Meet up/Dining Groups in Toronto?
Curious if anyone here has gone to any of the meetup.com or other dining groups in Toronto? Sometimes there are some expensive restaurants I want to try out but I don't really have friends that will go to these type of places more than once or twice a year.
One of my friends has gone to one of the meetup.com ones a few times and seems to enjoy it but curious about other people's experiences or if there are different groups that I don't know about.
I've been a member of a few different dining meetups from Meetup.com -- mainly the Foodaholics-not-so-anonymous and the Toronto Dining Out Meetup (though I think that one might have gone away), I've also dined a few times with the Serial Diners. Is there something specific you want to know about these groups? I'm happy to answer questions on logistics or demographics or whatever, but I'm not sure what you're looking for, exactly.
There's also a Google Group for organizing dinners with Chowhounds. It's been pretty quiet recently, but it's still available for people to join and plan dinners as far as I know: http://groups.google.com/group/chowho...
Thanks.. I guess I am wondering what the experience is like? Dinning with complete strangers? I guess you get to know them after the first time or two. I enjoyed the couple of CH dinners that I have gone to (organized by Charles) but I felt like I already knew people via their postings/handles.
Do you guys normally get separate bills (organized in advance)? What I liked about the dinners that Charles did was that someone else took care of all of the logistics... Even going out with friends it often gets complicated splitting bills/etc I can only imagine with a group of strangers but maybe they have done it so often that they have it down to a science.
The thing about Meetups and dining with strangers is everyone is pretty much in the same boat, or has been in the past. If you go to the same meetup a few times, you start to recognize the organizers and other regulars, but everyone there is accustomed to the fact that there are always new people coming to the meetups, so there's a round of introductions and lots of 'get to know you' small talk at each meetup.
Usually, but not always, separate bills are organized for Meetups. Sometimes there's a bill split at the end, but it usually isn't contentious. Everyone's pretty much expected to know what they ordered and to cover it, plus tax and tip. It takes awhile to work out, but that's more because there's 12 people and one copy of the bill, and not because anyone is shorting the bill or forgetting what they ordered.
With the Chowhound group, bill splitting hasn't generally been a problem -- either everyone's kind of sharing so we've just split the bill X ways (sometimes with a minor adjustment for alcohol consumption), or everyone is pretty conscientious about paying their share and then some. It's one of the things I've always loved about dining with hounds -- the only problem we ever have with splitting bills is when we add up all the money and it turns out we have a 30-40% tip, and no one wants to take back a few bucks.
You can also just put a shout out right here on the board, and just post an email address or google group to do the coordinating offline.