I don't work in Dallas and driving there for lunch, a blind date lunch no less, was a hard sell. So, when my friend who set me up on my first blind lunch date said it was five minutes from my office, I said "deal." (I recently went on two different blind dates. Why? I don't know. Maybe because the stories I get to tell afterward are so good.) I should have stayed in the confines of my office and had a microwave meal.
The L.C. (that's what my co-workers and I have coined the Las Colinas/Irving area where we work) has some great lunch spots. On this particular day I met my blind date at The Keg Steakhouse & Bar on West John Carpenter Freeway. He looked normal. He looked nice. He was wearing a suit. But I'd soon learn that he came from a place where nail clippers or nail files are not readily available.
The hostess sat us at a booth. My date didn't even pick up the menu. He said he already knew what he wanted --- the Keg sliders, three mini burgers ---- whether they were on the menu or not. (If this isn't foreshadowing, then I don't know what is.) While I carefully perused the menu, my date started picking...a bottle of wine? No. He started picking his fingers. Specifically, he started picking the skin off of his fingers to make a pile of dead skin on our table.
I looked up from my menu, ready to order my chicken sandwich and to continue our conversation only to be faced with a mountain of sloughed skin. My eyes darted up and down between the pile and my date, hoping he would get the hint and stop. I thought he did when he swept the first pile of skin off the table and into the napkin on his lap. I was wrong. His pile had gotten too big and he needed a clean surface to start pile number two.
I should have said something to him or gotten up and left, but I felt trapped; several of my company's human resources employees had chosen the same restaurant for lunch and sat at the booth next to us. I didn't want to make a scene. Also, I thought my date felt nervous, so I was willing to let his behavior slide. But my silence enabled his skin picking and left me with a three-pile lunch.
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Recently, I attended a party with my friend who had set us up. He apologized again for setting me up with the skin-picker. The skin-picker had since transferred to a new job outside of Texas. My friend mentioned that I wasn't the only one who'd witnessed his table tricks. Apparently, when my blind date's name had come up, someone mentioned that my blind date was a "nice guy, but had terrible table manners."
Eager to erase that bad blind date from my memory and from the office gossip, I agreed to go on a second blind date lunch with a new guy. I convinced myself it would be great. We met at Blu Ginger Thai Café on MacArthur Boulevard. I arrived at restaurant ready for a great Thai meal and soon realized I shouldn't have worn high heels, or that I should have stopped growing in middle school. I stood taller than my blind date -- much taller. I'm not sure why the friend of a friend who set us up opted not to share this physical characteristic with me, but it would've been nice to have known. And it would've been nice to have worn flats instead.
We sat down, which instantly made me feel better, and had a pleasant date with good conversation, but there weren't any sparks and I never heard from him again. I did, however, hear from my coworkers when I got back to the office. Yet again, two of them had been at the same restaurant for lunch and witnessed my blind date experience. They ridiculed me for not dating someone my own size and made tons of short jokes. I defended the guy and told them he couldn't help his height, while they retorted that I could put a better screening device in place before accepting anymore blind dates.
Despite these bad luck blind dates, I'd recommend anyone in the Irving area to try Blu Ginger. But get there early, because there's usually a line from noon to 1 p.m. on weekdays. The owner and staff are always friendly and welcoming, and Blu Ginger's food is excellent. The restaurant has reasonably priced lunch specials that include an entrée, soup and a crispy veggie spring roll. I'd suggest The Keg, but I can't remember if I liked my food, since I'd lost my appetite long before it made it to the table.