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Embarrassed to Order a Dish in a Restaurant?

michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 08:22 AM

While I enjoy eating liver, it takes me a bit of nerve to order it in a restaurant. I know this is my own insecurity and lack of confidence. It probably reminds of the time I was teased in school for bringing in a chopped liver sandwich. Just curious if others felt this way about ordering any specific dishes?

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  1. j
    jujuthomas RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 08:26 AM

    sometimes i don't order things b/c i know my hubby will think them gross... like liver, but not out of embarrasment, just don't want to ruin his appetite I guess.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jujuthomas
      FrankJBN RE: jujuthomas Oct 18, 2007 09:29 AM


      What, is the waiter going into the back and snickering "Table 40 just ordered the calamari etc"

      It's hard to be embarassed in front of no one and if you are worried about your companion, well, then you should be worried about your companion and not your entree.

    2. JungMann RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 08:32 AM

      I like organ meat, too and get excited when I see it on the menu. Unfortunately I know some very picky eaters who are grossed out by foods that in any way resemble their raw state so often have to pass so as to not put them off their dinner.

      1. h
        Humbucker RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 09:11 AM

        The only dishes I'm embarrassed to order are the skeevily named maki at some sushi places. I'm sorry, but I won't say "I want a Sexy Roll" out loud in a restaurant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Humbucker
          Megiac RE: Humbucker Oct 19, 2007 09:32 AM

          Yeah, I refuse to order the 69 roll and the orgasm roll at a sushi place we frequent, even though thry both sound tasty.

          1. re: Megiac
            thegingerbreadgirl RE: Megiac Nov 7, 2007 02:06 PM

            Same as ordering the one-night-stand roll when you're with your co-worker. It's got lobster in it and I am dying to try it!

        2. ccbweb RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 09:34 AM

          They put it on the menu, so fire away and order whatever sounds tasty. You can be pretty sure the chef will be pleased if nothing else.

          1. pinstripeprincess RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 11:07 AM

            i've never been embarrassed to order something.

            the most recent example would probably be the lamb fries (or testicles) at an iranian restaurant but after the little jokes died down and i got a couple of people to try it, they really did enjoy it. it often happens like that, at least with my dining companions, that they'll find a new appreciation for something they would never have expected to like. as long as you dont' act finicky about it they seem to figure out that hey, it's not so bad.

            1. chowser RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 11:20 AM

              Yep, sweet and sour pork at an authentic chinese restaurant that my FIL owned. Funny looks from everyone at the table. I was really in the mood for deep fried ketchup drenched pork.

              14 Replies
              1. re: chowser
                Glencora RE: chowser Oct 18, 2007 01:12 PM

                Your answer is the best yet and the only completely honest one. How many people are really embarrassed to order something that makes them seem adventurous? I'll admit to feeling funny ordering gloppy blue cheese dressing on my salad instead of a more sophisticated vinaigrette.

                1. re: Glencora
                  podunkboy RE: Glencora Oct 18, 2007 07:18 PM

                  Wait a minute -- I'm supposed to feel funny ordering blue cheese dressing on my salad? I won't eat salad without blue cheese dressing...
                  But if I was a cocktail drinker, I'd have a problem ordering "sex on the beach" or "sand in my shorts" or whatever risque yet cute little title they've come up with for some blend of fruit juice and liquor. And don't get me started on some of those wine names.

                  1. re: podunkboy
                    foodseek RE: podunkboy Oct 19, 2007 11:26 AM

                    I thought the same thing when I read the OP question. Some of those drinks names do embarrass me although I may like the drink-so I will list the ingredients I want in drink instead or point to drink menu if provided. Once after I listed ingredients, the server said in a loud voice,"Oh next time ask for Sex on the Beach". Sometimes you just can't win.

                    1. re: foodseek
                      gryphonskeeper RE: foodseek Oct 20, 2007 02:48 PM

                      One of the most popular drinks I was making at my last job, was a "panty remover"
                      I would see guys buying these shots for women all the time, only to snicker to myself.

                      1. re: gryphonskeeper
                        stellamystar RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 3, 2007 11:54 AM

                        I feel kind of bad because I went out w/ the gals a few months ago. One non-drinker gal kept ordering Slippery Nipples and B52's, Fuzzy Navals, because she really liked those sweet drinks. We teased her to no end and told her to order something that a babysitter wouldn't want.

                        I'm a bad friend.

                        1. re: stellamystar
                          piccola RE: stellamystar Nov 3, 2007 08:04 PM

                          Uh, she's a non-drinker? Not so much. Those sweet drinks are usually packed with liquor - the sugar just hides the taste.

                          1. re: piccola
                            stellamystar RE: piccola Nov 5, 2007 08:25 AM

                            I wondered about that, too. yuck.

                          2. re: stellamystar
                            KaimukiMan RE: stellamystar Nov 9, 2007 06:33 PM

                            slippery nipple is also known as a coppery camel... for those unwilling to use the other names (c*%ksucker for example)

                        2. re: foodseek
                          LeslieB RE: foodseek Nov 5, 2007 09:11 AM

                          I agree 100 percent. I would never be caught dead asking a bartender for a Screaming Orgasm. And having been on the other of the bar as well, I can definitively say that I had less respect for customers who ordered rounds of Red-Headed Sluts or (even worse) Wet Pussy shooters, not only because of the awful names, but also because they are a serious pain in the butt to make, especially in quantity.

                          1. re: LeslieB
                            Divamac RE: LeslieB Nov 23, 2007 06:36 PM

                            I used to date with a guy who ordered a drink this way: a tall glass, "this much" peach schnapps, "this much" jaegermeister, fill the rest with cranberry. I thought it was a little odd until i found out that it was a Red-Headed Slut, which he was embarrassed to order in front of me - a red head.

                            1. re: Divamac
                              jfood RE: Divamac Nov 24, 2007 06:17 AM

                              he's a keeper. but you need to change his drink of choice.

                        3. re: podunkboy
                          ajs228 RE: podunkboy Oct 23, 2007 02:26 PM

                          I've never been embarrased to order food, but there are certain drinks no man can get away with. First thing that comes to mind is the cosmopolitan. Vodka, cranberry juice and lime juice actually sounds pretty good, but I'd never order one in public. Those damn Sex in the City women.

                      2. re: chowser
                        KaimukiMan RE: chowser Oct 18, 2007 04:05 PM

                        I love fried rice, but won't order it in a chinese restaurant unless I am with close friends. I know its "leftovers", so what. Still wouldn't order it at a more "formal" dinner.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan
                          slacker RE: KaimukiMan Oct 18, 2007 04:15 PM

                          The Chinese restaurant banquet menus ("formal" dinner?) usually comes with fried rice.

                      3. Scott M RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 11:26 AM

                        Go for it. You can always preface your order with "I rarely ever get a chance to order (blank)" or "its hard to find a place that makes good (blank), I think I'll try it." I think it makes you seem bold and adventurous.

                        The only time I am hesitant to order something is if I know its going to be a messy dish to eat and its not the right place or company to get down and dirty with food. Then I am self-conscious about how I will eat it gracefully and usually order something else.

                        1. b
                          Big Bunny RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 11:35 AM

                          You can always simply point to the menu.


                          1. jfood RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 11:38 AM

                            The only issue jfood runs into is the family. mrs jfood has a heart of gold and has a hard time when he orders rabbit and little jfood gives him "that look" whenever heorders veal.

                            As far as being embarassed in front of the server, can't think if that has ever happened.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jfood
                              Diane in Bexley RE: jfood Oct 18, 2007 12:57 PM

                              Yes, I love veal and sweetbreads, dishes I don't usually make at home and love to order out at restaurants. Somehow in Ohio, veal is not appreciated and grocery store and even butcher shop veal is not the same as in a larger more ethnic city like Chicago or NYC.

                              1. re: jfood
                                Panini Guy RE: jfood Oct 18, 2007 05:11 PM

                                Reminds me of an recent anecdote - I was concerned that one of my employees, a devout Christian and youth group leader, might have issues with what I was planning for a dinner party menu, which included veal. So I asked him about his opinion on veal.

                                Without hesitation, he replied, "I'll eat baby anything."

                                But to answer the question, I have been a bit skittish about ordering testicles, but they're pretty good cooked on a little table hibachi with some fruity dipping sauce. And while I'll try anything, I've been embarrassed when I REALLY didn't like something and had to have the waiter take it away mostly uneaten, like a vastedda I'd had in Red Hook last Christmas... learned that spleen ain't my thing. Delicious ricotta though!

                                1. re: jfood
                                  RGC1982 RE: jfood Oct 19, 2007 08:22 AM

                                  The only time I've ever been embarrassed was when my husband ordered a small entree and I've ordered the larger plate or combo special. He picks all day long, so he is rarely starving at dinner. I, on the other hand, could easily put away a 3 or 4 part combo at a Mexican restaurant. So the embarrassment for me is more about quantity than the item itself.

                                  1. re: jfood
                                    WCchopper RE: jfood Oct 20, 2007 08:27 PM

                                    That reminds me of my mother's answer to the question " what is your favourite animal?". Her reply was invariably "fried chicken".

                                  2. Deenso RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 03:12 PM

                                    Nope. If I see something I like on a menu and I'm in the mood for it, I'm not shy about ordering anything at all.

                                    When I was a child, my mom took me to a local diner and the menu included a sardine plate, which was what I ordered. The waitress grimaced and said, "Ick. You really eat those things?" I said, "Yes. It's on the menu. What's the problem?" She shrugged and, when she brought our orders out, her nose wrinkled in distaste. I do remember enjoying my sardines in spite of - maybe because of? - her attitude.

                                    I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks of my menu selections. Why would you let that bother you? I personally don't care for liver, but would never comment negatively when someone else orders it. Don't let the rudeness/ignorance of others influence your choices.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Deenso
                                      michele cindy RE: Deenso Oct 18, 2007 05:05 PM

                                      I know it goes back to my eartly childhood. I guess I would have to see a shrink to get over it! It's not all the time, and I have no problem dining high end, or low end solo. I eat almost anything out, I'd get a sardine platter, anhovies etc. eat the sloppyist food, it doesn't bother me. Another item I don't like to eat out is egg salad. Same as my liver memories...

                                    2. revsharkie RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 03:41 PM

                                      Under certain conditions, I might be embarrassed:

                                      1) if it's something I think might be complicated to eat--deep down inside I'm really a corn-fed rube who barely knows how to use a knife and fork

                                      2) if it's WAY more expensive than anything anyone else is having (even if I'm buying)

                                      3) if there's no dignified way to eat it (like fried chicken), unless we're at a place where everyone is eating the same undignified stuff (like at a BBQ joint)

                                      4) if it's going to take much longer than anyone else's to cook (again, fried chicken: my sister and I were trained growing up that you don't order fried chicken in a restaurant because it takes so long to cook that everyone else will have to wait for you)

                                      1. j
                                        JacksonH RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 04:04 PM

                                        There's a juice cart I've seen in midtown Manhattan that has juices that are supposed to cure various ailments. One of them is for impotence. I suppose that one could be embarrassing for a guy to order and just plain weird for a woman.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: JacksonH
                                          Scrapironchef RE: JacksonH Oct 19, 2007 04:11 PM

                                          Not if she got it to go, I'd assume she had someone in mind. If she started chugging it - well that's awhole other matter.

                                          1. re: JacksonH
                                            WCchopper RE: JacksonH Oct 20, 2007 08:29 PM

                                            The extra fiber shot at Jamba Juice is a similar example.

                                          2. Midlife RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 04:53 PM

                                            I have no problem ordering anything on the menu........... that's why it's there. Liver is, however, one thing I have found is on the 'NEVER' list of the majority of people I know. I don't know why....... I was brought up with liver and onions as a normal dinner at home so it's one of my comfort foods. The only time I get to eat it is at a chain resto where it appears on the menu. My wife would never make it at home nor do I see it on the vast majority of menus. I don't think the preferences of others should make me feel embarrassed about ordering something I like.

                                            1. r
                                              RicRios RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 05:59 PM

                                              I'd probably be embarrased to order an ortolan, assuming it ever comes back to restaurants menus. From the link below:

                                              "Cooking l'ortolan is simplicity itself. Simply pop them in a high oven
                                              for six to eight minutes and serve. The secret is entirely in the
                                              eating. First you cover your head with a traditional embroidered
                                              cloth. Then place the entire four-ounce bird into your mouth. Only its
                                              head should dangle out from between your lips. Bite off the head and
                                              discard. L'ortolan should be served immediately; it is meant to be so
                                              hot that you must rest it on your tongue while inhaling rapidly
                                              through your mouth. This cools the bird, but its real purpose is to
                                              force you to allow its ambrosial fat to cascade freely down your


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: RicRios
                                                Cookiefiend RE: RicRios Oct 19, 2007 09:54 AM

                                                I know it was a delicacy but I think my brain would get in the way.

                                                I think I'd be more horrified than embarrased - though the special embroidered cloth might make me feel pretty silly.

                                              2. p
                                                piccola RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 07:05 PM

                                                Sometimes I'm embarassed to order entrée salads, because they've gotten such a bad rap as "girly food". I hate it so much that people assume I'm on a diet (and proceed to ask me why, etc.) that sometimes I ignore my rabbit-food cravings.

                                                1. w
                                                  wayne keyser RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 08:06 PM

                                                  If they aren't embarrassed to serve it, why should you be embarrassed to order it?

                                                  One viewing of any Tony Bourdain show, or Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods," and you should feel a lot better about ordering liver. Think of it this way: doing that, you're probably the bravest diner in the place.

                                                  PS - The one time I ordered liver, it was the best I've ever had.

                                                  PPS - I'm often shocked by how many fellow diners tell me "Wow, you were brave, asking for something prepared a little differently than it shows on the menu!" (un-seasoned fries and the like). Buncha wimps.

                                                  1. b
                                                    Brandon Nelson RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 08:56 PM

                                                    My younger sister is has a closed mind and a fragile appettite. When I go to mexican with her I do her the service of ordering tripe, tongue, or other meats that might gross her out in Spanish. Oof course she will ask "did you just order something disgusting?". At which point I tell her not to ask questions she might not like answered.

                                                    Just eat your chicken sweetie.

                                                    Embarrassed though? Never.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                      MakingSense RE: Brandon Nelson Oct 18, 2007 10:46 PM

                                                      My father and I had cervelles de veau any number of times while dining out with my mother who kept asking what we were eating. She wasn't adventurous at all so we knew better than to translate. She finally nagged us into telling her and it ruined her dinner that evening, finally knowing we were eating calf's brains.

                                                    2. Azizeh Barjesteh RE: michele cindy Oct 18, 2007 11:54 PM

                                                      I don't like saying ridiculously named things. Hard for me to remember an example, but I see on TV at IHOP, The rudy tootie fresh n fruitie. I've never had it, but I know that if I wanted it, I'd not want to say it. Same goes for things with foreign names I don't know how to say... but I figure that people often mispronounce it and the waiter is used to it, so I'll just say, "I have no clue how this is said..." and then order.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh
                                                        jeanmarieok RE: Azizeh Barjesteh Oct 19, 2007 07:32 AM

                                                        I'm with you on that - ridiculous named food is just embarrassing to order. We used to frequent a place that had a 'Bubba Chicken Sandwich' and the 'Alamo Burger' - I couldn't bring myself to order either by name - I'd have to say 'I'll have the chicken sandwich, please', etc.... I HATE cute food names.

                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                          Avalondaughter RE: jeanmarieok Oct 22, 2007 12:47 PM

                                                          What if there were more than one kind of burger or chicken sandwich though? How would you distinguish when you ordered?

                                                        2. re: Azizeh Barjesteh
                                                          manraysky RE: Azizeh Barjesteh Oct 19, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                          Ha, the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread was the "Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity." I remember the those ads and thinking I could never order that.

                                                          1. re: manraysky
                                                            Discoethan RE: manraysky Oct 23, 2007 07:53 AM

                                                            Don't forget 'Moons Over My Hammie"

                                                            1. re: Discoethan
                                                              rich in stl RE: Discoethan Nov 24, 2007 12:48 PM

                                                              Wifey and I both ordered "Moons of My Hammie" - and would order them again in a heartbeat.

                                                              Of course, wifey was helping a reastaurant owner friend write the menu - so the menu has "Soup d'Jour and if business is slow Soup d' YesterJour"

                                                          2. re: Azizeh Barjesteh
                                                            diablo RE: Azizeh Barjesteh Nov 1, 2007 01:45 PM

                                                            Now I know I'm a total dork, because if I am forced to eat at a IHOP/Dny's type place, I can't resist ordering the most ridiculous sounding item on the menu. Thankfully, I do not frequent these restaurant as I am leery of mass produced/chain food.

                                                          3. l
                                                            LJS RE: michele cindy Oct 19, 2007 08:09 AM

                                                            I used to suffer from a totally different kind of embarassment. I worked in the fashion industry at one point and lunch with the girls was an agonizing business. The judging of every bit of caloric content, the endless discussion of one diet versus another and the hissy fit when the steamed vegetable plate came with the sauce 'touching' the meal, these otherwise charming colleagues turned into monsters over lunch. As a robust person with normal appetites, I would try to pick the least offensive dish, but we were not on the same wave-length and I often had to endure a sort of condescending silence as I guiltily swallowed my Caesar Salad or grilled calamari. I changed jobs (for more reasons than lunch!) and now only see my old pals for a drink where the pitfalls are less of a problem!

                                                            1. Kajikit RE: michele cindy Oct 19, 2007 12:29 PM

                                                              I'm only embarrassed if I order something and it come as ordered and I hate it and have to send it back!

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Kajikit
                                                                ricepad RE: Kajikit Oct 19, 2007 01:18 PM

                                                                Why would you be sending something back if it came as ordered?

                                                                1. re: ricepad
                                                                  LJS RE: ricepad Oct 19, 2007 01:40 PM

                                                                  Wow, thats a whole new notion for me. Surely, it is not done to send something back that is precisely what is said it was going to be just because you don't like it? Conjures up images of rubes sending back sushi because it came raw; blue cheese because it is mouldy...

                                                                  Maybe its just me?

                                                                  1. re: LJS
                                                                    nc213 RE: LJS Oct 20, 2007 04:36 PM

                                                                    it's just you. it happens.

                                                                    "I didn't know the cajun x would be spicy..."
                                                                    'I didn't know the seared rare tuna woud be uncooked..."
                                                                    "i thought buffalo meant with wing sauce..."

                                                                    1. re: LJS
                                                                      ccbweb RE: LJS Oct 20, 2007 08:29 PM

                                                                      There should be a distinction between sending something back and expecting not to pay for it and asking for something different because you ordered something that is prepared correctly and you just didn't like it. nc213 is right, it happens. Personally, though, I don't think restaurants should be expected to eat the cost of such things, generally speaking.

                                                                  2. re: Kajikit
                                                                    rednyellow RE: Kajikit Oct 19, 2007 04:16 PM

                                                                    thats what I thought.

                                                                  3. steakman55 RE: michele cindy Oct 19, 2007 03:33 PM

                                                                    Not embarrassed to order a dish, but refuse to use stupid names that some restaurants think are cute. For example, I will not say "trail 'taters" but instead french fries.

                                                                    1. c
                                                                      ctflowers RE: michele cindy Oct 20, 2007 11:10 PM

                                                                      I've never been embarrased to order something off a restaurant menu. To me, if the restaurant serves whatever it is, why should I be embarrased to order it? The only thing I've gotten a little embarrassed about is if there's a french or italian dish, and I'm making an attempt to pronounce it, and I have a feeling that I'm pronouncing it incorrectly...I usually just wind up pointing to the menu, after laughing at myself (mostly), and telling the waiter "I'll have that".

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: ctflowers
                                                                        Jeters RE: ctflowers Oct 21, 2007 01:08 AM

                                                                        Some of the drink names at smoothie places are simply rediculous, and I refuse to say them.
                                                                        I say, "I'll have the all fruit raspberry" - not "I'll have the raspberry rootle toot all fruit blast" --sorry, not gonna happen..

                                                                      2. Miss Needle RE: michele cindy Oct 21, 2007 10:55 AM

                                                                        The only instance I can see myself being embarrassed is if I'm in the mood to have Americanized Chinese food in a Chinese restaurant. I have ordered General Tso's chicken and sweet and sour pork chops in Chinatown. But that's what I wanted to eat.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                          michele cindy RE: Miss Needle Oct 21, 2007 04:44 PM

                                                                          That's my 3rd in the list. I had an urge for sweet and sour pork the other day and I felt silly ordering it at my local roast meat Chinese place. I have to get over this. It is very silly after all. What are the going to do, laugh at me like the school kids did?!
                                                                          I'll try to get the nerve up this week.

                                                                          1. re: michele cindy
                                                                            ccbweb RE: michele cindy Oct 21, 2007 05:14 PM

                                                                            Nope, they're not going to laugh at you...they're going to say "thank you" and hope you come back soon.

                                                                            I ordered a wide variety of things from a local Chinese restaurant recently. Because my wife doesn't eat pork but we both tend to enjoy a bit of something fried to go along with the noodles and the rice and other dishes we will often get sweet and sour chicken if the restaurant doesn't have a fried shrimp wonton or something similar. At this place, I got the sweet and sour chicken along with some decidedly more authentic dishes, mostly Szechuan in origin. After I was done ordering, the guy behind the counter (the owner, I think) chuckled and said "this is good, you know what you like to eat."

                                                                            Hopefully most would react the same way.

                                                                            1. re: michele cindy
                                                                              michele cindy RE: michele cindy Nov 2, 2007 05:47 AM

                                                                              I did it. I ordered the sweet and sour pork at Fu Kee (on Lafayette, near Canal, NYC). It hit the spot. The pork was freshly battered and fried, the sauce could be improved upon, but overall it was good. No one looked at me funny. I do admit that it was a challange for me to do it, but now that I did, I will order it again when in the mood.

                                                                          2. Chuckles the Clone RE: michele cindy Oct 22, 2007 01:39 AM

                                                                            I continue to refuse to speak Starbucks Italian. A small coffee should be a "small coffee, please." Not some sort of doppio venti thing, the uttering of which would embarrass my tongue.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                                                                              piccola RE: Chuckles the Clone Oct 22, 2007 10:29 AM

                                                                              I agree. What's even worse is when they make up Italian-sounding words that don't mean anything - WTF is a "fruizzi"??

                                                                              I refuse to encourage that kind of behaviour by playing along.

                                                                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                                                                                jfood RE: Chuckles the Clone Oct 22, 2007 02:17 PM

                                                                                jfood alays likes the deer in the headlights look when he orders a "large coffee." You can almost see the translationprogram going in 5th gear.

                                                                                BTW - still have not found a SB person who understnads teh "please leave room for milk" request.. still need to pour into the plastic bag at the milk counter.

                                                                                1. re: jfood
                                                                                  ccbweb RE: jfood Oct 22, 2007 02:36 PM

                                                                                  Interesting, I don't know that I've bought a cup of coffee at Starbucks and not been asked "room for milk?" Of course, jfood, we're on opposite sides of the country.

                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                    jfood RE: ccbweb Oct 22, 2007 04:21 PM

                                                                                    jfood keeps trying and the pass is perfect the catch is divine and the touchdown is completed, yet no points go on the scoreboard.

                                                                              2. a
                                                                                avena RE: michele cindy Oct 22, 2007 11:32 AM

                                                                                The only time I've been (slightly) embarrassed to order something was when I was at a trendy diner in Downtown LA with some of my girlfriends, and they all ordered salads. I really wanted the mac 'n' cheese...it sounded so good with three types of cheese! I hesitated a little bit, but went ahead and ordered it. It was delicious and I was glad I did, despite all the calories.

                                                                                1. a
                                                                                  Avalondaughter RE: michele cindy Oct 22, 2007 12:45 PM

                                                                                  I don't eat seafood. Whenever I am in a seafood restaurant with family, I always feel embarassed when I order something else.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                                    L_W RE: Avalondaughter Nov 2, 2007 05:31 AM

                                                                                    Since I don't eat beef and my SO is a huge fan of high-end steak houses, I usually feel somewhat silly after the waiter describes all the various cuts of beef they have and I order a shrimp cocktail and side salad...or the stuffed pork chops. Not so much embarrassed, I guess but a bit silly that here I am, in a $50-$100 plate restaurant, known for having the BEST cuts of beef in the area and I have something that is just "filler" on thier menu

                                                                                  2. FoodieKat RE: michele cindy Oct 22, 2007 07:32 PM

                                                                                    I get embarrassed when I am trying a new cuisine, and don't know how to pronounce a dish. I do my best, but I always feel like a native speaker is sniggering at me in the background.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: FoodieKat
                                                                                      MakingSense RE: FoodieKat Oct 22, 2007 09:23 PM

                                                                                      Don't even try. An ancient nun taught me when I was a child that it was better to admit ignorance than to make a fool of myself. Good advice. So you tell the waiter, "I'd like this but I don't know how to pronounce it. Would you help me, please?" He'll usually be happy to tell you how to say it, just as if he were teaching a child perhaps. I've even had snotty waiters in uppity places be very polite about it. Much better than stumbling through and getting it all wrong and you learn how to say it correctly.

                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                        rednyellow RE: MakingSense Nov 2, 2007 12:39 PM

                                                                                        Thats exactly what I do. I just ask "how do you pronounce this" Also, I seldom order in a forign language if I cant make a decent attempt. Lots of restaurants will have the item in its "native" language with english below. I order in english - never a problem. On the otherhand....in forign countries, I ALWAYS try to speak a bit of the language and do my best to order in their language.

                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                          LeslieB RE: MakingSense Nov 5, 2007 09:23 AM

                                                                                          If it weren't for lettered and numbered dishes I would be utterly helpless at my beloved local Vietnamese and Cambodian places. It's just so much easier to say, "I'll have the S1, with shrimp."

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        swsidejim RE: michele cindy Oct 23, 2007 08:03 AM

                                                                                        The only time I am embarrassed to order a dish at the restaurant is when I am someones guest. I am not embarrassed regarding an ingredient, or type of dish, but the cost of the dish a dish that I would not hesitate to order if I was picking up the tab, but do not choose since I am the guest. Typically I choose a less expensive dish that I will still enjoy rather than the surf and turf, or the more expensive menu item.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: swsidejim
                                                                                          revsharkie RE: swsidejim Oct 23, 2007 02:19 PM

                                                                                          My rule of thumb has always been to order something of equal or lower price than what the one who's paying orders. And if they don't drink, I don't drink.

                                                                                          1. re: revsharkie
                                                                                            MMRuth RE: revsharkie Oct 23, 2007 02:36 PM

                                                                                            The trick with that is, that theoretically the host should order last. So, depending on the host, I order from the low end of the menu - though, there are some hosts - lucky for me - where I don't hesitate to order what I want to eat, regardless of price (other than caviar, truffles, and things marked "market price").

                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                              revsharkie RE: MMRuth Oct 23, 2007 07:23 PM

                                                                                              Theoretically, perhaps, but in my experience the people sitting at the table might know who's paying, but the server doesn't always, so they don't take the orders so that the one paying goes last.

                                                                                              1. re: revsharkie
                                                                                                KaimukiMan RE: revsharkie Nov 1, 2007 01:59 PM

                                                                                                in that case, the host should defer to the guests and instruct the waiter to start with them. Perhaps a line such as.... I really can't decide, can you get back to me after everyone else orders. That also helps the waiter know who should recieve the check at the end of the meal (unless the host has been able to slip his credit card to the maitre d before the meal - gosh what a thought in this age of identity theft)

                                                                                        2. WCchopper RE: michele cindy Oct 23, 2007 09:10 PM

                                                                                          Once, long ago, I ordered "no- chee" in an Italian restaurant and the waiter said "you mean 'nyo-kee'?". That was embarrassing.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: WCchopper
                                                                                            ricepad RE: WCchopper Oct 24, 2007 07:26 AM

                                                                                            The waiter was telling you (in code), "I don't want you to tip me very well."

                                                                                            Of course, that's another thread. Or two.

                                                                                            1. re: ricepad
                                                                                              piccola RE: ricepad Oct 24, 2007 11:02 AM

                                                                                              Depends on the tone. Maybe the waiter was - clumsily - looking for clarification.

                                                                                              There's a big difference between an earnest "Sorry, do you mean the gnocchi?" and a condescending "Oh, you must mean the gnocchi."

                                                                                              1. re: piccola
                                                                                                ricepad RE: piccola Oct 24, 2007 11:54 AM

                                                                                                If WCchopper was embarrassed, the waiter was talking in code. It's possible the waiter didn't even realize he was talking in code, but any time a server embarrasses a customer, he has sent the message that he deserves a smaller tip.

                                                                                              2. re: ricepad
                                                                                                KaimukiMan RE: ricepad Nov 1, 2007 02:09 PM

                                                                                                yes, he could have kindly said thats a "nyo-kee" for the lady (gentleman). Of course in this case it almost sounds like something else, which could be misconstrued by someone with hearing impairment (some nookie for the lady?)

                                                                                                Reminds me of the time a foreign friend said "I would like to have a large coke ... but he somehow didn't manage to pronounce "coke". The waitress couldnt help but laugh.

                                                                                                Another time in a chinese restaurant my friend taught me carefully how to pronounce the type of noodles we were to have (soy gao?). And in a perfect tonation I somehow managed to request "dead dog" (sei gau?) - the whole table of 10 (I was the only non-speaker) burst into hysterical laughter. Oh well, it set a great mood for the rest of the meal.

                                                                                              3. re: WCchopper
                                                                                                stellamystar RE: WCchopper Nov 3, 2007 11:59 AM

                                                                                                I would say "the customer's always right and I'll have the 'no-chee'"

                                                                                                Used to have a friend who liked "cuppa chinos."

                                                                                              4. l
                                                                                                Louise RE: michele cindy Nov 5, 2007 03:48 PM

                                                                                                I'd mainly be embarrassed if the price was a lot more than what the host had ordered.

                                                                                                As for pronunciation, if I'm not sure, or if the server's English is shaky (frequent in the SFBA), I just point to the item in the menu. They will usually repeat back for confirmation, which is another way to find out how it's pronounced.

                                                                                                As for *what* I order, I have no compunctions at all. I take a peculiar enjoyment in seeking out unusual items, even if my sister does sometimes look down her nose at my "weird" choices.

                                                                                                1. m
                                                                                                  Morticia RE: michele cindy Nov 23, 2007 08:01 PM

                                                                                                  In the "stupid name" category, the worst is Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco. I can't stand that they try to make you say the corniest things imaginable. They have names like "enlightened" or "joyous" or some other new-agey slang that I can't (maybe subconsciously block out?) remember, instead of the proper names of their vegan foods. Even when I ordered my dish by it's proper name the waitress would still repeat it as if I had actually said it, ie. "you feel joyous, and you feel enlightened". I'm sorry, but if I want brainwashing, I'll join a cult. I don't need this vegan-baloney with my meal...Even though the food is quite good by vegan standards!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Morticia
                                                                                                    Chuckles the Clone RE: Morticia Nov 24, 2007 12:25 PM

                                                                                                    >> but if I want brainwashing, I'll join a cult.

                                                                                                    In fact, Cafe Gratitude *is* a cult:


                                                                                                    And while they do a decent job within the no-cooking, no-animal limits, personally
                                                                                                    I just can't bring myself to ever go back and have to talk like that.

                                                                                                  2. misohungrychewlow RE: michele cindy Nov 23, 2007 09:07 PM

                                                                                                    It can be a little touchy when ordering testicles among mixed company ... and some companions will blanch at certain items at raw bars and sushi bars. Even the chef ... I'm white/gringo/gaijin, and once when I ordered a baby octupus salad off the chalk board, the sushi chef asked, "You sure?? Look like ... abortion!!"

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