Do you age out of fine dining?


No, I don’t think so. At least not exactly. It’s not like I’m a fan of fast food although give me a good French fry and I’m in heaven. I like good food. Fresh food but don’t get too weird.

There is a line in the sand.

We have some good friends that live out of the area. We have dinner with them once or twice a year. The get together is for friendship more than food. It’s a chance to catch up and stay in touch. We are not a gourmet group or taste testing for a publication.

I like to meet at a restaurant that has adequate food and is relatively quiet (I know restaurants aren’t known for that anymore). I’m not into “creative” food. Not by today’s standards. No weird grains and heavens! No kale! No spices that I can’t pronounce either. No food that looks like someone mashed it with their feet.

Our friends search the earth for out-of-the-way places with unique menus. Outrageously priced unique menus. (What would you pay for inside-out ravioli? Better still, what’s the point?) With bizarre (or odd combinations) of ingredients. Not a fan.

Many times the place is a long drive. At this point in life I don’t like driving a distance at night. Slower reflexes and aging eyesight are not kind to drivers. No one wants to be involved in an accident or traffic violation and no one wants to hurt anyone.

Sometimes the place has a limited menu. One place had five entrees. Weird ones. Game. Seafood only seen on cable channels. I searched the appetizers for something that would suffice. Even the salads were bizarre.

The last time, I got a steak. It had a lot of cumin and a few other spices (that were not listed on the menu). Ugh! While the meat was tender, I had all these other unpleasant flavors circulating in my peasant mouth. For that sensation I paid a high price. Really high. More than a high-end steak restaurant.

Coming home I thought about what I like in a restaurant.

Good food is always on top but it’s not exclusive. The selection should be broad enough to include choices for my very plain eating husband (much plainer than me) but not so broad that it’s not fresh.

Quiet. Good food only goes so far especially when you are getting together with friends. I get really great food at home. I like to be able to hear people across the table.

If you are attentive you can learn the areas that are most quiet in restaurants and ask for them. I stay away from those that are all hard surfaces with high reverberating ceilings. And millennials. Noisy bunch who like those high tables where your legs dangle.

I like a nice clean restroom too. If I’m paying through the nose for food, I want the comforts of home in the privy.

Convenient. I like short commutes. Very short. At this point I prefer to go to faraway (that’s an hour drive) restaurants for lunch rather than dinner. Or for dinner with an overnight stay. To be honest that would have to be very special. Into the city. To the beach. Not some remote area in Timbuktu. (No, I’m not an adventurer!)

Yes, I am a boring person. Some of my best dinners have been with friends at a chain restaurant. It’s really all about the people.

How about you? What are you willing to sacrifice for a night out?

 

77 thoughts on “Do you age out of fine dining?

  1. Hi Kate – I wanted to revisit the Hep A shot and twice I shut down my computer over the weekend, then remembered I didn’t return here. So I went for a flu shot at CVS on Saturday. I knew my flu shot was covered by my insurance (I have Obamacare) and asked if the Hep A shot was covered partially. He said “no neither of the Hep A shots are covered.” It is a two-part shot and involves the initial shot, then a booster shot three to six months later. The first-stage shot is $103.00, as is the second stage booster shot. I was surprised about that. He said they were flooded with calls from people after hearing the Renaissance Festival story. I asked the pharmacist while he was administering the shot if he thought it was prudent to get a Hep A shot if I didn’t go out to eat, in lieu of this Renaissance Festival problem where people merely touched something the infected person touched, not necessarily having ate food there or used the restroom. I said I was healthy as a horse, and only had allergies, and been on immunotherapy for decades, but on no meds except a multiple vitamin, but I am a bit of a germaphobe. He laughed and said unless I had any medical issues not to worry. I thought that was interesting because him dissuading me just lost CVS $206.00 of business – but he was honest and I like honesty, especially in a large chain like CVS.

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      • The Hep A vaccine only lasts ten years … I asked that as well and it surprised me. My neighbor had shingles about five years ago. She got it in her scalp, then along her hairline and into her one eye. She had a horrible time with her eye, on steroids and a lot of pain. I decided to get a shingles shot – I was not old enough to do a walk-in without a script (age 62 for that), so asked my allergist for one. I had to pay out-of-pocket, maybe $185.00 as I recall. Now I hear that shingles vaccine has been replaced by a more effective and longer-lasting shingles vaccine.

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          • My friend Carol got hers recently. She had the former one as well. She has reactions to any shot she gets and this was no exception. She had to go on Benadryl ASAP as she couldn’t breathe. Meanwhile the vet thinks he has diagnosed her cat Harley June’s problem. HJ has gained weight, but he believes the lethargy and loss of appetite is a neurological issue in her ear, a type of inner-ear problem causing dizziness called Horner’s Syndrome. She is on a low dose of Prozac while they run more tests.

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  2. With you all the way on this, Kate… you hit so many nails on the head…especially kale !!!!
    And the short drives, and no hard surfaces and noise, and over-done fancy food… fresh, somple and peaceful is my recipe for an ideal meal out !!!

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  3. I’m totally with you, Kate, and I don’t think it’s an aging thing, since I didn’t enjoy going out to a restaurant to spend a lot of money on food I couldn’t recognize even when I was in my 30s and 40s. Age IS a thing with the noise – I can handle it better than my guy, who just sits there with his lips pursed when the level gets high, because he can’t hear one thing, and he finally gives up trying. I can hear, but I have to shout to be heard, and then my voice gets hoarse and my voice box gets sore. We pay money for this? A little while ago I realized that the best meals I’ve had are those I cook: I always use fresh ingredients, we light the candles on the table, play soft music in the background, and invite friends for food and conversation. Hey, maybe I should open a restaurant! 🙂

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  4. Yes, I’m more like your friends! I would prefer not to eat out, and we don’t much, unless we can go somewhere where the food and atmosphere is a little unique, or something I don’t generally prepare at home. I like all the “grains and greens” and spices and I will travel. BUT, that being said, most of my friends are much more in your camp, and so when we go out, I have to remind myself that I’m there for the friendship and not the food. I will generally buy the smallest thing on the menu and save the money, because I’m completely bored with the food options. LOL! I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here, or even an age issue. My friends have been like this for as long as I’ve known them, and that’s decades. 🙂 And they don’t seem to feel badly that I never get my way, now that I think of it!

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  5. Kate – I had to share this with you since we discussed the Hepatitis A outbreak here. They warned of attending large events like the Woodward Dream Cruise or the Renaissance Festival event. So, today the health department said anyone attending or working at the Renaissance Festival on September 1st or 2nd needs to get a Hep A shot by Saturday (14 days after exposure) unless they’ve had one already. The infected person was the same one who went to the restaurant specializing in omelettes. This is a popular festival and well attended. https://www.clickondetroit.com/health/health-officials-confirm-case-of-hepatitis-a-at-michigan-renaissance-festival-in-holly

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      • I’m now thinking of getting a shot based on the fact that people did not eat at the festival – they merely touched things the sick person may have touched, or used the restroom … and for both days. That to me is scary, and I’m thinking I’m going to get a shot anyway, maybe tomorrow instead of going for a flu shot – I don’t think they’ll do both at the same time.

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          • I agree. It depends on the shot and where it goes and I only know that because for years I got a flu shot right at the allergist’s office and I asked how you could do that because I get shots in both arms when I go. He said some shots go into the muscle and some just under the skin (he used the word subcutaneous and then said that meant “under the skin”).

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  6. You stated plainly what you like, but oh! so amusingly! I have never been comfortable paying more for one meal than for a grocery cart filled with good food. It’s not logical, and this miser won’t go for it. I’d rather have a good hamburger and lots of good conversation.

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  7. Don’t care for classy places where you leave still hungry, but no fast food if we are going out to eat. Like good service, but not hovering waiters that bug you to death. If I try a place once and the food or service is lousy, I scratch it off my list. There are too many restaurants to fool with bad ones. I don’t care if it is something I can cook at home as long as I don’t have to. I hate places so noisy you can’t carry on a conversation.

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  8. The more I read, the more I said “this sounds like me” only I’ve not been out to eat in ages. We have a huge Hepatitis A outbreak here in Michigan. There have been 26 deaths in Michigan since 2016. In Ohio and Indiana, their residents are advised if traveling to Michigan to get a Hepatitis shot first. It is scary and all due to restaurant food prep workers not washing their hands before handling food. We just had one incident today – a restaurant specializing in omelettes and if you ate there in a certain time period, get thee to the doc right away.

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      • Yes, this has been going on for awhile, but since 2016 everyone here in Michigan is warned about, and on alert about the Hep A outbreak. When the Woodward Dream Cruise and some of the other big Summer festivals were going on, people were encouraged to be careful of what they ate as to vendor food. I don’t take any chances and don’t go anywhere to eat. The incidents are happening at all eateries – small fairs, fast food and fine dining. I could get a Hep A shot, and did ask about it where I go for my allergy shots and the Dr.’s answer was “unless you go out to eat all the time, I wouldn’t get the shot.” So that made me think “is the shot not effective, are there side effects?” It is just me here so I just eat at home.

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  9. We just had a bad dining experience yesterday at a restaurant that we were giving a second try, even though the first visit was mediocre. We both said it was possible that first meal was just an anomaly. Nope, now we’ve confirmed it’s just a bad place! Next time we’ll stick with our first impressions. – Marty

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    • Sometimes I go to a restaurant because I love something. Then I try something else and am so disappointed. The worst is that I’m stuck with it. It’s hard to get me back after a disappoint. BTW I got my “requires maintenance” light fixed today. It took less than 5 minutes. It was easy because the intake person reset it. Watching him I thought I should have gone on youtube to learn how to do it myself!

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      • I know, I think we both kicked ourselves for going back. I doubt we’ll do that again when there are so many other options. Glad the light is fixed; I was surprised how simple it looked when the intake person did it for me also… but I doubt I’d remember what they did!

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  10. I admit I like going out to eat – it means I didn’t have to cook. I like getting dressed up – occasionally. I like fancy food. I like every day food. As long as it’s tasty.

    I don’t like bland food. Spiciness is my friend.
    I hate being disappointed by my food – especially if it was overpriced. Like today at lunch.

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    • 🙂 We all have those days! I like some spiciness but I don’t like all seasonings. I love Mexican and Chinese but not Indian. No blue cheese either. I enjoy meeting friends for a meal but prefer normal places. I especially hate a bad margarita! (and sadly, I’ve had those)

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      • I agree with you about Indian. I’m not a huge fan of curry and I find Indian food just too heavy. Funny thing for someone to say who was brought up on Italian food 😏

        Blue cheese – yum – and I feel the same way about a badly made martini. In fact a badly make martini is undrinkable. I’ve learned not to order them unless I’m in a very high-end restaurant. Typically they know what they’re doing behind the bar.

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        • Italian food is my favorite. Normal Italian that is. No inside out stuff please. No whole fish with the eyes looking at me either. I have stopped ordering margaritas out. I get a great one at home although a bartender gave me some tips about ordering. Locally the good ones are around $15. You need the premium ingredients. I find that ridiculous. I miss ChiChi’s. They had good ones.

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  11. I love food. Eating is good for your health. My only issue is when I go to a “better” restaurant, take a deep breath over the menu prices and order …. they deliver a large plate with a small work of art in the centre and looking rather lost. The line between food and art seems to be very blurred in those places!

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  12. I’m with you. Long drives and dressing up, uh, no. Especially when end up paying too much for the quality of food (that you know you cook better).
    We’ve gotten to like smaller local places – we want them to stay in business.
    I do like a variety of food – stuff I can’t/don’t want to cook….lunch is good…you don’t have to dress up so much HAHA

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  13. I like to try new foods. I don’t like to drive far, either. There are some fabulous restaurants in LA, but I am not willing to sit in traffic. Luckily, there are smaller, family owned places nearby.

    Since my husband is a really good cook, we’ll mostly go out for something we can’t get at home — like sushi. Or maybe Indian food. But if we’re in a hurry, there are always amazing Mexican restaurants for takeout, which is nice to enjoy at home.

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  14. I like trying new things but some are too way out there. I like veal and lamb and my husband doesn’t so I like places where I can have that. He is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy so that is usually the type of place where we end up. You are right about it being more about the conversation with friends rather than the food though.

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  15. I think when you are going out with people you should be going to a place where everyone can find something they like. Next time you and DH should select the place! Make sure there’s crazy weirdness for them and normal good food for you two 🙂

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  16. We last dined out with friends a year ago when we moved here, and booked a table at a chinese restaurant. The food was good, cooked fresh and the place was clean and tidy, with very friendly staff. It was on us as a thank you for helping us move. We paid for their petrol and all meals that day and they ‘camped out’ in their camper on our drive. It was a good night and we hope to see them again soon.
    However, pre Hubby I got caught several times for the bill when ‘dining out’. These days we like a good carvery, with plenty of veg choice, clean tables, cutlery and crockery. Loo also has to be clean, with soft toilet paper and paper towels rather than a roller towel.

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      • I had to use the ladies in a darts venue and I have never seen such tiny sheets of toilet paper in my life., about 3″ by 4″ compared to a standard 4 and a half inches by five. One of the other girls went in and brought a sheet out for everyone to see! Cheap paper also leads to blockages too.

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  17. Definitely NOT millennials…and don’t get me started on their squalling, indulged offspring. I like a nice affordable meal served by a semi-cheerful wait person, healthy ingredients, not too weird, someplace quiet (I don’t need amusement-like park entertainment either) but something I can’t or probably wouldn’t make at home. If you’re boring, I must be considered stodgy (and probably a few unprintables).

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  18. My bipeds are both very picky about their food. They rarely eat the same thing at home, so finding a restaurant they both like is tricky!

    The female biped says there’s a fine line between presenting food nicely and playing with it – and she won’t eat food that someone has played with. She doesn’t like buffets in resaurants either. She sees everyone leaning over the food and breathing on it as a potential typhoid carrier and goes off the idea of eating at all!

    Then they have the nerve to tell me that I’m picky about my food – not all dogs eat anything and everything! 😀

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    • Most places around here (except perhaps country clubs) don’t have any dress-up rules these days. I remember when I was young and there were “requirements.” On vacation with a friend, we went to a nice restaurant. He didn’t have a jacket so they gave him one to wear. It was ridiculous because it didn’t match what he had on, didn’t fit well and looked goofy. Much better to let him in with his collared shirt.

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