Last Friday’s bike date was nothing to write home about. Not that the food wasn’t tasty or unique: our authentic Afghan meal of lamb and chicken kabobs and a vegetable platter of pumpkin, spinach and spicy cauliflower was exceptional, worthy of the long waiting list that formed as we ate.
The bike route to the restaurant wasn’t bad either. We took the Stevens Creek Trail, cut through two bike-only access points into Sunnyvale and then traversed the grid of an older neighborhood, approaching the restaurant from the rear. Very important since the restaurant is located in a strip mall on the bike-unfriendly El Camino Real. Given its location, I didn’t expect a bike rack, but there weren’t even any sign posts to lock up to. Just an inhospitable “no bikes on sidewalk” sign on a brick pillar. Sigh.
After the date, we wondered: why was this date so dull? After a year of weekly bike dates, has it become stale? Have we run out of places to go? Has Bike Date Friday become passé, or have we just become blasé? We’ve had other dates that didn’t turn out as expected. Where we couldn’t get a table without a long wait, where the food wasn’t that great, where we faced a rude driver on the way to the restaurant. But the date was always fun, never dull.
I think the difference is that we usually choose restaurants in walking districts, not strip malls, so there’s a lot more going on. If we don’t like the looks of the restaurant we have planned, we walk on to another. If the food is so-so, at least there was something entertaining we saw on the street. Or we could duck into another place for dessert or coffee.
I’m not going to say I won’t go back to Kabul since the food was really good and it was cool to see large extended Afghan families gather for a meal. But I will say it won’t be a bike date, and it may only be take-out.
How important is ambiance when you choose a restaurant? Or is it just about the food?
About Bike Date Friday: Since September 2010, my husband and I have had a standing date every Friday night. We eat at a different place every week and arrive by bike. There’s no better way to end the work week.