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Jul 11, 2009 10:04 AM

Are you easy or hard to please when eating out?

I find that generally my husband and I are pretty easy to please when we're dining out. May not be the best meal we ever had but we can usually find a positive aspect to it and when we do, we'll walk away with that impression of the restaurant and not the negative one. (Truly bad service is a dealbreaker however.) A month of dining in Manhattan, Cape Cod and CT have confirmed that. I don't require anything close to perfection to have a lovely meal. I know, however, that there are plenty of people who are the opposite - my MIL is one, for sure. It seems no matter what they order, there's just something or everything wrong with it. I think it's more to do with basic personality types than the food itself. Glass half-empty versus half-full. I read some extremely knowledgeable people here on CH with very refined palates who like most of what they eat. And others who will find fault. Honestly? I kinda like *my* attitude better :) Any thoughts?
PS: This goes WAY out the window when it comes to food *I* cook! I'm hypercritical then.

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  1. Extremely easy. I rarely complain about anything. I could probably count the number of times on 1 hand. It had to be pretty bad for me to say anything. Even when I receive something wrong, I may something if it was dish I really couldn't eat but I still would be polite. I have a variety of friends and clients so more lunches than evening meals for me. It may be fast food, Applebees or similar, and late lunch at Olive Garden or a nice restaurant depending on who I was going out with. The last six months I haven't gone out that much due to family illnesses, but when I do, I usually just go along with the crowd. I too have some friends that will complain about everything, but most of my friends are LOW key and easy to please. One of my best girlfriends orders a meal, and by the time she explains all of her "I want this but not that, this on the side, no cheese, no this, no that, etc." She might as well just order a plain raw piece of fish. I love her, but she does drive me nuts. I just try to ignore and enjoy the dinner the best I can

    Besides with the economy, I have found that so many of my friends prefer cooking and having small get togethers at their homes. Me too.

    1. If I have more invested in a meal - it's expensive, or I've traveled a fair distance to get there, or I've built it up in my mind because of the recommendations of others - I am harder to please. If I don't expect all that much in the first place, it's easy for the meal to meet my expectations.

      1. It really depends on my mood. If I'm in a good mood I'm easy to please, if in a bad I'm not. I But I try to just enjoy the experience and not look for the negatives, and any negatives I find I try keep to myself (or at least wait until I leave) . My BF's father is hard to please so I try not to take him to restaurants that I have never eaten at or one that I really like. I don't like hearing complaining.

        1 Reply
        1. re: viperlush

          Good point when I go out with some friends I always let them decide because I know if they went to a place I would prefer some would say too fancy, not enough to choose from, too over priced, etc. So I just go where they like. A few other friends we all like good food so we decide together but then again depends what we are in the mood for.

        2. I think I'm pretty easy to please- but on the other hand, I have a major attention to detail so it is also pretty easy to displease me. However the areas of dissatisfaction will not carry over to the rest of the meal, ie; silverware that is old and tarnished at a high end restaurant. (Does that make me picky? This restaurant just never seems to have shiny forks and knives despite the $$$ they charge).

          When I dine out, I usually choose places with an expectation that the kitchen will put out something better than what I can make at home. This happens most of the time, and even though the service or the food may not be perfect, I still leave pleasantly satisfied. To me, every restaurant starts off at 100%, as opposed to them starting at 0% and having to "earn" their way up to 100%.

          4 Replies
          1. re: pinkprimp

            "To me, every restaurant starts off at 100%, as opposed to them starting at 0% and having to "earn" their way up to 100%."


            I think that absolutely nails what *I* was trying to say and you said it way better. Although I mentioned CH, it's really the internal attitude more than anything else that I'm thinking of. If one starts at 0%, it's going to be pretty darned hard to "earn" enough points to get very high. But if starting at 100%, pretty hard to fall too low. If there's a service issue, it's unusual if I can't correct it with a gentle admonisment. If something isn't cooked correctly (and I mean incorrectly not just that I don't like their preparation) then I also will send it back. But that doesn't happen to me very often.

            As far as posting on CH about a restaurant, I give more credibility to someone who mentions the good as much as the not-so-good. I have a personal philosophy that too many people are quick to criticize and slow to praise --- about anything. Even though I will probably never go to any of the restaurants that jfood frequents, I read those posts occasionally because of the balance he brings to them.

            1. re: c oliver

              That's exactly our same attitude as well. Both of us are positive, upbeat people who laugh a lot. One meal isn't that important; not a life or death situation. I can't think of one horrible meal or experience we've had over the last 32 years. Yes, some meals weren't that great, but it was good to be out and have some wine and talk. I used to know (thank God: used to) someone like your MIL - it was a personality fault, nothing at all to do with the food or service. I think it had to do with attention and lack of self-esteem. Anyway, agree with your philosophy; we're easy to please.

              1. re: bayoucook

                Certainly with my MIL, like a little child she doesn't understand that *bad* attention isn't really what she wants. And low self-esteem? Oh yeah. It's almost as bad when she says "well, what are you having?" And then we have to tell her that she wouldn't like what we're having, i.e., too spicy, just a salad when wants to carb load.

                And, yes, bayou cook, a medium meal with good company trumps the good meal with only medium company.

              2. re: c oliver

                Hey C, I'd love to take credit for it, but that's what one of my favourite professors used to say at the beginning of the semester: "As far as I'm concerned, you are all at 100% right now. Keep it up by keeping up with the class." He is a wonderful, inspiring man.

            2. I would say I am much harder to please than I used to be because now eating in a restaurant is such a luxury to me! I far prefer to cook my own food and most times I can prepare something just as well, or better, than what I taste at restaurants -- and pay just a fraction of the cost.

              I used to eat in restaurants all the time when I worked a very high-stress job. i really enjoyed escaping to the atmosphere of a restaurant and I enjoyed having tasty meals prepared for me by someone else -- even though I loved cooking then, too, I wouldn't often do it during the week.