Yes. That's my simple philosophy of dining. Enjoy your food. When you get to a point where you're so hungry you don't care what you eat, you're not dining... your settling and then shoveling... aren't you? Hey, I'm borderline hypoglycemic so when I need food, I go into a nervous meltdown and am capable of violence for ANYTHING to eat.

But that's not what I'm talking about here. If I'm paying for a dining experience, it should be enjoyable. Here are my enjoyment criteria:

1. Inviting entrance. One of my favorite entrances is Mario Batali's little Greenwich Village restaurant LUPA which has a homey neighborhood presence and amazing aromas wafting subtly into the residential street.

2. Staff with personality who take their jobs seriously. Pretty simple actually. Greet me. And then communicate with me. Will it be a few minutes until my table is ready? Tell me that and offer me a seat at the bar. Or bring me an iced tea and a menu in the host area.

3. Waiter knowledge of food. Taste the food you waiters. If I asked whether something is fried or the onions are caramelized, please be able to tell me. Don't look panicked and then run off to "go check with the kitchen" and then not come back because you're uncomfortable.

4. Don't be part of my dinner. By 'part' I mean constantly darting to my elbow to refill the bottled water that you'd like to empty so you can sell me a second one. Or asking me how my salad is when I have a mouth full of lettuce. Or announcing everything that you place on the table. "Here we are! The pan roasted venison rack with the herb crust which is thyme, rosemary, savory, Italian parsley and sage with a hint of peppercorns finished over imported Tuscan apple wood for a hint of smokiness drizzled with a reduction of red wine chocolate sauce. You'll notice that the depth of the chocolate plays well with the richness of the merlot and the resiny spirit of the rosemary." "And here are your clams prepared by..." Oh God! If I'm out with a friend, I want to enjoy my friend's conversation. To stop an interesting story just to have the chef's preparation methods recited in a litany is frustrating. Knowledge is awesome! So if I'm orgasmic over the venison and must know the intimacies of the preparation. I'll ask. THEN you can wow me.

5. Don't hover. I don't care if I'm the only diner in the restaurant. Don't make me feel as if I'm the focus of attention. Position yourself so that you're not obvious. If I'm looking around for assistance or gulping my water and need more, simply walk up and ask "how is everything" or pour me some more water and go away.

I know there's more, but that's enough for now.



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