Saturday, April 29, 2017

We Walk into a Wealth Management Presentation (and a Bar)

Ruth's Chris Steak House, Fresno, California
“We can’t bring alcohol in there so drink, so drink lots and drink fast.” This advice came from a woman at the bar who was also attending a financial seminar at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. We knew she was going because she had the same flyer we’d gotten in the mail. (Our flyer hadn’t been addressed to us, but rather to a previous resident. That didn’t seem to bother the woman taking reservations for the seminar and dinner.)

We knew before the seminar started that we weren't likely to take advantage of the investment opportunities being offered, because we invested (spent?) all our monies in 2016’s year-long every state tour. We did go for financial reasons, though. We wanted the free steak dinner.

We’ve wanted try Ruth’s Chris for years, but no one offered to treat us until now. (Generally, we have a hard time spending more than the 4 for $4 Wendy’s specials, and we split that.) Since we were having dinner at Ruth’s Chris, we decided to go to the bar (they don’t have bars at the vast majority of Wendy’s).

When we entered the restaurant, the hostess told us the seminar room would be ready in 45 minutes. We said we’d be at the bar, and she told us she’d let us know when the room was ready.

I noticed the music in the restaurant (and in the bar) was jazz and pop standards, which we appreciated;; we'd heard the day was Ella Fitzgerald’s centenary. We heard a few Ella tunes while we were there.

The bar wasn’t crowded, but there were a number of people there. (At one point, a couple came in, and several people moved over a seat, allowing them to sit together.) We got a bar menu, and the bartender mentioned the happy hour specials. The special happy hour steak sandwich was a decent price, but since we had free dinners coming, we just ordered the cocktails at happy hour prices: Mindy had a pomegranate martini, while I had a classic cosmothe free dinner was still coming. We ordered the cocktails at Happy Hour prices, a Pomegranate Martini for Mindy and Ruth’s Manhattan for me.

The woman who’d found out there’d be no alcohol at the presentation ordered a glass of wine; her friend ordered water. (“She’s allowing me to sit with her even though I’m drinking water,” the friend told us. There’s a certain awkwardness being in a bar and going with water or a soft drink, but it’s okay, Really, it is.)  The women joked about going to the seminar and investing and making lots of money. We thought maybe we’d ask them our two questions, but the conversation never quite turned that way.

I did talk to the man sitting next to me, Artie. I said, “I’m sorry for being obnoxious, but can I ask two questions for our blog?”

He agreed, so I asked what makes for a good bar. “A good bartender,” he said. I asked him what made for a good bartender and he said, “Congenial, makes a good drink and maybe slips you a free one every once in awhile.”

I asked what made for a good church and he said he didn’t go. So I said, “Well, even if you don’t go, what would you imagine made for a good church?”

“Now you’re being obnoxious,” he said, so I dropped it there.

JIm, our bartender, was busy with customers, but we appreciated it when he took time to answer our questions. He said a good bar needed “Three things: service, attention to detail, and fresh ingredients.” He’s worked in a lot of other places and in some of those places the drinks were in premixed bottles and, he said, they relied too much on having everything “in the gun.” He appreciates Ruth’s Chris having quality liquor and garnishes. He likes to try different things, and he mentioned wondering if there was such a thing as a black olive martini, which intrigued me.

We asked him what would make for a good church. “Gosh, I don’t know. I went when I was younger.” But he doesn’t go now. But I still asked what he thought would make for a good church and he said, “People and faith.” We started to talk about that, but then two things happened. The hostess of the restaurant came to tell us that our meeting was ready and the water glass slipped from Mindy’s hand. The glass shattered on the bar, and Jim went quickly to work to clean up. She felt bad about the accident, but we had to go.

The financial presentation was fine, but we couldn’t mark “yes” on their form to set up an appointment to talk about our finances. The food was even better (salad, bread, steak, spinach, mashed potatoes, and cake.  Basic things and good things), but really, the drinks may have been best.

We saw Jim in the dining room as we left and asked him to pose for a picture with us. Thank you, too, kind waitress who took the photo.

I wonder if there are any time shares out there that will pay for our drinks as well as dinner? We’re willing to listen.

salad at Ruth's Chris Steak House, Fresno, CA
Isn't it a lovely salad?

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