what kind of a restaurant doesn't have vermouth?


My younger sisters both work at a Mexican restaurant in Lafayette called El Charro. Often, one or both will return home, shirts splattered with refried beans, with stories that usually revolve around the ridiculous restaurant patrons of Lafayette. One such story Kelly told me was about an old man who tried to order vermouth. Really, really wanted some vermouth. Sadly, El Charro was out of vermouth. Kelly tried to apologize to the man, but he could not be comforted. "What kind of a restaurant doesn't have vermouth?" he asked her. "It's a bar, but there's no vermouth?"

Even as the meal progressed, he kept bringing the subject back up. Kelly takes food orders: "I keep running this through my head, but it's just not making sense to me. There's no vermouth at all?" Kelly brings complimentary replacement drink from the bar: "Thank you... it's just, no vermouth? Totally out of vermouth?" Old man clasps Kelly's hand as he pays the bill: "I don't blame you. It's not your fault. You're not in charge of ordering the vermouth."

Fast forward to two weeks later. I and a group of friends dine at El Charro and have the pleasure of having sisters Kelly and Molly as our waitresses. All is going well until the end of the meal, when Molly approaches our table to apologize. El Charro has run out of guacamole. As per our family's usual tradition of running jokes into the ground, I begin imitating the old man.

"What kind of a restaurant doesn't have guacamole?" I ask. "I mean, this is a Mexican restaurant, right? And... there's no guacamole?" Molly gives me a tight-lipped smile and a small chuckle. Energized by discount margaritas, polite laughter and the melodious sound of my own voice, I continue.

"I'm trying to get this straight in my head. This is a Mexican restaurant, and you just ran out of guacamole?" Molly continues to grin, but her face starts to waver. I go on and on, until Molly mutters something about searching for extra guacamole downstairs and darts away.

It is only then that I realize, Kelly was the one who had to deal with Captain Vermouth. Molly doesn't know about the vermouth guy. All she knows is that her older brother has been berating her for five minutes, in front of his friends, about the lack of guacamole; guacamole that no one has actually requested, guacamole that no one cares about, guacamole that Molly is now frantically searching through El Charro's catering offices to find.

Everyone is disappointed in me. Kelly threatens to beat me upside the head with a menu. Molly, bless her little heart, comes back, arms laden with single-serving-size guacamole, and is puzzled when no one at the table takes one any from her. What kind of a brother sends his little sister on a pointless Mexican-condiment-related errand? I keep running it through my head, but it's just not making sense to me.


You son of a bitch.

i second that.

i mean, really, sean. your sisters are plenty hard to keep straight, but you're their brother! no vermouth for you.

What I wanna know is, who drinks Vermouth on its own? I mean, sure... I can see if the guy wanted a Manhattan, and the crucial ingredient was missing or something. But straight Vermouth, that's just gross. What a sicko.

I think the guy actually ordered a martini. Still, vermouth is gross.

i agree. the fact that it has the word 'mouth' in the name is gross enough. just like 'plymouth' or 'dartmouth' or 'fuckmouth.'

Yeah, I was there ... it was pretty mean. I was quite tempted to take one of the single-serving guacamole containers and, even though I loathe the stuff, just start gleefully shoveling guac into my mouth - so as to give poor Molly some validation. Sean sent her on a wild goose chase indeed, that bastard!

never have i seen someone bring upon himself such hostility from one short post. i say, well done, you insensitive dickmouth.

But, it would have been funny with the right sister. Doesn't anyone see the genius that is SEAN?? Just me? Ah well.

So, after you explained, did she laugh? Even a little?

I know a Capt. Vermouth, his name is Bin Lloyden. Apparently, in France, a "martini" is either just a glass of Martini brand vermouth, or an even mixture of said vermouth and gin. Bin was very put-out by this cultural difference when I ordered "un martini" that turned out to be just Martini brand vermouth at the "American Bar" in the (God-awful) Orly Airport. When he attempted to inform the bartender of his mistake the man insisted that it was a "martini" and proceded to shake his head, mutter under his breath and glare at us until we left the bar... having taken only one sip of the flawed martini. After the Orly incident, at our five-star hotel in the Opera District of Paris, Bin instructed the cute Asian-French "serveuse de bar" how to make an American martini. When he received a couple that were not dry enough (too much vermouth), the girl looked like she was going to cry when Bin leaned over the bar, swirled the shot of vermouth around the glass and dumped it into the sink. The bar manager didn't look too happy either. Whether it was for the leaning over the bar, wasting perfectly good vermouth or for the haranguing his little employee was receiving at the hands of Bin Lloyden, I'm not sure....

I guess the point of my story is that vermouth seems to have a strange power that causes otherwise normal men to cause scenes and harrass perfectly nice service industry employees. I'd also like to say that vermouth is nasty and only freaks (like those in France) would drink it straight-up.

Vermouth is best served in moderation. Splash it into the glass, put a few drops in the ventilation system of your home, or just lean over your martini glass and whisper, "Verrrmoooouth".

But really, what kind of a restaurant doesn't have vermouth? Especially a mexican restaurant where every other person is there for the martinis or just straight vermouth. The nerve of that restaurant.

Like the story.

This is a long shot but I googled El Charro and this site came up. I presume your sisters are no longer employed at El Charro but is there any way they could get the recipe for their blue cheese dip they used to serve with tortilla chips. I don't know if they still do it, I'm talking like 20 years ago. I grew up in Lafayette and was a pretty regular patron of El Charro (never tried the vermouth there, alas too young), but have lived in England for 15 years and I dream about that damn dip - funny the things you miss from home.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on March 2, 2003 3:23 PM.

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