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How do you "restaurant hop?"

There are occasionally threads on my local board (L.A.) requesting "good streets/neighborhoods to restaurant hop?"

Sometimes there are lamentations about "L.A. not being as good as fill-in-the-city for restaurant hopping.

Now, I get the concept. They are looking for a place where they can go restaurant to restaurant trying different foods. Sort of enjoying the stroll and eating different things.

My question is how you moderate your eating in any one place so you can restaurant hop.

Disclaimer: I'm not some skinny dude with a hidden "how to you all eat that much" agenda. I'm 5-9, 175 give or take, I love to eat and can eat what I think is a lot of food if I'm enjoying the food. But I eat more when I eat fast (faster, really, I'm not a gobbler) and I'm digging the meal, If I eat slowly, I get full faster (no duh).

So, I picture myself going into the first place on my restaurant hop and eating something and then doing the same in the second place and by the third place, I'm stuffed. Or, at least not hungry enough to go into place four.

So, is three places a "hop?"

Do those of you who "hop" just take a few bites in each place?

Do you stroll so slowly that a "hop takes hours" (I could see doing a lot of shopping in between and making a "hop" last for two meals)?

Is "hopping" just indulgence time and one eats past the point of being full?

FWIW - I get "bar hopping." As long as there are restrooms along the way, one can always squeeze in one more drink. You can hit a dozen bars and have a dozen drinks, if your capacity allows. But after three restaurants, maybe four, how much more can one "hop?"

Finally: This is different than eating sushi or a tasting menu. In those cases, each "course" is deliberately small in anticipation of many courses. That, it seems, is different than ordering mains and appetizers in several restaurants in a row.

Thanks ...

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  1. ummm, i'm not sure. this is actually a concept i'm not all that familiar with. i have gone barhopping and had an appetizer at each place or a dessert plate, at maybe 5 or 6 places, split with friends. i'm not large enough for marathon eating, sadly.

    1. Your post is really funny. But you raise a lot of good questions that I am also curious about. A friend recommended a "pizza crawl" to try a bunch of different pizza places, but I just sat there thinking, how the heck is that going to work?

      In my personal experience, I have done a restaurant "hop" with just 1 other person, and always sat at the bar. That makes it a lot easier to get in and out and not spend a lot of time waiting. This past Saturday night, my friend and I went to 1 place for aps, a second place for more substantial food, and a third place for dessert. However, mirroring your comment as to bar hopping, we also "paired" our food with the signature drink of the place, requiring a pitcher of sangria at stop two. Therefore, by the end of the third restaurant we hopped (more appropriately, staggered) to stop four, a bar, where we turned the restaurant hop into a bar hop. :)

      1. Last time I was in Manhattan for one night, I went to five restaurants for dinner: traditional nori-makizushi (not sashimi) for a starter at a Japanese restuarant along with green tea; a nice green salad, cannelloni with artichoke and a nice Italian rose, obviously, in a small Italian place; a Greek restaurant/deli for another main of stuffed grape leaves and a nice Spanish red; won ton soup in a Chinese place near Times Square; and dessert--couple of Jim Beams on the rocks at a bar.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          The Jim Beam part sounds especially great ...

          Something like that sounds fun, but the timing must have been invasion-of-a-foreign-country precise.

          Maybe that's the wrong metaphor.

          I just mean, you had to go from place to place, perfectly timed to get a table at the next place and so on. Unless you just ate at the bar, which would be more like guerrilla-warfare/restaurant hopping.

          1. re: PaulF

            I made reservations for the Japanese (somewhat early) and Italian places. The Greek restaurant/deli and the bar were walk ins that I had scoped out earlier during the couse of going to and from meetings. The Chinese place, another walk in, I knew from previous visits. The Jim beam was, indeed great, along with the other patrons and the bar itself.

        2. the few times i've "restaurant hop[ped]" it was part of a longer night out. usually we do it when we have theater/concert/sports tickets. we'll hit a place or two for drinks and some shared appetizers, then go to the ticketed event. afterwards, we'll hit a place for dinner; if we don't have reservations for someplace and the wait is long, we might duck into a wine bar or something for another app & drink while waiting for the table at the restaurant. then we'll walk around, go dancing, shoot pool, whatever, followed by dessert & drinks at yet another place.

          1. Yea I've always wondered this too! At college, I knew people that went on food crawls all the time in addition to barcrawls (of course!) and I never understood it. Although, I did visit my college recently and wound up eating at Qdoba and a hot dog place within the same hour. People wanted different things which is why we went to both but I wound up eating at both and let me tell you, I could NOT finish my hot dog....

            1. Haven't done this in quite a while but back 30 years ago when I was living in New York, we used to periodically do "progressive dinners" in Chinatown, having one or 2 best dishes in each of 5-6 restaurants. It was easy because they were all so close together, and with chinese food, by the time you got to the next place you were ready to eat again.[ha!]. Now the only thing that we'll occaisionally do is appetizers and drinks in one place and dinner at another.

              1. Its similar to the idea of tapas in Spain. You go to one restaurant and have a drink and an appetizer or two and then go to the next, rinse and repeat. You dont have full meals at each restaurant. I live in Manhattan, so its pretty easy to do and I've done it going to 3-4 restaurants in a night. Most recently, I went to a tapas/ham bar and got a glass or two of wine with some manchego cheese and jamon serrano. Then went to another place for restaurant/bar for some more wine and appetizers and then finished the night off with sushi.

                1. We do this regularly when traveling as our food options here are somewhat limited and we want to take advantage of the local food. Our record is eight restaurants in one day in Victoria BC but that was more like a food excursion that lasted hours and was punctuated by much strolling and whatnot.

                  Its really no different than the "progressive dinner" trend of some years back. There is no set method but it helps if you are with one or more people who like to share tho I've done it on my own (apps here, salad or entree there, dessert somewhere else)

                  Sometimes we pick the restaurant we'll end up in for the entree and make a reservation. Then we start out walking in that general direction, find an inviting spot to stop for cocktails and appetizers, another for their soup or salad, and pick one that looks good for dessert on the return trip.

                  Other times - and my preferred method - we just walk til we find a menu that has something we want, have that, then move on. Obviously you have to be flexible in case they don't have a table available but if I'm alone I don't mind eating at the bar and talking to the locals.

                  I don't think you have to reach some magic number of hops tho it seems fairly standard for us, as well as other folks replying here, to meet for apps then move to somewhere else for entrees or go the reverse for entrees then dessert. I'm not sure two stops is really restaurant hopping.

                  However you do it - I think it helps to set aside enough time to enjoy!

                  As for the pizza crawl - you take a bunch of friends, make the pizza's fairly small and cut into very small pieces - we call them "party cuts" here.

                  1. Well, some of us no longer recognize bodily signals. I don't really understand being hungry or being satiated (except on extreme occasions like Thanksgiving). I always want to eat and drink, all the time--and do, most of the time. And gain weight in the process.
                    Some call it an eating disorder. Some call it a sin (gluttony). I mostly just call it a guilty pleasure.

                    1. taco truck crawl -- qualify?