Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kudos for the little things: purse hooks

I know. You're wondering what this has to do with food, right? First off, it's my birthday month. I take certain liberties when writing on my tiny blog, like for my favorite holiday (refer to previous sentence for clarification). Heck, I'll take whatever liberties I want. 

For the ladies out there, you will appreciate this post. Think about all those times you've been stuck waiting in line outside the bathroom. Dining room floors with no carpet, making those high heels do more damage to your posture. No space to place your carefully coordinated accessory. Such annoyances can put unrest to an otherwise pleasant evening.

More often than not, we're SOL. Interior designers think about the beauty of a space, and not always the practicality or functionality. It's about selling an experience, yet some basic needs aren't met. Like the fancy hotel room with all its amenities. A suite in Vegas had switches to turn individual sections on and turn everything off, but we staged our own light show when attempting something in between. Details can be tedious, except they also make all the difference.

So back to those metal hooks. My first experience with purse care didn't even involve a hook; it was at Bastide in Los Angeles many moons ago. As our four top was seated, a miniature ottoman was situated just to my left. For a moment, I thought they wanted me to kick my feet up and relax. Uh, no. It's for your purse to sit. Really? That was damn thoughtful of them. The bar had been set. Only one other restaurant has done that for me, and they weren't in wine country.

Where does this fascination stem from? We keep our essentials in our handbags. Keys, money, lipstick, smartphone, unmentionables, identification....the list can go on. If pockets were considered sexy, we wouldn't have to worry about this. But they're not. It is acceptable for a guy to place his things on the table. Not so much when we plunk our hobo down. It just doesn't get the same kind of respect, or require the same amount of space for that matter.

Locally, I found two places that took this minor detail into consideration. Both are chains, and each time I was so shocked I probably annoyed my drinking companion. Before the remodel, it was at PF Chang's in Irvine. Oh, and I should be more specific: I'm talking about the bar area (Although the occasional establishment may have coat hooks between booths conducting double duty). Since they upgraded, finding an open seat at the counter is oddly impossible, so I cannot vouch for their hooks anymore.

Location two is where I was earlier in the week  -- Bluewater Grill in Tustin. Here I am, floundering to prevent my unstructured shoulder bag from sliding off the stool. Jasmine, our barkeep, intervened with, "There are hooks underneath." Instantly, my mood became Zen-like. A certain clarity taking over. I ordered my beer and toasted to happy hour.

Guys can roll their eyes all they want, but Jasmine summed it up best. As she explained to her husband, 

"Sure. Why don't you put your wallet on the ground?"