Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Howdy pardner

If you wear a tie to Pinnacle Peak Patio in Scottsdale, they cut it off. It's a kitschy gimmick that apparently started years ago when a businessman came into the joint wearing a suit. The original proprietors wanted to keep the place casual, and so asked the man to remove his tie. He declined. The owner took a butcher knife and hacked it off. 

After that, people came just to get their ties chopped off. When it was my stepfather's turn 30 years ago, they used scissors. Butcher knife or not, I was completely enthralled. I'm sure I giggled endlessly as they took the amputation, along with his business card, and tacked it up on the wall somewhere, never to be found again. 

Last night, after 30 years, I went to Pinnacle Peak to look for his tie. The place still looks like an old western town where a gun fight might break out momentarily. It used to be out in the middle of nowhere. Now, it's in the middle of a development. And there's an air-conditioned mini-storage facility right next store. So much for nostalgia. 

Thankfully, the menu hasn't changed. I had the Wrangler, which is a 10 oz. top sirloin. It comes with cowboy beans (it was really hard not to make a Blazing Saddles joke, so we made one and moved on), corn on the cob and a slice of wheat bread, which was an odd addition. I would have expected the Arizona version of Texas Toast, whatever that might be.

The steaks are good, but you don't really go for the food. You go to get your tie cut off. My husband wore one of my stepfather's ties that my mother had given him after my stepfather passed away 5 years ago. We all felt it was a fitting end to the tie that would otherwise have languished in my husband's closet into eternity. 

The waiter did the honors. He theatrically berated my husband for even wearing a tie in the first place, and then he cut it off, right beneath the knot. I mock gasped and exclaimed something about it being the tie the children gave him for Father's Day. Which made the kids pause for a moment - did they give him that tie? - and then laugh when they remembered they had given him the opportunity to watch an entire baseball game with no interruptions for Father's Day. 

We all laughed, ate our cowboy steak dinners, and then rode off into the sunset. 

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