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Do ever wonder if it's the diner not the place?

I work with someone who is never happy with her meal no matter where she eats. She travels often and money is not really an issue. Here in this area she has had horrific meals at board favorites, terrible service at places know for wonderful service. She recently got back from New York and had a "disastrous" dinner at EMP. Service was "surly, indifferent, and rude" foods was "bland and uninspired". You get the picture. She had a similar experience at French Laundry when she was there last year.

I so want to say to her : "it's not them, it's you!"

I recently had mediocre meal at one of my favorite places. I realized after that the fact that it was really me. I had had a terrible day, was stressed and my husband and I were "having a bad patch". I projected that all onto meal and most likely the poor server, LOL. I would hate to wait on my co-worker!

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    1. re: ferret

      +1. I like to kill time by browsing one-star Yelp reviewers, particularly ones who give EVERYTHING one star. I'd hate to be married to them.

    2. Absolutely! There are always two sides to every story and you only end up hearing hers. That's what drives me nuts about websites like urbanspoon. I wish the public were able to comment on peoples' reviews like they can here.

      1. It may also be some notion that the diner has that finding fault with some highly acclaimed restaurant grants a kind of higher aesthetic to the diner herself. Kind of a "well you peons who don't know any better might think it was great, but to someone like me - someone with a much more well-developed palate or sense of good service - it was sadly lacking."

        Too bad for them. They miss a lot of the good stuff.

        1 Reply
        1. Don't say anything to her. But also don't go out with her if avoidable.
          It sounds to me like she is potentially a very unhappy and unsatisfied person in general-aka she needs a therapist more than a copy of the ny times review of EMP or your pointing out what she already knows. (She knows she isn't happy).

          It doesn't sound like a conversation to broach with a co-worker.

          1. I've sworn off eating out with rude or critical people. Life is too short and good meals are too expensive to waste on people who are just going to be sour.

            1. Now then. This diner mentioned in the thread title? That's you and me, isn't it.? Now I can't speak for you, but I can speak for me.

              And, yes, quite often I wonder if it's me and not the place. I've got increasingly picky over the years. The more I eat out, the more critical I am. The more I eat out at high end locations, the higher are my expectations. I can go to a Michelin starred restaurant (as I did last Friday) and be critical of the food. Very critical. And that's a place that a couple of years ago, we'd have had a lovely meal. And ten years ago, would never have eaten there as it would have been too fancy for us.

              Yep, it's often the diner. Yep, that's me.

              1. some don't like and don't WANT to be happy.

                they're just more satisfied being unsatisfied. weird.

                1. is that the original Jim Leff definition of a Chowhound?
                  is that why true original Chowhounds seek "deliciousness" outside of the mass market places that get rave reviews by the media?

                  or is it that *some people* need to fill a void in their lives and the daily ritual of eating is an easy target?

                  or are those the same thing anyways?

                  1. Def agree. On my hubby's side of the family we marvel at the in law couple that loves spending money on dining out but loves equally to report back how sub par the experience was for the money spent. This attitude only rec's eye rolls from most of us and we often think too bad neither of you can relax and enjoy yourselves without rushing to the bad review.

                    We don't even ask them how their evening was anymore..the comments write themselves.

                    1. Former co-worker used to tell me tales of MIL who complained about everything, no matter the restaurant. The last one I heard was that there wasn't enough vodka in her Bloody Caesar and insisted the waitress was trying to rip her off. After the poor waitress replaced it twice, the MIL and demanded that they pour the vodka in front of her.

                      No wonder one of the other stories was when they arrived at a restaurant for brunch with MIL in the car, the MIL said, "oh, I can't go here. They have banned me."

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sooeygun

                        Ya. I've got a family member like that. She'll literally spend hours telling anyone who will listen how crappy every Dim Sum restaurant within a hundred miles is. Boring.

                      2. We know a couple like that. For some reason they always seem to have what they call a "Bad experience" at most of our regular places.
                        They seem to only be happy at Country Club restaurants: White linen tablecloths, faux tux servers, high prices, etc.
                        The funny thing is they will call and ask us if we want to go to dinner and say: "You pick a place." Then the negotiations begin. "Bad experience" there and "Bad experience here!" Ugh!! We always end up at a country club setting.
                        At one of our favorite neighborhood Turkish places they had a "Bad experience" with a "condescending" server who has not worked there in 5 years but they won't go back.

                        1. Sometimes even the best places have off days and it is possible that your co-worker manages to hit them more often than do most of us. And there are places that wow most people and I try them - sometimes 2-3 times - and wonder why they wow anyone. My town has so many of those, most of them expensive, that I really don't enjoy eating out anymore except for the many ethnic restaurants we are fortunate to have here. I don't want to spend that kind of money only to be disappointed. In my case, I think it is because I've been fortunate to have had a few world-class meals (food and overall experience) in New York and elsewhere and then I try a fine dining place here and it just doesn't compare. It's like going to a Broadway show. Nothing compares to the experience of that curtain going up. The traveling production is OK but just not the same. Although it sounds like your co-worker has been to those "pinnacle" places and even those don't make the grade for her. I feel sorry for her.