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First signs of a bad dining experience... - Page 3

post #61 of 86
I've lived half of my life in Little Rock, Memphis, Baton Rouge and New Orleans....if you didn't mam' or sir an adult you got what for (and sometimes a physical reminder). It was one of the things I missed the most when my children lost those manners in our relocating to STL. BUT, there was an inherent edge to the salesman that Hon'd basically was part of an inference that I needed to rely on his expertise and not think too hard about the order. I didn't and placed my mega order elsewhere.....It absolutely is attitude and his was sorry......
I'm fairly laided back and usually just let hon's, mams,darlins, flow by....but when it's an Ol'Boy keepin' me in my place, then my eyes start squinting and my attitude becomes very brisk or if I'm in a very good mood I play with them then just hand them their head on a plate with a sweet smile.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #62 of 86

why are these places more memorable than others?

so you have all expressed places that you consider to be memorable..but apart from the food itself what makes these places/occasion different from all the others?

why do they stick in your memory and what are your feeling and emotions about them?
post #63 of 86
I haven't posted in quite some time, so when I got a notification that this thread had some action, I thought I'd put my 2 cents worth in.

Lately I seem to see servers who can't carry a couple of plates in one hand without lodging the second one firmly under a breast or up under the ribcage. When I was a server, this was not acceptable. Not only is this unappetizing, but their shirt is usually resting neatly on the edge of the plate which could present a cleanliness issue. I think it's because the size of the plates has grown from a normal 9 inch or so to a whopping 12 inch in diameter or 12 inch square. They too heavy to line them up the arm in good old diner style to to wedge 2 together in one hand. I'd welcome the return of trays if this is the case.

In answer to the most recent question relative to what makes a memorable dining experience, I'd have to say it's the service. If the service is great, nearly perfect and friendly, then mistakes can be made with the food. If the reverse is true and the food is perfect but the service is bad and the attitude of the server is poor, then I've had a bad meal.
post #64 of 86
I wanted to add that we ate in a local Italian place last Friday that has been written up as a "hidden jewel"- a "true family restaurant"- the owner was quoted as saying that he's raising his children in the business. I am cynical and think that he's just saving money on childcare; his wife owns attached salon and she won't allow kids in there. My husband really likes the food, which is NOT cheap, but I think it's just okay. They have a deck and he wanted to take advantage of this unseasonably (some would say weirdly) warm weather in early October.

So anyway, we arrived at 7:30 and were waiting to be seated on the deck. Out the door of the bar comes this kid about 10-11 and he startes bouncing a soccer ball on his knee between 2 tables of diners. The hostess skirted around him to get to us while I concentrated on giving my husband the eye. You know the one; I was sending a telepathic message that said, "Why didn't we go elsewhere?" After a couple of minutes, the chef/owner calls sweetly to his son to please play soccer off the deck while complimenting him on his ball skills.:eek:

Another time when we were there, a kid was tossing a wooden bocci ball on top of the corrugated metal roof and catching it as it rolled off. That was a sound we all want to hear while we're paying $20+/entree! That time I left my table to ask the little darling if he would please stop. He gave me a glare, but the other diners all nodded at me in gratitude.

Needless to say, we don't go there often and if it weren't for the deck, I wouldn't bother at all.
post #65 of 86

..but what exactly were the emotions and feelings around a meal

thats all very interesting to hear and seems that things take you away from the consentration of your meal, your company, and the real reason for dining out.

what exactly was the most memorable occasion you have had, and why do you remember it above all the others? not thinking about the food, or service, but more about the atmosphere, the company what you liked and disliked about the venue. what made it so speacial and more memorable than any other events..

that is the real reason behind fine dining experiences
post #66 of 86
We thought we would try out a new Italian place close to our neighborhood. All.. we wanted was a good red sauce and wine. Is that so difficult?
As soon as the waitress greeted us, my husband and I both knew that it wasn't going to be what we wanted. Also, the trickle of older folks coming in suggested that the food may be a little tame.

We ordered Bruschetta which is easy to make, and instead we got chopped tomatoes sitting in a bowl of Italian dressing. We sent that one back (I've been getting really good at sending stuff back).

I had ravioli is Marsala cream sauce and it was good, but my husband's food was mediocre.

I think about the "bruschetta" often, and now we are more likely to make it at home. I can also make a mean red sauce so there is no point in shelling out 9 bucks for it some where else.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
post #67 of 86

Pet names or Pet peeves?

Never being one to be PC, I'm going out on a limb here and saying "So what?" I've been called many pet names by total strangers...and some names that would never be considered pet names! :) Neither has ever bothered me. I think it's just the way some people choose to go in trying to make me feel welcome and I accept it as just that. Nothing more, nothing less. Some of the caustic comments posted on here make me wonder about mental security of the posters. Reminds me of when womens lib started to make inroads into American society. I saw a woman heading towards a door that I was almost at. Her arms were full of "stuff". Having been raised to open doors for ladies, to stand when a woman enters the room and to offer my seat to any elderly person, I did what would have made mom proud...I opened the door and stood aside for her to enter. Imagine my suprise when she stopped in front of me and basicly told me off for being polite. At that point I decided she wasn't a lady and told her that if she was going to be that rude, she could open her own door and proceeded to walk thru and close it. When I got to the elevators I turned to look at her. trying to open the door with her arms fully laden she dropped everything. I saw a guy rushing to assist her and yelled to him not to bother. She was a libber and would not appreciate his help. So, we stood there and watched her. When she finally came in and approached the elevators I asked her if she wanted to join the human race and allow me to push the button for her or did she want to continue being rude? She chose rude so I entered the elevator and left her standing there.
Here in Switzerland younger people defer to elders. I've had kids apologize to me when I bumped into them! When an older person gets on the bus, usually a younger person will offer the seat to them. Men offer seats to women, regardless of age. Women offer seats to older men. If a woman or a man is pushing a stroller, whoever is close to them assist in getting the stroller on or off the bus. Sadly, the culture is slowing changing and becoming more like America where everyone is rude to everyone else. I think it was better when people were taught manners and were polite to everyone regardless of who they were.
Being called hun or sugar has never ruined any meal for me. I use it as an opportunity to get to know a stranger.
Let the torching of me commence...
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
post #68 of 86

I don't agree that everyone is America is rude to everyone else. Sure, some may be insincere and perhaps shallow or "fake," but I can think of many instances where strangers have helped me out. Like, when a car breaks down on the road, someone always stops their car to help push it.

I'm not saying that America is the best country ever, but I've learned that almost everywhere, people are the same. There will always be idiots, rude jerk-offs, and generally nice people anywhere. As a rule, if you are nice to a stranger, chances are they will be the same in return.

I think I was going somewhere. What is this thread about again? :beer:
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
post #69 of 86

I agree that society isn't as civil as it once was in a lot of cases and I did my best to teach my kids to hold doors, defer to elders, and be polite in general. All this can be done preferably without using any other form of address besides the person's given name or Ma'am or Sir, or even (horrors!) no proper noun at all! I'm terribly sorry for stepping on your toe means just as much as I'm terribly sorry for stepping on your toe, Hon. Perhaps even more.

I disagree with your opinion that when people call you diminutive names, they're doing it with the best of intentions. Some are, certainly, but others do it to place themselves above you (or me, as the case may be). Or they do it to make you THINK they're calling you baby names because they care about you when they're just trying to make a bigger tip. It's phony at the very least.

You may think I'm a witch for being militant about strangers calling me terms of endearment in restaurants, but you ought to hear me when the subject comes up about nurses and aids calling their patients cute names.;)
post #70 of 86
I think sometimes the term itself implies a meaning... an older person calling me "sweetie" when we are having a polite exchange, does not feel offensive. Ethnicity also figures- an individual from UK calling me "luv" is not offensive. But someone calling me "dear" with a sarcastic tone, or trying to sweet talk me with a "darlin"" - that feels patronizing and that is offensive. Manners haven't changed- they just don't seem to be taught to our youth anymore. I am forever coursing "please" and "thank you" out of my own children when they make requests of me. They have been taught to use manners since they learned to speak, but it is not supported by their peers, or at school. So it is almost like I have re-teach it frequently.
And in regard to dining out- servers must be so used to lack of manners, that when you actually USE them, they are shocked. I make my children say "thank you" when our server puts their plate in front of them. And I always ask if I may please have some more water, etc.. Some servers seem so surprised.... I thought that was to be expected.... ???

And KY ,(it was KY ??) for your question about what makes a really memorable meal ... I think it is a few things.... 1st a good occasion that has brought you there- not the I've just worked a 10 hr day and I'm too exhausted to cook.... but the birthday, or promotion, or ...??? when you come to the restaurant to actually enjoy yourself..... good service- prompt and polite, & good food, obviously- but good service can make average food seem better, and bad service can make excellant food seem average.... but incredible service isn't going to make lousy food seem great. And trully extraordinary meals have something else... something you weren't planning on.... maybe a gift from your date, maybe the chef comes by and greets you, maybe absolutely amazing food or incredible presentation, or a celebrity in the house, or ...????
Bon Vive' !
Bon Vive' !
post #71 of 86
I don't think anyone is a witch lentil. (I could never think that of a fellow New Hampshirean!) But I do find it amusing that terms like hon are not okay but using the term ma'am is. I dated a young woman a loooooong time ago. Whe I went to meet her mother for the first time I said something to the effect of "Nice to meet you ma'am." and almost lost my head for it. To her, ma'am was short for me calling her a prostitute. Funny now but at the time...
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
post #72 of 86
Where i work it is sometimes just peoples backgrounds that cause them to use "pet" names when serving guests. We have one girl ... she said Ya'll a lot... we finally got her to break the habit after about 6 months but it's hard for some... we are also not allowed to say ma'am or sir... it makes some people feel really old... it's always better to use ladies and gentlemen...
post #73 of 86
It's funny how ma'am can be construed into meaning different things and have different connotations/dennotations. I find it much safer just to use "sir" and "miss."
Hi, I'm new here.
Hi, I'm new here.
post #74 of 86
Because some people enjoy being upset. They are never happier than when creating friction or expressing outrage. So they look for any excuse, and make the worst assumptions possible about the intent of others. These people are tedious to be around. I leave them alone to stew in their own poison.

Me? I assume that the server who calls me "Hon" is trying to be friendly. I like friendly. I'll assume that she is being friendly because making that assumption makes the dining experience more pleasant. I don't go into a restaurant looking for a chance to pitch a fit, I go there wanting to enjoy the meal.

Of course, these terms of endearment are the kind of informality that are more surprising to find in some places than others. I would not expect to be called "Dear" by a member of the wait staff in a $100 a plate restaurant with starched livery, but it would not surprise me in a café right off the freeway.

Here's an example of an occasion when a waitress used a term of endearment to good effect. I was heading west on I-80 from Salt Lake to the coast, and had stopped at a café in Winnemucca for dinner. Had a nice, light chicken something. The place was pretty quiet, so I asked the waitress about the road conditions, how far it was to Reno, what happened to the A&W, etc. She was friendly, in her 60's I'd guess, tall, thin, grey of hair and gravelly of voice. Empty dishes simply vanished, and my Diet Coke refilled itself as if by magic-- signs of attentive, unobtrusive service.

She asked if I would like anything for dessert. I thought for a second. She looked off towards the case where the pies were. "Our apple pie is awful good. We make it here." The case had a mirror at the top so you could see the tops of the pies. The apple pie did indeed look good. How did they get that crust?

She could see me weakening: "I could warm it up for you. Serve it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream."

Me: "Gee, I don't know..."

Then she got ruthless: "I can smother it in whipped cream."

Me (reluctantly): "Oh, man. Maybe on the trip back..."

Her (mock serious): "Sweetheart, if you don't have yourself that piece of pie a la mode with whipped cream on top, you're going to hate yourself all the way to Reno. You know you will."

Of course she was right. I had the pie, the best apple pie I can remember having in my entire long life. I was happy all the way to Sacratomato. I tipped her extravagantly, and on subsequent visits to the café always hoped to find her, but she must have retired.

On the other hand, if she had been young, and called me "Gramps"...

...heck, I probably would still have had the pie!
post #75 of 86
Posted by Lyle: "Because some people enjoy being upset. They are never happier than when creating friction or expressing outrage. So they look for any excuse, and make the worst assumptions possible about the intent of others. These people are tedious to be around. I leave them alone to stew in their own poison."

Lyle, I totally agree with you. If you watch the news for just five minutes a day, you would or at least should realize that being called "hon" or "dear" when eating at a restaurant (when people go hungry everyday) is the least of the human race's problems!!! Just my two cents...
post #76 of 86
A bug lamp in the dining area should serve as a warning . . .

Happened to me in Oak Ridge, OR. The big ZAP once in a while didn't help the atmosphere.
post #77 of 86
But then again, the place was called the Sportsman's Cafe. Maybe the bug lamp was part of the theme.
post #78 of 86
Of course, you hate to see staff sleeping on a dirty mattress under a table in the corner. That was in Cebu, in the Philippines. The cat that sat patiently hoping for a scrap of chicken was OK, though.
post #79 of 86
I got a good laugh from that, Lyle :D
post #80 of 86

behavior that keeps me from ever returning

Recently I went to a new Provencal restaurant in our area. The hostess was young and indifferent, but we did get seated, although with more difficulty than necessary. Our waitress recommended a seafood special, and since she assured me that all the seafood had come in fresh that moning, I decided to try it. Well, it wasn't awful, but it was bland, mediocre, and nowhere near as fresh as promised. I had no intention of ruining our evening with a fuss, and just ate some and planned to try the restaurant again when it had had time to even out a little. The waitress returned to the table and said "Didn't you love your special? Wasn't it delicious?" In a pleasant and friendly way I replied "It was quite all right." She drew back, glared at me, and said with heavy sarcasm "Well, perhaps you'd like to give our chef some instruction." Still cheerfully, I said "Now let's not go there, this is a friendly discussion," and indicated that we would like to see the dessert menu. She gave us reluctant and sullen service after that, and I certainly will not give the restaurant a second chance.
Now tell me, y'all, what gives here? I hadn't volunteered my opinion, but I certainly was not going to go along with her demand that I praise the dish when it was quite poor, and I didn't even say that it was poor. It seems to me that the wait-staff shouldn't ask for an opinion if they are going to become rude when given anything but praise. Many of us have the chance to travel to major cities and eat in very good restaurants, and we are not gong to exult over food that just doesn't deserve it, so if the staff doesn't want our opinion, why ask?
post #81 of 86
my absolute bug bear in restaurants is when the server leaves the food down and says 'enjoy'. as opposed to what? is it an instruction? even if i don't like it must i enjoy it? grrr. but that's just my own little personal bug bear and probably irrational.

to go back to the original posters posting, i think that a quick trip to the loo will very quickly tell me if i want to eat in the restaurant. if the owners allow the loo to be a total mess then that's it with me. what on earth is the kitchen (which i can't see) like?

about calling me 'dear' 'hon' etc. this has never actually been done to me. i live in ireland and i don't think it is the norm to say things like that. but maybe others have experienced it, i don't know. but i know that when i have been in older establishments in dublin where the server is a 'dub' and they have said 'love' - as in, try the apple pie love it's really good, then i would never take offence at that - it's just part of their every day speech. yes, i would be surprised if staff at one of the 'fine dining' restaurants said that, but in a cafe/bar/casual eaterie, then no, simply because it is the way the speak and it is only being friendly.

about the 'hi, my name is xxxxx and i'll be your server tonight', you could simply say 'and my name is yyyyy and i'll be your customer tonight'. but i suppose we have to remember, it is the manager/owner who decides on such ridiculous things to say.

generally when we dine out we do it to enjoy the night and unless things get really dire as in very bad service, bad food, etc. i tend to be fairly relaxed PROVIDING the staff are welcoming, friendly and attentive. a pleasant server buffers the sins of the kitchen imo.

if i am eating out in a place i could visit often (ie local) then i only ever complain if i think the staff/management clearly show they do welcome the customer. in other words, if it is clear that they don't really care then i don't waste my breath complaining - i just don't return.
post #82 of 86
if the plates are over 20$ a pop and I'm served butter that looks like this.

or if the servers plays "auctioneer" with the plates for the table...

"Filet Medium-Rare?" then looks around the table waiting for someone to "bid" on it with a "right here"
post #83 of 86
Sorry, out of place post.

I'm not sure I like this new server.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #84 of 86
I totally agree. Or it's a $10 burger and the mayo arrives in little plastic packets.

post #85 of 86
A hostess popping bubble gum ...

a filthy restaurant with greasy tables and seating patched with duct tape ...

an interminable wait after being seated just to receive a menu ...

the restaurant is out of specials even though dinner service just started ...

auctioning meals ...

the sporadic arrival of meals i.e. some people are served while others in the same party have to wait ...

lettuce that's turning brown ...

salads infested with bugs ...

a sloppily plated meal sitting in a puddle of congealing grease ...

no managers in sight throughout the entire meal service ... a meal served without silverware ...

a meal served without an offer of the the appropriate condiments ...

a manager who looks at your unsatisfactory meal and says, "Well I don't see anything wrong with it" ...

no follow up after the meal was served to see if everything was satisfactory ...

no offers to refill beverages ...

a ticket being delivered with no offer of coffee or dessert ...

servers with attitude i.e. I once had a server who was in such a foul mood that she slammed my food in front of me, sloshing the chowder and scattering the fish and chips ...

an unappetizing looking bus cart covered with greasy dirty plates that's wheeled in front of your table while you're dining and left there ...

a server who wants to argue about the size of his or her gratuity after having provided indifferent or poor service ...
post #86 of 86

An additional comment about terms of endearment...


There's a local restaurant I frequent that's a semi-cafeteria style place with nice décor and food that is almost always very good. The young lady who often cooks for me is very sweet and friendly, and happy to provide little bits of extra service. I always thank her, often with "Thank you, sweetheart!" It makes her smile.


I noticed lately that she takes pains to always select for me the largest chicken Cordon Bleu, the nicest-looking tenderloin, the fattest stuffed chicken breast, etc. So, it works both ways.

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