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?