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The Dal Rae

My mother's favorite restaurant in all the world was the Dal Rae. The Dal Rae, in my hometown, is THEE place to see and be seen if you're a mover and shaker in Pico Rivera ... an otherwise gang infested suburb of L.A. I have to admit that they do have fabulous food and although they have become quite pricey over the years, you cannot get a better meal, or a better drink anywhere else.
The Dal Rae was how my mother gauged and measured the chic factor of all other restaurants ... in the world. My mom thought the Dal Rae was the most fabulous place on earth with the best piano bar and the best drinks. She knew Bill, the owner very well. She knew all the different piano players and singers who worked there from the 1960's on up to 2005, the year she passed away. She knew all the waiters and busboys and they all knew her. Our family went there for every birthday, anniversary, graduation, birth, death ... any major event in life, we spent at the Dal Rae.

One year for my sister's birthday I wanted to go somewhere different. This was unheard of. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE? WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WANT TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE? I knew I was tempting fate by "changing plans" on my mother who would inevitably be thrown into a major fit of anxiety but I held my ground. We're going somewhere DIFFERENT!

So, I made reservations at the Parkway Grill. A very glam restaurant in Pasadena. We arrived, my mom and dad, my sister and my husband and I. Before the drinks arrived I could already feel the energy being sucked from our table ... like a black hole ... my mother was completely out of sorts. She was in unfamiliar territory ... a menu she'd never seen before ... waiters she didn't know, people she'd never seen before and everything was .... different. I did my best to ignore her and not jump into care taking mode, while at the same time thinking to myself, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING ... SHE'S GETTING ALL VERKLEMPT.

So, as we imbibed and talked and enjoyed the atmosphere, my mother was visibly uncomfortable. When the waiter arrived to take our orders my mom began to question him on the menu ...

Mom: You don't have any Teriyaki tidbits? (remember, she's thinking Dal Rae ... as though all fancy schmancy restaurants have the SAME MENU ...)

Waiter: Uh, no mam.

Mom: Umphf ... well, how about a Lobster Louie?

Waiter: Uh, no mam, I'm sorry.

In her frustration, and realizing she's holding everything up, she orders the soft shell crab. I know she has no idea what she has just ordered but I am not about to tell her because I'm freaking hungry and I was already losing patience.

As the evening progresses, the conversation flows ... and I see her ... fidgeting ... we all feel it, we all ignore it ... she's out of her element ... what kind of restaurant is this? No Teriyaki tidbits! WTF! ...

Dinner arrives. The waiter places my mother's dish in front of her and I swear ... she threw her hands up and lurched backward in fear ....

Waiter: Is there something wrong mam?

Mom: OMG! It's just sitting there ... looking at me ... like a spider!


  1. LOL! That was my Grandmother and Grandfather's favorite restaurant too!!!! That is so funny! And of course they loved to go to Marmacs....remember that place!?! Your poor mommy, how dare you try to change her habits! Bad Debbie!

  2. Ya Know...having lived in Pico for a very long time...I have never stepped in there...don't know why but always heard it was a nice place.
    My girlfriend Connie used to be a waitress there along time ago...said she got the best tips there....I guess I'm just a Jims burger kinda gal~


  3. OMG DEBBIE....This restaurant is a landmark in itself! I must tell Ruben to come to see this post....whew, what a great visit we had. We got in on Monday, but spent all day yesterday doing outside chores and today more of the same. We will both get back into blogland by the end of the week. Dear one, it was the highlight of our trip to see my beloved family and YOU....Ruben and I could NOT STOP talking about the magic that we experienced, seeing you and the rest of my family. We spent such precious hours, laughing so fact, the moment we walked in and saw each other, the laughs began. If laughing is good for your health, we all got a dose of life-enhancing therapy that day. I will never forget it. Ruben loved you and Bunny and Danny; and really, Danny looks like Vigo! I hope you love your little charm that I made; I will never forget your reaction and look on your face. It was fun to make, knowing that you would get a hoot out of it! We had a great trip. On Sunday, we had gone out to Riverside to see Raul Ramos (remember him from El Rancho?) He has a mansion out there, and he held a birthday party for Ramon, Ruben's brother. We had a great time, but really, I was aching to come home and get things in order. Thank you for making it to our brunch and Debbie, thanks again for reconnecting with us and thanks to blogging, we can always stay hooked up. I just love the picture here of that blond contortionist, typing!! HEEEEE! You are a hoot. I love ya dear....Anita

  4. Debbie dear,
    please email me:

    I want to show you some pictures from the brunch that I want to post but I need everyone's permission to do so. They are really nice....but let me know. Anita

  5. Debbie
    That was hilarious. Your poor mom. That dish did look a little freaky. When folks serve up the whole creature like that, I just feel bad that we threw the little fellow alive into a fry vat and now it sits there on my plate frozen in its last moment of agonized existence. For all I know it could have begging for its life. Not the meal I intended.



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