Category Archives: Industry Standard

Let’s go somewhere new tonight

“Where do you want to eat?”

“I don’t know; where do you want to eat?”

Familiar scenario? You’re not alone. All too often, we end up dining somewhere we’ve been many times before. Familiarity is soothing. Predictability is comfortable — like an old pair of shoes you love to wear but hope no one scrutinizes too closely.
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In the weeds

A server glides through a packed dining room, projecting calm serenity and competence. She breezes through the door that separates the dining room from the “engine room.” As it swings shut behind her, she is delivered to the heat, clamor and chaos of the kitchen, and her smile drops away. She exclaims, to everyone and no one in particular, “Oh my god — I just got triple-sat! I’m in the weeds!”
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When restaurants attack

It happens to every restaurant patron at some point: disappointment over poor service, a substandard dish or an unpleasant atmosphere. The trick to getting a satisfactory resolution in such situations is twofold. First, attempt to pinpoint the source of the trouble. Second, make your dismay known to the proper parties – that means management.
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Put that recipe down and back away slowly

Recently I overhead a restaurant patron sigh and say, “I wish I could cook like this at home.” Well, guess what? You can!

Busy people can easily get stuck in a culinary rut, churning out the same boring repertoire of dishes at home week after week, that “ho-hum, here we go again” dinner that stares as glumly up from your plate as you do looking down at it. Here are a few easy pointers that might help elevate your home cooking to something more like what you get at your favorite restaurant.
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Servers – What do they do all day, anyway?

It looks easy, doesn’t it? I mean, they just walk up to your table and take your order. Half the time they don’t even bring your food, right? A food runner delivers your plates – and a busser picks them up after you’re done. Of course your server may help you with wine or beer pairings (and also bring the bill!) but, all told, they may spend 10 minutes or less with you. So what exactly do servers do to earn a tip?
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Hey – it’s your dinner!

So you’re out with friends for a celebratory meal, or perhaps just a regular meal, and – even though the menu’s obviously in English – you’re stymied. Parts of it seem to be Greek to you, and I don’t mean the part that says “hummus.” Hmmm, you think. I wonder what’s in a Bordelaise sauce? At this point, some folks whip out their iPhones and Google like mad. But don’t isolate yourself from the table conversation to do research – after all, you’re there to enjoy the company of your companions. Ask your server!
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