Just one?

I’ve been remiss. Life got busy, and I stopped writing. No, I didn’t stop eating, but I might as well have. The food has been less than inspiring in most places, and there are enough blogs about pizza, burgers and new restaurants, that I don’t find myself needing to rehash what other writers have recently reviewed. I keep hearing organic this and that, farm to table, etc., etc., but in this cold climate, it is a hard one to replicate each and every day.  I applaud the chefs who keep in mind that not everything can be grown in a cold climate year round, nor stored properly for peak freshness, therefore, it isn’t something I will dwell on. I will dwell simply on reviewing my experiences as I attempt to eat what is offered in this rather chilly climate.

I began this blog before a number of life altering changes forced me to rethink what I would be blogging about. I do not wish to go into those details, but it has certainly changed my perception of greetings as I walk into a restaurant foyer. “Just one?” “Only you?” “Is anyone joining you?” Errrrrrr no……I’m dining alone today. What is so novel about that in 2012? There are any number of lone diners, whether by design or accident, who wish to be seated for a meal. I know these remarks are not meant to be hurtful, but I can’t help but think a little sensitivity is in order. Young or old, male or female, we tip as much as a two top, often over compensating. We don’t mind sitting at a bar, if it is set up properly, to save the two top or four top. Yet we seem to garner the worst seats, or the worst service, in certain restaurants. Tell me I’m wrong, please. Not all hosts/hostesses/maitre’s treat us this way, and it seems to be more prevalent in the burbs, but trust me, I do not mind being asked how many will be dining, I do mind when I say “table for one” they say, “Oh, just one?”  Seriously, if your average meal is $40.00 before drinks, and I”m eating here, then seat me, smile and I’m happy. Don’t send me your newest wait person, because he/she can practice on me, don’t condescend to me if I order something you think I don’t know about, and if I ask for a wine list, don’t freak out. I will not drink the whole bottle alone, but I will enjoy a glass or two and take the rest home.  It’s sometimes nice to get a good bottle of wine and save some for later on. I could go on and on about restaurant behaviors toward single diners, but I will gently remind those of you who welcome diners into your establishment, remember, we do talk to others,  we have some savvy, and we’ve eaten alone before, in many cities around the world, and eaten well, so we DO have something to compare it to.

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Tasting life

I learned about good food from my mother, who could make the sole of a shoe taste good. She could make a meal from the simplest ingredients, and elevate them to mimick the most luxurious meal.  Through the years, I’ve asked her advice as I traversed the road of gastronomy.  If I’ve learned anything, it is that good food doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, it has to be real.  Whether it’s a simple sandwich, constructed with love, butter and your condiment of choice, to a labor intensive stuffed tenderloin of veal, if you put your heart into it, it is bound to taste good.  I cook often, and I cook well.  I don’t like to categorize myself as being a “foodie” or a “gourmet” cook.  Good food speaks for itself.  I go out for meals with my family, with my friends, and yes, sometimes alone.

What I love about these times is the vast array of world cuisines to taste at any given moment, and expanding all the time. I’m open to trying anything. Well, almost anything. I don’t think the pumping heart of a frog would entice me. Not even with a sake.

So, as I travel from restaurant to restaurant, rock at the stove with Van Morrison, and eat with friends from around the world, please join me in my taste for life, liberty and the pursuit of good food.