Tableside preparation of guacamole is stupid. For many reasons.

I don't like avocados. As a result, I also don't like guacamole. So perhaps the following statements are tinged with bias.


Or perhaps I am more objective about this matter than your average guacamole enthusiast. 

Either way, I am hear to report that the recent trend in restaurants for waitstaff - armed with mortar and pestle - to make the guacamole right at the table (table-side seems to be the trendy word used to describe this service) is stupid. 

For reasons that I will never understand, people seem to love watching men and women smash avocados in a faux-volcanic mortar while they watch. They think of this as a special treat. An added bit of service. A pulling back of the curtain to get a view of the work normally done in the kitchen. They consider this a guarantee of freshness. A kissing cousin of the farm-to-table movement. 

It's none of these things. 

The way to determine if your guacamole is fresh is to taste it. If it tastes fresh, isn't that the only relevant data point to consider? If the guacamole made at your table tasted less-than-fresh but the nine day old frozen guacamole tasted fresh and delicious, which would you prefer?

In the end, it's it our tastebuds that make the determination of freshness?

And if you're concerned that the restaurant might serve you less-than-fresh guacamole, why did you choose the restaurant in the first place? Do you normally eat in restaurants that you don't trust? 

And what about the rest of the food, being prepared somewhere in the depths of the kitchen? How are you guaranteeing its freshness?

In addition, the making of guacamole table-side is actually detrimental to your dining experience, for two reasons:

1. While the person makes the guacamole at your table, conversation often comes to a grinding halt. Your attention is drawn to the mortar and pestle, and it's suddenly like watching the Food Network instead of spending time in conversation with friends.

I hate it. 

2. The poor restaurant worker turned performance artist who must stand at your table and make your guacamole could be more productive if he or she were in the kitchen, making a larger batch of guacamole for everyone who has ordered the foul substance. Instead, the restaurant either hires multiple guacamole makers (requiring them to raise prices), temporarily strips the kitchen of a chef (slowing down food preparation), or forces you to wait for guacamole until the waitstaff is finished making guacamole for tables 7 and 9.


Years ago, I went to dinner with a girlfriend and her friends. Between courses, the waiter wiped the tablecloth clean with a small, white scraper. When he left, one of the women leaned in and whispered, "That's what makes this place fancy."

Forget the tastiness of the food or the promptness of service. It was the use of a small bit of plastic - a bauble - that impressed her. 

crumb scraper.png

Table-side guacamole is a bauble. It's unnecessary and purposeless ostentation. It's an unneeded and unappreciated interruption. it's the illusion of special or fancy.

It's stupid. Make the food in the kitchen. Bring it to the table when it's ready. I'll be busy chatting with friends. 

I don’t know Kathleen Hampton, but based upon her lawsuit, I suspect that ‘entitled and insufferable” are likely descriptors.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the woman who wished to dine solo at a Portland, Oregon restaurant on Valentine’s Day and is now suing the restaurant because she claims she received rude service.

Kathleen Hampton is asking for $100,000 in damages and apologies both in person and in print in ‘the news and local newspapers,” so we already know – regardless of what actually happened that night – that she is insane.


Insane is probably the wrong word. There are better choices:
Entitled. Myopic. Despicable. Miserable. Haughty. Insufferable. Undatable.  

Hampton claims that the restaurant refused to seat her because her reservation was for two but she was dining alone. She claims that the manager also refused to provide her with takeout service.

The restaurant’s manager tells a very story.

“She made reservation for two and when she got there, said: ‘Oh just by myself.’ We offered for her to sit at the bar with other single diners since Valentine’s Day is very busy and all we know is she got up and left without paying after she drank two glasses of wine.”

It was an amusing enough story on it’s own, but when I read the complaint, which Hampton filed herself, amusing quickly transformed into hilarious. I suggest you read the whole thing (which isn’t very long but is filled with hidden gems), but if you’re pressed for time, the section that Hampton has labeled “WHAT I WANT” is entertainment enough.


I want to be made whole by public apology both in person and in writing in news and community newspapers. I don’t want this to happen to anyone in the inner North/Northeast area. When you don’t have business owners that don’t live in the area they don’t have a vested interest in community. I also want $100,000 to make sure all business owners on N.E Alberta know we are serious about our community

I chose not to reproduce the random spaces or superfluous capitalizations that Hampton frequently uses in her complaint, mostly because the actual demands that she makes say more about her character than any amusement that I might have at the expense of her writing skills.

It’s hard to imagine that people like this exist outside of fiction. Even if Hampton’s complaint is true, it’s hard to imagine why her husband or a family member or friend didn’t advise against these genuinely stupid demands, suggesting instead that perhaps this was not as big a deal as she seems to think and maybe restitution in the form of a free dinner or two at a restaurant of her choice might make more sense, rather than attempting to bankrupt a restaurant for what amounted to rude behavior.