The 5 Non-Negotiables

You’ve finally gotten the boyfriend/husband/flavor of the week to take you to that new hotspot you’ve been dying to try, so why not make the best of it?

Here are five Dine & Dish LA tricks of the trade, what I call my “non-negotiables”, to making the most out of your dining experience.

1) Take your time with the menu.

I can hear the collective groan of servers everywhere.  But it’s true.  One of the BIGGEST mistakes restaurant goers make is ordering incorrectly.  Slow down.  Order a cocktail to appease your twenty-something gum-popping server.  Read through each item.  Look at the sides.  Let your taste buds recreate the tastes of the sauces you’re reading about in each dish.  And ASK QUESTIONS!  What is the restaurant known for?  What does your server recommend?  You may think you are inconveniencing them as they impatiently tap their foot and look around at other tables but come on…they are all itching to play teacher.  So let them.

 2) DON’T mess with the accouterments.

Listen here control-freak.  Yeah you.  The one who orders the cobb salad, hold the egg/tomato/bacon/chives, add avocado and jicama, dressing on the side.  If the Chef thought the salad was better that way, he would have PREPARED it that way.  He put the baby broccolini under the halibut steak and smothered it with a truffle oil ON PURPOSE.  Sure, you may be curious of how it may taste with asparagus and a hollandaise, but trust the guy who is making a living off of combining flavors and textures…OKAY?  If you’re not allergic, leave it alone.  Seriously. 

3) DON’T order the same thing as your date.

It’s an ongoing thing with my family that when we go out to eat we cannot order the same dishes.  This usually ends in a tug-o-war over who decided on the Fruit de Mare pasta first but the fight is worth it.  Different dishes mean more dishes to try…which of course means you are able to sample a larger selection of what the restaurant has to offer.  I know you’re thinking, “but what if it’s a first date?  Isn’t it RUDE to try the food of someone you don’t know?”  Absolutely not.  Of course you should ASK before you dive a fork into his pilaf but I will put money on the fact that he will most likely find this bold move attractive, spontaneous and a little…shall I say…coy?  Think of it as an ice-breaker.  “You HAVE to try a taste of my top sirloin…here, trade you for a sliver of your ahi tuna steak.”  It works, ladies. TRUST ME.  And, you’ll know what dish to recommend to other Dine & Dish-ers.

4) Choose your seating.

So admittedly I’ve turned into a snob…a SEATING snob.  Much of what you take away from a dining experience depends on where you sit.   I blog about the ambience of the restaurants I dine & dish at just as much as I blog about the food.  Why?  Because eating-out is SUPPOSED to be an interactive experience…that’s the whole point.  If it’s a gorgeous day and you’re having a light lunch with a girlfriend, request to sit on the patio.  If you’re enjoying a romantic date, ask for a corner booth where you can snuggle up for a more intimate experience.  A large boisterous party?  See if there’s a chef table or a spot near the kitchen (out of the traffic of servers, of course).  There will always be something to look at which will keep the energy of the dining experience at a max.  Everyone in your party will thank you…and you will seem a little bit more…shall I say, tres chic? 

5) Make a reservation.

It is a major dining-faux-pas to not make a reservation.  It’s not just because your oversight will most likely cause you to have to wait for a table which will then start your dinner with agitation (and who wants that), but that it’s a sign of carelessness.  Someone asks me on a dinner date and when we show up at the restaurant, he didn’t make a reservation.  Sure, we may still get sat right away, but that’s not the point.  He KNEW we were eating at that specific time, he PLANNED the night, picked me up, etc…so he couldn’t take the time to make a reservation?  What if we couldn’t get sat right away?   It’s a little act of chivalry that I feel is often overlooked.  It’s that extra thought that goes a long way.

Published on June 18, 2012 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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