A guide to eating out

Jun 27, 2018 | Food and Culture

Everyone eats out sometimes, myself included. Going to a restaurant can be fun and an enjoyable experience. In all honesty, if people didn’t eat in restaurants I probably wouldn’t be here writing this today. So, I am all for people eating out sometimes. Obviously, I think it’s important to cook and eat at home more than you eat out, but that’s not what this is about. This is a guide to eating out. How to choose a restaurant. What restaurants to avoid, and what menu items should you steer clear of.

A guide to eating out.

Choosing the right restaurant can be a challenge especially for groups of people. Because of this people often fall into the trap of going to a big box restaurant knowing full well that the meal won’t be great but there will be something for everyone. The problem with those restaurants is that almost everything is coming from a box packaged in some far off land. The food is all loaded with fat, salt, and sugar to try and hide the blandness and low quality. There is, of course, something to be said for consistency, even if it is just consistently shitty.

I have often heard people compare the price of big box restaurants to smaller independent places. It is believed by many that you get more for your money at the bigger chain places. This true in some regards. You get more fat, more salt, more sugar, more heart attacks, more high blood pressure, and more diabetes. Oh, and yes, the portions are often bigger but that is because the food is low quality and they buy in massive volume that the smaller places can’t compete with.

So, with all that in mind, I highly recommend choosing a smaller independent restaurant when eating out. Not only are you likely going to get better food, but you’re supporting your community and a small business. And more than likely the prices are going to be about the same.

You might be thinking “But, how will I know it’s any good? What if I don’t like it?” Well, you have the internet, right? I’m mean you’re reading this. Google it. Do three minutes of research and you find out about other people’s experiences and what the restaurants best dishes are, even price point. And yes, it is possible that you won’t like it. But choose based on merit and you will likely be pleasantly surprised.

Too many fish in the sea.

No matter what type of restaurant you choose there are somethings that you should wary of. For example, if you walk into a restaurant at lunchtime and it’s empty turn around and walk out. There is a reason no one is there. If you decide to take a chance, you will be eating food that has been sitting around for a few days. This is also true of restaurants that have very large menus. Often the two will go hand in hand. A busy restaurant will not have 60 things on their menu. That is a classic sign of trying to please everyone because no one is happy.

If for whatever reason you do find yourself in an empty restaurant at lunch time or dinner time, or in place with a giant menu, avoid the seafood at all costs. Seafood is highly perishable. In the best circumstances, it won’t last more than a few days. In fact, try to only eat seafood in really busy places. It’s not really worth the risk.

Finally, if you walk into a restaurant and its dark, dirty, and dingy, get out of there. The same care that you see in the esthetics will be shown in the preparation of the food. Quality starts before you even walk in the place. If it looks like no one cares, more than likely no one does.

Choosing the right dish for you.

Let’s imagine that you made to small independent place, it’s busy, great atmosphere, your set. How do you choose what to eat?

First and foremost, look around. What are other people eating? What do you see that looks good? It’s okay to ask someone what they’re eating or to ask a server what someone is eating. Speaking of serves, ask your server for a recommendation. If you don’t like an ingredient tell them and they will avoid suggesting a dish that contains it.

Something a lot of people don’t really think about when it comes to their server is that they want you to tip them. For them to get the best tip they can out of you they need to give you good recommendations and good service. If they recommend something to you and it’s shit, your probably not going to tip them well. It is in their best interest for you to like your food. So ask them what they like and what they would suggest.

The final kind of thought here is don’t be afraid to try something new. If you don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. At least you tried something new, you had an experience. That is what life is about.

 

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