ 101.
The Lamb Shank tasted like it was stewed in hot water for an hour. Sure it was tender, but what's the appeal of eating flavorless meat? Wrapping it in bread didn't help either; the bread was dry and just made things worse. My date's couscous was even more horrid: it had no flavor whatsoever; eating it was like eating a tasteless mush, like rice that's been put through a blender and clumped onto your plate. It was as if someone wielding a flavor-sucking vacuum came across this restaurant and decided to just go crazy, leaving no actual flavor in the food.
After dinner, I walked my date home then promptly deleted her number. I hope she doesn't call me, and I don't really want to see her ever again. But even more so, I can never forgive her for making me eat at Ali Baba's.
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