22 February 2007

Are We "Laughing" Yet?

Yesterday GLH and I had a planned evening. Based upon a recommendation from Jul over at This Non-American Life, we had planned to attend a course entitled "Introduction to Swiss Wines" taught by the owners of the Laughing Lemon. The class was to take place at the Tezet near the Oerlikon Bahnhof.

The course was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm. It is a 5-minute walk from the train station. Since our train arrived at 6:10 pm, we should have been in good shape, right?

Well, we ended up getting a bit turned around on the directions, but thought we were in the right area. We asked some people for directions, but couldn't find anyone who spoke English and my German was inadequate for the job.

We then asked people for either the Laughing Lemon or Tezet. But no one had ever heard of either of those places. (We later found out Tezet is the community center, which should have been widely known. I suspect I wasn't pronouncing it correctly.)

We showed the map to someone and after a great deal of gesturing and many fast words I hadn't a hope of understanding, we set off in the direction they indicated. And we walked and we walked and we walked. When we got down near the stadium, we figured that we were much too far away.

Although the evening still could have been saved if only we were Shakira fans. She was singing at the stadium last night and we were approached by many independent salespeople who happened to have available tickets with only a slight mark-up in the ticket's original value.

We still are not certain whether we misunderstood the original pointing and gesturing or whether the person we showed the map to was herself confused about the direction, but it ended up being a wild goose chase. After more than an hour of blindly wandering around Oerlikon, we gave up.

By this time it was 7:30 pm and we were famished. We had found our way back to the train station and noticed a restaurant across the street. We wandered across and looked at its menu. It seemed alright and there were people eating inside, so we gave it a try.

After a few beers, GLH was feeling better and laughing about the experience.

I had worn shoes intended for a short walk from the train station. Very nice with two-inch heels. Not intended for an hour long hike. My feet hurt. A lot. It took me a bit longer to recover from the experience.

Once the food came and I was no longer on the verge of starving, I too felt better.

One interesting note...

I ordered älplermacaron (Swiss-style macaroni and cheese). Instead I received the spaghetti alla carbonara.

I think fate is messing with me. In the last month I have rarely gotten what I actually ordered. It is almost like someone is saying "You ordered food. You got food. What's the problem?"

And it is such a pain to explain that it wasn't what I ordered and could they bring what I did order instead that I just eat it.

But what makes this so weird is that the last time we were in an Italian restaurant I ordered spaghetti alla carbonara. And received tortellini soup instead.

So perhaps fate is having a bit of a laugh as well!

I wonder when I will actually get the älplermacaron?

All's well that ends well.

I contacted the Laughing Lemon to explain the situation as I knew they have a "no refunds policy." They were very nice and have told me we can just come the next time they offer the class instead.

But the next time we are taking the portable GPS system!

By the way, if you are ever lost in Oerlikon and find yourself near the train station, walk across the street to the Restaurant Baumgarten.

The food is pretty good. But what is better are the people in the place. Not for certain, but it seems to be owned by a husband and wife. He works the kitchen and bar while she takes care of the "front of the house." They don't speak any English which made ordering a bit of a challenge (hence the food mix-up), but they are very friendly and smile quite a lot to everyone who enters. Regardless of whether they are a regular or stranger. Which I loved because you see that so rarely here.

In addition, the place is full of regulars. When we first got there, it was pretty empty. But the woman made certain we sat at a specific table. As time went on we figured out that she was concerned about which table we sat at because the regulars trickled in and went to tables they obviously considered "theirs."

In most cases, their food and drinks were brought out just a few minutes after they arrived. Without the pesky annoyance of actually having to order it!


The Big Finn said...

Too bad about the food mix-up...

Älplermacaroni is REALLY good!

Global Librarian said...

So I've heard. Perhaps one day I shall be worthy enough to actually receive it!

Jul said...


Don't leave home without consulting it. Way better than ZVV.

Andreas said...

Reminds me of the time I ordered a BERNER Platte (mashed taters, sauerkraut, smoked ham, sausages etc., very filling) in the Lucerner Altstadt in my fluent SwissGerman.
The waitress (heavy Slav accent) brought me a Bündner Platte (cold cuts of various smoked meats with nada, tasty, but very UNfilling)...
Lucky there was a McD at the trainstation :oD

Jill Nachtman said...

I got lost too on my way to class there. (With the printed directions and map from the website to boot.)
We were 15 minutes late...so yes, it is tricky.
Nice find on the Restaurant though, I'll have to give it a try.

Global Librarian said...

Jill - the guy at Laughing Lemon said in all the years they'd been doing the class, no one has ever gotten lost before.

I fully admit that I can be navigationally challenged. That's one of the main reasons why we got a GPS navigation system. But I didn't think that I was so bad that I was the only one it ever happened to.

Thank you for making me feel not so stupid!

gls said...

Just so you know you apparently got your Daddy's Luck too. After my ordeal with the electric skillet he told me I got my "Daddy's Luck" to which I said - "Thanks for the bad luck Dad" and he said "not bad luck, just unfortunate" I guess your luck is ranking right up there too :) Glad I am not the only one THAT gene was passed on to :)

Jul said...

OK, so next time, we'll all go together, meet up at the nearest tram stop, and hold hands as I lead you across the street to the cooking school. OK? :)

Global Librarian said...

Hey, Jul! Will you give me a lollipop too! Pul-leeeze!