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Cantina del No-No

We haven’t gone out very much since I’ve been expecting so I was excited to head to Gruene Hall for the Texas Tornados Saturday night. I asked Jose if I would have time to nap after work and said we were going to dinner at Cantina del Rio at 7:30. Awesome! I had time to nap, didn’t have to cook dinner, and I was in the mood for nachos.

When end I woke up, I realized it was going to be 200 degrees (or something similar) inside Gruene Hall. What was I going to wear? I had a slight breakdown as most pregnant and non-pregnant women go through. NOTHING FIT. NOTHING WAS COMFORTABLE. NOTHING WAS CUTE. NOTHING WOULD WORK. I didn’t have anything to wear and I held back tears. Jose tried to be patient. He even offered staying in and not going at all. He suggest several dresses and none would do. It seemed hopeless.

Let’s be honest… when you’re almost seven months pregnant, you don’t feel attractive. When you’re hot & sweaty & your clothes fit awkwardly, you don’t feel attractive. I styled my hair in loose curls on top of my head, added a signature flower, and pulled some stray tendrils down. I did the full make-up job, not just mascara and lipstick (as I’m prone to do.) I was wearing foundation for the love of God! I started to feel better, more positive. I even felt attractive! I faced my closet one more time with a renewed outlook. I pulled out a long, flowy, floral print layered skirt with a black waistband (that was my daughters when she was pregnant with my grandson) and paired it with a black tube top that has lace around the bottom. It looked lovely! I could feel that pregnant glow coming back and when Jose walked in the bathroom and saw me, his face made the same expression it used to before I had the belly.

We jumped in the car and headed to Gruene, knowing there would be a wait on a Saturday night. We approached the hostess stand, hand in hand and gave her our name. She told us there would be a 50 minute wait and we said that would be fine. Then it happened. The hostess, who I’m guessing was about 17, too young to serve alcohol, looked at me and said, “Before I seat you, you’ll need to put a shirt on.” My heart sank, my blood boiled, I wanted to scream and cause a scene (and in my younger years, I would have,) but instead I calmly replied with a smile on my face, “I AM wearing a shirt.”

Look, this isn’t fine dining. This is a patio bar, fish tacos, and chips n salsa joint. The food comes in baskets. They haven’t even had a hostess or table service for that long. I understand not seating people in bathing suits, but I had clearly NOT just come off the river. My hair was fixed, my make-up was on, my skirt was adorable… I was attractive, dammit! She told me my appearance was not acceptable and in that moment, all the confidence I had managed to muster up earlier had disappeared without a trace. In one word, I was mortified. Jose’s hand clenched tighter in mine and I knew he was on the verge, too. I managed to spit out the words, “We will wait here for a manger,” while holding back tears.

A gal came out,  a server, maybe a “key employee,” and was very sweet. She told me I was beautiful and there were no problems. We were sat in less than 50 minutes. Our waiter was awesome and I finally got my nachos. They were delicious. The rest of the night was fantastic. We danced away at The Hall, the band was amazing and I was showered with compliments all night from every direction. I felt like a star!

Will I go back to Cantina del Rio? Yes! I hope you do, too. Other than a briefly traumatic experience, it was as wonderful as it always is. Take note restaurant managers… Your hostess is the first and last impression of your establishment. They basically run the show. The wait is in their hands. They will triple seat your worst server and skip your best server. Do you really want a person not even of age to serve alcohol, who is still working (and struggling) with social skills to be in that important of a position? Think about it.