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Jan 12, 2011 05:16 AM

Food & Dating

My fellow hounds need some advice/sugguestions basic help. This topic can bleed into a couple of my ongoing stuggles with dating and converting the frozen dinner guru into a foodie.

1. Dating: I am 25 and enjoy going to eat at unique quality food eateries. While most ladies in my age group, see this as a negative attribute on a first /second date... It is as if , going to a chain i.e. olive garden is more appealing..?? Am I missing something?

So this leads me to think, What makes a good first date choice? Is it location, variety , price

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  1. My guess is that most would go with a quiet setting, low/moderately priced and familiar food. That way the focus can be on the discussion (getting to know each other) instead of the food. The concern of choosing a higher end place may be over sending a "high maintenance" message and has the double-edged factor of "trying too hard." Anyway, a chain is a comfy place where two people can talk and get to know each other. And, that's something I'm totally against.

    When getting to know someone, I don't like comfort zones and/or rehearsed situations. I'm more concerned with how a person acts in an unfamiliar situation and the decisions made. That is, it's one thing to say that you like food or like to try new things, but another to actually go through with it. Besides, even if the date turns out to be bad, at least the food was new and/or enjoyable.

    There's no right/wrong, just different approaches and philosophies.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Having 2 DDs in their early 20s, I can comment that they are avid Chowhounds themselves and would be aghast at being taken to a chain restaurant. Price isn't the issue, it's the fact that they enjoy local food, lovingly and carefully prepared. They also love trying the food trucks popping up in our area with all kinds of ethnic varieties. Sounds to me like you aren't meeting the right kind of women, branch out more. The fact that they wouldn't try something new tells a person A LOT about their personality, not curious, not willing to be flexible or adaptable. As I tell my daughters, you have to kiss a lot of frogs till you find your prince(ss).

        1. From the 20-something woman's perspective - I don't want to go to the fanciest, nicest place in town on a first date. It's just too much pressure. On the other hand, I generally don't like most of the casual, full service chain restaurants available either. To me, the best place is a local independent or regional chain that is casual. Unique is good! Of course, this applies for eating out in general, not just dates. My favorite first date place is a small Vietnamese restaurant - it's casual and relatively inexpensive, but the food is good and the staff is thoughtful (that have a first date 6th sense, and know exactly when to interrupt and when to back off).

          11 Replies
          1. re: mpjmph

            Great advice soo far everyone. (mphmph-- hit a nail on the head) Price is very subjective (probally should of left that factor out )..

            More detail in my recent situation... taking a girl out, that i had a past with to "catch up" . First plan was to take her to a new place in city on sat night.. Plans changed now to Friday evening at a newer local restaurant .. It is on slightly higher price side and very nice inside.. (for subarb Pittsburgh prices is $16-25 subjective lol ) Initial plans eat in the bar area, either at the bar or small tables near ?? Im attempting to pull off a date that doesn't feel like a date

            1. re: Augie6

              Having been in the same situation not too long ago... Sit at a table in the bar area. It will feel more causal, like you're "just catching up." Sitting at the bar will make it difficult to talk and take in body language.

              1. re: Augie6

                Is she aware that it's a date? I'm half-joking but there was something odd about that last sentence, like you're trying to "trick" her into a date.

                One thought, not judging at all because I don't know if you've done this, but a local restaurant in Milwaukee, Ill just call it X, is always voted "most romantic," though I'll never know why. The food is decent but it's cramped and extremely drafty, not good in Wisconsin winter.

                Anyway, every guy I've ever known who wanted to get laid would take date to X because of it's reputation as romantic. Most women I know have avoided guys who've wanted to take them to X too soon in the dating phase because they felt he was either A. expecting sex or B. trying too hard to fit into that romantic cliche, kind of like the guys who would make some sort of embarassing public marriage proposal.

              2. re: mpjmph

                I agree with this one, even as an older woman. Unless I'm going out on a date with someone who is rolling in money to begin with or something and it's an every couple of days thing anyway (would like to point out this has never happened, haha) the "fanciest, nicest place in town" who set off some alarms, and make me a little squirmy. Comes off as trying too hard, and it's overwhelming. You know, like a guy who tells you that he loves you three dates in or something. Save the big gestures for later.

                And speaking only for myself, for years I didn't do the first date dinner unless I already knew the person well. You feel a little self-conscious on a first date, and don't want to worry about what you might have stuck in your teeth, or what not, plus first date butterflies always kept me feeling like I didn't want to eat anyway.

                It also depends on what you mean by "unique" food eateries. Someone who might not be able to tolerate certain foods, might not be able to appreciate certain restaurants.

                1. re: mpjmph

                  The first date my husband and I went on that involved food was Vietnamese (good call, mpjmph). Something ethnic lets you know the other person has a fairly open mind and isn't afraid to try new things. Since we're drunks, our first date was drinks, of course. ;)

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    "Since we're drunks, our first date was drinks, of course."

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      our first, second, and following dates were mostly drinks. pizza at 1 am maybe.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Ah, to be young, in love and drunk :)

                        1. re: gaffk

                          well, we still have the latter two going.... ( :

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            you betcha. let's hope we never sober up '-P

                  2. Forget what everybody has said so far. Be true to yourself and find someone whose interests in food match yours.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: pdxgastro


                      I could tell you a long story. Just know the ending is that we are still married. Since 1979.

                      1. re: pdxgastro

                        Exactly--who wants a second date w/ someone who loves the Olive Garden, if you're a foodie? And, how great would it be if you took her to a great hole in the wall place and she loved it? It's instant weed out. The goal isn't a future date for the sake of a future date. Oh, or maybe it is. Let me change that. If you're looking for someone compatible for long term, go w/ what you enjoy. If you're looking for a quick one or two nighter, Olive Garden might be the place.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I think that's missing the point. It's not really about the food, but getting to know a person and not sending the wrong message out.

                          If I'm going out to eat, to me it's more about the food than anything else. So, I may (and have) choose a fairly pricey place or a downright dirt cheap place, all for the food/cultural experience. But, what's my dinner companion going to think if the bill comes to $300+ for the two of us or if the place is a ramen stand? Remember, this is two people that don't know each other that well. Some very reasonable questions that the person may be thinking are:

                          "I don't have enough $ to cover this if we have to split the bill. What do I do?"
                          "Is this person putting on an act in order to impress me?"
                          "Is this person expecting breakfast?"
                          "Is this cheap place reflective of how this person values me?"

                          If you took a person to an off-beat place and the person seems agitated, what do you do?

                          1. re: chowser

                            I think we've seen a couple of threads on here from long-standing couples in which one is a food fanatic, and one is not. They would probably tell you that they were happy to have not "weeded" someone out.

                            I wouldn't personally ditch someone if they liked a chain, but were still open minded about trying new things, if they had other/many great qualities. It's not always all about the food.

                            1. re: im_nomad

                              Right, so if you brought someone to an unusual place and they turned their noses up at it, you'd know the person wasn't adventurous.

                              1. re: chowser

                                Depends on the reason. Ever watch that restaurant scene in "Along Came Polly" ?

                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  I'd have no problems if a guy told me he couldn't eat certain foods for medical reasons. I don't understand why Ben Stiller's character didn't but then it wouldn't make for a good movie.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Which it really wasn't, unless one is into gross-out humor.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      Food and Movies - something for everyone. From 9 1/2 Weeks to John Belushi doing his "zit" impression at the campus dining hall in Animal House to Babette's Feast and Like Water for Chocolate. Something (or someone) for everyone. Just like dining and dating.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Thankfully. Though I'd say Belushi was funnier than Stiller.

                              2. re: im_nomad

                                I've definitely converted my wife over the course of the marriage. When we first got together, she ate nothing not boxed or chain. I nearly teared up the first time that she said that roasted potatoes weren't complete without truffle oil. So I am very glad that I didn't weed out the non-food person.