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I know for some people simple living means "made from scratch," "home-grown," and "hand prepared." But, the simplest way I have found to enjoy a gourmet meal without the long grocery list, prepping and cooking for hours, and dealing with dirty dishes is dining out.
Here are 7 tips for a simple dining experience:
1. Make a reservation (if possible). Most restaurants take reservations and this is the only way to guarantee you will be seated in a timely manner.
2. Avoid the most crowded hours. Most people eat out between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. If you don't mind eating early, you can also save money by catching the early bird special (usually 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.).
3. Consider the parking situation. If you plan to dine downtown, you may have to take parking into consideration. If you are planning dinner with a large group, try to plan a carpool or select a restaurant with ample parking.
4. Choose an appropriate venue. Whether you are celebrating a birthday or planning to exchange juicy gossip, consider the atmosphere that will make the most of your dining experience.
5. Choose your company carefully. Perhaps the best way to guarantee an enjoyable meal is to choose your company carefully. If you want to engage in an intimate conversation, limit your party to one or two other people.
6. Select your entree with care. Your evening plans may help you decide what you want to order. When dining with a chatty group, pick a salad only if you plan to listen more than talk. One more reason to think before you order, I once ordered a huge slice of ice cream mud pie only to realize that I could only eat a few bites, and no one else touched it - I ended up giving it to the couple next to us at the restaurant because we could not take it with us.
7. Go with a game plan! I have had the miserable experience of cruising downtown with a group of indecisive and hungry girlfriends. We actually sat down at one restaurant, only to discover they wanted nothing offered on the menu. Learn from my mistakes so you don't end up slipping out the back door before your drinks have been ordered (yes, we actually did that)!
If this post made you hungry, check out the list of My Ten Favorite Restaurants.
What are your tips for simple dining?
photo by Darrell Godliman
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Saturday, September 19, 2009
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