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Oct 31, 2011 02:04 PM

Has your spouse/dining companion appropriated your go-to favorites when making menu selections?

We have a local (S. California) thai restaurant that does a stellar job preparing pad see ew, and for many years that item was my go-to selection a good 90% of the time when dining there. My wife would order whatever suits her mood at the time, generally pleased. There would be a modest-to-moderate amount of sharing from both our respective entrees, but I am usually much more interested in my own selection than in hers. Which is to say, I tend to clean my plate, whereas the wife often brings her selection left-overs home for lunch the next day. All is well...

Then about a year ago, my wife decided that as her fondness the pad see ew blossomed, her preference for other choices on the menu diminished. To the point, that she wanted to start ordering the pad see ew for herself as her own entree selection (and is more than willing to share it with me). Of course, she still likes to reserve a good half of her entree to bring home as left-overs. Which creates one of a number of conundrums for me: knowing that she now likes to indulge in the pad see ew more (while at the restaurant - it is, after all, her own selection now) and also knowing that she likes her left-overs to come home with her, I am more than a little reticent in helping myself to 'her' pad see ew. So I don't. Or I'll only take a tablespoon full. I'll just focus on my own new entree, which brings me to the second conundrum.

I would find it ridiculous to order pad see ew as my own entree now, since my wife now orders it 90% of the time for herself. Telling the server that we'll have two orders of the same dish and then to proceed to both eat the same item (on a menu with dozens of options) is just not gonna happen. So instead, I've relinquished the pad see ew to the wife, and I order something else that will likely be tasty, but not my first choice by a long chalk. The wife realizes that she has pulled this fairly benign ordering switcheroo, and has verbalized feeling mildly bad about it, But it doesn't deter her from continuing to order it as her entree (instead, she'll earnestly insist that I have more of her entree). But I won't, for the reasons stated above.

So, has this happened to you? Is your go-to fave now in the hands of your frequent dining companion? Do you feel somewhat childishly resentful (as I sometimes do, I admit) for this turn of events, or am I the only greedy monster in monsterland? Let me state that this really ain't that big a deal - I'll survive just fine without my beloved pad see ew distending my tummy. And I love my wife more than any menu item (that I can think of ;-). Just wondered if others have had similar issues arise, seemingly from nowhere. I suppose a related question would be: is there a dish that you would still order a second entree of (under like circumstances), because you love it so much?

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  1. I'm evidently missing something here - what is wrong with 2 people ordering and eating the same dish?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Peg

      Because you can't share if you both order the same dish. I think that they should each order an individual dish and also the pad see ew to share. More left overs.

      1. re: viperlush

        And this *is* a great solution, So simple. But I am thinking that the OP might not want to order 3 dishes fro 2 people and besides seems to be an underlying power struggle going on.

        1. re: Quine

          "... besides seems to be an underlying power struggle going on.".


          Nice try, Dr. Phil. Only ongoing power struggle is between my waist and the buttons of my jeans ;-). Like I said in the OP, I loves me my wife more than broad rice noodles seared in porky goodness. Though the green papaya salad with raw crab is a dead-even heat...

        2. re: Peg

          Hi Peg (always wanted to say that - don't know why)... I think if a restaurant has a 'signature dish' that draws folks far and wide because it is so special, then certainly double ordering may be in order. Or if we are at Le Petit Chaise in Paris and we both crave their rabbit with lardon, then by all means let's get two (who knows when we'll be back)... But I vivdly recall a table of my friends dining at an old school chinese restaurant decades ago, all ordering iterations of the same basic meal: shrimp fried rice, bbq pork fried rice, pineapple fried rice, and 'vegetarian' fried rice. It (rightly) gave the restaurant staff the perception that we had all fallen off the same turnip truck and come in for a bite of 'exotic' lunch fare. Never again, since...

            1. re: Peg

              I agree, If you both like it, get it, life is too short. Since I most often eat out with my Mom, and she and I both like to experiment, we do share and ordered different. Many times there is more than pne item that interests us both, so it's easy, but it is also no problem to order the same.

              1. re: Peg

                I think it's fine, but husband does not. I often tease him and say "lets see if the waitress will say no!"

                Husband thinks it's a problem because he usually wants to eat mine AND his (mine first!), but I'll try a lot of things he wont, so he is often at a disadvantage. As for saving face, he sees no shame in ordering filet mignon WELL DONE!!!

              2. My husband and I try to order different entrees so we can each have some of the other. But the place we go most often does a great duck confit salad as a first course so we both order and enjoy our own. Marriage doesn't have to mean joined at the hip AND lip, so order another pad see ew, eat some and take the rest home for lunch for both of you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: escondido123

                  Hi... You are correct, I think that thai food is so very reasonably priced (and hugely portioned), that if I really want more of the same dish, i should order a second batch to go...

                2. I never knew there were rules such as this.

                  We are married and order what each of us wants and then we might share. But my medium rare steak is mine, he can order his own.

                  1. Yes, this has happened to me, and often. Mr. MM has a fine palate, but has trouble interpreting menus and figuring out what a restaurant is likely to do best. He often ends up co-opting my favorite dishes. We both feel ridiculous ordering the same thing, but sometimes we just do it anyway. But we also have a few other options. Oh, and like your wife, I have to pack a lunch to work, so I love to have some leftovers.

                    So here's what you could do:

                    1. Just both order the same thing. Boring, yup. But you both eat what you want.

                    2. Like Escondido suggested, order three entrees, with two being your joint fave.

                    3. Order extra starters. Mr. MM and I did this just the other night, when we both settled on the same dish. Instead of ordering two, we split one, but ordered two starters (both shared), one of which was very substantial. Downside, we ate everything. No lunch for me.

                    4. Would your wife consider another dish acceptable for her leftovers? If so, you order your fave dish and a mutually agreed upon second choice, and you split the fave and eat it all, plus half of the second choice, and she takes the other half of dish two for lunch. Personally, I'm a lot less particular about what I have for lunch at work, than what I order in a restaurant.

                    Really, if you have the financial means, and the restaurant is reasonable, just plan your meal so you both get enough of whatever you want, and leave happy, and have enough left over for lunch if you want leftovers. And if you order more than you do now, let's see - the restaurant sells more food, so good for them. You do want to support this place, right? The server gets a larger tip, because you have a larger check. Good for the server, right? You both have a satisfying meal out, tasting everything you want to taste, and a lunch or two to boot. Good for you, right? Win, win, win.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MelMM

                      Hi there MeIMM... Thank you for the fun post and helpful suggestions, some of which I shall implement. As for the wife ordering a 'second favorite dish' to-go as left-overs, I failed to originally mention that she already does this; in addition to half of her left-over pad see-ew entree, she'll also order an entree from the specials list which nearly never changes. That, she will stretch into 3 more lunches at work. And you are right, the restaurant benefits as well, which I am glad for in this economy.... Sometimes it takes the requested perspective of others to recognize that my 'problems' are not very problematic :-). Thanks again...

                      1. re: silence9

                        Sounds like your wife is one smart lady. My suggestion is to just bow your head, and say "honey you win. The pad see ew is now your dish". And just pray that she takes pity on you and shares.

                        1. re: silence9

                          I, too, hate ordering the same thing as my wife. In fact, half the fun of actually having a wife is in being able to share each others entree. Feigning being a gentleman, I always have her order first while I cross my fingers under the table in the hope she will order one of the two selections I have mentally narrowed myself down to. That way I get to eat what I want while also getting to eat what I want. If she is also lucky my choice may have been on her short list as well. In your situation, knowing that she will take out a "special", I think it's fair for you to throw your reticence to eating more than a few tastes of her pad see-aw to the wind and go for it. Step it up a notch. Is she questions your over indulgence then add another pad see to your exponentially expanding tab. You'll show her, even if you have to go broke doing so :)

                      2. In a word, NO. We normally talk over the dishes, and then order appropriately.

                        The only issue is bi-valves, which my wife cannot tolerate in any quantity. Otherwise, we have no issues. We order, and we share (discretely), and that has worked well.

                        Often, I will go beef, and she will go fish, or pork, and then we offer the other good tastes of the dishes. This has worked for all courses, and even wines.