Would You Like To Dine?

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In Italian restaurants, there are usually three areas: smoking, non-smoking, and the darkly lit area where they put people on dates when they suspect they’ll be eating Spaghetti out of each others mouths Lady & the Tramp style after a few glasses of wine. That is where the wife and I like to sit.

When I eat with her, I usually screw things up. I either eat with my mouth open, or talk with my mouth full. Going out to a fancy place to eat is especially stressful. There’s something about sitting down in a really fancy place where the entrees alone cost almost as much as your entire monthly food budget and you realize there are a million things you can do wrong.

There are all those little formalities you have to perform often without a cue from the waiter. Like there are twelve forks sitting in front of me and each one of them is for a different course of the meal. I’m supposed to know the use of each one of them based on their size and length. This small one over here, it’s the coffee fork. Wait a minute, why do I need a fork for my coffee?

Then there are all the things you’re not supposed to do. Don’t try to reuse anything. It will be replaced by a new one in a moment. Listen politely when the waiter reads the wine selections and pretend to be interested even if you don’t want any. And yes, you want pepper on your salad because the waiter showed up at the table with this really elaborate ivory grinder and you don’t want to disappoint him, do you?

And what will I order? I’ll have the ‘Herb Roasted Atlantic Monkfish Tail’ just because it sounds cool. And the waiter is going to say ‘Excellent choice, sir’ when I order it.

I’m not sure why it is that when you order at a fancy restaurant, the waiter always pretends to find your choice of entrees ‘excellent.’ I think it’s supposed to make you feel like a culinary professional.

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