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Can You Read Your Menu?

While I've run into some menus that were hard to read because of background color, and others where the "spicy dishes in red" red was so dark some at the table couldn't tell which dishes were printed in black and which were in red, the ongoing mutter I'm hearing about is dark restaurants. Maybe it's just that we're getting older - it's true that aging eyes need more light, and that phenomenon doesn't wait for you to have your Medicare card before it begins - but I've loaned a wee flashlight to friends and threatened to use it myself. And it's also a shame not to be able to fully appreciate a carefully plated dish.

Others thoughts? Actually what I keep envisioning is a flashlight hung on a large, noisy ring of keys so the restaurant management will hear some commotion even though they don't seem to be able to look in my direction until they're ready.

Or maybe I'm just cranky this afternoon.

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  1. You haven't seen the ads for the glasses with built in headlights? Advertised for reading in bed or tackling menus in dark restaurants. I think I'd rather get the wrong dish, though, than wear them unless I want to scream "old lady with bad eyes and no fashion sense" as soon as I turn them on.

    2 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      I went to get a watch battery replaced and a woman in front of me was getting the battery changed in her lighted reading glasses. Being a geek, I thought at first that is was a built in bluetooth, until she turned them on when they were fixed. They were actually pretty stylish.

      1. re: tracylee

        OK, I never even knew these lighted reading glasses existed before last week, but I went exploring and found them at Walgreen's.

        Bought a pair and used them to read a sushi menu on Friday. My husband groaned but he's fully aware that I don't give much of a crap about appearances.

        They were a delight. They do make one look like Borg and/or insane, but neither is a problem for me. They will be coming to restaurants/airports/etc. with me from now on.

    2. I haven't had these issues ( yet). Red Parka Pub in/near North Conway NH has a big basket of reading glasses right at their hostess stand. That seems like a great idea to me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: calliope_nh

        The best idea I have heard! Very customer friendly!

      2. restaurants are too dark for my aging eyes. I have reading glasses everywhere, work, home, car, purse. I am wearing a pair now at the computer. Some restaurants give those magnifying readers out, some small flashlights. Late 40s was when it all went downhill!

        16 Replies
        1. re: smartie

          I find that too many are.

          Just dined at a lovely restaurant in San Francisco, and the overall lighting was a tad dark, but fitting for the theme. Over each table was a nice "task light" and it pooled its illumination nicely, so that all patrons could read the menu, the wine list, and then actually see the presentations! Too bad that more interior designers do not ascribe to such a philosophy.

          We now carry little LED flashlights, as even when I take off my glasses, and then possess super-micro vision, I cannot read many pieces of printed material in those dark caves.

          At one restaurant recently, I was shining my flashlight on my dish.

          "Is something wrong sir?"

          "No. I just wanted to see the presentation, and identify what I am eating."


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            HEY! I, too, can read the head of a pin with my naked eyes. Unfortunately, i'm nearsighted and my contacts, which worked beautifully for 25 years, have suddenly made it hard for me to read at the advanced age of 46. In extremis, I'm forced to rip out a contact, read the damn menu/wine bottle/whatever, and then adjorn to the ladies room to re-insert contact. ARGH.

            I have been forced to stop making fun of my 50+ husband for simply taking the menu to the (hopefully well lit) men's room.

            I really don't understand it. It's not like this condition is rare. If it strikes mid-40's, then wouldn't half the dining population need a light source and a decent font? Don't restaurants and food/wine producers have graphic departments and consultants for these sort of things?

            1. re: danna

              Talk to your eye doctor about redoing your contact prescription for "mono-vision," where one eye is corrected for distance and one eye for close reading. It has worked for me for more than 5 years. The only time I have problems reading a menu now is if the room is very dark AND the menu involves a combination of a dark background, indistinct script, and small font. I carry a pair of off-the-rack reading glasses from the drugstore for those situations, and use them maybe once every 2 months.

              1. re: masha

                Actually, that's exactly what I have, partly because one of my eyes is MUCH less nearsighted than the other, so it's been drafted for up-close duty. As you say, there are only a few occasions when I can't see something, but man...it drives me crazy.

                Friday I had a bottle of Cab from Paso Robles and it was tiny black type on a dark red lable. At least....I think that's what it was....

                1. re: masha

                  I tried mono-vision, but found that I could not drive, play tennis, or play golf with those "mis-matched" contacts. Much will depend on the prescription, and on what one wishes to do.

                  However, I know many, who have had no issues with mono-vision, so others can be helped.


                  1. re: masha

                    I wear gas permeable lenses, and my prescription is strong enough that having monovision for mine would result into my walking into walls and off of kerbs...

                    At my optometrists' recommendation, I have a half-dozen pairs of 'cheapie cheaters' -- one here on the computer desk, one in the kitchen, one in my briefcase, one in the bedroom, etc., etc., etc -- and I just pull those out when it's too dark or the font is impossible.

                    Drives me nuts that I'm using them more and more, but as more and more of my friends use them, it becomes a bigger joke and less of an issue.

                  2. re: danna

                    I'm the same way and it depends a lot on lighting. Monovision doesn't work for me but I've finally accepted it and bought a pair of reading glasses. I'm working on multifocal contacts but not having a lot of luck. If only restaurants had enough lighting, it wouldn't be a problem...yet.

                    1. re: chowser

                      I also have tried vari-focal contacts, but with no luck. I fall down the stairs, and fall too often, plus seem to only have about half, of what I need.

                      Back when Lasix was first being explored, a good friend who was part of the US research group, offered to give me the operation. I declined, as it was very new, and had only been done in Russia at the time. I monitored the progress, and have many friends, who were greatly helped by the newer procedures. However, I have a few friends, who are still fighting to get most of their vision back.

                      At my advanced age, I highly doubt that I would be a viable candidate now.

                      I'll just carry my reading glasses, my flashlight and if necessary, will pop out a lens, or pull my glasses to the tip of my nose, and press the menu up to it.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I haven't given up on multi-focals yet but have tried too many to count. My eye doctor is a saint. I was told I'd be a good candidate for LASIK but then I'd lose my ability to remove my contacts to see up close. As a calligrapher, it's too important for me to be able to see the little details (as small as 2 mm sometimes) that I won't do it. I can't wear glasses when I'm running around. Sigh, the pains of getting older.

                    2. re: danna


                      I feel your pain. Though you need to add almost 20 years, I have not had 20/20 vision, without my contacts, in decades. Glasses can do some things better, but not get me to 20/20. If I have my contacts in, I need about +300 readers for some menus, and lighting situations. If I am wearing my glasses, then I can drag them to the tip of my nose, hold the menu up to about 3" and read. I know that I look strange to other diners, but that is something that I can live with.

                      I now have about 4 pairs of vari-focal glasses - one pair for general reading, plus offering the ability to walk down stairs, if I look through them the right way. One pair is designed for my computer workstation, and another is for my laptop. I have one pair, that is supposed to "bridge the gap," but then I fall down the stairs, when I am wearing those.

                      It has gotten to the point, that if I have my contacts in, I need my readers, just to see the details of the dish's presentation, and now usually dine with readers. Heck, I need those to fill in my golf scores...

                      Treat your husband nicely, as he might be ushering you into a later time. Also, when he has difficulty reading a menu, remind him that Hunt is in worse shape!


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Hunt, I feel you feeling your pain. It's automatic that I bring my reading glasses to a restaurant. Actually, it's nice when I can preview the whole menu on-line earlier in the day. Then there's the matter of lighting. Decent low- lit places will provide a flashlight; at some I walk to wherever it is sufficiently illuminated so I can read.
                        A long time golf buddy who is an opthalmologist says that our eyes begin to falter at about age 43, with amazing consistency. 15 years later, I'm still buying reading glasses at Walgreen's for 15 bucks.
                        Cheers to you, Bill.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          "Actually, it's nice when I can preview the whole menu on-line earlier in the day."

                          That is trick of mine. While I do not memorize the menu, and the wine list, I build a little cheat-sheet, and that works well. I look at the notes,written on the palm of my left hand, and try to match my choices up with what is on the menu.

                          What I hate is when the on-line version has been changed dramatically, but such is life.


                          1. re: Veggo

                            Yep, my eye doctor said many years ago that mine would go at 42, and guess what...it did. I got bifocal glasses, but I was wearing contacts in public and suddenly discovered one evening at a bar that I couldn't read the tab. Someone I had talked to there previously lent me her readers. I talked to my eye Dr. about it and he doesn't believe in bifocal contacts and suggested readers. I have a pair by my computer and a pair in my purse. It helps with menus, operating my phone, and reading labels at the grocery store. I volunteer at the library and always keep a pair hanging on my collar, but have never used them.

                            I'm also wondering if weight loss has something to do with eyesight change. Googling has only led to ads for weight loss. Due to medical issues, I've lost 75 lbs in the last two years, and my eyesight has gone to heck, even with bifocals or readers.

                            1. re: tracylee

                              Your eyesight would be affected by high blood glucose. I've never heard about losing weight as a cause of deteriorating eyesight. Congrats on the fabulous weight loss!

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                Hmmm, I've been tested for that repeatedly and it isn't a problem. I need to schedule an exam anyway, so I'll ask then.

                                And thanks for the congrats! The weight loss wasn't intentional, but it's been interesting trying to shop for clothes without heading to the large section!

                              2. re: tracylee

                                Oh good. If I loose weight, then my eyesight might get worse?

                                I think that I will get a triple order of foie gras tonight - no weight loss for this blind boy.


                    3. Going back to the late '80s, the world was exposed to word processing, with a bit of page layout thrown in. Suddenly, everyone was a graphic artist, or so the thought, and were told.

                      There is no excuse for bad design, and readability. The same goes for Web site design.

                      Design, typography, layout and even photography cannot be done by plugging in a few parameters, and having the result spit out.

                      We were trying to call a resort, and from the Web site, the font used for the telephone number was totally unreadable. I had to save the HTML to a PSD, and then extract the telephone number, and change the font to something readable. It would have been quicker to look up the number of the hotel down the street, call them and ask for their neighbor's telephone number!


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        This is one of my pet peeves -- unreadable fonts. Unfortunately, this also extends for stupidly assigning a password or required code with a capital "i" or a small "L". People are just not practical, an menu designers are no different.

                        I carry readers as well as that small credit card sized magnifier with a built in light. Worth every penny of its $10 cost.

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          If it happens again, copy-and-paste into an email window and you don't have to mess around with other programs to change the font.

                          1. re: Kajikit

                            That was exactly what I did.

                            From a design standpoint, too many know too little, and try to get cute. Such is life.


                        2. On a note related to graphic design, I went to Cora's today which is a nice breakfast place. It's a chain but I don't usually go out breakfast because I'm not much of a morning person but it was a business meeting...I didn't like the menu because it was too busy from an excess of design. It was a good one but I didn't want to read it. My eyes were blurry from a lack of sleep and I'm expected to LOOK at all of this busy stuff to figure out what I'm going to eat and felt that I would probably have appreciated the pictures and different font if I was more awake...brunch would have been better because I wouldn't have felt overstimulated then...bleh.

                          Edited to say...Bill, that is some determination there! I would have probably decided they didn't really want business after all...

                          1. Menus should be written on a white background with black ink (or a blackboard with white chalk). Anything other than that is just putting style over substance.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ediblover

                              Funny, that's exactly how I feel about essays and resumes.

                              Any resume that's not written on black ink in a standard font (no Comic Sans) on white or off white paper with a decent quality printer is getting thrown in the garbage without being read.

                              And I tell students that essays must be submitted in 12 point font on white paper with black ink, standard margins and spacing, and a common serif font such as Times Roman. If they print an entire ten page essay in green comic sans, there will be deductions.

                            2. Then there are the bistro menus written in totally illegible script on a blackboard that's either located behind half the people at the table or at such an obtuse angle that no one can read it.

                              1. You can buy small discrete LED lights for keychains so it only lights up a small area. They're also helpful for fitting the key when it's dark outside. I had a terrible problem in a restaurant that only had candlelight. I had to wait until they opened the kitchen door and quickly read what I wanted.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chowser

                                  My solution to dark restaurants is my cell phone, which I always carry anyway. There are plenty of free apps for my phone that make the camera LEDs work as a flashlight. No need to carry a separate keychain LED flashlight.

                                2. (Raises hand in shame) I'm middle aged, with both severe nearsightedness AND presbyopia, that annoying age-related decline in reading vision that occurs to everyone at some point. In some restaurants, even my bifocal contacts (yes, they exist and they're great) can't help with the weird font on the menu. So,yes, I actually have a tiny little flashlight on my keychain. It's about the size of a nickel, and you squeeze it to make the very bright light work. I don't care what people think. I already look like a geek anyway because hanging right next to that litlte light is a plastic replica of the Starship Enterprise.

                                  1. Any business who uses white type on a darker background can't have anyone over 40 on staff. This is the worst combination of type design/graphic design and it is always surprising how many business think it looks stylish. Style without functionality is not good design.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: three of us

                                      if the font is properly sized white on dark works quite well, or are the freeway signs different where you are?

                                      1. re: KaimukiMan


                                        We are talking about Headline Fonts there, and yes, the font size helps.

                                        In the printed piece, reverse type will never be as clear, nor as sharp, as plain type on a contrasting background.

                                        Also, with highway signs, the type is reflective. It used to be done with Scotch-light film, but now there are paints and inks, that do the trick. If you look at it closely, you will see that it actually has tiny lenses in it, to reflect auto headlamps.

                                        Not quite the same as a menu (especially with older eyes, such as mine) in a darkened restaurant.



                                      2. re: three of us

                                        Maybe it's because I have a graphic arts background, but reverse type has never been a good choice for readability. It is only good for headlines, and then with large fonts, and clear fonts.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          time to introduce reflective inks to menus. LOL.

                                          i had lasik done about a decade ago, in my early 40's. Love it, and because with it I still have pretty decent vision, rarely need my glasses for menus, except in dark restaurants (I use reading glasses when i want to actually read, but i can usually make things out.)

                                          Women are at a definite advantage as they carry these things called purses, where they can stow a pair of reading glasses for the once or twice a month unexpected challenge. I hate lugging a pair around in my pocket for the rare occurrence, although I do keep a pair in the car. Fortunately I have no shame in asking a dining companion or even a waiter to tell me what's on the menu, or on one section of the menu. Often I can at least read the item myself, just not the description.

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            That's a good point about being about to carry them in a purse. I know a guy who carries a little magnifying glass, attached to his key chain--maybe someone needs to make an all in one LED flashlight, with magnifying glass, for those of us post 40ers.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              Ask and you shall receive. Victorinox makes a credit card-sized tool that has a flashlight and magnifying glass.


                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                Wow, that has everything I'd ever need, and far more. Leave it to swiss army/

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  I've found if Swiss Army doesn't have it, I don't need it! :)

                                      3. Despite my advanced years, I have been blessed with good vision genes (one of the few good genes I, as the youngest, received ;)

                                        However, there was a restaurant in my old neighborhood that had decent food. I went there exactly twice even though it was conveniently located and often got voted best ribs in the city. It was soo dark you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Places like that scare me; what *are* they trying to hide? My cynical side thought the place was probably filthy and, rather than let it show, they lit the place with 2 5-watt bulbs.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: gaffk

                                          I share your feelings on extremely dark restaurant interiors. I always think to episodes of "Kitchen Nightmares," where Gordon Ramsay looks in the 'fridge, and finds all sorts of evil things.

                                          I want to read my menu, the wine list, see my food arrive and enjoy the presentations, and then see my wife smile, across the table, when all is good.

                                          I have often heard that very dark is "romantic." Well, when time comes for romance, I'll not be seated in the restaurant.


                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            I stalk you; but I laugh. Too dark is too dark when I cannot see what I am eating.

                                            1. re: gaffk

                                              What did you say? I cannot hear you, as it's too dark in here....! [Grin]


                                        2. I have noted problems reading a menu twice in the past week, but I am afraid most of the problem is my eyesight and (to date) refusal to address the need for corrective lenses. With that said, it is much easier to squint my way through a menu that has good contrast, clear fonts, and a decent sized typeface.

                                          1. Actually, a friend of mine hauls out his wee flashlight, which he keeps on his key ring. His LARGE key ring. The noise of the keyring jangling, he feels, is a nice reminder to the staff that a customer is having difficulty.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lemons

                                              I have been known to gather up lanterns/candles from all unoccupied tables near-by, to get some light on the danged menu. Once, I set fire to the menu, but was able to put out the fire, before other diners became alarmed.


                                            2. If you want bright, go to Italy. Almost every restaurant is lit like an operating room. I have been told it's because they don't want people to think the place is dirty and they're trying to hide it.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                Though only in Rome, we found restaurants a mixed bad. Several, were exactly as you state. OTOH, some were dark as caves! Probably depends on what the restauranteur wishes to show - or to hide...


                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  LOL "Mixed bad" best typo of the day!

                                                  1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                    That is what I get for trying to type, when the Sun is coming into my eyes. I was ducking below the monitor, just to see, and missed by two keys! Been meaning to get the roll-down curtains for the West end of the patio, and now I know that I must... [Grin]

                                                    Actually found that most restaurants in Central Rome to be quite good, with only two being overly dark.


                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      Walked into one, many years ago, and we were somewhat unceremoniously ushered far past a booth in which sat Anthony Quinn and some companions. The food was great, as I recall, but they certainly made sure we were far away from the celeb. It WAS somewhat dark in there as well.

                                              2. I ordered the glasses with lights for just those kind of restaurants! LOL! Many of them I might have to keep on in order to see the food.! I was in one restaurant when a guy got up, went out to his car, got a flashlight, used it then passed it along to the rest of us. This was a casual restaurant...they are now gone! I always wonder if there is a big problem with the food. Maybe they haven't paid their utility bill!! No you are not cranky, just making sense\.

                                                1. I am nearsighted, I wear bifocals, and I also now have presbyopia. For some reason I do not understand, I have to take off my glasses to read almost anything. When I take off my glasses to read the menu, I do OK unless the print is microscopic. I don't seem to frequent dark restaurants though.

                                                  For some of us, the problem might be needing cataract surgery. I'm in that boat. Mr. Sueatmo has had this surgery and it has improved his life! He's not that old, either.

                                                  But I agree that trying to read small or blurry print in dim light is maddening! The lights hanging over the table or booth seem to be good design idea for restaurants.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    You probably are used to holding your reading material without glasses at the focal point of your nearsightedness, which is probably closer than the focal point of the near portion of the bifocal. And the closer you hold something, the more the magnification. Or its possible the bifocal is set too low in the frame. (If its a progressive lens or "lineless" bifocal you wouldn't know). If you want the focal point of the bifocal lens to be closer in (and many nearsighted people do like this because its what they are used to when they DON'T wear their glasses) then let the doc know the distance you want it at. The standard focal distance for a bifocal lens is 40 cm (approx 16 inches) but it can be focused at just about any distance you want -- but your doctor isn't a mind reader. (Of course, the same applies if you have long arms or otherwise WANT to hold the reading material further out....it can be adjusted, but whoever is making the glasses needs to know your preferred reading distance). Next time you get your eyes checked, mention what you just said about having to take off the glasses to read. If your doc doesn't know what to do about that, then find another doc (or consider that cataract surgery if you really do need it, but remember, you might lose your nearsightedness all together after cataract surgery and won't be able to just take off glasses to read....).

                                                    As your resident Chowhound optometrist, I'm reading some of these complaints and thinking to myself that I love dim restaurants. Schools, dim restaurants, and cell phones (texting) are my chief referral sources :-)

                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                      LOLing with your post (and good advice in there too, thanks). But honestly, we don't really need a good optometrist, we just need an arm-stretcher. ;^)

                                                      But seriously, the last year has shown a major change in my eyes, and menus are the deal-breaker. Oddly, years spent puzzling out doctors' handwriting isn't helping.

                                                      "I'll start with the quesadildo, and for the entree: cheese enchimpanzees. And a side of sweet putita freaks. Oh, and the creme brouhaha with a crapucchino to follow."

                                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                        "Oddly, years spent puzzling out doctors' handwriting isn't helping."

                                                        At last! That explains MY eyes, too!

                                                      2. re: janetofreno

                                                        OK, you've given me some good info. But the truth is I have told the doc that I always read without my glasses. It is a progressive lens. As time has gone on, I have begun to take my glasses off more often. In the middle of a well lit restaurant recently, my glasses went right off and onto the table while I read the small print of the menu.

                                                        I know many of us middle aged half blinds need their glasses to read. I need my glasses for everything else.

                                                        Mr. Sueatmo's cataract surgery improved his vision so much that I am set on having it done for myself.

                                                        1. re: janetofreno

                                                          well, I'm the optometrist's sister :-), but it wouldn't occur to me to mention to her that I have to take off my glasses to read the menu, because honestly, I think the fact that I can read menus without needing my glasses is one of the primary benefits of nearsightedness! Hey, it makes me feel so young when hubby needs his reading glasses and I don't....:-)

                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                            [Grin] Hope that tables are not turned at some point.

                                                            Wife has almost 20/20, while I am about a - 950, and have worn glasses since I was 3. However, if I have my contacts in, I use + 150 readers (normally), and poor wife needs + 200's. We buy readers in bulk, and just walk in the door, scattering them about, like Johnny Appleseed.

                                                            Now, if the light is adequate, and I do not have my contacts in, I can tell you the thread-count of the cotton in the paper that the menu was printed on, but only if I can put it about 1/2 inch from the tip of my nose.


                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              At 49 I recently got new contacts so I can no longer be a menace on the road while driving, but now need reading glasses. I also "buy them in bulk" and strategically have them all over the house, car & office.

                                                            2. re: susancinsf

                                                              Of course its one of the primary benefits of nearsightedness! And I sometimes take off my glasses to read too...but the OP seemed to be bothered by the fact that he/she had to do so, so I was gently reminding him/her that docs aren't mindreaders...also you and I are not so nearsighted that we can't see our tablemates without glasses; that might not be the case for the OP....so taking off the glasses to read might not be such an easy alternative.

                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                Hi janet. I'm not the op, and I think you were "reminding" me about talking to my optometrist. A few years ago I could read the fine print w/out glasses, but now I can't say that I can. I have noted that menus have gotten harder to read, esp, if they feature fine print. But I don't think I frequent the sort of restaurant that is quite dark. I think menus should be printed in high contrast with space between the letters, In that case, we half blinds could surely make out what we want to order.

                                                        2. Time for a menu-reading story....................

                                                          My wife and I were at a now-closed Italian restaurant in West Los Angeles one night many years ago. One room of the restaurant was rather narrow and configured with booths against both walls that were kindof offset so they weren't exactly opposite each other as the space in between was only 6-8 feet or so.

                                                          I had just begun to have problems with close-up vision (especially in poor lighting) and was holding my menu at arms length out into the aisle a bit. From behind and to my left, a man (who turned out to be a colleague from work) grabbed hold of the menu, held it even farther away from me, and said "Does this help any?". It took several minutes for the laughter to die down.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                            The one issue with the "arm stretcher" is that for some of us, when the menu gets to the focal point, the 10 pt. type is just too small to read. The gibberish looks sharp, but that does not help much... [Grin]


                                                          2. Da Vinci is a Boston restaurant with menus that light up from behind. It's cool and rather distracting, like when people text in movie theaters. But you can read your menu!

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: RoxyB

                                                              I tried similar once, but in the analog world. The menu was on a parchment-like paper, and I tried to backlight it. Instead, I managed to set it afire from the candle. Bad move on my part.


                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                You didn't try to put it out with the wine, did you?

                                                                1. re: RoxyB

                                                                  Never! I used Evian instead, but the restaurant charged me for it. Oh well, what's a boy to do?


                                                                  1. re: RoxyB

                                                                    :) I have a friend who did that a big, fancy, schmancy fundraiser. She set the centerpiece on fire as well once she tried to put out the fire with the wine.

                                                                    1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                      That's hysterical, Barbara! Like a scene from a movie!

                                                                      Most people would just grab the closest liquid at hand. Unlike Hunt, I'm not sure I'd think to grab the water instead of the wine in an actual emergency.

                                                                      1. re: RoxyB

                                                                        Depends on the event. Could be a bottle of Evian... [Grin]


                                                                        PS - loved the story too!

                                                                      2. re: Barbara76137

                                                                        About three events back, we had similar - the center-piece went up in flames. Actually, I think that it was one of the many candles, near-by, that got too close to something dried. Still, we all pointed at others around the table, after the fire was extinguished.

                                                                        Thanks for the memory, though I honestly do not think that eyesight, or menus, had any role in this "event."


                                                                2. My friend and I both have younger partners (we're in our 40's, their in their 30's), and they smile a bit when we have to bring out our reading glasses at restaurants. We usually tell hem to get off our lawns.... :)