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August 18, 2009

Top 10 Mistakes Restaurant Goers Make

RealSeafoodDesserts.jpgIn an earlier post we talked about the mistakes diners make. Not the things that annoy the wait staff, which was the subject of another post, but things we do as restaurant goers that make the experience less than stellar.

I even asked a couple of restaurant owners things like should we not order fish on Mondays? (I learned the only day when seafood and produce deliveries aren't made is Sunday.) They weren't going to tell me what their chef's night off is; but if you could find that out from your server, it would be something to make note of for future visits. ...

Should I tell you not to walk in when there's a "help wanted" sign posted in the window? That's probably too obvious.

Anyway, here's my list:

1) Making your reservation at 7 p.m. (like everyone else in Baltimore).

2) Eating out on Mother's Day. Every other holiday I can think of reasons why you would want to eat out, but there are better ways to honor your mother than taking her out on the busiest restaurant day of the year.

3) Not asking politely to be moved if you don't like your table because, say, the customer at the next table is wearing heavy perfume or you're seated too near the kitchen door.

4) Not asking politely if loud music or the air conditioning can be turned down when you're uncomfortable. Sometimes servers can do something about it, sometimes they can't. But most restaurants want to be accommodating to their customers within reason.

5) Ignoring what a restaurant does best when you order.

6) Filling up on bread before your expensive dinner has arrived. 

7) Making an enemy of your server by being rude. There are too many ways he or she can get back at you.

8) Ordering the second least expensive wine on the list so you don't look cheap. Do you think restaurant owners don't know people do this and price their bottles accordingly?

9) Ordering wine by the glass in a restaurant where wine probably doesn't move quickly.

10) Ordering dessert unless the place is known for its desserts. By the time it comes, you realize how full you are from dinner. Besides, the price of desserts has risen in inverse proportion as the number of mixed drinks being consumed before dinner has dropped.

(The desserts at the Real Seafood Co., pictured, are worth it. Photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:28 AM | | Comments (110)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


2a) Eating out on Valentine's Day. Restaurants are crowded & servers are harried (& often irritated 'cos their sections are full of two-tops).

10a) Not saving room for dessert when dining at Clementine, especially when they've got that coconut cake. I've been known to get one piece for dessert, & another "to go" for later.

Tie-in with number 6. As my husband and I were watching the first episode of season 3 of "Mad Men," I mentioned that someone had complained that the fictional Haussner's did not have the famous basket of rolls and assorted breads on the table. My husband remembered my father filling up on that basket (not that that stopped him from cleaning his plate).

Undertipping is bad form any time -- especially when you enjoy good service -- but when it's a restaurant you plan to visit again, you're short-changing yourself.

2b) dining out on New Years eve. Restaurants crowded, usual menu may be changed, drunks all over the roads.

I don't follow #8. Should that be the second least expensive wine?

Yes, thanks. I'm glad someone is paying attention. EL

We never go to restaurants on holidays, except Easter (we do chinese). We always go a week or two later.

Eating at any restaurant given a postive review in the Sun within 30+ days of when the review was published! Inevitably, these restaurants become crowded and maxed out with a tidal wave of people who follow the reviews almost guaranteeing visiting the restaurant when it can't put its best foot forward!

#11: Asking for separate checks in a large group of people. I know, I know: you don't drink and you eat only salads and bread. But look: the big check is like buying insurance; you agree to spread the risk. So you might as well enjoy yourself. Order some drinks. An appetizer. Get the filet. And dessert and coffee. Then suck it up and pay your fair share, including a generous tip. You'll feel better for it, even if you overdo a bit.

#12 Not calling the waitress/waiter by his/her name, not making eye contact, not lightly touching his or her hand or arm when they first serve something, and muttering or laughing as soon as they walk away from the table.

#13 Ordering anything "well done."

#14 Sending fish back because you think it's undercooked.

EL, is it still risky to order seafood on the weekends unless you know it's freshly delivered that day?

I think with freezing it's impossible to say. It certainly isn't risky in a health sense. EL

I strongly disagree with Cleatus on the first two points.

#11 Not all of us can afford to "suck it up and order the fillet," but we would still like to go out and be social with our friends (without making them feel like they have to go to Chik Fil-A everytime). So we order the salad and don't drink, and ask to pay only our fair share. It is helpful if the restaurant agrees to split the check, but as a former waitress I understand why they don't sometimes. In such a case, we still have a right to ask our friends if we can divide the cost of the meal according to what everyone consumed. If a friend is NOT willing to do that (and why not, I wonder? Isn't it only right that people pay the full price of their meal?) then they aren't much of a friend.

#12 When I was a waitress I couldn't care less if someone called me by my name. I assumed most people forgot it as soon as I gave it to them. Nothing offensive to my mind about "miss," "waitress" or even "young lady." I also would NOT have wanted my customers touching me. How strange! Why would they do that?? It is a business transaction. Yes, be cordial, be pleasant, but in the end, they request something, I bring it to them, they pay for it. No touching needed.

#11 should be invited Cleatus to dine out with your group

Could we do a Top 10 list of BYOB restaurants in Baltimore? I moved here from Philadelphia, and there seemed to be a lot more BYOB places up there. I'd love to try out some new places in Baltimore. Plus - it would help me avoid #8 and #9!

touching the waitoid does sound kinda weird.

welcome to baltimore, beth!

top 10 BYOB

As I emerged from my hyperbaric chamber just now and removed my whale placenta rejuvenating masque, I was shocked to find that today's TTT meshes perfectly with today's Midnight Sun Tipsy Tuesday – 21 Mistakes Bar Customers Make.

I wish I was that clever, that I could make them complementary, but I am not. It's just the Universe having a love-in betwen the two blogs, the two award winning blogs!

When you are done with your cheesecake, stop by for an aperitif (isn't that fun to say?)

Oh, and don't forget to go to the City Paper's Best Of Online Poll and give some vote-love to MS & D@L

I have to think that "split the check" has already been topic, if not it should be. ET, you should come and have dinner with me sometime. If I'm in a group and people reach for their calculators when the check comes, I get so embarrased that I usually offer to pay the whole bill.

As a restaurant hostess, might I remind diners to honor your reservations, call if you're going to be late, and please let the restaurant know ahead of time if the number in your party has changed -- especially if it is more than four people.

Tables are reserved depending on the number of guests in the party, so if your group has dropped from 8 to 6, that's important for the restaurant to know before you get there. They could book that larger table and put your group at a smaller table. Restaurants work on very thin margins, so empty seats make a huge difference to the bottom line (no pun intended).

"not lightly touching his or her hand or arm when they first serve something"

OK....what? That is so creepy to think about...who does that? I am laughing now...but still cringing thinking of it.

I've got one:
Asking for ketchup with you NY Strip.

Add Catonsville Gourmet to that BYOB list!

I thought it was just me, that maybe I missed the chapter on touching the server in "Dining Etiquette 101".

The top ten BYOB has been altered by the economy. EL reported that Dogwood's is temporarily closed and Victor's in Timonium is closed. It just shows (re today's posting about Jordan's), that running a restaurant today is not always fun.

I have a co-worker who likes to touch the person he's talking to. It creeps me out.

I don't like it when my servers touch me, I'm not touching them. Should I wish to do so, there are steps that need to be taken, and they take longer than it takes to be served.

Not sure what Cleatus is thinking but his #14 Sending fish back because you think it's undercooked...

So I should eat the raw portion of the fish fillet but the cook was not watching and plated it will it was still translucent?

Sorry dude. No way will I eat undercooked fish or any food for that matter. Not sure if you meant to say something else. Undercooked is undercooked or even raw.

On at least two incidents at different restaurants I have been served undercooked mussels (Closed means not done) and undercooked fish (translucent means not done). They both went back to be fixed properly.

not asking for a spoon when the chef has made a great sauce

finishing a mediocre meal when it should really be sent back

not getting up and paying when the wait staff leave you for toast

Richard, I will be happy to dine with you any time. :-D But less I be misunderstood, I would never, ever, reach for a calculator when the bill comes. In my less flush days, I would take the check, do a silent calculation in my head (which usually involved rounding up) and put a wad of bills in the bill fold or my card with a little note stating how much should be charged to it. When everyone else had either done the same or otherwise determined who should pay what, I did another silent calculation to make sure the server was being adequately compensated. If he or she was not, I threw in some more. All this was done as unobtrusively as possible. I agree there is nothing more distasteful than haggling over money with friends. (Which actually is why I think anyone who refuses to let each person pay his or her individual costs is not a good friend. Are they really going to object to the suggestion that each person pays for what he or she ate when the "split the bill equally" suggestion would result in (a) financial hardship for a friend and (2) them paying LESS than their fair share? For shame.)

I just noticed I wrote (a) and (2).


...Thought I'd call myself out before someone else did. ;-D

I don't like it when my servers touch me

I went to this brew pub once up in Mount Joy, Pa called Bube's. On Sunday nights they do a theme dinner. When I went it was pirates.

Anyway, in between courses the waiters are hustling massages. The waiters are giving them. It's ten dollars for ten minutes. You are sitting there eating your salad, and the guy next to you has his shirt off and is getting a rub down from a saucy wench who five minutes ago was bringing out the bread baskets. (Bawdy pirates perform this service for the ladies.)

I know no one will believe this, but I am not fabricating anything.

You sound like a charming dinner companion ET :-)

RoCK, you eat in the most fascinating places. Next time we dine together. I'm picking where we eat. It won't involve saucy wenches.

RoCK - Seriously? With their shirts off? I would think that would be some kind of code violation. And what about the wom...never mind.

If you expect your server to touch you, does the same apply to the cashier at the grocery store putting their hand on your shoulder after handing you your change? Or your mechanic gently stroking your chin after he finishes the oil change?

RoCK - I just realized my last comment seems like it is directed towards you. It's not obviously.

By "you" I meant in the universal sense...

I think Cleatus is having some fun with us, gang. It does hark back to an earlier post about how servers can increase their tips, however.

RoCK, were there parrots involved, too?

And hey, if Lissa won't let you choose the place, I don't mind if you do. Bawdy pirates and saucy wenches and neck massages are just the beginning...oh, the places we'll go!

Women with shirts off in a pub reminds me of the part in Ulysses about the milk in the tea.

"...oh, the places we'll go"

Aaaand she's off...!

This stream of comments and this posting confirms for all time why the Internet and sites like Twitter are a complete waste of time and an insult to anyone with basic human intelligence.

Just when I think it can't get any more ridiculous stuff like this gets posted. Somebody shoot me now.

Who the FFFFF cares.

Um, aren't you currently on the internet? And obviously have been spending some time following us?

Ahoy there, mateys, I'm off to Bube's for a massage and a knish. I mean, isn't Bube Yiddish for grandmother? No, that's Bubbe. Forget the knish. Just bring me a flagon of mead and keep kneading the good leg. The other one will only give you splinters.

As a server myself for many years...I have to completely agree with the silliness of filling up on bread!!! I'll often have two-tops ask for more bread and that means they're consuming 1/2-to a full loaf a piece!
If you think you want more bread, wait to ask until you're at least part-way through your meal. I guarentee you're unlikely to want it then.
Then maybe there'll be less boxed food!

It's so odd to me that someone who thinks this post, the comments, and the internet in general are complete wastes of time and insulting would bother posting here... Cognitive dissonance in action?

So strange.

Is there anyone else here who just can't help going out on Valentine's Day? I know it's a cheesy "holiday" (not even any time off work!), I know places are going to be packed, etc. But we always go out. Why?

That's exactly why I didn't mention it. Even I go out. EL

I never go out on Valentine's Day, sean. Besides underappreciating saucy wenches, I'm just not the romantic type. Klingons aren't.

When I went to Bube's, two guys got massages. They were both older men. I'm talking senior citizens. One ended up shirtless early on. The other went down to a his wife beater t-shirt, but by the end even that came off.

Oh, really, Lissa?

Hmm, I don't think they actually speak much Klingon, sean. A better phrase would have been, "You had me at nuQneH." "Qapla'" means "success." "nuQneH" means "what do you want?" and is the usual Klingon greeting (at least for greetings not involving blood).

I just duck, and read poetry.

RoCK- I have been there for the pirates dinner recently. It was a lot of fun however I was a little creeped out by the massages. Just to note the women who got massaged did not take their shirts off. It was a lot of fun and they do Roman and Medieval Feasts and Murder Mysteries too.

duck and read poetry on Valentines Day?

Lissa, that's soo romantic!

Corollary to Cleatus' # 11: Don't be the last to leave when they don't split the check. You'll be stuck for whatever your dining companions didn't put in for food, drinks, tax, and tip. Whether they calculate or not.

You: Miss, this fish isn't quite done.
Waitress: What do you mean?
You: I mean it's slightly translucent.
W: It's still cooking. Chef always says to let it rest a moment.
You: Rest? What is this Bedtime for Bonzo? Could you ask the chef to give it a few more minutes?
W: Sure. (Takes plate into kitchen.)
W: Should I let the cat lick this a few times before I take it back out?
Chef: No, give it to me. I've got another one here that sick guy sent back last night. I'll heat that one up in the microwave.
W: Right.

When Who Cares called our dialogue "a complete waste of time," I found myself thinking of Ira Gershwin who wrote:
"Who Cares...if the sky seems to fall in the sea...
Who cares what banks fail in Yonkers...
Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.
Love's riding high" etc.
"Who Cares" was just one of the hit songs from the screwball Broadway musical "Of Thee I Sing," with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by his brother and a book by Morrie Ryskind who said that the producers asked him to "write the show as if he was writing 'War and Peace' for the Three Stooges."

And jeezy-peezy people, step back, please. I didn't say "#12: Use a French tickler on the wait staff." I was merely suggesting that if you treat your server with kid gloves (kindness, humanity), you will benefit from great service. BTW: Every leadership/management text in the world contends that light touching is appropriate and conducive to good business and human relations. Not groping and drooling, mind you. A light touch with a sincere smile. If you're creeped out, maybe there was something happened in your past? Pardon me, then.

Just when I think it can't get any more ridiculous stuff like this gets posted. Somebody shoot me now.

Hi Who cares, oh, believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm just warming up. Wanna see more?

By the way, I don't condone violence, but by the time I'm through with you, you won't know whether you're coming or going. Ciao!

YumPo, where are you? Now we can add French ticklers to the list!! Good one Cleatus.

Lissa, are you keeping that list current?

Is each diner supposed to touch the server as s/he is being served? Do we all go at once, or take turns as things are placed in front of us? Do we touch the server as the items are being placed or after? This is just something I've never heard before.

Also news to me is that we're supposed to wait to eat our fish after we get it. I usually expect the food to be done by the time it gets to the table. I don't think Gordon Ramsay would approve.

You: Miss, this fish isn't quite done.
Waitress: What do you mean?
You: I mean it's slightly translucent.
W: It's still cooking. Chef always says to let it rest a moment.
You: Rest? What is this Bedtime for Bonzo? Could you ask the chef to give it a few more minutes?
W: Sure. (Takes plate into kitchen.)
Gordon Ramsay: Oh, no! You *$&*%$* donkey! It's &*$&%*ing raw! Touch it! It's not cooked! You useless stupid cow! What do you mean it's still *&*(&%& cooking? Get out! GET OUT!!!

Sean: Everyone in the group gets to touch, in turn, just after the food hits the linen.

And do you shovel hot sizzling fajitas into your cake hole just as they are served? When the waitress says, careful, this plates' hot, do you say "Oh goodie, let me chow down on this RIGHT NOW!" Of course not.

Thanks Sean, seriously, for making my day!! The mental image of everyone reaching up to touch a server at once is just making my eyes water.

Trixie, I have to admit, I was laughing out loud while I was writing it.

Cleatus, there aren't really a whole lot of things that come to the table either too hot or too raw to eat right away (and I can't remember the last time I got fajitas in my cake hole). Most foods are hot but not scalding; most meats & seafood are prepared to be consumed upon arrival at the table, not minutes afterwards. It's fairly obvious that a sizzling hot metal plate, still smoking from the oven, is going to be too hot to eat, but you can't really tell how done fish is, in most cases, until you cut into it.

A you should see what happens at tip-time...

The fortifications are quite destroyed.

Where's Owl Meat when you need him?

_War and Peace_ for the Three Stooges? No wonder it was a hit. I can't believe that the Brothers Coen haven't remade it.

Light touching as a managerial technique is one of those passive aggressive techniques that extroverts use on introverts in the same way that dogs use a fire hydrant.

YumPo, which list do French ticklers go on? It isn't a movie...

I think it's rather rude and downright ignorant to quibble about a check when you are with a group of people in a restaurant. If you can't afford to eat out, stay home. Yeah, I know someone is going to have the lobster and 3 mixed drinks and you're having a salad and tap water. Tough! That's the way things workout sometimes. We had a guy that did that all the time in our group, we called him "Cheap Dave".

"passive aggressive techniques that extroverts use..."
Lissa, that just don't make no sense.

I'm trying to follow along, but I feel like I'm missing something. Is this some kind of game? What is this list you're talking about?

Lissa, they belong on the list of items in the special gift bags, along with the party hats and favours.

J Z: Right on, brother.

Now, let's hear it for light touching and undercooked fish, in turn.

Sean, what does it mean when something comes to the table "too raw to eat right away"?

Thank you for this post. I had a sa but common mistake last night, a group came to the bar before getting their table, total of 11 people. they filtered in one by one, ordering drinks, 1/2 hour later they got their table, paid the $91 tab and left $6! did they think I wasn't going to notice? or know where they were seated? or know when they ordered more drinks? and get this, after dinner, the guy who paid the original check came back to the bar with another guy! let's just say the beer they were drinking may or may not have been sitting at room temp for awhile.

Cake hole? Shouldn't that be "pie hole"?

Dahlink. You are correct.

Never met a passive aggressive extroverted manager? The lower management ranks are filled with 'em.

Gift bags...the mind boggles, YumPo. Favours I could probably manage, though...

Tristam, I'm guessing that's what undercooked fish that has to "rest" before it's eaten would be. Honestly, I've never heard of it before, and I can't think of anything else that would fall in that category.

And yeah, I've never called it a cake hole either, just following Cleatus' lead. Although I like the phrase "I can't remember the last time I got fajitas in my cake hole." I'm easily amused!

And hey, since it's been shown that servers touching customers tends to lead to higher tips, can customers pay lower tips if they touch the server?

You know what I don't think we've ever talked about here? Uni. Sea urchin. Interesting stuff. Sort of a mild fish pudding isn't it? I don't really get much from the taste but the texture is so interesting. I really like raw fish.

some raw fish anyway...

Uni is a bit of an acquired taste, and it has to be really fresh to be good.

Ordering uni will tend to get you the respect of the sushi chef, though.

Dining with people like ET who only pay "their" share usually means I have to pay more than my share. No thanks!

The baltimoron's comment appears to exactly illustrate EL's original #7 and Cleatus's #12 & 14--if you act like a tool at table, the establishment's employees will deal with you, one way or another.

We have been over this topic before, but my experience has been that the people who insist on paying "only their share" are also the ones who leave less than adequate tip, causing the rest of the group to have to make up for it.

Combine several of these people in a large group, and that is how you end up with the baffling shortage of at least $20 - $30 at the end for the check and tip.

And when you announce to the group that we are short for the tip, the "pay my share" people reiterate that they paid their share, as evidenced by their earlier calcuations on their calculator for tax and exactly 15% tip. At which point you have to confront them for being lousy tippers or make up the difference.

That is why I like split checks. Then the waiter/waitress can see who the problem is, and it is upon no one else's conscience to have to pay extra for the el cheapos.

Richard - I'm with you. If anyone pulls out a calculator I want to hide under the table (and immediately anticipate having to pay more to make up for the "calculations").

Sean - I cracked up at your Gordon Ramsay post. If only that actually happened in real life....

Somebody remind me, if I get that death panel gig, that "Who cares" has volunteered.

Um, who peed into Jack Ziegler's tea? He sure seems a bit snarky?

My DB and I belong to a group of 5-7 couples who go out a couple of times a year. Each couple is responsible for tracking their orders, including tax and tip. Sadly, two couples usually tip only 10% to 15%, which means the rest of us have to cover the shortfall. I try to head it off by reminding them that the tip should be 3-4 times the amount of tax. That means 18% to 24% tip, which is usually an appropriate tip for a large group. If the restaurant automatically adds gratuity, the point is moot and they have to pony up the correct amount.

Bourbon Girl: I think we're talking about three different ways to settle a restaurant tab here, right?
1. separate checks, where each individual diner gets a separate slip of paper to settle up on--an absolute pain for the wait staff.
2. a "split" check, where everyone pays an equal amount of the agreed upon total bill, tax, tip
3. "Pay what you think you owe," in which everyone kicks in their perceived/calculated share.

I would think #2 is the one most people here are favoring, with a couple of exceptions favoring #3.

This stuff is better then watching the food network,keep it coming!!!!!!

In my experience, many of the folks who want to just split it are the ones who have 5 drinks and expensive entrees.

Tips are always a problem in larger groups, it seems, no matter how one figures the check. Which is why we get those annoying "service charges."

I've been seeing more rotating checks lately, where one person grabs it all one time, another the next. This works pretty well for folks who go out together regularly.

Which method I prefer depends on who I'm out with.

Glad you liked it, LJ. I really need to stop giggling at my own posts, though...!

Pays the bill and Bourbon Girl, all I can say is I'm sorry you have such dishonest (or perhaps merely math-challenged) friends. As I explained in my follow up post, when I was in a situation where I had to watch my spending carefully (and therefore was not in a position to subsidize my friends' expensive eating and drinking habits), I also was careful to calculate my ENTIRE share (including tax and tip), as well as careful to ensure the server was being adequately compensated after everyone else had thrown in as well. More often than not among my friends, I am proud to say, we end up having MORE than enough money in the pot and either decide the service was stellar enough to merit the extra, or we all take a buck or two back out. It is a shame you are not as fortunate in your dining companions.

Food for thought: if it bothers you so much that dividing the bill according to what people ate often causes you to pay more than you owe, surely you can understand the frustration others feel when splitting the bill equally causes them to pay more than THEY owe?

ET: How about chalking the extra couple bucks up to the idea that "it's worth the price of admission." Or isn't spending a good time with friends worth anything to you? What do you go out to dinner with friends for, anyway? Is it to see what a great deal you can get a on a meal? In that case, maybe Chik-Fil-A is the better choice. Again, it's like buying car insurance: I may not need it or ever use it, but I pay like everybody else and enjoy the ride.

And for God's sake, don't touch the server in front of sean.

I still can't believe Michael Jackson's dead.

Lissa: "I've been seeing more rotating checks lately, where one person grabs it all one time, another the next. This works pretty well for folks who go out together regularly." Problem with this is people tend to get "selective amnesia" about who's grabbed what, when, in what order.

"Which method I prefer depends on who I'm out with." Problem with this is you do have grab a check, occasionally, my darling.

Robert Gourmet, I can assure you that Lissa grabs the check more than occasionally.

A girl gots to have something to grab, now and then, eh?

I love grabby womenz.

Cleatus, I think we might have to agree to disagree on this. To answer your question, as I intimated before, I go out to eat not only to eat but also to be social with my friends. And I presume my friends invite me along so thay they can be social with me.

But back in the day, I didn't think it was fair that, in order for us to be social with one another, my friends were always forced to go to the sorts of places where the entrees were under $15. Hence the Chik Fil A reference. The answer was a compromise -- we would go to whichever restaurant struck our fancy that evening, and each would order AND PAY FOR the meal he or she could afford. That way, everyone was happy. The high rollers could order the filet and lobster and five mixed drinks, the more thrifty could order an appetizer and drink water, and we all got to enjoy each others company.

I fail to see how paying for only what one orders, plus the fair share of tax and tip, is "getting a deal." On the contrary, in the scenario you keep proposing (where the bill is split equally) the people getting the "deal" are the ones who ordered, yet do not pay the entire cost of, the more expensive items.

Honestly, I am baffled that anyone can ever argue that it is wrong to expect someone to pay the entire cost of their own meal! Sure, it is nice when everyone is financially comfortable and can say "just split it" when the bill comes. But not everyone is in that position. What does friendship mean to you, Cleatus? Are you eating out to get a deal? To get your friends to pay part of what you ate and drank? Or are you there for the friendship as well as the food? If the latter, then I think you would be the #1 proponent of allowing a friend to pay only his or her fair share, if doing so meant that he or she could afford to go out, as opposed to splitting a huge bill equally, which would cause that same friend to stay in.

ET, as I wrote before, I can see that you would be a charming and thoughtful dinner companion, no matter how the check works out.

And it is precisely because of all of the hand-wringing described in the comments, and worrying about who can and can't afford dinner, after we all had such lovely time, that motivates me to reach for the check and pay the whole thing myself. Or even better, at coffee, I excuse myself, and organize the check with the server even before it hits the table. Voila. The good times keep rollin and no one's leaves unhappy.

Jeez, ET, who put the French tickler in your shorts?

Ha! Though I don't know, it sounds from your comment, bra1nchild, that a french tickler is a bad thing ... but from the name, I can imagine it being otherwise. ;-) I think you also probably already know that it was Cleatus who got me all riled up. Self-centered and selfish behavior usually does. But I've said my piece now and I am done.

And although I assure you there has never been any handwringing around the process with me, what you describe sounds rather lovely and generous, Richard. As you say, however the bill shakes out, I'd be delighted to dine with you anytime. :-)

ET: You've use words like "dishonest" and "selfish" when refering to people whose company you're supposed to be enjoying in a relaxed atmosphere. I can't help wonder why you throw such darts!
Be that as it may, nuff said. Or say more, if you are a bigger LWF than I am.
You and Richard sound like a match made in heaven!

Can we talk about why I can't order my filet mignon (that ET apparently will not be chipping in on) "well done"?

I didn't mean to be snarky. It's just always been a hot button with me when someone dissects a restaurant bill and announces his/her share is $12.80 or something. It just seems cheap to me. But if your friends didn't mind, who am I to complain?


Top 10 Possible Definitions of LWF

1. Lutheran World Federation
2. Left Wing Fanatic
3. Learning Without Frontiers
4. Lest We Forget
5. Lifelong Wrestling Fan
6. Lotus Work Flow
7. Lying Weasel Factor
8. Letter Writing Facility
9. Leaky Wave Field
10. Last Word Freak

Point to Laura Lee!

This reminds me that I need to download a Tip Calculator App.

Dining Rule of Thumb: Watch "Seinfeld." Whatever George Costanza does in the restaurant with the check: do the opposite.

Split the check
Don't split the check
Calculate the check
Touch the server
Saucy wench rub down
Bedtime for Bonzo
YumPo threat-down
French ticklers
Cake holes
Tool at table
Touch the servee
Rotate the check

I still can't believe that Michael Jackson is dead.

Funniest comment ever. TableTurkey, who are you? I want you to come to MY table.

Flaquita, me threaten? Never. That was just a preview of the delights in store if Who Cares decided to play instead of insult.

You: Miss, this fish isn't quite done.
Waitress: What do you mean?
You: I mean it's slightly translucent. I ordered it "well done."
W: It's still cooking. Chef always says to let it rest a moment. But then, of course, Chef is still on the crack pipe.
You: May I touch you lightly?
W: Sure.
You: Oh, and can we get separate checks?
W: I'm sorry, but you'll have to haggle that out amongst yourselves. Would you like another absythe and hash oil?

I'm from the Midwest and when we go to a restaurant with more than 6 people (often with 6) a 20% tip is already added to the bill. They figure it separate as well, but the tip is added on. It at least saves face when your cheap "friends" don't want to tip their share......

I am just happy to know that someone out there is thinking of the restaurant employee/restaurant.

In these times people believe that we should do anything and everything for their business/money.

My restaurant has doen everything it can to bring bodies through the door and customers still want more.

We are human, and if I may say so, try harder than any other industry.

Spam at 10:09 pm/

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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