Why I Love/Hate Dining Out

As a self-acclaimed foodie, I love to eat out at restaurants, cafés and even dive bars. But mostly restaurants. I am a petite woman (if the nickname Little Martha is any indication), however I don’t eat like one. Some call it a healthy appetite; my husband and I call it a passion and love for food; our waitresses always call us fat. Every. Time.

When it all started

A couple of years ago, hubby (then boyfriend) and I went to a beach town and their best sushi place. Unbeknownst to me, he had made reservations 6 months ahead to ensure we would have a table. This was a special trip as we would become fiancés and then BFFs — best foodies forever, at least for each other. At this sushi restaurant, we ordered edamame, miso soup, house salad and tons of sushi. We didn’t realize the salad was not a side salad and actually an entrée in itself, but it was so savory that we ate nearly all of it. The sushi was, and will always be, some of the best sushi we’ve ever eaten. And we ate $150+ worth of it.

Midway through our feast — visualize that the table wasn’t large enough for all the sushi we had ordered — we overhear the waitresses whisper that neither of us looked like a food critic. Because there could be no other explanation for having a reservation that far in advance and for two people to consume that much raw fish. To this day, we find humor in their comment. But recently, we smirk because we’ve new insight in the minds of our waitresses.

Monster breakfast

After sushi, it’s breakfast food all the way. I am one of those people who can eat breakfast foods all day long. Recently relocated from the East Coast, we find a cute breakfast restaurant and go for brunch. He orders an omelette with 6 egg whites and I ask for some pancakes and fresh fruit on the side.

“Here’s your monster breakfast,” says our attractive waitress when she produces our food.
Yes, the omelette did look larger than expected and we suspect they maybe used closer to 12 egg whites and my stack of pancakes was a bit high, but was it truly a monster breakfast? Perhaps, she was having a bad day, or morning.

You guys were pretty hungry

As I recall, there was reason to celebrate and we wanted Asian cuisine — Asian chicken lettuce cups, Cantonese chow fun noodles, oolong marinated Chilean sea bass, a glass of Riesling and just maybe, a slice of chocolate cake. Our waitress was very skinny and put out by our vivacious appetite.

“That’s a lot of food,” she told us clearly appalled. “Are you sure you want to order all that?”
“Yeah, that’s what we want.”
“Ok,” she shrugs and places our order.

The food was delicious and we’re glad we made the trip when our waitress came to check on us and sees we’ve enjoyed the food and made a dent.

“You guys were pretty hungry. I couldn’t eat all that.”

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Ok, we get it. According to our waitresses, we order a lot of food. And to them it’s something worth commenting about and for us it has become a game. “Will we get the ‘monster breakfast’ from this waitress?” we’ll ask each other before we place our order.

Well recently, it was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. When at one of our favorite sushi restaurants in town we realized that we were going to order a lot of sushi, we reassured the waitress that we wouldn’t eat it all and likely take some home for dinner that night. She didn’t seem to have an opinion either way and smiled. Then the sashimi came, and we enjoyed it. Followed by the first roll, we ate that too. Then the next two rolls, and so one and so forth. When we realized that there wasn’t going to be any leftovers and I, frankly, didn’t care. Sushi is best in the moment. And as I was enjoying a roll and the decision to eat what we ordered in one sitting, as was intended, our waitress came to check on us.

“Oh, you guys are doing really good job,” she said. Our faces fell and she continued, as if to recover.  “I can really put away food too. Yea, I don’t understand people who can only eat one or two rolls.”
Thank you for the back-handed compliment, twiggy.

In closing, I have a message to people in the food service industry. While I don’t doubt that you have a grueling job dealing with difficult people, long hours and what have you. However, I have one more thing to add to your list: don’t make your patrons feel guilty about eating — and enjoying — the delicious food your establishment provides. And, waitress, the more food we order the higher a tip you’ll likely receive, also provided that you keep us hydrated (we do live in the desert) and pretend to be foodies with us. If you can do this, we’ll come back for another visit and order another “monster” meal.
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