It’s the height of summer and we’re vacationing far and wide. I love this time with my family. I love to see new sights, to see what inspires them, to get to know them in a bit different setting and to just be together. While we’ve been able to rent a couple of places with kitchens where we can prepare our own food, we’re certainly finding ourselves dining out far more frequently than we do at home. Here is a list of tips that work for us.
Ten Tips when Dining Out:
- Find a local, independently owned restaurant.
- Try to check out their menu online before you go.
- Ask about the ingredients and the menu item before you order. Is it vegan? Can you leave off the red onions? What oil do they use to prepare it?
- Order as if you were Sally. Sure there are places that say no substitutions but you’ll never know if you don’t ask. Ask for the dressing on the side or the bacon to be left out or whatever else you need to get it perfect.
- Ask for your server’s opinion. What is the most popular dish? What is your favorite? If I’m trying to decide between this and this, which would you choose? Ask what wine they’d pair with it.
- Give them feedback. If there is something you didn’t like, give them the opportunity to fix it while you’re there. Tell them what you do like.
- Be respectful to your server and their time. I read a recent piece about how much time wait staff spend waiting for their guests to get off their smart phones and how much time patrons spend taking photos of their food.
- If your service was good, tip well. I am certain that many of you, like me, made your way through school on those jobs. Perhaps some of you still enjoy this type of work and know how difficult it can be.
- Ask about their produce and meat purchases. Are they able to purchase them locally? Where do they come from? Leave them with the understanding that you have a preference for local food and ask them to share with the owner/chef/proprietor. Years ago, the organic consumers organization made small cards for patrons to leave in restaurants to inform them of this preference.
- Give them a great review online if they deserved it. Be specific so that the information is useful to them and to other travelers who will also be seeking nourishment.