I work at a steakhouse and our menu has many items with Texas-themed names. Our city, as all others, has
its fair share of IDIOTS. I respectfully submit:
Armadillo Cheese Fries (actually Amarillo Cheese Fries)—I don't even want to know what they THINK they are ordering!
—Lisa, Rochester, NY
So many fucking idiots in this fish restaurant where I work ask for the fish mahi-mahi by calling it "MOWIE-MOWIE." I make a point of repeating it back to them correctly, but they never learn. Or sometimes I say, "We aren't serving that, but we do have MA-HEE MA-HEE. Would you like that instead?" Because I appear so professional and they cannot tell if I am kidding, they usually don't catch on. Dumbasses.
—Rick, Irving, Texas
One night at my restaurant, a co-worker's guest asked for a glass of Kool-Aid, whoops,
I mean White Zin, so my co-worker brought the glass of wine to her, only to have this dim
cheerleader type say "NO, I wanted WHITE Zin, meaning of course, a white wine.
I was aghast one night when a guest asked for a bowl of BAY-JAW Clam Chowder (Baja Clam Chowder). What rock did this guy come from?
And what is up with these Socially-Conscious-Liberal-I'm-So-Educated Types who insist on pronouncing everything on the menu with a foreign accent? I can't tell to how many times I have listened to people pronounce Tequila names with this ridiculous affected Mexican accent or a fake Japanese accent if they happen to be ordering a dish containing Sake. I have yet to hear a person of foreign origin use a fake "American" accent. Thank You!
Here are a couple of menu manglings that used to make me cringe:
"Oh waiter... to start with I'll have the basket of TORTIL-LA chips (pronounced like GODZILLA) and PI-CANT sauce (as opposed to pi-CAN-te)"
Just writing this out still makes the hair on the my neck stand straight up.
Working in Maine, I waited on a couple on their honeymoon from way far up north Maine (ya cahn't get thea from hea) who asked "Is SOUP DO JOWER a local specialty? We saw it on the last menu too." I politely replied, without trying to make them feel as ignorant as they were, that "soup du jour" is a French saying meaning soup of the day, and it changes every day!
One poor soul, trying to order wine, actually ordered a "CAR-AH-FAY of SHAB-LISS." This scores well in terms of menu manglings that we collect in our restaurant. People regularly order "fish FILL-ITS" too. The fresh fish can be prepared a variety of ways: fried, grilled, etc. Sometimes when I ask the guests how they would like their fish, they answer, "Well done."
There have been times when I have had to leave a table because some guy, hell bent on impressing his date through ordering me around like his personal slave, ordered a glass of "mer-lot." The waitress standing behind me at the time, knowing that it was my table, and any smart-ass remark out of my mouth would definitely decrease my tip, turned and said "And I bet you'll like it A LOT too Sir."
The house dressing was called shrimp vinaigrette. When Marla asked the older man she was waiting on what he'd like on his salad, he glanced at the menu and replied, "I'll have the shrimp VAGINETTE." Marla thought to herself, "Well, it might take a while..."
—Michelle M., Pa.
My female guest, who was a bit messy after she finished eating her crab legs with butter, stopped me as I passed by the table: "Miss, do you have a Wet One?" I restrained myself from blurting, "I BEG your PARDON! That information is PRIVATE."
Two ladies sat down and immediately demanded to have "one o-them, you know, them strawberry mama-rimas."
—John O., Philadelphia
Most restaurants carry a salad dressing called Thousand Island. Recently, a guest mistakenly asked mefor that Three Mile Island dressing. If you dont live in Pennsylvania, you may not know that Three Mile Island is the nuclear plant that leaked a serious amount of radioactivity into the surrounding area and almost had a meltdown about 10 years ago.
One day at my bar it was quite busy and I was taking the
appetizer order for this very elderly woman. (God only knows how she hopped up
on that bar stool without breaking her hip in the first place.) Anyway, she
orders a Chicken Quesadilla. Only she says to me that she would like a Chicken
QuesaDILDO. Three other bartenders and myself couldn't even restrain ourselves
from laughing DIRECTLY in her face. You really had to be there.
Stephanie, Essex County NJ
Two ladies sit down at the bar. One orders the CAL AM ARIES (calamari) and the other orders BUFFALO SKRIMPS (buffalo shrimp). They both order a SCRWABERRY DAKARIES (strawberry daiquiri) and wait for their food. When the food comes out, the lady eating the skrimps looks at the lady eating the calamaries and replies, " Hey! I didn't get any onion rings with mine." The lady then asked me where her onion rings were, and barely holding back a laugh, I told her that those weren't onion rings,,, they were pieces of calamari. The lady eating the calamari holds up the group of tentacles and asks me what they are if the "onion rings" are the calamari. I tell here they are the tentacles and the rings are the body. She looks at me concerned and asks what exactly is calamari. Before I could even finish saying SQUID she spit it out and pushed her plate away. Her friend replied, "I'll be just fine with my skrimps."
Layde, Charlotte, NC
I work at an Australian themed restaurant and on our menu we have items which you can add on to dinner plates such as a few shrimp with a steak or a small portion of crab legs to accompany your ribs. Anyhow, I get this table that orders " sum a dat crab add on stuff", so I politely ask, "well to what dinner item would you like to add that too?" I should've known her response: " I want you to add dat to my plate!"
Justin, Riverside, CA
We have a dish called "The Cancun." I have had many guests order the "Cajun," which I expect. It's the ones that order the "raccoon" or the "Cocoon" that REALLY scare me. Please brush up on your hooked on phonics before ordering!!!!
Theonpenny, Columbus, OH
Many of our customers cannot seem to pronounce our menu items correctly. The following is a small list of the most frequently mangled. The right side is the actual item and the left side is what it was called.
onion petals: onion pebbles
mozzarella sticks: mossarelly sticks
roast chicken club: chicken sub, chicken turkey club
apple turnover: apple flipped over
Sometimes it's the staff that has a hard time with the menu. I used to work in a four star German restaurant in Milwaukee, and we were serving butternut squash bisque soup one day. When one of the servers had a guest ask her what the soup of the day was, she proudly said, "butternut squash BITCH!" Needless to say the woman was taken back, and the server apologized and went on her way.
Once I had a lady order her meal but told me before the meal that she wanted, "somma those chicken QUES-SANDOS". It was funny, I repeated it back to her correctly then went to the kitchen to tell my fellow serving comrades the great mangle of the word.
I have been a server for 10 years and truly enjoy my job. Being human I too make mistakes. My worse mistakes are when at the end of the night I am tired and my mind is not as fresh as it was at the beginning of the shift. After repeating the specials over and over again to every table for some reason my tongue gets tied.
Here are my manglings I hope you enjoy them.
Guest - "What is Gazpacho?"
My reply - "Cold Cereal."
Guest - "What is Calamari?"
My reply - "Squid, We serve the rings and testicles."
Guest - "What are the specials today?" (Before I had
the opportunity to tell them.)
My reply - "We have Pork Chops marinated in a Cajun tomato sauce. We also have scallops and shrimp masturbated in a creamy white wine sauce."
Guest - "I'll have the Pork Chops!"
I work at a middle Eastern restaurant in an urban neighborhood with a large gay population.
One night, I was waiting on a very pleasant lesbian couple who lent the impression that they were on a first, or at least early, date. After their entrees were cleared, I offered to recite the dessert menu, but they'd apparently read the list before they ordered dinner, and one of them excitedly said, "We'll split a piece of the Lesbian cheesecake!"
Ever the quick-thinking waiter, I kept a straight face and pointed to my very pretty gay friend behind the bar. "LESBIAN cheesecake?? Michelle's right there!"
They melted into their chairs in embarrassment, then we all laughed really loudly for ten minutes. Finally, I sent Michelle over with a piece of our Lebanese cheesecake, on the house in appreciation of the most amusing moment I've had in months.
What the hell are "skrimps" or a "skraw"? Is it that hard to say?
If you want to taste the liquor in your "skrawburry dakie", next time order a shot. The point of the Daiquiri is so you don't have to taste the liquor. Genius.
Jimmy, Trappe, PA
I am a server in an Italian restaurant in the Northwest. On our menu we offer 5 different pastas to go with about 9 different sauces. One of the pasta choices is Mostaccioli. I cannot even count how many different ways this word gets pronounced, but my favorite is when the guest asks for MOST A ECOLI (like the fatal bacteria). I usually smile, laugh under my breathe and say "coming right up"!
A married couple are just finishing up their meal. As I remove their plates, the husband asks for a "cafe con leche."
"Honey, is that what we had in Rome?" his wife asks. Ever the helpful waitress I tell her, "That's espresso with milk."
"Espresso with milk?!" she declares confused. "Oh no, I wouldn't like that at all. I'll just have a cappuccino, please."
One local restaurant used to feature "soup du jour of the day"
I worked in an Italian place and I just loved it when a customer would order the ZIT-I.
Anonymous, Richmond VA
The word Foccacia (foh-KAH-shuh) bread was a great source of amusement when it first appeared on the menu of my old Marie Callender's. Not only with the customers, but with the staff too. There were at least 7-8 pronunciations from everyone and was a constant topic of discussion. I had to pass the correct pronunciation around after I heard one of the waitresses saying something akin to "FUCKOFF-chia" or "FUCK-A-chia"... the looks on the customer's faces was priceless because she had no idea she was pronouncing it wrong... ahhh... good stuff!
Sputnik, Los Angeles
I work in a southwestern style restaurant (you know the one with the funny baby-back ribs song) and people always want to know what Piko - d- Galo (Pico de Gallo) is. I cannot even count the times idiots have ordered a fu-gita salad or steak fu-gita's instead or Fajita salads or steak fajitas. Please people, learn some culture.
Patrick, San Diego
There was a gentleman who, presumably to impress his date, asked me to bring a bottle of "mutton cadet" to the table... I couldn't shake the mental image of little marching, saluting lamb chops dressed up in tiny-but-spiffy military uniforms.
Hot Stuff, Los Angeles
I used to work at a sub shop where customers could order their sandwich on a sub roll or a pita. All to often, the customer asked for their sandwich on "PETER"(pita) which we did not in fact have on the menu!
Teresa, Richmond VA
Well, I've been in food service most of my life, and after working in restaurants and bars for so long decided to change careers...
I now run a liquor store specializing in fine wines, and you wouldn't Believe how many people still ask for 'Mer-lot' instead of Merlot, and Cab-i-net Savvy Yawn, Board ducks, and even Sigh-rah. The one that got me this week was a woman who was trying to find something sweeter than "Chant tea" (Chianti) Fairly mangled....
Indigo, Minneapolis/St. Paul
I work at a certain Australian themed Steakhouse. On the menu we have the Sweet Chook of Mine and the Chook and Caesar salad (Chook being pronounced Hook with a C in front of it). Costumers (especially men) are constantly saying "the sweet whatever" or "sweet thing of mine". So I asked a few friend of mine who didn't work there how the thought it was pronounced and a few said "cock". So come to find out all of these guys are afraid to be saying "sweet cock of mine"!
I also love the trailer trash who order Filet and pronounce it fiLET!
I worked for 7 years in that Southwestern casual dining restaurant with the fancy baby back rib jingle also. My favorite Menu Manglings were the customers who would order the Monetary Chicken (Montery) and the others who would order Chicken Qwasi-dillas with Guatemala Sauce (Quesadillas with Guacamole)!
Not Waiting Anymore, Middlesex
What's so hard about aioli? I work in a moderately upscale seafood restaurant, and aioli is by far the most mispronounced item on the menu.
Guest: What's this lobster "owee"?
Me: Lobster aioli? Aioli is a cream sauce similar to a mayonnaise containing garlic oil. Lobster aioli is a mayo with lobster and garlic oils.
Guest: Can I substitute something for this lobster "ay-lee"? I don't really like lobster. Could I have another crab cake?
Me: (silently) Sure, we're serving a crab cake appetizer with a lobster for $8.95. You can have anything you'd like.
Me: (aloud) I'm sorry sir, lobster aioli is not actually lobster. It's a cream sauce, drizzled on the plate to add a little flavor. It contains a little garlic oil and a little lobster oil, and truly is a complement to our crab cake.
Guest: I don't like "ali". Can you leave it off?
Me: (silently) Sure. I didn't turn her on in the first place.
Me: (aloud) Absolutely, ma'am.
Why must people get in over their heads? If you don't know what something is, ask politely. Don't try to fake it. You know, like the people who point it out, and say "What is this with the crab cakes, the lobster ___?" and look questioningly. I'm never snobbish with them, and always say "Aioli? It's just..." Some things never cease to amaze me. . .
I work as a manager at a well known ice cream place. we have a frozen
coffee drink that has been selling like crazy, but rarely can someone say it
correctly ex. Mill- latie, moo- latie, ma latie, my personal
favorite is "one of those moo-wtf evers i cant say it so im not going to
try one of those frozen coffee drink things." is it really that hard
to say Moolatte. you would think that today 90% of people would know what
a latte is and every jim-bob-joe should know how to say MOO.
H-Bomb, St. Louis
This gentleman at my table order's the "Victoria's filet" except,
in a cute little Freudian slip, he asks for the "Victoria's secret
filet". Not missing a beat, I look him straight in the eye and ask
sweetly: "Would you like that on leather or lace?". His
dining buddy busted up laughing. The guy still had no idea what he had
just asked me for!
Anonymous, Atlanta, GA
Working in Louisiana, there is a popular dish called
"trout menieure." You can guess the rest. Trout Manure.
Not to mention the dish is like "shrimp scampi": it can be prepared about a thousand different ways, and the guest's preparation technique is always right.
Simolin, New Orleans, LA
I've been working at a restaurant near Los Angeles for a little over a year
now. It's an "Island" themed restaurant that is branching out all over
the west coast. Ever since I started working there, there is about 95% of
customers that can't pronounce our BBQ chicken salad. The Wiqui Waqui (Wi-ki-Wa-ki)
has been called the Wick-Whack, the Whickky Waqy, or my favorite the "BBQ
chicken salad and I'm not going to try to say it." Really some people
shouldn't speak at all. And don't even get me started on PIC-de-gay-lo.
Tony, Los Angeles
I used to work at Outback Steakhouse, where every menu item is named after a
place in Austraila, or some other slang. The filet is named after a place
called Victoria, hence the Victoria Filet. Many many women would get
embarrassed after ordering "Victoria's Secret," while a few clever
frat guys would order the same thing, then high five each other.
Even better was the Freudian slip associated with the prime rib, which came in 8, 12, or 16 ounce cuts. Occasionally, people would order a "12 inch Prime." Since Outback carries a casual dining feel, if I thought I could get away with it, my reply would be...
Men: 12 inches for Mr. Ron Jeremy. And for you, miss?
Women: I'd like the 12 inch prime.
Me: I bet you would. (or) Are you sure you can handle 12 inches?
Josh, Kansas City, MO
I work at a tapas restaurant. Let's start with that. People are forever
thinking that we are a "topless" establishment.
Here are a few gems:
Our Sloppy Jose Quesadillas are very commonly referred to as Sloppy Joe's, or my favorite: Sloppy Hoes.
Chipotle becomes "Chip-oh-lah-tay" or "Chip-ahh-toll".
Arugula has become "arguable", "arughula".
Manchego cheese? "Man-chee-go" "Man-chan-go"
Of course I'm just happy when people actually READ the menu, rather than order the Roasted Pears on PECAN Crisps and wonder why their throat is closing up because they are allergic to nuts.
Cable Kitten, Orlando
I worked for four years in a steakhouse. It was my first serving job and
certainly not my last, but gave me great stories. Every server knows what its
like, but only those from a steakhouse can appreciate this. I wish I had a
dollar for every time someone ordered a six-INCH sirloin instead of six-ounce
sirloin. What were they thinking of?
Lisa B., Louisville