We were wandering about town one evening in Copenhagen. We had no set destination, but were enjoying the many people, restaurants, and plazas we encountered on each cobblestone street and alley. But we soon grew hungry, so our wandering grew more purposeful: we stopped to peruse menus. Unfortunately, the need to divide the currency listed by 5 did nothing to disguise the ridiculousness of the prices. From $45 fish dishes to $70 tapas menus, the options were exorbitant.
After a few passes and a few stomach grumbles, we settled on a little place resembling a cafe-deli. Its glass counter showed containers of hummus, salads, and other Middle Eastern-style light foods. Of course, signs on the wall also hawked ‘chili con carne’ and burgers, but we decided to go with their specialty. It was a three-salad special, so B picked dolma leaves, a potato salad, and a broccoli salad; I had dolma leaves, a cabbage salad, and a tomato/cucumber salad. There were two guys working there: the presumed owner and another man, both likely immigrants from Lebanon or somewhere thereabouts. They were nice, and the owner spoke English.
We sat outside and watched others wander by our little table. There had been a few tables inside, and there were two other tables of folks sitting outdoors. I’d like to say that we sat for a good long while and chewed our food slowly, but we had gone too late without eating, so we didn’t linger much. All of our salads demolished, we brought our plates back inside 25 minutes later.
In our perambulations, we had noticed a fro yo place not far from the cafe, so we set out for it. The frozen treat was down one of the winding alleys, two blocks away, and on the below-ground level.
The store windows were huge, letting in the northern summertime light, even around 9 pm, on the level below the street. B picked out his flavors and toppings, after some debate over a few Danish words we didn’t know. (‘There’s chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and strawberry sauce; what other kind of sauce could the fourth container be?’) He was paying for his sweet treat when the owner of our dinner cafe ran into the fro yo place, huffing a bit.
Surprised to see him, we were even less prepared to hear him apologize to us. In rushed speech, he explained that he had short-changed us by not providing us with the ‘bread’ that came with our three-salad deal. He has been busy, he said, and he felt terrible about not giving us what we were owed. B tried to reassure him by noting that we hadn’t even known the special came with bread, and the owner took all responsibility, saying it was his job to ensure we did. He was urging us to come back, and when we didn’t immediately react, he took out his wallet, presumably to pay us back for the unused portion of our meal! B forestalled him – all while holding his fro yo in one hand and wallet in the other – and assured him that we would return. The look of relief on the man’s face was immense. He smiled, indicated that he would wait for us, and climbed the stairs back up to street level.
B finished paying for his treat, explaining the incident to the confused shop-owner, for whom the English had been too fast to follow. We then proceeded back to the cafe, all the while discussing the cafe-owner’s honesty and his quest to find us. Of course, my cynical husband observed that this would be a great marketing tactic. If that’s the case, we must have been the first guinea pigs, because his emotion was too real, in my opinion.
We came into the cafe and were greeted effusively, as if we’d been gone for years instead of minutes. The owner then personally heated our ‘bread,’ which was more akin to falafel than to bread. He brought it to our table indoors, at which B was trying to not be awkward about eating his quickly-melting frozen yogurt. And he thanked us profusely for the opportunity to make this right. All was right, we told him, and we had certainly gotten our money’s worth.