Saturday, November 22, 2008

Advanced Placement Table For One

This is a juicy insider tutorial for the solo diner.

When I lived in downtown Oakland, I would treat myself to a lavish dinner for one at least once a week.
Armed with my industry knowledge from being a double digit year foodie, I constantly exercised the practice that I now pass on to the masses. It should be noted that in any other professional arena, I should be a able to charge for this.

First of all, if you are dining alone, make sure you sit at the bar. Nobody wants to be, or look at, the creepy person on a dining room floor peering over their risotto at all the other happy couples. Now-not any seat at the bar will do. Solo diners need to position themselves as close to (preferably next to) the service bar.
This area is usually marked by tall brass handles, the obligatory bar mat, and ever present the cocktail condiment caddie. This is where all the servers will go to retrieve any ordered beverages from the dining room floor that need to be prepared by the bartender. This area is the water cooler of the restaurant office and offers nothing less than the ha has and gaffas that have become synonymous with gossip posts in any working environment.

Lets step back for a moment: It is crucial that you are armed with props that allow you to co-mingle with the staff as one of their own, without being noticed. Like any wild animal being observed in their natural environment, foodies will silence themselves immediately and pull up shop if the foreigner feigns the slightest interest. So it becomes crucial that you look like your not really listening at all.
Do not assume the establishment will have a television for you to fake watching. Come prepared with a magazine or book, and be prepared to not read a word.

Side Note: If you frequent this establishment, take the time to learn table numbers. This will provide endless visual aides for the tid-bits of industry gossip you are about to devour.

Let The Games Begin!

Two servers patiently waiting for their gin and tonics to be made: "Did you see the rack on the girl on table 22..I would wear that like a hat". server 2, "I got a biggun on table 57. She ordered a 24 ounce bone in rib eye, extra peppercorn sauce, side of mac and cheese, creamed spinach, baked potato and a diet coke. Who the hell is she kidding with diet?" server 1, "how much do you think the guy with the comb-over on 62 is paying for his date with that whore?". enter bartender with made drinks, "Dude on seat 12 has the worst breath ever-seriously smells like hes been eating shit sandwiches, and the fucker just ordered extra garlic on his calamari. gonna be a long night." server 1, "did you hear that Alex and Chris hooked up last night?" server 2, "shes the town bike man-everybodys had a ride." Exit servers bar left armed with their cocktails.

Devilishly you smile not just because you went unnoticed and could make out every word, but you realize this whole phenomenon will repeat itself endlessly throughout the night and you haven't even been served your salad.



Brent Redford said...

Idea - take all these wonderful insights you have collected, and give seminars! Colleges constantly offer etiquette dinners on campus to teach students how to behave at business dinners, you would be the perfect speaker for those events!

loved the post, i can just imagine chad describing that sandwich the man had for lunch

Carrie Rose said...

LOVE it....especially the s*** sandwich part.

padraig said...

"extra garlic... gonna be a long night..."


Megan said...

I tried this at lunch today - one of the loan officers gave me a Black Angus gift certificate and I took myself out.

It TOTALLY worked.