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Do You Doggie Bag?

I am almost embarrassed to admit that my hubby and I very frequently bring our dining out leftovers home in carry out containers. It's not that we over order, but are weight and health conscious. We like to take our leftovers home and perhaps snack later or the next day. Is this an etiquette faux pas? I disdain wasting food and the leftovers are a wonderful treat when I have the appetite to enjoy them versus being too full and barely able to eat the portions. FoiGras

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  1. Always! No embarrassment here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: randyjl

      Thanks for yor support. Phew--was beginning to think that I was being too cheap or less then appropos (spelling) in bringing home leftovers. FoiGras

    2. Absolutely. I bought it, I'll either eat it or take it home. Who benefits from throwing it out? No shame here.

      1. I actually feel worse when I dine out while on business and have no place to keep the leftovers. I hate to see food go to waste. It is normally not practical to travel with a cooler and most motel rooms I stay in don't have fridges.

        17 Replies
        1. re: al b. darned

          Psst, al: Quart size ziplocs buried into ice bucket. If nothing else saved, at least a protein boost for breakfast. :)

          Foi, we often order with leftovers in mind, for a couple more meals. I'd be ashamed if the food went to waste. I'm an expert at food resuscitation. Don't let anyone make you feel like you should waste food, or that you shouldn't get full value for your money.

          1. re: al b. darned

            For many years I traveled extensively--about every other week for a week or so at a time. I dined out every night and obviously couldn't take any leftovers back to the hotel room, despite the fact that there was a courtesy mini refrigerator. I learned to order a small salad and an appetizer--that seemed to solve the issue with leftovers.

            I don't travel much at this time, so I order what seems appealing at local restaurants and bring home the leftovers. Now, that I see from other Chowhounders that it isn't declasse, I will continue to do so. FoiGras

            1. re: FoiGras

              "obviously couldn't take any leftovers back to the hotel room, despite the fact that there was a courtesy mini refrigerator"

              So you weren't sleeping in the car and you had a refrigerator in which to store food safely and properly. Nope can't figure it out. What is the obvious reason you could not take food back to hotel room?

              1. re: FrankJBN

                FrankJBN--my reason for not taking any leftovers back to the hotel room is that I wouldn't have eaten the food later that night--I don't eat much during the daytime and knew that the next evening I'd be dining out at a different restaurant with friends and/or business associates--and, there were no utensils in the hotel room. Although, that is an easy remedy, room service could provide the silverware or I could have bought plastic utensils.

                FoiGras

                1. re: FoiGras

                  Yeah, I can see that while travelling. You go back to the hotel, and you don't have any utensils or dishes, or a microwave or stove to heat things up. So you're going to be eating cold whatever it was out of a foam tray, possibly with your fingers. For some foods that works, others not so much.

                  I'm not really a breakfast eater, and on a business trip I usually leave the hotel early in the morning, and don't get back at lunch. So the odds of something getting eating are pretty small.

                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                    Hi tastesgoodwhatisit--you definitely got what I meant with regards to travel and leftovers. Good to know that others feel the way I do with the food overload travel issue.

                    Love your "moniker." Quite original. FoiGras

                    1. re: FoiGras

                      FoiGras, I have the same problem with leftovers when travelling, in particular when I really enjoy the food. I feel so guilty for leaving the leftovers. Ordering just a salad or an app sometimes do not make sense because I have to order similar meals as my dining partners (app, entree, dessert - all eaten at about the same pace) and I, of course, do not want to miss out on some potentially delicious entree. To top it all off, after a few days of eating really rich food, my appetite typically shrinks - leaving even more leftovers!

              2. re: FoiGras

                I can remember clearly at this moment eating fabulous cold leftovers in my hotel room for breakfast probably 15 years ago.

                Having dogs I cook for has gotten me in the (I believe very good) habit of not wasting anything. The only things that could potentially get wasted in my kitchen are things they can't eat--but I try to chop and freeze extra onion (for example) before that can happen.

                1. re: foiegras

                  Ah, the dogs FOR the "doggie bags." Our Bulldogs are on special diets, so that does not work for them, BUT we often dine out with great friends, when we ARE home, and their pup usually gets any leftovers from us. Let's just say that Bo eats well, and we often contribute.

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    BillHunt-The Captain and Tennille bought a prized bulldog pup from my parents who bred them. But...The Capt and his Mrs. informed my folks they be on strict diets eating only what vegetarians eat-no exceptions. The folks balked big time thinking these pups are meat eaters but finally relented when huge asking price cash was paid for puppy.
                    Your story reminded me of beautiful English bulldogs-great memories and flatulent little buggers they sure were ;:-/

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      Somewhere, I have an album (think vinyl) with their two Bulldogs. Seems that one was named Elizabeth, but it HAS been a very long time. I cannot recall the name of the other one, but both were lovely Bullies.

                      Since our first English Bulldog, 40 years ago, their diets have been very restricted. The pet sitters resist, but I persist - nothing BUT their strict diets.

                      Having Bulldogs might be one reason that we do not do as many doggie bags (real doggie bags), as others. Our great friends, with whom we dine often, when we are all in Phoenix, have a Black Lab, who can eat anything. If we (wife and I) have leftovers, we ask if Bo can eat THAT. Usually, the answer is "yes," so Bo gets our doggie bag.

                      About three weeks back, we all did a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. With the apps. etc., wife and I had two filet halves. She wanted to bring those home. The other couple had split a large Delmonico. The doggie bags came, and we left. A couple of days later, we opened ours - a Delmonico bone! I drove it over to them, and found out that Bo had already eaten our Dry Aged Tenderloins. Such is life, and it seems good for Bo. Now, he DID love his Delmonico bone.

                      In there case, I know that a doggie bag IS a doggie bag, and the husband does NOT eat any leftovers. Everything IS for the doggie. [Grin]

                      Hunt

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        My dogs are basically pescetarians ... I buy eggs, yogurt, fish, oatmeal, and frozen veggies for them, and then they eat my meat, veggie, fruit, etc. leftovers if any (this week, Thai chicken, noodles, and veggies from a doggie bag, and pork noodles from a delivery order that wasn't up to standard). I'm always surprised when I explain what they eat, and people ask, What about PROTEIN? Well what do you think eggs, yogurt, and fish are? :)

                        As far as digestion, theirs is generally perfect, no doubt better than mine. If I would just eat as well as they do ...

                    2. re: foiegras

                      I love cold leftovers for breakfast in hotel rooms.

                      1. re: Rilke

                        Not THAT long ago, I did that. Even cold (no oven in that hotel room), the flavors were surprisingly good. That was about the only hotel leftovers, that I can recall (other than little dessert thingies) in about 10 years.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I often eat leftovers cold, even if there's a microwave. White pizza, pad Thai, red sauce Italian, Chipotle burrito bowls . . . My most recent hotel leftovers were Middle Eastern food: eggplant stew, sauteed butternut squash, spinach, yogurt sauce, basmati rice with raisins. I wasn't sure it would work, but I was quite happy.

                          I know I am not alone in my appreciation of cold leftovers. . . .

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Interesting...when I'm not traveling, I almost always bring home leftovers (if they're good)...except for wine which I always leave for the staff. But when traveling, I never even think of taking leftovers. The thought of cold pizza, pasta or almost anything other than a good strong coffee and perhaps a good pastry or croissant first thing in the morning makes me feel ill. Now after a coffee or two, a nice hot breakfast or perhaps some fruit is perfectly fine...but cold pasta...

                  2. Absolutely, and as much as possible. We paid for it. We get some weird looks. But we paid for it.

                    Many decades ago, I treated my grandmother to lunch at what was, at the time, a premier 'small chain' in Southern California. I was so proud that I could do this. We enjoyed great food, and then she proceeded to try to stuff everything that was left on the table into her oversized purse. The silverware, salt and pepper shakers, and tablecloth probably would have gone in if there was room.

                    I was mortified.

                    We now, as we are make sure the cooler is in the car, with the 'freeeze stuff,' getting to-go boxes, utilizing the quart ziplocs [yes Duchess!], say 'Thank you for the terrific tip, Grandma!'

                    We ate out tonight.We have 4 lunches worth of "brought-home food" in the fridge.
                    Restaurant portions are obscene. Please don't waste food.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nikkihwood

                      "We get some weird looks"

                      For taking food out of restaurants? Who gives you weird looks?

                      I ask because this is something I have seen for my entire life. People leaving restaurants with little white bags and now often little styro trays. I wouldn't think one could dine out too often not seeing this. That's why I wonder who gives weird looks at this perfectly accepted and mundane practice?

                      1. re: nikkihwood

                        "We get some weird looks." Really? I dine out very often (Lunches with Mom) and we always take our leftovers with us. Never saw a raised eyebrow.

                        I have seen some servers take great pride in packaging the leftovers in creative ways like Foil Swans.

                        But I am glad, that you plan for and do not waste food.

                        1. re: Quine

                          Weird looks sometimes from young servers. It is probably because of what is going in the boxes - let's just say that we won't have to make french fries [which, we try not to eat that much anymore] for the rest of the year. There are plenty of 'dogged' bags in the freezer.

                          Foil swans are definitely a point of pride in some establishments.

                      2. Never doggy bagged - but then it isnt generally the social custom to do so in Europe (except possibly for low end, American style, pizza places, and the like - and even then it isnt that common that you'd see it.)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Harters

                          I live in Taiwan, and it's pretty common to get your leftovers bagged up at family style meals.

                          You order a whole bunch of different dishes to share, so it can be difficult to estimate just how much you need, particularly when you need to order in advance (like for a fancy banquet). So at the end, if there's stuff left over, they'll often offer to put it in a bag, and someone can take it home. I love getting the chicken soup that way. And for a formal banquet, having too much food is obligatory.

                          And if it's a liquid dish, like soup, you get an actual plastic bag of soup, knotted at the top.

                          1. re: Harters

                            Yes, when I dined out in Paris with a local, I asked if we can take leftovers home and he reacted in horror and say they DON'T do that!

                          2. It seems that half of my doggie bags are forgotten in the car, and the remainder are forgotten in the fridge until the contents are inedible. It makes me wish I had just kept on eating back in the restaurant.

                            1. I unabashadely ask to take the leftovers - especially in high end places.

                              When eating out with my father-in-law (he has since departed), we (me, Mrs. porker, and her mom) would not bring leftovers home. The wife's father was old-fashioned and seemed to think this was in poor taste and doing so made him uncomfortable. Kinda peculiar though, how he lived through difficult times (he was born in 1922).

                              If the two of us eat Chinese, we'll order 4-5-6 plates, but its the variety we're looking for, not the quantity. Impossible to finish, we always bring stuff home.

                              I agree with others; if I pay for it, I should have the option to bring leftovers home. Absolutely no shame in it. In fact, I encourage it!

                              1. "Restaurant portions are obscene. Please don't waste food."

                                I think this is the primary issue, and also an American one, which is why you don't see it in other countries. I don't eat out with the INTENTION of taking home leftovers, but the portions are so big, and to not take it home seems so wasteful. The only time we don't is if we are on vacation or heading someplace after the meal and won't be able to take the food straight home to the fridge.

                                23 Replies
                                1. re: centralpadiner

                                  I wonder about this idea of American portions being so large.

                                  We recently spent three weeks on holiday in New England. Ate out every night, of course. Didnt have a single meal where the portions were any different from what we see in Europe. In fact, there was one meal in Boston where my notes recall that we considered the portioning to be "restrained".

                                  I wonder if there's something specific about New England portions that are more "reasonable"? But, then, I also have a similar recollection of our previous American holiday (Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia) that portions were not out of the ordinary to what I'm used to.

                                  I am, of course, excluding buffet meals where I can be as greedy as the next person.

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    Interesting! I find that portions in the US, unless you're at high-end/tasting menu type places, are much larger than the majority of restaurants we go to here in Berlin, for example.

                                    Sure, you'll find colossal pork knuckle/knödel/sauerkraut combos at some homestyle (often touristy) restaurants, but I can't remember the last time I've taken home a doggie bag in Germany.

                                    In the US (PA in my case), 9 out of 10 places at which we eat or from which we order take-out, a main dish can easily feed two people.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      No, not high end (except the one where the portions were "restrained") just the ordinary bistro type places that I'd go to in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        My experience is precisely as Lingua described. Unless it is a high end place, the portions are WAY over recommended serving size. I have to admit, I haven't travelled extensively in other countries, and not for several years. But it seems from what I've heard (DH does travel quite a bit for work) that many European countries linger longer over multiple courses rather than the singular 24 oz. steak you might find here.

                                        It is very easy to forget, IMO, what a "true portion size" is when dining out with any frequency at American restaurants. 4 oz. of meat, 1 C. of pasta, etc. Even at non-chain places (which I also only eat at rarely) regularly serve at least twice that.

                                      2. re: Harters

                                        Harters, knowing in general of the places you dined while in New England, I don't think you went to any place where the dish was going to be overloaded with food.

                                        Food overload tends to happen more at chain restaurants - Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, etc. where you get a half pound of pasta piled high with a Frankenchicken breast and 6 shrimp. The Venetian Apricot Chicken, Chicken Vino Bianco (both with *TWO* chicken breasts!), and the Shrimp Mezzaluna are examples of the "overload plates."

                                        http://olivegarden.com/Menu/Dinner/

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Ah, thanks for that, Linda. Mrs H is a bigger fan of Olive Garden than I am and I've managed to steer her away from it on the last couple of trips, although I do quite like their Chicken Alfredo (alfredo not being a sauce that we really see in Italian places in the UK). I have a recollection that it was a very generous portion.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I don't know - I most often read things like 'portions are obscenely large' at food and wine sites where one would think there is not a lot of chain dining going on.

                                            Then again, I do not find portions excessively large, but I don't eat at chains.

                                            1. re: FrankJBN

                                              Whoa. First, you're making my point, Frank, thank you. That's my quote up there, and please let me say that we don't eat much at chains. The portions at the restaurants we frequent are still oversized. Perhaps some non-chain restaurants feel that they have to emulate?

                                              I haven't been in an Olive Garden, or a Macaroni Grill in years. Never eaten at Red Lobster.

                                              Average American restaurant portions are oversized. There is now a spin-off thread inquiring about taking food home from the high-end restaurants in the U.S. I am betting that I could not even finish a tasting menu at the French Laundry. Although I'd sure like to try.!

                                              1. re: nikkihwood

                                                LOL, it is funny you should say that. My Mom's house backs into an area of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. And we are a family that is big on animals. We'll try to feed it. So, many of our doggy bags are of two sorts, one, the items (usually for me) that will become a later meal, and the second, a mish mash of what all else, like the uneaten fries, coleslaw cups, pickles, whatever, that is left.
                                                That doggy bag gets placed out in an area behind my Mom's house, for whatever finds it. I have seen Box Turtles, crunching away on chicken bones, like they were crackers, she has at least one deer, that watches for the drop, we see wild turkeys now, and their broods. From tracks, we also know there are possums, skunks, and either a fox or a coyote. Oddly enough, no raccoons so far.
                                                So truly, nothing goes to waste. And my Mom loves to watch who comes to eat her doggy bag.

                                                1. re: nikkihwood

                                                  With all you Americans saying portions are oversized, maybe I don't find them so because I'm just greedy and can eat that amount of food.

                                            2. re: Harters

                                              "I wonder about this idea of American portions being so large"

                                              Me too, though I'm an American.

                                              I hate reading this complaint, which is very common, for fear that restaurants will take notice and decide they can improve the bottom line at the expense of my meal.

                                              It's a surprise that restaurants still serve desserts - so many people complain of "obscenely large" portions that I have to imagine that I am one of only a few ordering anything for afters.

                                              1. re: FrankJBN

                                                Yes. Dessert almost never happens for me/us. Couple apps, one main, done.

                                                1. re: FrankJBN

                                                  When I was much younger, most restaurants, even "nicer" ones, had big main dish portions because most Americans didn't have more than 2 courses, 1 main, and 1 dessert. Then we all went to Europe and discovered the joys of multiple course meals, and American restaurants started coming up with divine first courses. But, they left the main dishes the same size in case people just wanted to eat 2 courses. And many people expected the main dish to be a big plate of protein, starch, and vegetable, even if they had a roasted beet salad with goat cheese as a first course.

                                                  Our standard practice now is to have 2 starters, 2 mains, and 1 dessert. Mr. dk is a big eater, so he eats all 3 courses. I eat all my first course, a few bites of my main, and 1 bite of his dessert. I always take the rest of my main home, and eat it for lunch if it reheats well, or give it to the dog if it won't.

                                                2. re: Harters

                                                  John,

                                                  That is ideal.

                                                  Unfortunately, too much of the US feels that if a couple dines out, there should be enough food left over, to serve the entire neighborhood. They whine about the "tiny portions," if they do not get to take home four lbs. of food, plus all of the bread from five near-by tables, and maybe a gallon of tea, to accompany, all for the price of a meal.

                                                  Personally, I do not get it (and I am a US citizen, who dines out a bunch), but seem to be in the minority here.

                                                  I do not wish to leave the table hungry, but cannot recall the last time that I did. Instead, I actually complain more often about portions, that are too large, and do not think that I have ever encountered any, that were too small. Of course, there have been a few courses, that were so spectacular, that I wish they had been a tad larger, but then by the end of the meal, I am quite full.

                                                  I cannot recall seeing any patron in UK, or in Europe, leaving with "doggie bags," but might have missed it. I also feel that the general portions in the UK, or Europe are more to my liking, than too many restaurants in the US.

                                                  Now, I also do NOT like to waste food, and often communicate with my server, that say, the cheese course needs to be small, as we are both nearing FULL. Most understand and accommodate us.

                                                  Hunt

                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    I love small portions. I often wish that restaurants had the option to cut some portions in half for less money. And the kids menu often doesn't have much on it, and some restaurants won't let adults order from it anyway, and some won't allow sharing. So I mostly ask for an empty plate to measure out a normal serving for myself or try to order something smaller. Sometimes they will give me a buck or two off if I don't want the fries or salad with a sandwich or entree. And of course there are always things like a slice of pizza, half a sub, pint of lo mein, side salad, an omelet, or even just an appetizer. I mostly know the sizes of things, but when they heap mounds of food on a plate, it is hard to tell exactly how much you are eating.

                                                    1. re: JolokiaJen

                                                      I agree completely. We recently dined at a restaurant in the Midwest, and added one dish to the Chef's Tasting Menu. I tried to explain that we wanted an appetizer size, split. All portions were great, until we came to the "extra" one. Dang, but it was enough to serve a hungry person, and if that was a "split," I cannot imagine what the full entree-sized portion looked like. It was great, BUT we could not come close to finishing it. Maybe I did not communicate my desires properly?

                                                      I would say that I am a fan of "small plates," but it would probably be more correct to state, "I am a fan of TINY plates." I like lots of courses, but sized so that I can enjoy the flavors, and the preps of each, and not have copious leftovers, especially as we are usually in a hotel room.

                                                      I find the "giant portions" to be more often served in the Deep South, and try to order in such a fashion, as to have smaller plates, that we share. I do not mind costs, until one gets up to "starred restaurants," and only want to have a good taste. I have no children, or even neighbors, to feed back home. That is why we so often do "tasting menus," and even then, often have leftovers.

                                                      Guess that all the admonitions about "starving children in China," that my mother used, when I did not eat my stewed beets from a can, made an impact on me. I want to be able to clean my plate!

                                                      Hunt

                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      and maybe a gallon of tea, to accompany......................

                                                      I remember my grandfather pouring leftover soda (from a pitcher) into an empty wine bottle to take it home after a family-style meal at a local restaurant. It was one of the first family events my now husband attended. It blew his mind.

                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                        Your grandfather probably grew up in a time where food might have been scarce. Frugality was a necessity in those hard times and maybe one day we might have to follow suit.
                                                        American portions are quite large they could feed a third world village!

                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                          No, he never was hungry. They were a farming family, always self-sufficient and comfortable even during lean times. He was of the "I paid for it so I am going to take my share and hopefully more" mindset. The type that fills their pockets full of the individual coffee creamer to take home for later because "I paid for it."

                                                          I have other family members that did truly know hunger at points in their lives and yes, their minds work differently than someone who hasn't.

                                                        2. re: cleobeach

                                                          Hm-m, that is a new one on me. I would be with your hubby on that one.

                                                          Hunt

                                                        3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          Hunt., i really do enjoy your posts and thoroughly agree with you that in many instances portion size in US restaurants are ridiculously too large. I am really interested in your thoughts re the original post...the propriety of taking home leftovers. We do it all the time. We hate seeing so much food wasted and often enjoy restaurant leftovers for lunch the next day. Do you do this...what are your thoughts re this issue?

                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                            I am far less inclined to do a doggie bag, than my loving wife is. Outside the Deep South (home to both of us), we do not see THAT many giant portions, and work to get smaller portions, if we suspect they will be "over-sized." We both try to communicate our desires, and I have no problem paying extra to have things split. As we both enjoy good food, it's but a small price to pay. I would rather have every one of my plates cleaned, and have experienced many tastes, than to have large portions, that cannot be finished. I am happy to return many smaller plates, that are perfectly clean, than to have one portion of good food, that I just cannot finish.

                                                            Over the decades, I have heard, and read of many, who left restaurants hungry. In the last 40 years, I have to say that I have never been one of them.

                                                            Per your question, recently we dined at a steakhouse with friends (not really our thing), and we did have leftovers, though we each went with the smallest filet. That WAS lunch for me the next day. On the time before that, their dog got our leftovers. Both of those times were when we WERE in town. I can only think of one time, where we did a doggie bag, while traveling, and had a suite with a full kitchen.

                                                            Now, I have no issues with leftovers, and we do those at home, from previous home meals. Some things DO get better with a few day in the 'fridge. I am thinking of gumbo, and some Italian dishes here. That is not a problem, though I have had several friends, who would not eat any leftovers, not even on a bet, or a double-dog dare.

                                                            My biggest problem is that we are likely to be heading to the airport at 9:00AM the next morning. Maybe I should try to go through the TSA checkpoint with a doggie bag? [Grin]

                                                            Hunt

                                                      2. re: centralpadiner

                                                        You may not do this but my inlaws certainly do. The only reason they go out is to be able to fill up at a salad bar (if available), order an entree, and bring nearly the entire entree home for at least two days worth of meals. When visiting I am constantly throwing out almost unrecognizable food in white styros. I ask, "are you ever going to eat this?" but the answer is nearly always "no". And I have asked about the silver ware pattern. Because it matches Marie Callendars' perfectly. Worst experience with this was when mom ordered calamari entree, never touched it during dinner, dropped it putting into the white styro and demanded a brand new serving.

                                                      3. When we go to a steakhouse that has a bone in filet I jump on it - I eat mine rare and I eat the meat around the bone and take the rest home. DH likes his medium so..... They usually ask if we'd like to take it home - haven't heard doggie bag term used in a while. Higher end places will usually make a swan with foil for the food you are taking.

                                                        1. Absolutely. No one benefits by that food going into the garbage.

                                                          1. Yes, with no shame. Sometimes leftover are for our actual doggie, other times for DH and me. If I ever got "a look" about taking home leftovers that I'd paid for and tipped for, it'd be the last time I sashayed my ample tushie in that establishment's door.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: pinehurst

                                                              I used to worry about "a look" from the staff at high end places, but it never happened, so no worries whatsoever.
                                                              However, I'm always eager to get "a look" from fellow diners. Usually I just smile and say "this'll be great for breakfast" or a big thumbs up. Once in awhile I grin, look left then right, wink and say something like "I'm going to cut the steak up into little pieces and eat them off my wife's body later".
                                                              Drives Mrs. porker nuts.

                                                            2. In the USA it is perfectly fine and nothing to feel embarrassed for doing. In fact, the Romans even did it!
                                                              http://www.explore-italian-culture.co...

                                                              So, please do not feel bad. Here is also an article written by a restaurant critic, Frank Bruni:
                                                              http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                                              1. You're worried about nothing.

                                                                1. I generally feel ruder when they offer a box and I say "no". Sometimes it's because I'm not heading home immediately and don't want the food to sit in the car, but sometimes it's just because I didn't like it that much. Or it could also be something that just isn't all that great the next day (alfredo, half a hamburger, etc.). But I feel like saying "no" means "I don't like your food. Throw it out."

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                    I hate being offered a box for a dressed salad! It goes all limp and soggy after such a short time.

                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                      Of course I ask for a box if I want to take home leftovers. I might have been too intimidated at a 'fancy' establishment when I was younger, but I'm older now and much less self-conscious. If I'm taking it home for me, or for the dog, it isn't anyone's business but my own. I have yet to encounter a place that had trouble with the idea of either bringing me a box or boxing my leftovers for me...'fancy' or not.

                                                                  2. Absolutely. In a few local Italian places that serve enormous portions, some of the servers are used to my request for a doggie bag to be delivered *with* the entree. Portion control!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                      The portions are so large at my favorite local Italian restaurant, I can eat until I'm full, and it looks like I barely touched the plate. I take the leftovers home and can usually get 2-3 more meals out of it. So yeah, I go ahead and ask for a box when I order.

                                                                    2. Most of the time yes. Usually when I wouldn't ask to, the portions are small enough that it's not a problem.

                                                                      Babbo's, I can order a few plates and I will not have leftovers.
                                                                      Akia Hana, yes please pack the leftover bim bap for later.

                                                                      1. My usual restaurant practice is to divide everything in two, eat one half for my meal, and save the rest for lunch. Recently, I have begun to pack leftovers in my own Ziploc bags because I hate the styro boxes (leaky, bulky, don't stay closed, don't fit in my lunch carrier). Getting two meals from one order is also financially economical.

                                                                        Why would anyone want to make this a no-win issue? As in, if I eat all my food, I'm a greedy, obese, gluttonous American. If I don't eat all my food, I'm wasting it in heartless disregard of the impoverished. If I divide it by two meals, there's that no-class ugly Americanism again. Honestly, why would anyone object to taking the food home?

                                                                        1. Why oh why be embarrassed??? In fact, I think it's a kudos to the restaurant that you enjoyed the meal enough to want to take the leftovers home.

                                                                          We do it ALL THE TIME, & frequently get another dinner or several lunches out of the leftovers. We paid for the food; we deserve to enjoy it, even if it's not at the same sitting. And it makes NO difference to me if it's fine dining, local bistro, or chain - tasty food that I've paid for is tasty food that I've paid for.

                                                                          Doesn't embarrass me in the very least.

                                                                          In fact, I'm more embarrassed if I DON'T want to take any leftovers home. I think that says a lot more to the restaurant than asking for the requisite takeout box.

                                                                          1. I don't think there is any wrong with asking for a to go container for leftovers.

                                                                            It is something I rarely do because we never have more than two or three bites left after eating our fill. Added to that, I am sort of funny about how some food "travels" and "ages." There are some things that I simply think are horrible reheated, like french fries.

                                                                            My depression era grandmother would take one bite of steak home. I remember one night she forgot her doggie bag in our car and called three days later and was upset because my husband had thrown in out that afternoon. This was the middle of summer and it sat in my car for two full days.

                                                                            There were major food issues in my house growing up and I have had to battle that to this day. I can understand the not wasting food desire but I can't wrap my head around taking home leftover chips or lettuce.

                                                                            1. I not only doggie bag but have been known to take a small cooler with a chemical ice block if he weather is very hot or if I'm not going straight home, all the better to keep a hunk of roast beef in good condition. Also, in a Chinese restaurant it might not seem worthwhile to take just a small amount of leftover food home but even a little bit, added to chicken stock, makes Chinese Soup.

                                                                              1. Let me add one more thing. Restaurant portions are now so gargantuan that I know a) I will not eat the full portion nor b) should I. So I have started asking for a separate small plate so I can serve myself a reasonable amount and won't slobber all over food I am saving.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                  I do this too! I ask for an empty plate to measure out a serving because it is impossible to tell how much you are eating from a plate stacked so high with food.

                                                                                2. If it reheats and transports well I certainly do. Heck I'll even order dessert to go if I don't have room. I can eat it later.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                    Yep==I agree. After seeing so many "supportive" responsives to my positon of bringing home leftovers from restaurants, no longer will I hesitate to ask for a take-away container (or whatever the politically correct term now applies to the old used term of "doggie bag.")The Prime Rib, Flemings, Elkridge Furnace Inn, Kings Contrivance, Oregon Grille, Mortons, Ruths' Chris. Kali's Court , Gianni's, Olive Grove, Charleston, Sotto Soprat, Tio Pepe's, Stoney River, Loafer's, Olive Grove, just a few of our frequent dining out destinations. No embarrassing moments. Thanks to all for your support and responses. Don't waste food. And, I have no issue with dining establishments and the portion sizes. Remeber the tiny portions in the 1980's with the cuisine du jour at that time. Silly little portions that weren't worthy of much attention. Those restaurants were trying to "copy" the trend of the French Laundrym John Ash, Spago, etc. Those places failed miserably. FoiGras

                                                                                    1. We are almost 7 billion people on this planet and according to estimates (various websites) almost 1 billion do not have enough food to eat, 1 in 6 earthly beings. Although some may think it, it is not gauche or improper to ask for a doggie bag, in fact in my books it is in good taste. We should not force feed ourselves and if we do not have the room it is best not to waste. You paid for the meal afterall. I have heard that some restaurants charge a small fee for the containers, and I am quite willing to comply on that.

                                                                                      1. Most always and for the same reason as you. If we're on travel, I'll give to it a homeless person.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: treb

                                                                                          Great idea--but do they actually eat the leftovers? I guess if one is hungry enough.......

                                                                                          Good idea though and it comes from your heart and generosity. FoiGras

                                                                                          1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                            Homeless people sometimes eat from dumpsters, you do what you need to do. Having nicely wrapped, clean food, with perhaps some eating utensils and napkins...is nicer for sure.

                                                                                          2. re: treb

                                                                                            I have done that before. Before giving food to anyone (and I give it to those who are already asking), I always ask if they want it. Usually it's not a doggie bag--but I'll offer it if I have one. Usually it's the energy bars I keep in the car for this purpose, and more than once I've been asked about the flavor. Not to worry, I get the good flavors ;)

                                                                                            1. re: treb

                                                                                              if i don't think i'll use it, or have no way to store it - or if i just didn't care for the food so didn't finish it, i'll give it to a homeless person or just leave it somewhere semi-conspicuous and not sitting in trash (like on a garden halfwall, or atop a newspaper box). it's pretty common in my area to do this sort of thing. several local coffeehouses, for example, saran-wrap their leftover baked goods at the end of the day, and leave them out on the sidewalk tables for those in need.

                                                                                            2. I'm gathering the consensus that it is not embarrassing or a cheapskate idea to take home leftovers from a restaurant. In fact, I am under the impression that it is the "proper" method of not wasting food.

                                                                                              Also, I am not complaining about the size of portions offered in restaurants. I actually like the offerings of large portions--feeling as though I am getting my money's worth, especially in the high end establishments. If I order prime rib at the Prime Rib along with onion rings and salad, you can bet that I am going to bring home the leftover rings and rib--not the salad. that is just one example.

                                                                                              thanks to all for the positive support. It seems as though only a few CHer's have an issue with bringing home their leftovers. All of us have our opinions that we should repsect. I guess the saying, "Different strokes for different folks" would apply to this issue. It's all in fun. FoiGras

                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                Be prepared, if you are dining out with others, some at the table might be horrified that you ask for a doggie bag, I did it at a business lunch and one coworker was mortified. OH WELL! Maybe the problem is the name Doggie Bag!

                                                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                  I just say, "may I have this boxed?" or "I would like to take this with me>" to the server. And I would look that co-worker straight in the eye and say "I abhor wasting food, don;t you?" Then I'd enjoy watching the squirm.

                                                                                                  1. re: Quine

                                                                                                    Hmm, it was just a confirmation for me of character.

                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                      It would have for me as well. :-) I do like to call these sorts out on it, I enjoy the huffy squirm.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                          [Insert very large grin here.]

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                  2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                    In the past, sometimes our leftovers really would be "Doggie Bags"! We had a lovely little restaurant in town that served both Spanish & Mexican food, & they made a fabulous "Enchiladas Suizas" (chicken enchiladas topped with Salsa Verde & sour cream). Anyway, at the time, we owned a Doberman who loved the most unconventional foods, & she knew that if we arrived home with a "Doggy Bag" made from aluminum foil shaped into a swan or a basket - it was Mexican night! We'd hand her the bag by it's little foil handle & she'd trot around the house with it & then bring it back so we could it open it for her. I've never had a dog since that so enjoyed leftover refried beans - lol!!

                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                      Uh oh....a dog enjoying refried beans.....open the windows!

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                        Having English Bulldogs, a breed world renown for doggie flatulence on a good day, I shudder to think about that. Glad that they are all on special diets, and they are relatively benign to their digestive systems.

                                                                                                        Reminds me of a joke about "Rags," the dog, but will NOT repeat it here.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                2. If it's something that will re-heat well and I'm going home after the meal, then yes. Although after a horrifying experience involving me taking the subway home, carrying leftover roasted beets packaged in a flimsy cardboard box while wearing a pale blue dress...never again. Beets stay on the plate.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                    A logistic problem indeed! Beets may not be the best idea to contain and bring home.

                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                      My neighbor's German Shepard loved cold beets.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                    2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                      We had a chicken Caesar salad explode all over the carpet mat in the car once on the way home. A police car came racing through the intersection, hubby slammed on the brakes, and the top box in my lap went flying. At least the box of eggplant parm stayed put. Even with a good scrubbing, the mat smelled of Caesar dressing for weeks.

                                                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                        As my wife "doggie bags," much more that I do, that is why I put in "all weather mats" in the front, the back, and the trunk. A hose, and some Armor-All, and they are as good as new.

                                                                                                        Going way back, similar happened, and her trunk carpet too a big hit. I finally pulled it out, and included it in the house carpet-cleaning.

                                                                                                        Food seems bent on attacking automobiles, and not just with doggie bags.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                    3. Absolutely,
                                                                                                      Our three dogs would be highly insulted and disappointed if they didn't get to share our restaurantr meals.
                                                                                                      The USA is for the most part NOT dog friendly at restaurants and the dogs don't get to accompany us to dine....other than a trip thru the drive thru at McDs for a vanilla cone for the eldest dog.

                                                                                                      Yesterday we ate a midday meal at a local restaurant (wife, MIL and self). None of us ate more than 1/3 of the main dish, the servings were large and followed soup and salad courses. The server cleared the table and when briging the check placed a shopping bag with three boxes in it on the table.
                                                                                                      For dinner last night, the dogs had baked lamb with roasted potatoes and green beans. This moring they will have baked stuffed chicken, and for supper tonight they will have marinated flank steak with mashed potatoes.
                                                                                                      I get two days off from grilling for the animals.

                                                                                                      I don't generally take home leftovers for human consumption, but do let the dogs enjoy someone else's cooking.

                                                                                                      1. I doggie bag, but then much of the time end up throwing the leftovers out. There are few leftovers I truly enjoy (aside from pasta and pizza).

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                          Janet,

                                                                                                          My wife does this far, far more often, than I do. I keep quiet, but come "garbage day," will ask about the styro boxes. Not sure that she is any too pleased, but it IS life. She did one recently (when we were at home), and I just looked at it, before the server took it away to be boxed. "What is that?" I inquired. "Well, you may want that for lunch." "Three shreds of wilted lettuce, and some enchilada sauce?" "Well, you may want that for lunch." We brought it home, but threw it away four days later, when we left town for a week. Such is life.

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                        2. We enjoy ordering a couple of appetizers, maybe a salad to share and two entrees so that we can try a few offerings from the restaurant. For us, that's what it is all about.
                                                                                                          After we finish off the appetizers and salad we don't have room to finish our entrees and share a dessert too. So, we often take home leftovers for tomorrows lunch.
                                                                                                          Never felt uncomfortable about it.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                            Yes, we love the tastes too, but then I work very hard to try and get things "small." We do share, and we do split, and often that works well, if there is no "Tasting Menu." However, not always.

                                                                                                            Recently had to leave some Wagyu Short Ribs, and it was to have been a split appetizer portion, but was too big. I would have paid more to have less - to absolve my guilt! I mean, "starving children in China" had imprinted on my psyche. In that case, we had a 9:00AM flight to catch. It was so good, but was the 8th course, after all.

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                          2. I think regardless of what is ordered, leaving food on the plate to be thrown out is not a good way to go. If I was more religious, I'd say it was a sin. I don't mind bringing things home and having them for lunch or dinner the next day. Sometimes I'll even head to a place I know will provide oversize portions (but still very good food...several notches above the national chains...no names given) to make it more cost effective to get an extra meal from what I order.

                                                                                                            1. We will take home what is left over, if it is something we like....we do not have have dogs at home....we will have it as a snack, lunch or dinner...my father and step mom on the other hand will accumulate a bunch of boxes and make a mixed grill, that too is fine with me.....what I do not like is when you are out with a bunch of people, they way over order and take it home to feed themselves, (such as all of the shared appys, etc) and then split the bill.....it was like one time, we had dinner with some friends who ordered a second bottle of wine, (after they finished the first) the Mrs. had one glass, I had a drink, they took home the balance of the second bottle, ( which was about $45 per bottle) and then they grabbed the bill and split it down the.....wrong....never had dinner with them again....

                                                                                                              Left overs are better consumed then sent to the garbage...

                                                                                                              31 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                Interesting note about the wine. I recently saw someone ask for a takeout cup for their half finished frozen Marguerita!!

                                                                                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                  Been there done that with other couples. My hubby doesn't drink. I usually have a glass or two of wine. We dined out with one couple for the firsst time--they ordered 3 bottles of wine at about $95 per!!!! I made sure that I had 3 glasses over the course of our 2-1/2 hour dinner. Then, the couple ordered appetizers, salads, entrees, dessert and coffee- appertifs. My husband ordered a salad--which was very large and I was able to enjoy a portion thereof. We each ordered an entree. My husband and I didn't order desserts or coffee, etc. This couple had invited us out to dine. when the check came the other couple grabbed it and said to our server, "just split it down the middle." NEVER AGAIN. We went out with them one other time and at the beginning of our dinner I SPOKE UP AND SAID--"We'll be having seperate checks please. "

                                                                                                                  All of our other friends agree--when we dine out together we ask up front to have the check split. It that is an issue with the restaurant (and we have not had any problem thus far), we would just get up and leave.

                                                                                                                  I don't hesitate to bring home leftover food. If I would order a bottle of wine, I would have the remains corked and bring it home. thanks to the relatively new Maryland law that permits one to do so. FoiGras

                                                                                                                  1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                    We also repurpose with steak, steamed veggies ,etc

                                                                                                                    1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                      Huh - wonder if VA has a new law like that? While I've never needed to take home leftover wine ;-) , I'm still under the impression that VA still has a "no open containers of alcohol in a vehicle" thing going on. Will have to look into that "just in case".

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                        Bacardi, Even if your state has a no open container law, you may not be allowed to take the leftover wine. Most restaurant liqour licenses are for the sale of liqour to be consumed on the premisies. If the restaurant allows you to take alcohol they have served off premisies they could lose their license.

                                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                          Depends on the state. In NY, the changed the law to allow diners to take home left over wine as long as it was sealed. Created a new industry in sealable bags with logos and glue strips. The idea was its better to allow people to take their wine home instead of making people feel like they should finish the bottle since it was paid for before getting in their cars and driving home.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                            Same in MA. Sealed bags, supposed to be placed in the trunk of the car until you get home.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                              BK
                                                                                                                              That's why my post began "even if YOUR state..." All liqour laws are state specific. This was a bone thrown to the states when prohibition was repealed.

                                                                                                                            2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                              I don't understand your post. "if your state has a no open container law, you may not be allowed to take the leftover wine".

                                                                                                                              Well, of course if VA has a "no open container law" I wouldn't be able to take home leftover wine. That goes without saying. And I clearly stated that last I saw, VA has a "no open container of alcohol in vehicles" law.

                                                                                                                              What, exactly, is your point?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                My point is that there may be TWO different laws in play in a particular state.
                                                                                                                                Your placing an opened bottle of wine in your car may violate a 'no open container' law.
                                                                                                                                The restaurant allowing alcohol to be removed from the premises may be violating the terms of its liqour license which does not allow restaurants to sell alcohol for off premise consumption.

                                                                                                                                40+ years ago I attended college in Pennsylvania. At that time liqour was bought from state stores (only) and beer could either be bought by the case from a beer distributor, or as a 'to go' order of either a 6 pack or a quart bottle from a bar/restaurant.
                                                                                                                                Coming from Connecticut, I was surprised to see a bar/restaurant being allowd to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption These containers were being sold as closed, not open.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                  Believe it or not, 40+ years later, those laws remain the same. Big breakthrough a few years ago? Select state stores are now open Sunday as are the beer distributors now. Used to be the only alcohol you could get to take home on Sundays were the quarts\6 packs from bars and select "package stores."

                                                                                                                                  On the bright side, the arcane nature of the PA liquor laws has spawned a great BYOB restaurant scene in Philadelphia.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                    We used to get on the subway to Cherry Hill to buy alcohol. My Brother was at school in Bethlehem and would make a Phillipsburg run. My unfortunate cousin was at Penn State in the middle of nowhere and had to rely on a well stocked cabinet.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                      We used to ride our bikes across the bridge :) And not unintentionally, the state stores (now known as "Wine & Spirits" stores) that are open on Sundays are those closest to the NJ and DE borders--your cousin would probably still be unfortunate.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                        bagel, I used to tip the wino's on Chestnut St. a buck to fetch my order. I of course had to watch carefully, from a safe distance. I wasn't of age at Penn until into my senior year.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                          The second good laugh of the evening.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                          Montreal has quite a bit of a BYOB scene as well (beer&wine) which I thought was quite liberal.
                                                                                                                                          Visiting a few years back, Australia's BYOB policies made Quebec's version look draconian.
                                                                                                                                          You can bring any type of alcohol into a BYOB; wine, booze, cordials, beer, anything. I saw plenty of people carrying their own cooler of booze to run through the meal - coupla beers to start, followed by aperatif, wine with the meal, digestif with dessert, and a couple of scotchs to finish up.
                                                                                                                                          You can bring your own beer to a pool hall where the bartender will gladly keep it cold in his fridge.

                                                                                                                                          We were eating Italian with a group of 8 when we ran out of wine. Our friend (a young lady...which might have had something to do with it) had a little chat with one of the waiters. He then collected our money, our "orders", then went on a wine run for us. I was impressed.

                                                                                                                                          On the flip side, they are very serious about DUI - they have roving vans to do spot checks and road blocks 24 hours a day (at least in Brisbane, anyway). Our friend was ocassionally stopped and tested at 7:00am going to the gym.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                            One of the risks of being found driving in Mexico with cold beer in the car is having to share it.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                              Nothing like sharing a beer with the taxi driver from airport to hotel!

                                                                                                                                        3. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                          I know that America has some strange pieces of legislation that don't make the slightest bit of sense to we foreigners. But what on earth is the law trying to achieve by having not allowing an open container of alcohol in a car? This one totally beats me.

                                                                                                                                          (I fully understand the "on" and "off" premises law, which we also have in the UK.)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                            Try to wrap your head around the fact that as a grown adult, you may not carry an open beer bottle around at a street fest or such.

                                                                                                                                            You may also not carry your alcoholic beverage outside of the bar (where smoking is no longer permitted) to enjoy with your cigarette -- which really only tastes good when combined with said beverage.

                                                                                                                                            It's a strange, strange, strange, strange country for sure.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                              We have those two in the UK as well - lots of bars say no drinks outside (if the outside area is the street, not a beer garden or courtyard etc) after 11pm if at all. Also, most city centres are "Exclusion Zones" where there are fines and confiscations for open containers of alcohol at any time. I can see where they're coming from on the latter at least - after smoking-related and food-related, alcohol-related litter is a real problem.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                              I think the United States does their legislating to the lowest common denominator - if one person in 300 million might do something, they create a law banning it (I'm *somewhat* tongue in cheek here). Also, in our perfectly ordered, civilised society, many people have forgotten the golden rule. To make up for this, we have legislation which ruins plenty of stuff.
                                                                                                                                              OK, off the soapbox now...

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                        Open wine bottle goes in the trunk. Problem solved.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                          I checked with a local restaurant owner buddy last night and found out that New York actually requires restaurants to bag, seal and attach a receipt to the bag for wine "doggie bags".

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                          You can take home open bottles of wine as long as they are recorked. Restaurants here in Richmond have been doing it for many years.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                            I've never known that to be illegal in VA. We do it all the time...have never had a restaurant say they couldn't recork and bag to take home. We often order 2-3 bottles of various wines and may have leftovers from each of them. It's never been an issue.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                              Thanks! (Not that I've ever had any leftover wine to take home - lol!)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                Yeah, that often happens at our table too...

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                Janet,

                                                                                                                                                It differs by state, and even by county.

                                                                                                                                                The same thing for BYOW. It differs by location.

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                            2. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                                              When things get lop-sided, say I order to Foie Gras 1st course (no pun intended), and everyone else goes with a salad, I pose that we should pay more. Same when we are dining with non-wino friends. I ask for the wines to be billed separately, and then we split the food.

                                                                                                                                              When we host the Sisters for their annual dinner, I do the wines separately, and my wife picks up the food bill. At least the Sisters get some great wines, and there are no issues with who paid for what.

                                                                                                                                              If I die, and no one can say that I stiffed them on a restaurant bill, I will be happy.

                                                                                                                                              Heck, when my wife sponsors a table at an event, and the wines are not what I want, I personally buy other wines for our table, so that I, and our guests, can have, what I consider
                                                                                                                                              "better." Now, some of the other tables might look at ours sideways, but their host/hostess could do the same.

                                                                                                                                              I do like locations that allow me to take leftover wine with me. However, I often manage to find a way to share the better ones with the serving staff, even if I can take it home. The better the wine, the more likely I am to share, especially if the servers are not familiar with that wine.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                          2. if it's worth taking home and I know it'll get eaten
                                                                                                                                            tomorrow...

                                                                                                                                            1. I have never seen this done in the UK except for in Indian restaurants (and usually then by my own father who is a compulsive over-orderer). Certainly never seen it done in France or Italy.

                                                                                                                                              I think I would sooner ask the restaurant for a smaller portion to be prepared than to take home food which mightn't necessarily reheat very well.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: feggy

                                                                                                                                                In the UK, I cannot recall any "doggie bags," regardless of the "level" of the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                              2. I actually hate when the server says, "Care to take that home?" in front of everyone, and I have to say no. This just happened last weekend - I ordered shrimp & scallops with linguini. Um, I ate all the protein, not my fault you served me a pound of pasta, and no, I don't want to eat it again.

                                                                                                                                                If I want it, I'll let you know, no need to ask.

                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Snorkelvik

                                                                                                                                                  What about the servers who, after you decline the offer, exclaim loudly about how "that is enough for dinner tomorrow" or similar?

                                                                                                                                                  A couple of weeks ago, a server "challenged" me about not wanting my leftovers. The neighboring table said they would take it if I didn't want it. And they did.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                    cleobeach--NO WAY!!?? What gall those people had. What if you had some type of infectious disease or a virus? Yipes!!!

                                                                                                                                                    One time many years ago--before one could have a bottle of wine corked, if not finished off, to take away from the restaurant. A single gentleman at the adjacent table had ordered a splendid bottle of wine, of which he drank about 1 and a half glasses. He saw that I my companion and I had just ordered two glasses of house wine. The gentleman offered us his bottle of wine, which we graciously accepted. I guess it's somewhat similar--but then again, not. The man hadn't spread his "germs" on the fodd/beverage. FoiGras

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                                                      I had another table take my leftovers once. Apparently the two women at the next table had their dogs in their car (and they were there for a long time on a warm day . . . topic for another site) and I couldn't finish my steak.

                                                                                                                                                      Fortunately for the pups, I had neither an infectious disease nor a virus ;)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                                                        We were having a coupla drinks at a steakhouse a few years ago. I asked the bartender about the sales of their big wines (>$1000/bottle). After a short discussion, he points out 2 guys sitting at a table in the bar.
                                                                                                                                                        "See the guy over there? He always comes in to have a nice wine. The guy with him is his pilot.....they're drinking an 800 dollar bottle..."
                                                                                                                                                        A little while later, they up and leave WITH MORE THAN HALF THE WINE LEFT IN THE BOTTLE.
                                                                                                                                                        THAT puppy wasn't offered :-(

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                          porker---aah geez. What a waste. Some people just don't have any sensibilities even if they do have the bucks. I wonder what the restaurant did/does with the leftover bottle of wine. FoiGras

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                                                            When in similar circumstances (usually much below the state price above), we usually invite the servers, the sommelier, maybe the chef and even the owner, to join us for the remainder of the wine.

                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                            Along the NorCal Coast, similar used to happen quite often. A group would fly up from farther south, then spend the afternoon drinking the top of the "Reserve List."

                                                                                                                                                            That sort of faded over the years, and the vagaries of the US economy.

                                                                                                                                                            Now, a similar situation has paid dividends for me. At a few local restaurants, some "high-rollers" have ordered wines for the guests, and then made a big deal of declining those wines. In three instances, the sommelier offered us their "rejected" wines, in a B-T-G offering. In each of those cases, the wines were not flawed in any way, and for us, were a great deal.

                                                                                                                                                            I know one person, who holds another in the highest esteem. That second person is known for ordering very expensive bottles, only to reject them. Obviously, that behavior is embraced by others. "Imagine, he ordered a '47 Ch. Petrus, and then refused it!" Most serious wine drinkers only reject an obviously flawed wine.

                                                                                                                                                            Were I near-by, I would have whispered to the sommelier "I'll take that at a discounted price." Sort of like the near-by diners, who I panned above...

                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: FoiGras

                                                                                                                                                            It blew my mind too. This is a place we visit once a month (and have for several years) so the waitress "knows" us but we didn't know the people that took the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                            Opps, I was responding to FG's response.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                              As I mentioned earlier in the thread, we doggie bag, because our three dogs expect and enjoy it. Occasionally, at restaurants where we are regulars, the server or manager will bring us a doggie bag that did not originate at our table. The server may say, "one of my tables just left this great bone from the prime rib, or a large piece of uneaten steak."
                                                                                                                                                              This is great service. We and our dogs appreciate it. Just as the deli manager at one of our local markets often gives us a packet of turkey or roast beef ends for the dogs.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                Wow - that's wonderful. And how kind as well.

                                                                                                                                                          4. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                            Hm-m. I find that tacky, but maybe it's just me?

                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                        2. Oh, don't feel embarassed! Sometimes I purposely order a larger dish knowing it will be yummy leftovers the next day. I think a lot of people do this, and due to people being more health concious it's more and more common.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wildehare

                                                                                                                                                            As do I. Actually, I don't have a big appetite so I usually order something that can be fit for leftovers. If I eat at a more upscale place it usually doesn't happen because the portions are reasonable. One time I was outside waiting for the people I dined with and I had my leftovers. A woman walked by and she noticed I had food. I don't know if she was homeless or not, but she definitely looked like she needed a meal. She asked if I could give her my pizza. I will admit that I briefly wanted to decline because I was looking forward to it the next day, but she needed it more than I did.