Something weird just happened. Without me asking, a smiling Indian man handed me free Indian food. And it was delicious.
I visited Mehfil Indian Cuisine on the corner of 2nd and Folsom streets, which must be doing rather well for itself judging by the abundance of customers and lack of interest in my money.
I ordered chicken tikka masala, and quickly realized I only had a $100 bill in my wallet. I asked the cashier if he could break the bill, and he lowered his eyes to stare deeply into the register, shaking his head all the while. Then he shot up and glared into my eyes. It was pretty intense. But a huge smile took over his face and he exploded in laughter and said, "You eat free! Take it! You pay another time!"
OK! I will! Twist my arm, geeze.
A couple things...
One, why does this not happen more often? I'm saving this lucky $100 bill and whipping it out every chance I get. Maybe I'll get some more free stuff? Or maybe I'll be asked to relinquish whatever it is I thought I would be getting? We'll have to see.
Two, was this act truly a selfless one? Or was it an act of bravado that was supposed to speak for the impeccable quality of the food itself? Were they really that confident I would be honest and come back and like it and pay the difference? Even if I did, what would happen if I came back the very next day with the same $100 bill? Could I perpetually relive this experience and dine on succulent chicken tikka masala for the rest of my natural-born life?! Wow! Can you imagine such a thing?!
Three, is it even possible for a legally operating restaurant to sell plates for less than $5 and reach a point of financial security where they just... don't really care to collect payment for food anymore? Hmm. Perhaps they get a kick out of seeing customers leave as happy as their own cash-register man? Or is there a dark underbelly to this grinning Indian establishment? One that's sullied with illegal curry imports and the street dealing of the substance?