11-21-10 Sunday (Hear Ye, Hear Ye)

We subscribe to livingsocial.com which is a 50% off of restaurants, spa services, tours and the like kind of coupon/deal service.  We get emails alerting us to fantastic deals.  At the beginning of November we received this deal. 

Mattie deal

Jim bought 3 of them.  We’ve done this with a couple of other places too.  It gives us the chance to try new restaurants while being thrifty.  OK, cheap, whatever.  We went to Mattie’s Diner (great photos of the place are shown here) a couple of weeks back but I forgot to mention it or write a review!  So first I’ll mention the prior visit:

I noticed the rails along the windows were pretty dirty.  I didn’t look at them on the next visit.  This diner was transported from New Jersey.  It’s a real original 1948 diner.

The server wasn’t rude but certainly wasn’t very friendly. 

Jim asked if he should have something (can’t remember what) or the meatball parm.  The server recommended the meatball parm.  I asked if I should have the bacon cheeseburger or meatball parm and she said the burger.  Go figure.  My burger was OK.  I still like burgers from Fridays, Five Guys or What a Burger the best.  Jim’s meatball parm was tasty.  My sweet iced tea had a strange flavor.  Maybe going sour?  I mentioned it but was told it was made this morning.  I was offered something else to drink.   

Our server called to get “someone” to bring the owner a few supplies.  She saw the food was coming off the grill yet she dialed the phone anyway.  Our food came up on the counter, 2 servers who weren’t our servers seemed to stare at it.  The place was empty.  I think they should have served it ASAP since we were 20 feet away from it.  Jim and I looked at each other and came really close to saying something.  Eventually it was like one of them decided to give us the food.

The owner, Mattie, who was cooking, was curious to know about how we found out about them and such.  It was nice to have his attention. 

OK, now this visit.  I’m torn about the place.  We got a different server this time.  Another not so friendly woman.  Not rude, just not going out of her way to make us feel welcome.  My iced tea was awesome this time.  The toilet was dirty.  Jim ordered a ham and cheese omelet.  He added onion and spinach.  It came as egg whites with peppers in it.  He hates peppers.  It went back.  Mattie, the owner and cook (just like last time) apologized for the error (made by the server) and made a new one and even gave Jim a fresh order of toast.  That was a very thoughtful gesture.  I think that impressed me the most.  Because it was “rushed” to correct the situation, the onions weren’t cooked as well as they should have.  Other than that, it was good.  I had the Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Toast.  They were out of Challah bread which is what my copy of the menu said it included but Mattie offered 3 slices of Texas Toast bread and guaranteed it would be just as tasty.  It was tasty.  I’m not sure if it was just as tasty since I had nothing to compare it to.

Elvis

 

imageimageCarolina Renaissance FestivalWe have 1 more coupon left.  We’re torn about it.   Enough about the diner though.  Now for our day of fun at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.  Jim got 2 free tickets, valued at $19 each (which is another story).  He entered a drawing of sorts which was more like just having to mail in a form asking for free tickets which would be provided depending on availability.  Well, he “won” or we got them.  Confusing, I know. 

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This festival goes on for 2 months on weekends!  What an awesome place.  I feel lucky to have this place here in our area.  Excerpt from their website:

“The Carolina Renaissance Festival was introduced in 1994 with six acres of exhibits, attractions and entertainment. The event has grown into a twenty acre theme park filled with charming cottages and castles, kitchens and pubs, and a most unusual collection of people powered rides and games of skill.

The Carolina event has grown to be one of the largest of the Renaissance fairs nationwide. Tree lined lanes are filled with over 100 purveyors of crafts and food, and non-stop music and comedy shows are presented on 10 stages every event day.”

The price of $19 a person – hmmmm, not sure.  Entertainment (lots of it) are all around and are “free”.  I quote “free” because the performers solicit for tips.  It’s a huge place.  Maybe it’s worth it for an all day type of fun?  Any rides and such are at additional costs.  I’m glad we went just not sure about future visits.  I think if we have the money, we’ll probably go.

The first booth we stopped at was for the Charlotte Observer (local newspaper).  There was a 3 months weekend edition home delivery special going on for $33 or so.  The guy gave us $25 in special money that could be used at participating festival vendors!  We used it for food and drink ($3 a beverage) throughout the day.  What a deal!  So 3 months of weekend newspapers will cost us about 7 or 8 dollars.  Not bad. 

Here’s the day in pictures:

2010-11-21 003Above: Ye old entry gates.  OR the main entrance.

2010-11-21 004Above: This place was huge.  You can visit their website and check out their map of the festival to see how large.

2010-11-21 005Above: That’s Jim.  He’s standing.  He’s holding a program guide of sorts.  He’s smiling.  That’s Jim.

2010-11-21 006Above: A vendor to sell you crap you think you need.

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2010-11-21 009Above: The whole family is dressed in character.

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2010-11-21 015Above: A “character” laying there playing a fiddle (or similar).  Tips are appreciated.

2010-11-21 016Above: There were so many people dressed in character.  Some are obvious employees but many were festival goers.  This guy was holding a pet “dragon”.

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2010-11-21 018Above: Another theater featuring belly dancers.

2010-11-21 019Above: Me with a belly dancer chick.

2010-11-21 021Above: Free petting zoo.  How cool is the dog?

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2010-11-21 023Above: They had camel and elephant rides.

2010-11-21 024Above: A “living tree”.

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Above/Below: We spent a lot of time watching this.  $5 for 5 tomatoes or 12 for $10.  The guy heckles you and others while you try to hit him with a tomato.  He was hilarious.  The sign warns you will get insulted and this game is not for the easily offended.  These guys must have made a lot of money!

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2010-11-21 027Above: A joust!  As we watched, I grabbed photos of some of the “characters”.

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Above/below: Big guy chowing down on a turkey leg.

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2010-11-21 030Above: No hat?  There, he fixed it.

2010-11-21 031Above: Aren’t spiky Mohawks out?

2010-11-21 032Above: Jim blinked but with the sunglasses on can ya tell?

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Above/Below: This guy was just plain cool.  His son was dressed similarly.

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2010-11-21 044Above: “Street  performers”

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Above/Below: We came upon this booth twice.  Having an Italian Greyhound I wanted to pet these huge dogs and compare their personalities to Dasher.  We “donated” a dollar.  You can see the donation box above.  On the second pass of this place I realized it’s not a donation for a rescue or such since there would surely be mention of such circumstances.  These people set up a booth with 6 Greyhounds, allow people to look at them and pet them in hopes of getting donations tips.  Slightly dishonest, not really, kinda sorta, maybe, but definitely ingenious!

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We spent 4-5 hours at the festival.  Fun stuff.  Lots of eye candy.  Lots of characters.

Here’s 2 short videos of the festival:

360 view.
Belly dancers

You’d think we ate enough today but alas, we went over to Carl & Tim’s for dinner.  Carl made a roasted chicken in his rotisserie oven gadget.  It came out wonderful.  Now I want one.  I even looked in the sale ads.  Another gadget?  Surely I have room.  Oh, we also had rolls, Brussels sprouts in a yummy, yummy garlic butter sauce, Stove Top stuffing and gravy.  Arteries can now harden on command.

2010-11-21 052Above: Carl & Tim’s fire pit.  Warmth!

2010-11-21 049Above: Jim digs in.

2010-11-21 050Above: Tim shows off what you wish you had.

3 comments:

  1. Nice pics!
    Looks just like the one we have here in Michigan. I understand the performers just work their way around the country doing these festivals.

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  2. Wow!! That is a huge Faire!!

    I wonder if that diner did the coupon thing to try and drum up business but just hasn't realized that some basics need to be fixed to retain customers?

    You should start your own business- a restaurant consultation company. You wouldn't be a reviewer, per se. Restaurants could hire you to come in and audit the place and give suggestions on how to improve- basics like clean bathrooms and dining rooms to improving the order taking process to improving customer service form servers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Wayne: Yes a lot of them travel. Some of the other staff are just seasonal employees (we talked with a few).

    @Liz: There is a company that hires for secret shoppers of restaurants. They reimburse for part of the meal in exchange for your review.

    ReplyDelete

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