The 13 Problems You’ll Encounter On A Dinner Date And How To Dealby Lauren Passell on May 23, 2012
Zagat just ran a great piece on the totally annoying (food-related) moments in New York City, and while I have experienced each and every one of them in multiple boroughs, I’m sure their suckiness taints the entire universe. If you ever go out to eat, you will encounter these annoyances. I understand how they can make you feel helpless, but don’t have a hissy fit, don’t bitch out a waiter, don’t vandalize the establishment. That won’t get you any food whatsoever and will only make you look like you’re four. Here’s what you should do instead.
You Can’t Hear Each Other
How to fix: Well, it’s an excuse to get close to one another. Keep conversation simple. And loud. (Now’s not the time to discuss WTF Inception was about. I recommend playing a game which involves few words at all: Eye other couples in the restaurant and decide which one is the “loser” in the relationship (if you know what I mean), or call people for your “pile” (who you’d get to hook up with if you got a “free pass” — for very confident couples, only.)
You Wait Forrrrrrever
How to fix: If there is one thing I’ve learned after living in New York City for 6 years, it’s that everything in Seinfeld is based upon reality and probably actually happened. Do you remember that entire episode dedicated to Jerry, Elaine and George waiting to be seated at a Chinese restaurant? They played games, dared each other to eat off other people’s plates, called ex-girlfriends, and whined a lot. While I don’t recommend it, I can’t think of anything better. This is what will happen.
They Tell You, “You Call Us”
How to fix: Oh my goodness, if you have a date, a real live date, pick a restaurant that takes solid reservations — not one that will make you call them after an hour of waiting to check table availability.
You Cannot, Simply Cannot Secure A Reservation For The Life Of You
How to fix: You know the kind. You go on OpenTable and keep entering a time, getting vaguer and vaguer, further and further away from your optimal dining time, and there appear to be no open tables for the next ten thousand years. If you really want to go to one of these places, call the restaurant (especially the day of, in case anyone cancels). If you can’t pull that, go to a big-ass restaurant, one that will welcome you with open arms. Who wants those tiny, exclusive restaurants, anyway?
You Have To Jump Through Hoops To Get A Reservation
How to fix: Get your game face on. If you really want a reservation, figure out the system and make it your mission to slash the competition. If you have to go onto a website and create a special user name and submit a form at the exact right second, be prepared to spend some time at your computer. If you have to call the second a phone line opens up at 6 AM, set your alarm. Whatever you do, make sure you have a game plan (to go with your game face).
You Have To Confirm The Reservation, Like, A Million Times, Or You Lose It
How to fix: Go on the offensive and call the restaurant two and one days prior to confirm yourself. Don’t worry about annoying the sh*t out of them, it’s their fault you have to do this in the first place.
You Wait As Much Time For A Drink As You Do Your Lobster Flambee
How to fix: Waiting for a drink is often more annoying than waiting for food because you don’t have anything to do — you’re just stuck there. For fancy watering holes that take plenty of care to craft complicated elixirs, know going in that you’re about to wait forever. And make sure you don’t have anywhere to be for a while. Remember, life is about the journey, not the destination, or something.
You’ll Never Get Into A Restaurant For Brunch, Ever.
How to fix: My solution to this conundrum has been to always not to brunch, for fear I lose my cool and have a toddler-level meltdown in line for my eggs, which I am very hungry for. If you must brunch, though, go super duper early or super duper late. And if you get there super duper early, scarf your food down so that I can have a table, in the rare case I venture out in pursuit of overly-priced, leftover, chaotic brunch food. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
You Get Peer Pressured By Hosts To Come Inside Their Joint
How to fix: Put your badass New York City stern face on and walk quickly, with purpose. Do not make eye contact. Do not hesitate — even when they say the words “all you can eat arepas.” It might be a trick. And even if it’s not, avoid the begging host. If their restaurant was so good, they wouldn’t need to beg. There are a lot of freaking people trying to eat in New York.
You Get Ripped By Double Gratuity.
How to fix: Umm, read the bill before you sign. Especially if it’s in a touristy spot. Those places just love to rip off people who don’t know better. (You are NOT one of them.)
You Get Ripped Off In General.
How to fix: Order appetizers, share food, BYOOR (that stand for bring your own onion rings, but just kidding.) Zagat recommends checking the menu for draft beer prices to see if you’re about to get screwed. If there are options for $5-$6, the prices are probably reasonable.
You Get Dragged Into Someone’s Bachelorette Party Or Other Crazy Party
How to fix: Seriously try to avoid any confrontation with the loud, drunken party. If they don’t think you’re eyeing them, they don’t bother you. Do your best to ignore, ignore, ignore. They’re not there, they’re not even there.
You’re Tripping Over Strollers
How to fix: You have my permission (not that it matters) to ask the offending party to park their stroller outside. At least if they say no, they’ll look like an ass in front of everyone and hopefully feel like a jerk. You also have my permission to go out of your way to trip over their stroller multiple times. At least that way you’re amused.