I learned my lessons...
From my past experiences, I now don't,
eat out on Valentine's day. Crappy food, service and over priced.
eat during restaurant week. Some great deals to be found but usually the menu is pretty boring
consisting of either chicken or salmon. Service is usually not as great either.
order specials without asking prices first. I think I really got cheated a few times by not asking how much today's specials were.
order a lot of food if their bread is not good- To me good bread is a good indication of the quality of foods that are served in that particular restaurant.
go out to eat on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I just feel bad for chefs and other helpers who can't be home to celebrate holidays with their family...like my brother in law....who has never been able to celebrate thanksgiving and christmas with his family.
What lessons have you learned?
From my past experiences, I now don't,
eat out on Valentine's day. Crappy food, service and over priced......
I'll add further...
* Any holiday for that matter.
* Steak in a Seafood restaurant
* Fish in a quiet restaurant Sunday through Thursday.
* Leave if the restaurant smell bad upon entering
* Rarely believe the server's recommendation for their favorite items on the menu...which happen to be the most expensive as well.
* Never go back to a restaurant that has poor/cheap china or silverware
* Avoid tourist trap restaurants when traveling.
+1 on these. Plus, I've never understood about ordering the server's (or anyone's) favorite items on the menu. "Oh, I love the chef's pencil shavings with a soupcon of dried rose petals." Well, bully for you, but I'm not ordering. Why ask about someone else's totally different taste buds/yucks/yums?
Never, ever eat out on Mothers day. Even breakfast! Long wait, poor service. Same for Valentine's Day. They give your mom or gal a rose and it's all downhill from there.
A few years ago I took my lovely and talented wife to a Greek Gyro place we love but is basically a take out place with 3 tables. We sat at a table and ordered up a very good Greek meal.
We chatted up a woman who was waiting for her take away order. I said: "this is our Valentine Day dinner." Insinuating that I was a miser the woman replied: "This is where you take your wife for a romantic meal?" Without saying a word my wife stood looked at the woman and "modeled" the mink coat I gave her earlier.
The Greek place has become our Valentine tradition.
to always order toast well done when out to breakfast ~~ most places just barely warm the bread
to always order angel hair pasta, they don't pre-cook it like many other pastas
to ascertain if "pesto" is actually "creamy pesto" (which I don't want)
to order butter, salad dressing, sour cream, etc. "on the side"
don't order Mexican in a Jewish Deli
If I don't want croutons on my salad or cheese on my chili, ask about this when I order. (I always forget) Many times toppings aren't mentioned on the menu.
If the waitperson is an ignoramus about the menu, watch out! The food is probably not good, and the staff is untrained.
If you get a mediocre meal the first time you go to a place, you will probably get a mediocre meal the second time you go.
I agree with all the posters who say not to eat on special occasions like Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. I want to add Thanksgiving as well. The places that advertise Thanksgiving meals often serve very indifferent food.
Don't confuse fast food with good nutrition or great taste. Fast food is correctly named, and being available fast is its chief characteristic.
Don't expect good sides at a fried chicken place or a barbecue place. If the chicken or barbecue are good, the rest will be filler.
Don't order pasta at a steak house; don't order steak at a pasta house.
I have to disagree about Thanksgiving, at least here in NYC. Many fine restaurants prepare fabulous Thanksgiving meals with traditional offerings and offerings from their regular menu for those, like myself, who are not big fans of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc..
We've been having our Thanksgiving meal at a different restaurant in Manhattan for the last 4 years. Always satisfied.
Well, you are lucky. I've eaten in serveral different places over several years, and my batting average was about 30%. I won't do it again. I'd rather just cook for the 2 of us. At least I know we are getting fresh food. And my turkey stuffing is far, far better than what I've eaten out.
I agree with most... although in June,w e were at a resort on the Outer Banks, and they had just run out of the lobster pasta dish. We didn't really want salmon or the other fish on the menu, so took a chance on a ribeye. We live in Wyoming and are spoiled when it comes to beef.
I'll be darned.... it was the best steak we've ever eaten. no lie.