Don't you dare move my bottle ... It's mine. I paid for it.
January 14, 2016 8:15 AM   Subscribe

My dentist tells me that I grind my teeth at night. He says this is a very bad thing and needs to be remedied. Apparently the problem is tension, brought on by stress. Clearly I need less stress in my life. To make this happen I have decided to use this column to address all the things about restaurants that I truly hate; the atrocities I hope to see disappear in 2016.
The 12 things that restaurants must stop doing in 2016. [Single-link Jay Rayner] posted by Sonny Jim (327 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
And while we’re at it, please stop sending dishes out “when they’re ready”. I am tired of not being able to remember if everything I ordered has been delivered. I’m bored with the potatoes arriving before the steak, and the steak arriving before the salad. It’s convenient for the kitchen. It’s not convenient for me. Stop it.

At small plates places, at least, the solution to this problem is on you. Order what you want first and then stop. Tell the waiter you'll order more later. When you want steak next, order steak. It's more work for the waiter, so be sure to tip well, but it's a problem you can solve.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:20 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


And finally, don’t you ever, ever, ever again give the bill to the only person on the table who happens to possess testicles.

Yes. Yes. Why does this ever happen? Does it actually make anybody happy? whyyyy
posted by phooky at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2016 [85 favorites]


Please stop taking my order without a notebook. I don’t know you. I don’t know whether you are Francesco the Famous Memory Man... I don’t trust you to remember what I ordered.
...
I am tired of not being able to remember if everything I ordered has been delivered.

I like how the whole piece paints a picture of someone who has suffered a terrible brain injury and is turning his inability to form short-term memories into impotent waiter-directed fury
posted by Greg Nog at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2016 [96 favorites]


If he's grinding his teeth, he should get one of those fitted protectors for when he sleeps.
posted by qcubed at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


This is a perfect combination of getoffmylawnery and things that actually should die in a fire.
posted by Etrigan at 8:24 AM on January 14, 2016 [63 favorites]


I like how the whole piece paints a picture of someone who has suffered a terrible brain injury and is turning his inability to form short-term memories into impotent waiter-directed fury

This would translate so easily into a Monty Python sketch. That entire list happening all at once during a single meal. It would be comedy gold. If not Monty Python, maybe Kids in the Hall.
posted by Fizz at 8:24 AM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Should he have the panna cotta for dessert? Should his wife?!!?

If he really loved her, he'd remember.
posted by bonehead at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


13. Stop serving food like this BBQ place round the corner from me does - give me a plate so the table doesn't end up covered in juice and sauce.
posted by kersplunk at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2016 [41 favorites]


His dentist should have told him to learn to cook.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [17 favorites]


give me a plate so the table doesn't end up covered in juice and sauce.

Be right back, gotta disinfect my monitor.
posted by Etrigan at 8:27 AM on January 14, 2016


Stop serving food like this BBQ place round the corner from me does

I don't know why you would need a wooden spoon during an autopsy. And I'm not sure I want to find out.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:27 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh my god, kersplunk, that is appalling. What even is that slop trough with a wooden spoon??!
posted by witchen at 8:27 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


BBQ is properly served on a big piece of butcher paper, or in a take-out container. I don't know what the hell that is.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:27 AM on January 14, 2016 [19 favorites]


Are those fries served in tiny shopping carts? That might be the twee-est, most precious thing I've ever seen.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:28 AM on January 14, 2016 [33 favorites]


Also, the starch to meat ratio on that order is way out of whack.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:28 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


And if I tell you I’ll fill the wine glass myself I mean it. Tell your colleagues so I don’t have to keep repeating myself.

Why yes, that will work very well. All the staff should constantly be updating each other about the needs of their clients; this could never get confusing or go wrong.

What's more, no one ever gets mad when a random waiter walks past the table and doesn't fill their glass/take their plates/etc, no sirree! There are no contradictory demands placed on waitstaff by patrons! None dare call it entitlement, I guess.

Geez louise, some people should just eat at buffets and drink out of a hip flask.
posted by Frowner at 8:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [60 favorites]


Oh, how I love Jay Rayner. The way he winds people up is priceless.
posted by Kitteh at 8:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also, this is a bad week for food critics on MeFi. Hoo boy.
posted by Kitteh at 8:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


> Stop serving food like this BBQ place

Butcher blocks and miniature shopping carts? Thats some twee-ass bullshit right there, you should call the manager over and tell him what your consultancy rate for play testing toys is.
posted by ardgedee at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2016 [37 favorites]


Perhaps the gentleman would prefer to dine at home?
posted by trunk muffins at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2016 [32 favorites]


And finally, don’t you ever, ever, ever again give the bill to the only person on the table who happens to possess testicles. You have no idea who’s paying for dinner.

Huh, not bad. Guess being Claire Rayner's son did rub off a little bit, after all.
posted by runincircles at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Are those fries served in tiny shopping carts? That might be the twee-est, most precious thing I've ever seen.

See I would actually kind of love this if it made sense, but no one ever loads their shopping carts with giant french fries. If they were serving, miniature food items that were shaped like tiny little cans or little heads of lettuce of something, I would be a fan, but as it is, it's just a random thing that looks like a different thing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:31 AM on January 14, 2016 [31 favorites]


If waitstaff would stop taking someone's plate while others are still eating, that'd be great. As a slow eater, this drives me bonkers, and makes me feel like either I'm eating too much or you want me to leave.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2016 [41 favorites]


Do those shopping buggies roll around? Hopefully, with just one wheel jammed, making turning a bit hard? Do they lock up once you move them past the edge of the cutting board they're serving something not charcuterie on?

Where's the wonderbread? and where's the extra sauce? Or those supposed to be dry?

I would not patronize this place, I don't think.
posted by qcubed at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2016 [18 favorites]


Recently, all the times I've eaten out in DC I've seen servers putting the check either right in the center, or if it's a big enough group on an extreme end so it can start circulating and people check off what they got. Occasionally they'll give it to whoever is reaching out for it, which my group usually decides beforehand. Or if you want to pay without fighting, do what I do and wait till the one who usually will fight you for the check to go to the bathroom and slip the server your credit card.

Maybe things are actually improving around here.
posted by numaner at 8:35 AM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


But all the planks and tiny carts and the belief that your waiter should tell all the other waiters that none of the waiters should fill your wineglass - they all go together.

It's this cultural shift, and we see it with Uber and Washio and all that stuff too - the idea that we don't just deserve a good experience, we deserve a luxury experience, and we shouldn't have to pay extra for it either.

It's not enough to have a good meal on an ordinary plate and good wine in an ordinary glass - no, we deserve locally sourced white truffles on vintage porcelain, and an exotic vintage from a high design glass. It's not enough to have a fast cab ride in a clean cab and be left alone by the driver; no, we need the fastest possible ride in a late model car driven by an attractive young person who flirts with us, but not too much. What's more, none of these things should be especially expensive - and tipping is a huge burden, of course. We expect luxury and emotional labor everyplace that's better quality than McDonalds. Anything less, and we'll leave bad reviews and whine a lot!
posted by Frowner at 8:35 AM on January 14, 2016 [51 favorites]


So, about placing the bill, is he naked, or are the servers wearing x-ray glasses?

He should never go out before his nap, and don't even think about taking his bottle away.
posted by Oyéah at 8:35 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Please stop taking my order without a notebook. I don’t know you. I don’t know whether you are Francesco the Famous Memory Man... I don’t trust you to remember what I ordered.

This bugs the shit out of me! I special order a lot of stuff, and most of the time the person taking the order will screw it up without writing it down. I'm tired of looking on the menu for the thing that's right for me as-is. I'd rather order what I want, the cheeseburger with American, no onions, add tomatoes. I will also scrutinize the bun if I ordered gluten-free but it looks exactly like everyone else's bun. Write it down, so I know that you at least got it right from my mouth to your pad.

And get off my lawn
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:37 AM on January 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


Oh yeah, on unsalted butter: It's not terrible. Taste is very subjective, so maybe just ask for some damn salt if you want to load up on sodium, but usually when it's salted butter is super salty to me. And you can't even taste what the bread is when they're actually using a specific type of bread.

This list actually make me never wanna go eat with this guy.
posted by numaner at 8:37 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


If waitstaff would stop taking someone's plate while others are still eating, that'd be great. As a slow eater, this drives me bonkers, and makes me feel like either I'm eating too much or you want me to leave.

They do want you to leave, though. They're gonna make (roughly) the same amount of money from you if you linger or if you shovel down your food and get the hell out, so it's in their best interest to subtly usher you out the damn door so they can squeeze in extra seatings in a night.

(Note that I said "subtly" there -- taking plates is riiight on that line.)
posted by Etrigan at 8:38 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]



If he's grinding his teeth, he should get one of those fitted protectors for when he sleeps.

As a fellow Brit, I have to ask: what on earth are these?
posted by mippy at 8:39 AM on January 14, 2016


I've never eaten at a restaurant where they've taken my bottle of wine across the room and away from my table. The first waiter who tries had better be really good at doing stuff with only one hand.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


#14: If you don't accept reservations, then make sure there is a space for waiting by your host stand.
posted by Think_Long at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2016 [39 favorites]


If they were serving, miniature food items that were shaped like tiny little cans or little heads of lettuce of something, I would be a fan, but as it is, it's just a random thing that looks like a different thing.

Seems like an opportunity to take advantage of the fractal nature of broccoli. Cut the florets down so that they appear to be to-scale full-size heads of broccoli in the shopping cart.
posted by jedicus at 8:41 AM on January 14, 2016 [25 favorites]


The worst thing with those tiny fry carts is when you find them a few blocks from the restaurant, stuck by someone's garbage can.
posted by drezdn at 8:41 AM on January 14, 2016 [65 favorites]


Jay Rayner, for those of you who don't know him, not only hosts one of Radio Four's best food show, The Kitchen Cabinet, but also wrote one of the best thrillers ever written about the food industry, The Oyster House Seige, in which two Brit grit style gangsters hole up in a fine dining restaurant and one discovers a passion for cooking.
posted by maxsparber at 8:41 AM on January 14, 2016 [24 favorites]


The worst thing with those tiny fry carts is when you find them a few blocks from the restaurant, stuck by someone's garbage can.

Or when the kitchen rats and cockroaches decide to play Jackass in the middle of the night.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Stop serving food like this BBQ place round the corner from me does

Yes. If I have paid $20+ for my brisket and ribs combo, serve it on a goddamn plate please. Camouflaging cheapness as folksiness fools no one. Or else only charge me what the folksy rural places would charge me.
posted by aught at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


As a fellow Brit, I have to ask: what on earth are these?

This thing. They sorta look like invisible retainers.
posted by qcubed at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seems like an opportunity to take advantage of the fractal nature of broccoli. Cut the florets down so that they appear to be to-scale full-size heads of broccoli in the shopping cart.

Yes! See that sounds fantastic. I once got pieces of dehydrated cod clipped to a little wire to look like laundry drying on a line and it was great! I mean, sure, it was only as tasty as "dehydrated cod chips" can be, but it was charming.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


maxsparber, I love the Kitchen Cabinet. His fiction writing is pretty good too. I am thinking that the British folks in this thread as well as Anglophiles are aware of Rayner's food criticism and the weekly columns he writes about food in the Guardian. For those unfamiliar with his persona, he's just gonna be some jerkface.

He is actually quite a nice man. I chat with him on Twitter about food and his neighbourhood a lot. (He gave me a food rec when we were staying in Brixton a few years ago.)
posted by Kitteh at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


These all sound great. Especially the notebook one. Especially the waiter who got halfway round our table then gave up and went to get a notebook!

Eating out is a lovely luxury: people deserve little luxuries sometimes: it's not unreasonable to ask for competence and service. The people of the Peoples' Republic will still want to get the right food and pour their own wine, even when they are paid the same as their comrades waiting tables.
posted by alasdair at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2016 [12 favorites]


maxsparber: " wrote one of the best thrillers ever written about the food industry, The Oyster House Seige, in which two Brit grit style gangsters hole up in a fine dining restaurant and one discovers a passion for cooking."

whaaaaaat
posted by boo_radley at 8:45 AM on January 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


If he's grinding his teeth, he should get one of those fitted protectors for when he sleeps.

As a fellow Brit, I have to ask: what on earth are these?


A major profit source for American dentists. I think the mark-up is about 5000%.
posted by Bee'sWing at 8:45 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Brussel sprouts in shopping carts
posted by blue_beetle at 8:46 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


And while we’re at it, please stop sending dishes out “when they’re ready”.

70,000 favorites for this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:47 AM on January 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


Be right back, gotta disinfect my monitor.

You're turned on by the weirdest things.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:47 AM on January 14, 2016 [18 favorites]


If waitstaff would stop taking someone's plate while others are still eating, that'd be great.

My understanding is that this violates all the rules of good service. Only money-grubbers pressuring wait staff to turn over tables more quickly do this, right?
posted by aught at 8:48 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Bruxism is no laughing matter. Friend on mine's mom had it so bad she'd grind through her guards in no time and had worn all her enamel off her teeth. She'd wake up screaming grinding nerve on nerve. This sounds like little screeches at night. You can't sleep though it if your partner does it. A mouth guard helps, but like already mentioned they are $400 after insurance and typically last only a few years.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:51 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sorting the winelist by price seems like a spectacularly bad idea to me.
posted by Lame_username at 8:51 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Please stop taking my order without a notebook

This is really on management though, not the servers. At some point it became the mark of a "classy" place that all the servers would have superior memories, thus doing away with tawdry things like pen and paper. Thus a ban on their use.

It's really not that hard to remember a table's order if you've got a good grasp on the menu yourself... unless you get interrupted on the way to put the order in... or you've been sneaking glasses of wine with your co-workers all night.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:51 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


If he's grinding his teeth, he should get one of those fitted protectors for when he sleeps.
As a fellow Brit, I have to ask: what on earth are these?


Google "bite guard" for an idea, basically a semi-soft plastic guard that fits over your top or bottom row of teeth so that top and bottom can't grind. You're better off in the long run spending more by getting a dentist to fit you with one than using one of the googleable over-the-counter ones. Over the course of years / decades, one can do serious damage to teeth, grinding them while asleep. Many people do this because of stress / anxiety, jaw (mis)alignment, or sleep apnea. Your dentist should be able to tell by wear patterns on your teeth if your are doing this, though if you sleep with a partner they may have already noticed the weird grindy noises during the night.
posted by aught at 8:55 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Look, Gene Simmons has a foodie column.
posted by NedKoppel at 8:58 AM on January 14, 2016


I've never heard of anyone over here having a bite guard - and I only just realised that retainers are what we call braces.

Back to food - I really feel uncomfortable with people 'serving' me, to the point where, if we had the holiday budget for fancy hotels, I'd be unsure about staying in one. I find it incredibly awkward when asked to taste the wine, for one. I know there's a reason for it - you're checking it's not corked or whatever - but what is one supposed to say?

We've been to various chain restaurants which don't employ pen and paper, so it's interesting that this has trickled down from higher end places.
posted by mippy at 8:59 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


We want plates.

Cataloguing all the things which food should not be served on.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:59 AM on January 14, 2016 [46 favorites]


Don’t you dare move my bottle to a table at the far end of the room.

I had that happen once and I promptly got up, retrieved it, and put it back on our table, because WTF.

Also: what is up with thick-crusted, fluffy bread that is sliced almost all the way through but not quite, requiring me to tear the slices off (since I don't have a bread knife) and resulting in mangled semi-slices that are hard to butter? Either slice it all the way through or give the table a knife so we can do it ourselves. The in-between bit, though it may look nice, it utterly useless.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:00 AM on January 14, 2016 [34 favorites]


I would add to this list, "Don't make me wait several hours for the bill"

It doesn't make me feel like like I'm having a relaxed evening, it makes me stressed. I want the bill right away!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:01 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Please stop taking my order without a notebook. I don’t know you. I don’t know whether you are Francesco the Famous Memory Man... I don’t trust you to remember what I ordered.
I have to admit that the horrifying new trend for notebook-less order taking is one of my special bugbears. I get sweaty palms just thinking about it. Does the tealight holder on the table perchance have special surveillance equipment in it and they already know what I'm going to order, because I told my wife two minutes ago? Am I going to get an entirely different meal from the one I ordered? Am I then going to have to start leading an entirely different life, the one led by the person whose order I got, involving going home to a different house and perhaps a wholly different country where they speak French or something? It's terrifying.

Also, the first time a waiter briskly took my bottle away after pouring from it and put it on a table far, far away (yes, it happens and it's horrifying) I sharply drew my breath and I don't think I've ever fully let it out again in the months since. People who haven't experienced this have no idea how traumatic the separation from paid-for-bottle-of-£21-Montepulciano really is.

Perhaps it's the special Anxiety!!!! that attaches to doing anything at all in London that makes this whole list—and the primal fears it stirs—very real and very visceral to me.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:01 AM on January 14, 2016 [26 favorites]


"Hi, may name is Elijah...
"DON'T CAAAAAAARE..."
..."and I'll be your...
"DON'T CAAAAAAAAAAARE..."
"...server tonight"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:01 AM on January 14, 2016 [22 favorites]


I like how the whole piece paints a picture of someone who has suffered a terrible brain injury and is turning his inability to form short-term memories into impotent waiter-directed fury

The Dining Bell and the Butterfly
posted by Dip Flash at 9:02 AM on January 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


Too many of you people need to stay home.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:03 AM on January 14, 2016 [16 favorites]


I working FOH right now but will try to weigh in on this when I get home.
posted by vrakatar at 9:03 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]



#14: If you don't accept reservations, then make sure there is a space for waiting by your host stand.
posted by Think_Long


%100, there's few things that are more awkward than trying to figure out what to do when you have a 20 minute wait but there's no bar and no space.
posted by Carillon at 9:06 AM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also, the best food column was Will Self's Real Meals. I find it obnoxious when, say, Giles Coren takes some time off from visiting £££ places on expenses and heads to a regional small town restaurant for the fun of pontificating excoriatively. Having a critic review the places where Actual People go is much more fun. Exhibit B: these reviews of Angus Steak House and Hard Rock Cafe, where we can see just how surprisingly expensive terrible food is.
posted by mippy at 9:06 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I like this column because it provides a nice counterbalance to all the websites I see from servers for whom the very worst thing you can do is just be a diner at their restaurant.
posted by maxsparber at 9:07 AM on January 14, 2016 [23 favorites]


Too many of you people need to stay home.

I know it's fun to snark but I am not sure the complaints are actually unreasonable. And I speak as someone who has worked in restaurants and has plenty of friends who have as well, so I feel like I see it from both perspectives.
posted by aught at 9:08 AM on January 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


Not a fan of 'Everything alright for you guys?'
posted by mippy at 9:10 AM on January 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


Oh, and put salt and pepper on the table.

I don't think that I've ever seen a higher end restaurant put out salt and pepper.
posted by octothorpe at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


it's just a random thing that looks like a different thing.

I've noticed an awful lot of this sort of thing going on in recent years - this and mashups of two random things. Is this what Post-Modernism has come to?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


That whole thing with the wine bottle not staying on the table -- who the hell does that? Why? What kind of patron would be OK with that?

Can I add, #15: Don't ask me "How's everything tasting?" The question artificially limits the range of things I might want to discuss.
posted by yesster at 9:13 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


At least in this part of the world, add Mason jars to the list.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:14 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


The idea with the wine is that it's one more thing on the table and that they think their service is attentive enough to notice you running low and giving you a top up without it being noticeable that you were out of wine.
posted by Carillon at 9:15 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have never heard of the waiter taking the wine bottle away here in the US. Probably because they'd get shot. WTF is the supposed purpose of that, anyway?
posted by segfaultxr7 at 9:15 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I know it's fun to snark but I am not sure the complaints are actually unreasonable.

Yeah, but at the same time my dad's like this and he won't stop complaining about every single little thing during a meal. It's gotten to the point where he literally stays at home while everyone else goes out to eat as a family. So, please don't be that person that complains all the time about stuff like this. Please.
posted by FJT at 9:16 AM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


One thing I hope does not become a trend is what happened at a new place here in Gowanus Brooklyn the other night. They have an automatic 20% tip added on to every order , not just for big parties but even two people. It doesn't bother me in principle since I always tip 20% anyway but I can see the potential for this to take away the drive to deliver good service if the wait staff knows they're getting that full tip no matter what. It's nice to have that power in the hands on the consumer , though I know it's not fair when people under tip.
But the worst part was at the bar.. they tack on a 20% tip for all drinks ( and don't tell you). So you order an already overpriced drink, something like $12 and they add on $2.40 for a tip? And you might even tip on top of that if you're not aware that they added it on That's some bullshit. One dollar per drink, that's how it's always been- don't rip me off on the drinks man.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:17 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Don’t you dare move my bottle to a table at the far end of the room.

I've never had that happen and I would probably go chasing after if someone tried that. I'm not upset if they pour the wine, though I actually prefer it when they don't, which lets the people who want to drink less pace themselves.

If waitstaff would stop taking someone's plate while others are still eating, that'd be great. As a slow eater, this drives me bonkers, and makes me feel like either I'm eating too much or you want me to leave.

I'm a slightly fast eater and I appreciate it when they do this, because otherwise I am stuck looking at a dirty plate forever while the slower eaters progress. I'd rather have the plate gone and the space free so I can sip my wine because of course the bottle was not taken away.

Bringing the bill to the man is antediluvian and needs to have stopped yesterday. Ask, or just set it in the middle of the table. I like dishes coming out when they are ready, except when it means one person has food and the other person doesn't for a long time -- there is a time and place for at least a minimal level of coordination. But his whole thing about not remembering what he ordered is dumb and there are a lot of ways to solve that on his end.

Personally I appreciate wine lists that are divided by varietal and organized by price within that, and ideally have enough descriptive text for me to either make an informed guess or ask useful questions. More often than not these days though I just tell the waiter (or wine person, if they have one) to pick something good under a certain price. The result is often surprisingly good, whereas left alone I'm more likely to be risk averse and pick something I know will be ok.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:17 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


As a former long-time server, I have to say that there is absolutely no way of winning this game. Table #1 and Table #2 can (and often do) have completely opposite ides of what constitutes good service.

There's only one thing I want from restaurants in 2016 and that is to start paying their servers a living wage so they don't have to grovel or do backflips to make money.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:17 AM on January 14, 2016 [112 favorites]


Lucky thing I didn't tell him about the dirty knife!
posted by rikschell at 9:18 AM on January 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


I know it's fun to snark but I am not sure the complaints are actually unreasonable.

Yeah, but at the same time my dad's like this and he won't stop complaining about every single little thing during a meal.


I think the range of things one is willing to rant about in a silly angry column and what one is willing to say aloud in public differ greatly, at least in my experience.
posted by Maaik at 9:19 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


a new place here in Gowanus Brooklyn

No fair. Name names!
posted by phooky at 9:19 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


It doesn't bother me in principle since I always tip 20% anyway but I can see the potential for this to take away the drive to deliver good service if the wait staff knows they're getting that full tip no matter what.

Do you complain that staff at retail stores are inattentive because they aren't tipped?
posted by Etrigan at 9:20 AM on January 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


*goes and buys a second-hand copy of The Oyster House Siege*

Sure, I'll bite.
posted by Molesome at 9:20 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do you complain that staff at retail stores are inattentive because they aren't tipped?

Uh those people get a salary.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:21 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Look, Gene Simmons has a foodie column.
posted by NedKoppel at 11:58 AM on January 14



I'm imagining Gene Simmons saying all the stuff in this column over lunch with Terri Gross.
posted by 4ster at 9:21 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do you complain that staff at retail stores are inattentive because they aren't tipped?

No, because they work on commission. They're inattentive because they don't think you're going to buy anything.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:22 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The idea that tipping and service quality are in any way connected needs to die a thousand deaths. In the US, tips are part of basic compensation, full stop. It sucks, and it's ridiculous, and it shouldn't be that way, but that's the world we live in.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:23 AM on January 14, 2016 [39 favorites]


I'd also like to complain when places don't take your dirty silverware between courses. What am I supposed to do with it sans plate?
posted by Carillon at 9:23 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


It sucks, and it's ridiculous, and it shouldn't be that way, but that's the world we live in.

Unless the service is noticeably bad/rude.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:24 AM on January 14, 2016




Do you complain that staff at retail stores are inattentive because they aren't tipped?

Uh those people get a salary.


As do wait staff at restaurants that don't take tips, essentially. People don't complain that they lack control over the wages of anyone else. "What? Service charge? I am the only person who should decide how much my waiter makes!" is just weird.
posted by Etrigan at 9:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [28 favorites]


They have an automatic 20% tip added on to every order

I'm taking my mum to New York next month. She's never been to the US before, and lives in a town which is more of a greasy spoon kind of place rather than having Actual Restaurants. Given that it's taken her years to understand what ITV+1 is ('This has just been on! IT'S ALL REPEATS!') I'm going to be exhausted trying to remind her how the tipping etiquette works over there.

Also, she will probably want to go to an Applebees.
posted by mippy at 9:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


I've only ever had one place totally forget about food I ordered. I was there with my mom and we ordered The Thing that everyone gets (and the only reason people go to said place) and three other things. The Thing (nachos which are...ehhh) showed up and nothing else did. At the end of the meal I had to flag down the waiter who never came and checked on us because "I wasn't sure if you were finished" (seriously?). When I told him about the items that never came he left, came back six minutes later to tell us that he could put a rush order on it and we could get it to-go. No thank you.

There's another place in the same area where the servers have an app on their phone for orders. So they come to your table, ask you what you want while they're paying attention and plugging in orders on a rather cumbersome act. I have zero idea who thought it was a good idea, it was impersonal and awful. If your menu is super small, sure. But this place has like 40 different beers.
posted by Neronomius at 9:27 AM on January 14, 2016


Also, it was weird to go to Japan and not tip anyone. I felt so rude every time we left a restaurant, and we weren't by any means eating in high end places.
posted by mippy at 9:27 AM on January 14, 2016


Look, restaurants, I can put up with all these things if you just make sure all of your chairs and (especially) bar stools have backs. I don't like having to hunch over the table just to keep myself upright while dining. I know having benches and picnic tables instead of proper furniture makes your restaurant, bar, or taproom seem "authentic," "communal," or "rustic," but not everyone has the lower back and shoulders of the 20-year-old. Thank you.
posted by heurtebise at 9:28 AM on January 14, 2016 [19 favorites]


I am the only person who should decide how much my waiter makes!" is just weird.

I agree. But the main point of my post I was complaining about that automatic 20% applying to the BAR.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:28 AM on January 14, 2016


Ugh, communal. I won't go in anywhere that has communal anything.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


If waitstaff would stop taking someone's plate while others are still eating, that'd be great. As a slow eater, this drives me bonkers, and makes me feel like either I'm eating too much or you want me to leave.--fiercecupcake

I never consciously realized that this bothered me until now. As a fast eater, I'm left with nothing on the table while everyone else is still eating, so I look like I joined my friends to just sit there without eating, and waiters give me funny looks, wondering if they forgot to take my order. Sometimes I'll just leave some food on the plate so when they ask if they can take my plate, I hold my fork menacingly in my fist and tell them 'NO! I'm still eating!'
posted by eye of newt at 9:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Please stop taking my order without a notebook

This is purely anecdotal, but in our table service/front of the house classes in culinary school (back in the mid-80s), our instructor loathed the trend of servers not writing orders down. From what I remember him saying, not writing the order down makes the customers subconsciously nervous because they're afraid the server is going to forget something or get something wrong, and turn what was supposed to be a pleasant evening out into a clusterfuck of having to go back and forth with the server and the kitchen to get the right food to the right people. He said they'd actually experimented with this at one of the restaurants he worked at, and found that when servers didn't write the orders down they got lower tips, because the customers were already expecting things to go wrong and started mentally nitpicking the service, even if the service was otherwise flawless.

Ever since then, I've paid attention to my reactions and the reactions of whomever I'm with when servers take the order and don't write it down. These range from small asides like "..I'm sure that's all going to come out wrong.." to more overt reactions like someone asking everyone if they got everything they ordered when the food arrived, and keeping the server at the table until everyone was satisfied that their orders were correct. And I've noticed people who otherwise wouldn't complain about the service become far more critical in that situation.

Again, anecdotal, but my observations since then seem to suggest that my instructor was correct about how diners react in that situation.
posted by ralan at 9:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [43 favorites]


The question of tipping is moot. There's no evidence it improves customer service (as anyone who has eaten in countries that don't tip can attest), and when you don't tip, you may be punishing the waiter for something they have no control of, or, if they split the tips, you may be punishing someone at the back of the house for the waiter's work.

Tip 20 percent and just consider that part of the cost of the meal that for some reason isn't listed. If you didn't like the experience, complain to a manager. If it was bad enough, don't do back. It's what we do with almost every other unsatisfactory purchase we make.
posted by maxsparber at 9:30 AM on January 14, 2016 [16 favorites]


someone who has suffered a terrible brain injury and is turning his inability to form short-term memories into impotent waiter-directed fury

AKA someone who is just suffering the typical ravages of age.

I dislike having to power up the torch on my phone to read the menu.

Your time will come, Greg Nog; your time will come.
posted by drlith at 9:30 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sorting the winelist by price seems like a spectacularly bad idea to me.

No, it's awesome! We could also sort the food by price, or even by price per calorie. Because when I eat in a fancy place with a wine list, I want the most disgusting amount of food for the cheapest price. Like when I got the gnocchi in a nice Italian place recently and it came in a huge serving bowl with what I'd call 4 portions, or 3 portions to a drunk person, and I ate it all anyway and was sick for like two days. That's what I want, man!*

* I don't actually want that.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:32 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


As do wait staff at restaurants that don't take tips, essentially.

Which is cool, I'm fine with that. Automatic tipping on every item (do you trust that it will go to the servers? I'm not sure I do) is unusual.

I hate tipping and wish it would die in a fire. Just pay servers normally, charge enough for your meals to cover reasonable wages, like other jobs. (But the way to fight against tipping, just to be clear, is to work to change the laws about a lower minimum wage and/or to go to places that don't allow tips, not to stiff your server.)
posted by jeather at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, she will probably want to go to an Applebees.

There is no reason to do this
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:36 AM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


The whole concept of tipping seems weird to me anyway. Why does the restaurant employer get to make the customer responsible for the staff's payment? The waiter works for the restaurant. Shouldn't the owner pay the waiter fairly from his own pocket?
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:38 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Regarding the no note pad order-taking: You learn how to do this and do it well. I think the only time I really need a note pad is when I'm not working solo and I need to communicate orders to others, or my order stack exceeds about 8-10 orders.

Heck, I can usually remember what you ordered from last week.

I remember. Yours is the soy split-shot latte, and you don't want any pickles with your sandwich, and you want a slice of coffee cake to go, which is going to get boxed and brought to you just about when you're done eating your sandwich. Your companion wants your extra pickles, and wants gluten free bread for their sandwich, no mayo, no onions, a cup of the chowder and an extra dry decaf 2% cappuccino.

Also, ,this is 2016. When your server leaves to place your orders, they're probably going directly to a touchscreen or an iPad PoS terminal and entering in your orders with detailed firing notes, which splits the order up automatically and prints tickets at the bar, kitchen and salad prep stations, which then clears a servers short term memory stack for their next orders.

Now, if people would get over the idea of a tablet or phone at the table being gauche or gimmicky in fine dining, that would (will) be a thing where servers could just enter in order tickets from anywhere in the restaurant, but as it is now we're loath to manually write down easily-remembered orders when we're just going to go push a bunch of touchscreen buttons in a few seconds anyway.
posted by loquacious at 9:38 AM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


What does he mean about serving granola at meals other than breakfast? I've never heard of that. Is it an English thing? I'd be pretty bewildered if I found granola on my dinner plate.
posted by Daily Alice at 9:39 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


not writing the order down makes the customers subconsciously nervous

Yes. I worked in fine dining, at a place good enough for the First Family. We were instructed to always, always write the order down. It is a job requirement, full stop.

Another thing: Always carry drinks on a tray. This is like wearing shoes to work. You don't serve barefoot, and you don't carry drinks barehanded.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


You can thank prohibition for the prevalence of tipping. They couldn't make up sales due to loss of alcohol so transferred payroll costs to their customers instead.
posted by Carillon at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well just pretend to write it down then.
Just to help your table relax.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Salted butter? We have refrigeration now; we don't need to salt butter to keep it from going rancid. If your unsalted butter tastes like "flavourless grease", then the problem is that you have terrible butter. Sure, you could cover that up with a pile of salt, but wouldn't it be better to find some butter that actually has flavour? This is not a particularly difficult task in 2016.
posted by ssg at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


jay rayner didn't always look like that. did he?
posted by andrewcooke at 9:41 AM on January 14, 2016


There is no reason to do this

I keep thinking of posting on the NYC Reddit to ask what's a decent and very American place to take someone in Manhattan that's inexpensive enough that she'll actually let me buy her meal without complaining about it. Then I remember it's Reddit.
posted by mippy at 9:41 AM on January 14, 2016


Lest this devolve into a salted-vs-unsalted-butter derail, let's just agree that some people like salt in their butter and other's don't.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:42 AM on January 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


How 'bout I just kick this guy in the testicles. And then stick him with the check. Choke on that fucking granola.

I can't stand these insufferable jerks and their first world problems. And I've never even worked in a in a food establishment before.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:42 AM on January 14, 2016


To be fair, he's a restaurant critic. His job is literally to criticise restaurants.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:44 AM on January 14, 2016 [58 favorites]


He's also right, for the most part.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:45 AM on January 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


Busser in high school, waiter through college: Working without notation took a couple of years, but it was the opening act to the principal skill of anticipating needs. That lobby-boy training in The Grand Budapest Hotel? That's not fiction.

Only vanish a dish after numerous signs indicate their exhaustion of it and silently acquire permission through an appropriately slowed motion, cataleptic if necessary, that concomitantly makes eye contact, flexes the arm, and tilts the head because people don't relish inadvertently knocking dishes to the floor or the clatter of utensils and prefer a little space to recline a forearm or even elbow. And if you EVER reach across a patron's accommodation with your arm's exterior, or elbow out, the only graces you'll know from this establishment are with the management of its detritus.

Are we clear?
posted by lazycomputerkids at 9:45 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Please turn the music down. My dining companion and I shouldn't have to shout at each other to have a conversation over our meal.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2016 [34 favorites]


"And finally, don’t you ever, ever, ever again give the bill to the only person on the table who happens to possess testicles. You have no idea who’s paying for dinner. Put the bill in the middle of that table and walk away."

This is always the moment that decides if the server gets standard tip amount of 20% or extra special tip amount. It drives my husband especially crazy when the check is dropped off to him. I frequently am the one whipping it out - the credit card.
posted by narancia at 9:49 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've put my debit card down on the wee receipt tray, and the server has come back, popped it in the machine, and handed it straight to my boyfriend. I can kind of excuse it if you're not a native English speaker- my name might not immediately read as female - but come on.
posted by mippy at 9:52 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think everyone should come to Minneapolis for their dining needs - no one takes your bottle, I have never been glared at by a waiter because my plate was taken away, I have very rarely gotten the wrong food and if the waiter asks "how is everything tasting", local custom allows one to reply "everything is great, but we'd all like more water" rather than merely giving an update on the food.

Actually, I wonder how much of this stuff is about eating in restaurants too much. I say this because I have a friend who had a weird job situation and ended up eating a huge percentage of her meals from Friday through Sunday in restaurants for about two years - and not horrible restaurants, either, your typical locally-sourced-sandwich-ingredients/artisanal plank places. We would go out to eat together maybe two times a month. I'd say I eat out anywhere from two to four times a month, if we include "sandwich at the punk cafe". I have about two proper sit-down meals in restaurants monthly.

And what I noticed was that I'd be all "la la these are tasty pancakes, the waiter can refill my coffee next time he swings by" and she would be "hey, I have been waiting for a refill here, also this needs to go back to the kitchen". We'd go to the same places, sometimes share food and yet have totally different responses to the experience.

My immediate speculation is that she - like a restaurant critic! - was eating in restaurants all the time, so a lot of the nice stuff about a restaurant meal no longer registered. For me, it was all "hey, food I never cook for myself! and I don't have to do the dishes! and it's nice to be in a different space than usual! and this is much better coffee than I make for myself!" - basically, the mere fact of doing something different and having someone else cook me a reasonably tasty meal made my baseline experience positive. But because she was always eating restaurant meals, that had totally worn off and anything that was trivially wrong was more grating.
posted by Frowner at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2016 [30 favorites]


@andrewcooke: Actually, yeah; came out of the womb looking like that. They say the OB/GYN still can't look at men with mustaches without twitching a little.
posted by ColdOfTheIsleOfMan at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know this is about fine dining and not coffeeshops and such, but for those less fancy lunch places: stop putting my napkin directly under the sandwich or dripping soup bowl or whatever I ordered. By the time I sit down the napkin is already gross and soggy and I am napkinless. Do not do this.
posted by oulipian at 9:54 AM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Yes. I worked in fine dining, at a place good enough for the First Family. We were instructed to always, always write the order down.

Caveat: I don't even remotely work in fine dining, and I still will scribble shorthand if it's busy or if I sense the customer desires note taking, which is easy to detect.
posted by loquacious at 9:55 AM on January 14, 2016


There is absolutely no reason for something like "salted butter" to even exist. Fresh cultured butter on bread is the food of the gods.
posted by monospace at 9:57 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't really care if they write notes or don't, but I really hate when they decide halfway through the order they need to write notes and head off to get something to write on.
posted by jeather at 9:58 AM on January 14, 2016


I guess the shopping cart those fries upthread are being served in is meant to deflect your attention away from the fact that you're (almost certianly) being overcharged for a very small portion of fries.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:59 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Nonsense. You're getting an entire shopping cart full of fries. That's value, right there.
posted by Etrigan at 10:04 AM on January 14, 2016 [38 favorites]


There is a very good burger restaurant here in downtown Kingston that Shepherd and I are fond of but for such a small place it is extremely loud--we went there for his birthday in March and I woke up in the middle of the night with such horrible ringing from the noise that I was nauseous--and they serve fries in those tiny cute wire baskets. I am always like, BUT I WANTED MOAR WAFFLE FRIES PLZ and just sadly dunk my six allotted large waffle fries in hot sauce.
posted by Kitteh at 10:06 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, it was weird to go to Japan and not tip anyone. I felt so rude every time we left a restaurant

ugh, especially when a bunch of the staff are there at the exit to see you off/say thanks or whatever. It really felt weird
posted by Hoopo at 10:07 AM on January 14, 2016


It's this cultural shift, and we see it with Uber and Washio and all that stuff too - the idea that we don't just deserve a good experience, we deserve a luxury experience, and we shouldn't have to pay extra for it either.

Oh, come on. I don't know where you live, but in a lot of cities restaurants already charge luxury prices. And that's fine. But if I'm gonna pay $12 per small plate, it's hardly unreasonable to expect big enough tables to fit them all on. Very few of these observations qualify as "luxury" demands. This is my opinion as someone who is totally averse to complaining about restaurant service, too.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:07 AM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


some people should just eat at buffets and drink out of a hip flask.

This is also how one endures a southern family reunion.
posted by emjaybee at 10:08 AM on January 14, 2016 [12 favorites]


The removing the wine bottle thing boggles me; is it a UK thing? I've eaten at some quite high end restaurants in the US, and while the waiter may sometimes pick it up and ask if anyone wants a top up, if we order a bottle of wine it stays on the table.
posted by tavella at 10:10 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nope, not a UK thing as far as I've seen (although Jay Rayner will be mainly talking about UK restaurants, so I guess it must be).

Sometimes they will come around and pour wine for you, which I also don't like. My wife in particular likes to drink wine in discreet glass amounts, so regularly topping up wine is an annoyance for her.
Likewise, I prefer to swig my wine from the bottle, whilst swaying slightly and pretending to be French. A good restaurant will keep these preferences in mind.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:18 AM on January 14, 2016 [20 favorites]


Kind of related to remembering orders, I don't understand the practice of daily specials being read aloud to you and you're supposed to remember what was meant as an appetizer and what was an entree, what the fish was, and which thing came with olives because you hate them.

It drove me nuts when I was a server too. I could tell that customers would rather just get a piece of paper listing it out, but management thought me memorizing the specials and then reciting them was fancier, so sorry. Or maybe it's to save the money spent on paper and somehow the world has settled on having the specials on a chalkboard that can only be seen by 3 of the tables in the place as a compromise.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 10:18 AM on January 14, 2016 [22 favorites]


Nope, not a UK thing as far as I've seen ...
I think it may actually be some kind of psychological experiment.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:20 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Only vanish a dish after numerous signs indicate their exhaustion of it

WASP guess culture has a lot to answer for, but one place it really works is in the silent signals used in ritual formal dining.

When finished with one's plate, one places ones fork and knife together, parallel, close but not touching, handles half off the plate at roughly the 4 or 5 O'clock position. Fork should be tines up ideally.

When one has left the table, but still wants to continue with their plate, one's knife and fork are left in an inverted v, at roughly 8 and 4.

I had my knuckles rapped enough during Sunday dinners by my nana between 10 and 16 that I do it without thinking at every meal now, even eating alone. Some restaurants know this code, some don't. It's nice when they do, though.
posted by bonehead at 10:21 AM on January 14, 2016 [26 favorites]


If waitstaff would stop taking someone's plate while others are still eating, that'd be great. As a slow eater, this drives me bonkers, and makes me feel like either I'm eating too much or you want me to leave.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:34 AM on January 14 [12 favorites +] [!]


Sorry, no. This is a you problem. Eat faster or order less. The rest of your party doesn't want to sit over a table of dirty dishes for an extra hour while you nibble away at your meal like a dainty hamster.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:23 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


What? They never said they were eating for an extra hour. When you go out and eat with someone, it isn't a race, and the one who loses isn't an irritant. Good grief.
posted by maxsparber at 10:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [53 favorites]


Sometimes they will come around and pour wine for you, which I also don't like. My wife in particular likes to drink wine in discreet glass amounts, so regularly topping up wine is an annoyance for her.

There's a specific type of drunk I think of as "nice meal drunk" that comes from the constant refilling without knowing how much I've really had. It's not actually drunker than "I decided to do shots all night, 'cause whatever," but it is sneakier.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Threads like this always make me marvel that society works as well as it does (i.e. at all).
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:27 AM on January 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


Not a fan of 'Everything alright for you guys?'

I much prefer "Got a problem with your grub? Cry me a river, bitches".
*
On how he winds people up, I think what people don't like is the idea of punching down comedy on service staff. I normally like over-the-top, hyperbolic bitchy stuff because I grew up reading "Spy" magazine; I thought the article "Frenchies are the Worst" was hilarious. But this, for anyone who's ever done any kind of customer service, knows there are people like this, genuinely and not satirically, out there and man they wreck your day.

On the management making people not use notebooks, yes; I had a manager scream at me for not being able to memorize a table of about 10 people's complicated drink orders (twist of this, etc). He forbade me to use notepads and that was in the 90s. If your memory sucks like mine does, that's a Memento-ish nightmare.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 10:28 AM on January 14, 2016


mippy: "I only just realised that retainers are what we call braces. "

Braces and retainers are not the same thing. Braces are permanently in place on your teeth; retainers are removable.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:28 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: nibbling away at your meal like a dainty hamster
posted by Kitteh at 10:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


What? They never said they were eating for an extra hour. When you go out and eat with someone, it isn't a race, and the one who loses isn't an irritant. Good grief.

You're only saying that because you always lose.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


My goodness, hamsters are not dainty! They eat like they have never seen food before and never will again.

And yes the wine removal thing is awful. I have been to restaurants where all the wine bottles are moved, unlabelled, to one big communal table down the end. I have no confidence that I'm being served out of my own bottle, you just get a random top up of something red or white and alcoholic every time the waiter passes.
posted by tinkletown at 10:30 AM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


There's a specific type of drunk I think of as "nice meal drunk" that comes from the constant refilling without knowing how much I've really had. It's not actually drunker than "I decided to do shots all night, 'cause whatever," but it is sneakier.

i am always sad when the bottle we ordered finally reaches empy though
posted by Kitteh at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


hey local restaurant owner its me again how are you doing im fine please do not worry everything is okay on this end just wanted a quick follow up to my list of demands

first you need to require reservations that can only happen on the quarter hour my watch broke a long time ago and im not made out of minute hands please comply

second if the entire party is not present they need to stand around the waiting are and silently hate the late person because you should not seat them until they are all there and all friendships must crumble please comply

third you need to have drone helicopters all over the place that are both inobtrusive and everpresent and a team of mission control waiters who can inform other waiters when to fill glasses or fish a drone whose battery died out of the soup please comply

fourth one cloth napkin per table max ever what you save on napkin laundry will go into tablecloth laundry please comply

fifth how come you dont ever give out loose nuts and mints anymore you should do that buy be generous and ladle them out those cracker barrel bastards will start to sweat please comply

sixth clean plate club enforcement i mean what is this china please comply

seventh no names for waitstaff just roles there are three roles available mother maiden crone birthday celebrations should be harrowing for the thane of cawdor please comply

eighth all substitutions must include a photo of the item being replaced in the dish your chef worked hard to put those dishes together and presentation matters and it really hurts their feelings when suddenly wheat is not good enough please comply

ninth theres going to be a pretty bad fire next week just thought you should know no i cannot stop it its one of those things sorry but prepare please comply

tenth if you want to see your spouse again please comply with above

yrs
crazy local old guy who lives in every town with only one good restaurant
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2016 [32 favorites]


I know I shouldn't want to, but damn do I want to eat at that guy's dream restaurant.
posted by Etrigan at 10:36 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


all the wine bottles are moved, unlabelled

Wine without any label at all? Or without an indicator that it is your bottle of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, as opposed to the bottle belonging to the table with the obnoxious laugher?

Also where are these restaurants so I can be sure to never go to them?
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:42 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


The "give the check to the person with testicles" even extends to women, sadly. I go out to eat with my partner all the time and she is the more visibly 'girly' of the two of us, and so I get the check the vast, vast majority of the time. This extends to our lives in other ways as well - I'm assumed to be the competent one in the usual male ways (tools, cars, etc).
posted by zug at 10:45 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ah yes, while we are on the ladyfolk dining: if two women of comparable age are having dinner in your fancy restaurant by candlelight and are wearing nice outfits, they're probably not sisters.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:48 AM on January 14, 2016 [30 favorites]


I mean, it's a buzzkill to get asked on your anniversary if you're sisters. And then the abject "oh shit" backtracking the server does...
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:49 AM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]



It's really not that hard to remember a table's order if you've got a good grasp on the menu yourself . . . unless you get interrupted on the way to put the order in . . .

Me too. I ate one sour too."
 
posted by Herodios at 11:01 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


They do want you to leave, though. They're gonna make (roughly) the same amount of money from you if you linger or if you shovel down your food and get the hell out, so it's in their best interest to subtly usher you out the damn door so they can squeeze in extra seatings in a night.

You've never been to dinner with my friends then! That's when we start pounding $10 cocktails and easily double our previous bill in the same amount of time! (But yes, I do understand table turn over.)


I really don't understand the whole not writing the order down thing. I've always just assumed that the person taking my order down will get it right - or they won't. I've had my order taken wrong many times by people writing it down. I've had people come back and ask for clarifications after getting to the machine in both cases. And if my order comes out wrong? I'll just send it back. I'm cool with that, shit happens. Not sure why we are all stressing so much.

As a fast eater I'm totally on the side of get my plate out of here so I don't have to smell cooling butter or pasta sauce or gravy or whatever is left on my plate while my friend takes their time and enjoys their meal. Also I need more room for my drinks.


(Also I'm not sure why all you monsters are putting butter on your bread in the first place. Oil & pepper 4 life.)
posted by mayonnaises at 11:01 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm an oil and pepper girl, and then my husband also demands salted butter. We are apparently heathens.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:04 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fresh cultured butter on bread is the food of the gods.

Cultured butter is salted.
posted by Diablevert at 11:07 AM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Everything is better salted. Even salt.
posted by maxsparber at 11:09 AM on January 14, 2016 [23 favorites]


One dollar per drink, that's how it's always been- don't rip me off on the drinks man.

So bartenders are just globally exempt from inflation? One dollar, one drink only applies to cheap-ass drinks. If you're buying a $12 cocktail, that's not even 10%.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:14 AM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


So glad I'm not the only one frustrated by not writing the order down. You want to memorize it? Sure, impress me. But get it wrong, and your tip is a shiny Roosevelt dime.*

Most of my frustrations are caused by dining alone. No, I would not like to sit at the bar, at some rickety-ass high-top in the middle of a troop of Vikings-jerseyed howler monkeys, thank you so very very much indeedy. Also, the book in my hand is not your signal to stash me away in the dimmest, most poorly-lit corner of the building.



*At no time have I ever left a shiny Roosevelt dime as a tip
posted by MrBadExample at 11:22 AM on January 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh my word, this picture from the "We Want Plates" blog linked upthread made me earthshakingly angry. Just, I want to make someone pay for the fact that this ever happened, I am so angry.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2016 [31 favorites]


My restaurant peeves:

Raspberry coulis on the dessert when there's no mention of it in the menu.

Food served in martini glasses.

Long spoons given with desserts on plates. They are only for iced tea and parfaits.

Soup spoons given with dessert.

The above two given with things meant to be eaten with a fork. Spoons are for ice cream,sorbet, and custard.
posted by brujita at 11:25 AM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS

Originally, they used rabbits. Cute, adorable, irresistible bunnies balancing the pancakes on their heads.

But then the health department stepped in. Killjoys that they are.
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


a random thing that looks like a different thing

I think there's a tumblr of that. Or that's tumblr in its entirety.
posted by PandaMomentum at 11:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't really give much of a shit about all that stuff he listed... Just don't make me sit with Jay Rayner during dinner, 'cuz I suspect he's just going to bitch through the whole meal.
posted by HuronBob at 11:29 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


At no time have I ever left a shiny Roosevelt dime as a tip

No, no, they only deserve a dull dime, even maybe a dirty one.
posted by jeather at 11:30 AM on January 14, 2016


i dined with kyle rayner once
it was delicious
we went back to the kitchen to thank the chef
we did not like what we found there
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:32 AM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Asking how I liked my food and then not giving a shit when I tell you it was okay but a little salty.
I mean, if you're gonna ask, at least pretend you're going to pass it on.

I've been out dining for 20 fucking years, and never once has any server managed to do anything except look taken aback, ignore my reply or hemm insencerely.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:34 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not a fan of 'Everything alright for you guys?'
My pet peeves are

"Are you still working on that?" (Um, no. But come to think of it, could you bring me a saw and a hammer?)

and

"How do you like your food." (Somehow "food" seems crude here. Anyway, I've hardly started feeding.)
posted by sjswitzer at 11:36 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I kinda like the shopping carts - but then again, I don't get out much.
posted by piyushnz at 11:38 AM on January 14, 2016


i dined with kyle rayner once
it was delicious
we went back to the kitchen to thank the chef
we did not like what we found there


This is just to say that must be the worst take on the "I ate the plums" poem meme I've ever encountered.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:38 AM on January 14, 2016 [18 favorites]


I'll agree with a notion from upthread that probably some of his complaints come from the fact that he eats out way more than a normal person and so some of the small things most of us ignore have become peaves... but really most of it is simply about restaurants and the staff doing their jobs. I don't get some of the snark against him.

Mind you the wine thing... never had it happen to me but yeah if he wants to go against the "norm" it shouldn't be too big a problem to repeat himself a couple of times.

But everything else aside I am super behind him on the things just randomly coming out. If I'm willing to pay the often ridiculous markup for an appetizer I'd like it to come out before my main... and not just seconds before my main so as to guarantee that something gets cold.
posted by cirhosis at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


What's more, none of these things should be especially expensive - and tipping is a huge burden, of course.

I'd be happy to pay the extra to have restaurants (management) actually meet the basic minimum standards of law and decency (wages, basic sanitation standards such as enforced paid sick leave, etc). Much of the industry is illegal by design with flagrant lawbreaking so ingrained it's taken for granted. Fuck that shit. In some areas half the industry would get probably shut down overnight. With less supply to meet demand, businesses wouldn't need to be such a race-to-be-the-worst, fair prices could be charged, American waitstaff could be treated and paid like professionals instead of the ongoing bitterness and insecurity of tipping culture, food handlers wouldn't feel pressure to work while sick and contagious, etc.
Maybe a new, better, standard could become the new norm, and maybe owners (and society) would discover that the society-wide demand to eat out won't somehow mysteriously vanish entirely if people's only options are to pay the sustainable price of a proper service. Well, one can dream.
posted by anonymisc at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really don't understand the whole not writing the order down thing.

I’m not a picky eater, most of the time if something’s not exactly right I don’t care. But I have to eat gluten free. It’s already a pain in the ass to order at a lot of places so when they don’t write down some part of that order I get nervous. I then have to blatantly emphasize that again, which makes me seem like I think they’re an incompetent moron, which I don’t like to do, but I can’t take that chance. If I’m not 100% sure they served me the right thing I’m not eating it, so I sometimes have to ask again when the food arrives.

I don’t mind if they don’t write it down (although the logic of it escapes me, if you want to show me a trick just make a napkin disappear or something) as long as they repeat it to me after I order and when they serve it. Apparently I’m not the only one because this seems to be happening more often. "Here’s your gluten free dish".
posted by bongo_x at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Originally, they used rabbits. Cute, adorable, irresistible bunnies balancing the pancakes on their heads.

But then the health department stepped in. Killjoys that they are.


That and the fact that bunnies hate being put in the dishwasher.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Braces and retainers are not the same thing.

Braces hold up your trousers.

A retainer helps you put on your trousers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:50 AM on January 14, 2016 [34 favorites]


I would 1000% go out for dinner in any restaurant with a dainty hamster.
posted by mippy at 11:55 AM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


And while we’re at it, please stop sending dishes out “when they’re ready”.

I have 4 young children and when we dare to go out to dinner with them, they are hungry and bored immediately. If there was an option to have the food already at our table before we even sat down, I'd take it. Goddamn right bring those dishes out when they're ready.
posted by xmattxfx at 12:07 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Everything is better salted. Even salt.

The difference between bland and tasty is Sodium: 0mg versus Sodium: OMG.

Rayner and I eat in different circles, I guess, and that is fine with me. A couple of these I nod at and agree with, many others I shrug at, and a few are in the range of "It would be weird if a server did that. Kind of annoying too, I guess."

In Victoria BC a couple of years back, I got near universal recommendations for a breakfast place. It was an okay family restaurant of the kind that I never seek out but usually seem to find decent hearty food at when someone else suggests it. But I nearly made the server cry when she asked at the end how everything was and I elected to be truthful. The same woman had greeted me when I reached the head of the line at the door and showed me to my table; brought me a menu; came back to ask what I would like to drink; brought me my drink; came back for the meal order; brought me the meal; returned partway through to check if everything was okay; brought me the condiment I requested; came back to clear the table and ask if there would be anything else; and then brought me the bill. It was on this ninth trip -- when she asked how the experience was -- that I pointed out that in the nine times we had crossed paths, she had made physical contact with me nine times. She could not speak to me without squeezing my shoulder or gripping my hand or patting my forearm. She seemed to be the same way with everyone, to judge from what I could see around her section.

I was more bemused than annoyed and mentioned that not everyone would likely appreciate this. She said with a shocked demeanour she was totally unaware she was doing this and insisted she would pay for my meal. I said no, that is fine -- the meal was good and I would pay for it. I had to press the point a couple of times before she would take my credit card.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:08 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have 4 young children and when we dare to go out to dinner with them, they are hungry and bored immediately. If there was an option to have the food already at our table before we even sat down, I'd take it. Goddamn right bring those dishes out when they're ready.

For little children, sure. Anyone over the age of like six can wait until everyone's food is ready.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:11 PM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Are those fries served in tiny shopping carts? That might be the twee-est, most precious thing I've ever seen.

All I have to say is that there better be an autoclave in the kitchen to clean those things.

And while we're at it, no I do not want a charcuterie platter served to me on a piece of driftwood so porous there's no way in hell you can claim you can clean it between uses.*


*Unless, of course, the kitchen is equipped with an autoclave.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:13 PM on January 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


Any restaurant that makes serving decisions based around the needs of children is probably a Chuck E Cheese.
posted by maxsparber at 12:14 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


"If there was an option to have the food already at our table before we even sat down, I'd take it."

Chik-Fil-A does that in some markets. Granted, it's not fine (or even mediocre) dining, but, hey.
posted by _Mona_ at 12:16 PM on January 14, 2016


Any restaurant that makes serving decisions based around the needs of children is probably a Chuck E Cheese.

My nephews (4 and 6) can sit at a restaurant that is nicer than Chuck E. Cheese, and can be fairly well occupied with crayons and a napkin for quite some time. You have to know your kids. Most kids, I'd argue, don't belong in restaurants without kid's menus.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:16 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


"we went back to the kitchen to thank the chef
we did not like what we found there"


I once worked in the most exclusive hotel in one of the country's better coastal resort towns. After the first time I walked into the kitchen I never again ate any food prepared in that building...
posted by HuronBob at 12:20 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


And while we're at it, no I do not want a charcuterie platter served to me on a piece of driftwood so porous there's no way in hell you can claim you can clean it between uses.

Yes, this whole "let's serve it on a plank" thing seems weird to me. I don't serve food on the cutting board at home, and it's a nice hardwood cutting board that I take good care of. How do you wash the planks well enough between uses while also avoiding making them water-logged and causing them to deteriorate?
posted by Frowner at 12:21 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


My father-in-law responding to overeager waiters asking if he's done yet: "Why, is there a plate shortage?"

I am waiting to reach a sufficient age/level of orneriness to do the same.
posted by emjaybee at 12:22 PM on January 14, 2016 [38 favorites]


Speaking of remembering orders.... I was pretty amazed when, after an absence of 18 months, I was asked in a diner if I wanted "the usual". I'm usually in Manhattan for two or three months a year, go to this diner on the weekend (when it is queued out the door of you're there after 9am), and this guy remembered my customary breakfast order. Got it completely right, and when I mentioned the fact he just shrugged and said it was his job to remember.

And finally, don’t you ever, ever, ever again give the bill to the only person on the table who happens to possess testicles.

Although if you're in Spain, at a restaurant that serves criadillas, that could be my wife...
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 12:32 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have 4 young children and when we dare to go out to dinner with them, they are hungry and bored immediately. If there was an option to have the food already at our table before we even sat down, I'd take it. Goddamn right bring those dishes out when they're ready.

Yes, this is always very welcome for young children. I've ordered "appetizers" for kids just to keep them leveled.

"Look, if you value your life, bring me an English muffin right now."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:32 PM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Pretty much the only question a server should be asking when checking in at a table is

"Can I do anything else for you at this time?"

It's a wide open question that allows for requests which include: more water, a refire, a table shim, fresh silverware, a dessert menu, and the occasional odd response from a guest such as demanding a server solve a dinner argument.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 12:43 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


And while we're at it, no I do not want a charcuterie platter served to me on a piece of driftwood so porous there's no way in hell you can claim you can clean it between uses.

Health codes even require everything that touches food to be non-porous and easily cleanable. I've seen restaurants get dinged for excessive scratches in the cutting boards, so I don't know how those places get away with planks. I'm guessing they use regular plates when the inspector's around.

And even if they were perfectly sterilized every time, I still don't see the appeal in eating food off a piece of wood. I mean, it's one thing if I'm eating cheese slices off of the cutting board at 2am in my underwear, but in a restaurant I like to just have regular dishes.
posted by segfaultxr7 at 12:54 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Speaking of remembering orders.... I was pretty amazed when, after an absence of 18 months, I was asked in a diner if I wanted "the usual".

If you were there frequently enough to have a usual, it is not impossible that a server remembers it. I have never been a server in a restaurant, but I did work in a rep cinema with a large and loyal clientele. Times spent working the snack bar, you would sometimes see customers who have a preferred order, and as you might well know nothing else abut them (name, for example), the order might stick with you.

There was one guy who always took a bathroom break partway through, then without fail came to the snack bar for a Crispy Crunch chocolate bar and a medium Diet Coke. I used to get that ready when I saw him pass by me on his way to the washroom, as xmattxfx suggested would be a good setup.

I left that job in 1990. If I saw that guy in the street, 26 years on, I would still know his order to this day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:56 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


My goodness, hamsters are not dainty! They eat like they have never seen food before and never will again.

It's fun to give a tiny little dwarf hamster a whole peanut in the shell and watch her stuff the entire thing in her face-pocket for later enjoyment.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:56 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Dining out really brings out the worst in people. The latent frustrated would-be feudal lord comes out. Citation: This thread.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:58 PM on January 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh, and put salt and pepper on the table.

When I was in Italy there wasn't a condiment to be found in the entire country unless you count olive oil or vinegar. I found a restaurant that had "American pommes frites," so I thought I was golden when I asked for ketchup. Nope. Mayo like I am told the Brazilians do it? Nope. Anything to dip them in? For the love of all that is holy, anything? Nope. Swear to god, if I go again I am bringing the biggest bottle of hot sauce I can find, salt, pepper, crushed hot peppers, and fucking ketchup.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:58 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: The latent frustrated would-be feudal lord comes out
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:04 PM on January 14, 2016


fucking ketchup

I've never used it for that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:05 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, it was weird to go to Japan and not tip anyone. I felt so rude every time we left a restaurant

ugh, especially when a bunch of the staff are there at the exit to see you off/say thanks or whatever. It really felt weird

One gets used to it quickly, especially when the service is so superior to most service in the US. There are a few bugbears: 'Who had the sea snails?' and 'This is Vichyssoise, a cold potato soup'. Most of these are avoided by moving a bit upscale from the family/chain restaurant.

For all the years that I've been here, I'm still not used to there being no response to the server's 'thank you'. The only local equivalent of 'you're welcome' doesn't work in this context. oheso.SO has lived and worked in the US, and I'm guessing that's where she picked up the habit of replying with a 'thank you' (which I still feel is odd, even when I'm in the US). I do say 'thank you' to the master or server in places where the food or service is exceptionally good and I'm a regular and so conversation has moved from formal address to familiar.
posted by oheso at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


please stop sending dishes out “when they’re ready”. So much. Timing the different dishes is a necessary kitchen skill. And don't ask if I want an app first or with the entree if the app takes just as long to prepare.

Personal peeve: when the server asks "How is everything?" literally seconds after the food has arrived at the table. Especially when the first bite is still on my fork.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:24 PM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm late to the party, but here's a story that I found from Jay Rayner's Twitter (https://twitter.com/jayrayner1): Response to a restaurant review.

Anybody who thinks he's just out to slag the service industry should read that.
posted by veedubya at 1:32 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


...and you will know the quality of one's character by how they treat the waitstaff.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:36 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh good god. I was on holiday in Vienna with my partner. I speak German. He doesn't. Thus I would order meals, ask for the check and I would hand the payment to the waitstaff. Without fail, they would come back and return the change to my (male) partner. It drove me absolutely mad.
posted by quadrant seasons at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm late to the party, but here's a story that I found from Jay Rayner's Twitter (https://twitter.com/jayrayner1): Response to a restaurant review.

Anybody who thinks he's just out to slag the service industry should read that.


Yes, he's been admonishing TripAdvisor and backing the restaurant's prerogative about how much service and even a cup of hot water costs.
posted by Kitteh at 1:54 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


All I want is more than one drinks menu per table.
posted by smirkette at 2:13 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


"Have you had sufficient?" is my dad's favourite thing to ask tables, and it's stopped sounding like a sentence that even scans to me.

Also, I for one would love it if we got our heads together and really hashed this whole salted butter thing out. It's nearly the weekend after all.
posted by lucidium at 2:18 PM on January 14, 2016


My favorite bread situation right now is when there is butter plan a little bowl of course salt to make it extra salty. It's the greatest thing ever.

I also like when the wine is not kept on the table because I like white wine very cold and also the waiters fill up my glass less than I would, so I don't take huge gulps like I do at home.
posted by elvissa at 2:35 PM on January 14, 2016


If the butter is fresh, it shall be unsalted and finishing salt shall be provided.
posted by a halcyon day at 2:39 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


fucking ketchup

I've never used it for that.


It’s not just regular ketchup.
posted by bongo_x at 2:46 PM on January 14, 2016


Cutting board? Hah. At Famous Dave's if you order a certain family-sized platter you get it on a trash can lid.

"No, we're not running out of plates! We serve our BBQ Feasts on the lid of a garbage can because that was Dave's very first backyard smoker."
posted by delfin at 2:46 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


fucking ketchup
I've never used it for that.

It’s not just regular ketchup.


I don't think I want to know what the difference is.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:55 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


At Famous Dave's if you order a certain family-sized platter you get it on a trash can lid.

Even Nick Tahou's doesn't serve actual garbage plates on garbage lids.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:56 PM on January 14, 2016


I'm late to the party, but here's a story that I found from Jay Rayner's Twitter (https://twitter.com/jayrayner1): Response to a restaurant review.

Anybody who thinks he's just out to slag the service industry should read that.


"It’s actually the facilities that cost the money, far more so than the ingredients."

That's a really interesting way to frame the discussion. For me, it's always been fairly intuitive that of course raw ingredients aren't the only expense to preparing any given dish, but seeing the break down for an extreme case like "hot water with a slice of lemon" really drives it home.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:57 PM on January 14, 2016


One more. Do not ask me to select from a range of options while secretly not offering some of them. Was back in the States recently and ordered a steak.

Waiter: How would you like that done?
Me: Rare, please.
Waiter: We don't do that. Medium is as low as we go.
Me: Just stares at waiter and wonders why the hell I'm in this steak restaurant but do not have time to leave and go anywhere else.
posted by Gotanda at 2:59 PM on January 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


One dollar per drink, that's how it's always been- don't rip me off on the drinks man.


Not really so much anymore. Here in NYC, if it's just one drink, $2 is normally thrown down (if it's not fancy cocktail- but those tend to be paid for via credit cards). Unless it's a dive bar and the can beers are two bucks, then it's okay to leave a five to cover two cans and tip.
Ordering two drinks? $3 tip is fine.
On credit cards people tend to swing between 20 percent and per drink tip amounts.
posted by newpotato at 3:00 PM on January 14, 2016


I went back to the US for Christmas and met up with some high school friends. Two of them have remained in the states, one (Erik) has spent most of his adult life in various SE Asian countries, and I've lived my adult life in Japan. When the bill came out, Erik said he would pay. After the usual "No, I'll pay" "No, please, let me", it was agreed that he could pay. So he looks at the bill, and then there's a little pause, and then he looks at me with this little microexpression of panic and bewilderment, a silent "help!", while the other two friends are chatting with each other about something. I quietly ventured a guess: "Can't figure out the tip?" and he nodded. So Erik's in this little awkward position where he's going to pay, and when you're paying you usually don't disclose to the rest of the table how much the bill was, but his mind has frozen up.

So he shows me the bill, and then my mind freezes up, too. Neither one of us have paid a tip in perhaps decades, and while "Divide the number by ten, then divide that number by two, then add the second figure to the first figure" isn't so hard, when you're out of practice and put on the spot it's really easy to blank out and forget basic math.

So in the end we both had to turn to the other two friends and red-facedly announce "The bill is for $XX.XX. Erik's going to pay, but can you two just do the math for us on how much to tip?"
posted by Bugbread at 3:01 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Medium is as low as we go.

In some US states, food safety laws prohibit serving anything cooked below a certain internal temperature, which includes rare steak. I've taken to ordering steaks "as rare as you will serve", which only occasionally results in an actual seared, blue-rare cut.
posted by a halcyon day at 3:09 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


maxsparber: "Any restaurant that makes serving decisions based around the needs of children is probably a Chuck E Cheese."

If the restaurant is the one making the decision, then, sure. But a lot of really tasty restaurants I go to (not fine dining, but not fast food and not Chuck E. Cheese) will ask us customers whether we want things to be brought out as they become ready or all at once. While I certainly wouldn't insist that a restaurant should do this, I certainly wouldn't denigrate any restaurants that choose to offer a better level of service by volunteering to meet customer needs.
posted by Bugbread at 3:13 PM on January 14, 2016


Waiter: We don't do that. Medium is as low as we go.

I'm hoping the waiter was new, and confused about the difference between safe hamburger and safe steak. If not, that's the most bizarre steak restaurant I've ever seen.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:13 PM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Isn't 145 medium? That chart shows the safe steak at 145.
posted by Carillon at 3:17 PM on January 14, 2016


I would hope anyone bringing infants to even a moderately fine dining place would be politely but firmly refused service. Twelve-, even eight-year-olds on their best behaviour are fine, but really young kids that can't reasonably control themselves?

You wouldn't bring a toddler to a gallery opening or a play would you? That's just cruel to everyone, kid included.
posted by bonehead at 3:17 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


fucking ketchup
I've never used it for that.
It’s not just regular ketchup.
I don't think I want to know what the difference is.


"Lubricated with the purest* olive oil".
*(but not "extra-virgin", because that would just be incongruous)"
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:18 PM on January 14, 2016


Incidentally, "Incongruous Ketchup" sounds like the name of a 60's rock group.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:19 PM on January 14, 2016


145F is a bit low for medium. That's the upper end of medium rare.
posted by bonehead at 3:19 PM on January 14, 2016


So he shows me the bill, and then my mind freezes up, too. Neither one of us have paid a tip in perhaps decades, and while "Divide the number by ten, then divide that number by two, then add the second figure to the first figure" isn't so hard, when you're out of practice and put on the spot it's really easy to blank out and forget basic math.
The math's actually easier nowadays, as a 20% tip is standard. Just divide by ten and double that number, rounding down if you want to account for not tipping on the tax.
posted by peacheater at 3:21 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Waiter: We don't do that. Medium is as low as we go.

Crazy. Health code thing maybe? I’m always arguing to get them to make it well done. Apparently there’s only one way to enjoy beef. While I usually insist and it’s fine, I’ve actually just ordered something different on the spot when I get that reaction, because I don’t really love steak anyway, and I’m annoyed.

"Are you sure you want that well done? We don’t recommend it."
"You’re right, I’ll just have a small salad".

You know where I don’t get that? The higher end steak places I’ve been to (that someone else was paying for). Because they can look at full grown adult in a steak place in the United States of America, and calculate the odds that I’ve had steak before and know how I like it.
posted by bongo_x at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Huh looking there's a lot of different answers. I'd say 145F is not med rare, but after a google search there are a lot of people who agree and disagree with that assessment so I'm not sure what to think anymore.
posted by Carillon at 3:25 PM on January 14, 2016


"give the check to the person with testicles"

This is good advice for prostate examinations, but that's about it.
posted by Ned G at 3:26 PM on January 14, 2016


Or testicle exams to be fair :)
posted by Carillon at 3:27 PM on January 14, 2016


BTW, sous vide completely changes this calculus. It's safe to go as low as 130F (rare) with longer cooking times:

In a 54.4 °C/130 °F water bath (the lowest temperature usually recommend for cooking sous vide) it will take you about 2-1/2h to reduce E. coli to a safe level in a 25 mm/1 in. thick hamburger patty

Plainly 2 & 1/2 hours isn't anywhere near achievable by traditional pan methods, but it's easy in a sous vide bath. Safe, rare steaks are perfectly possible, if the chefs know what they're doing.
posted by bonehead at 3:27 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


"And finally, don’t you ever, ever, ever again give the bill to the only person on the table who happens to possess testicles. You have no idea who’s paying for dinner. Put the bill in the middle of that table and walk away."

And at the very least, if the credit card used for payment has a boring and obvious contemporary female name on it (like Kimberly), please don't ignore the woman with lipstick and hand it back to the bearded guy at the table and thank him. If there is doubt, put it in the middle.
posted by kimberussell at 3:31 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Greg_Ace: "I'm hoping the waiter was new, and confused about the difference between safe hamburger and safe steak. If not, that's the most bizarre steak restaurant I've ever seen."

My friend says he's never been served a rare steak in the U.S. Restaurants will take his order without complaint, but inevitably the steak that is actually served is always cooked to medium. That said, I don't know what quality of steak restaurants he's been frequenting.
posted by Bugbread at 3:39 PM on January 14, 2016


"The bill is for $XX.XX. Erik's going to pay, but can you two just do the math for us on how much to tip?"

In most places in the U.S you can double the tax and end up in the 15% to 20% range. Round from there. I would always rather overtip than do math after a meal. Everyone wins.
posted by bongo_x at 3:41 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


it's just a random thing that looks like a different thing.

I've noticed an awful lot of this sort of thing going on in recent years - this and mashups of two random things. Is this what Post-Modernism has come to?


Postmodernism and/or twee whimsy culture and/or 90s-vintage hipster/slacker irony gone bourgeois.
posted by acb at 3:42 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Christ, I love this cranky article, I love this cranky thread, and most of all I love you cranky assholes. My people.
posted by moons in june at 3:52 PM on January 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


And while we’re at it, please stop sending dishes out “when they’re ready” is racist as heck. Dim sum doesn't come any other way, asshole.
posted by juv3nal at 4:08 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've gotten steak cooked blue in California. I've occasionally had to send it back to get it right, though.
posted by lore at 4:08 PM on January 14, 2016


The 'taking the wine bottle away to another table' thing would never fly in Australia. If you tried that here in most restaurants you would lose a hand, and then we would drink your blood after we finished the shiraz.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:30 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The wine thing bugs me too.

I know how much wine I want, and I know who is driving, and I don't want that mucked up. I also don't want wine wasted by pouring it into the designated driver's glass. I'm not drinking out of that. Who knows what horrible mouth germs they have? I don't, but I know where their mouths have been.

Also, and this is entirely Australian, but STOP putting a screen on the Eftpos terminal for a tip when I am paying with card. I don't understand it and what is this? You are trying to make me feed band, and I won't stand for it.

Nor will I tip, no matter how awesome the meal is, unless I want to, and frankly I never want to.

Stop trying to normalise tipping.
posted by Mezentian at 4:35 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Waiter: We don't do that. Medium is as low as we go.

Crazy. Health code thing maybe? I’m always arguing to get them to make it well done. Apparently there’s only one way to enjoy beef. While I usually insist and it’s fine, I’ve actually just ordered something different on the spot when I get that reaction, because I don’t really love steak anyway, and I’m annoyed.


My sister lived in southern Ontario for a couple years, and this happened to me at least once per visit up there. "Ugh, I forgot. Gimme a minute to pick something else."
posted by fedward at 4:36 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here in NYC, if it's just one drink, $2 is normally thrown down (if it's not fancy cocktail- but those tend to be paid for via credit cards). Unless it's a dive bar and the can beers are two bucks, then it's okay to leave a five to cover two cans and tip.
Ordering two drinks? $3 tip is fine.
On credit cards people tend to swing between 20 percent and per drink tip amounts.


The Starship Bistromath is powering up.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:41 PM on January 14, 2016 [12 favorites]


I've been in the opposite steak situation where a friend of a friend ordered her steak well done, the waiter said "sorry, we don't do that", but she persisted and argued. Eventually the chef came out to explain that he thinks it would ruin the cut of meat to get it to well done. I agreed with the chef, but wondered why if the woman was paying for her meal she couldn't have it how she wanted it. Eventually there was a compromise as he offered to cook a different cut of beef well done for her.
posted by cell divide at 4:53 PM on January 14, 2016



The worst thing with those tiny fry carts is when you find them a few blocks from the restaurant, stuck by someone's garbage can.


I must have been watching too much Trailer Park Boys because Tiny Bubbles just popped into my head.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:56 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


> My friend says he's never been served a rare steak in the U.S. Restaurants will take his order without complaint, but inevitably the steak that is actually served is always cooked to medium.

I've never had problems being served rare steak at restaurants in the U.S. that take their food seriously. Argentinian steakhouses are particularly reliable if you want really rare steak. I've found it's the places like TGI Friday's that will cook it to medium even if you ask for rare.
posted by needled at 4:56 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


STOP GIVING THE MASCULINE-PRESENTING PERSON THE BILL

STOP GIVING THE MASCULINE-PRESENTING PERSON THE BILL

STOP GIVING THE MASCULINE-PRESENTING PERSON THE BILL
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:00 PM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


In some US states, food safety laws prohibit serving anything cooked below a certain internal temperature, which includes rare steak. I've taken to ordering steaks "as rare as you will serve", which only occasionally results in an actual seared, blue-rare cut.

Huh! I had no idea, I've never had problems ordering a rare steak anywhere I've been. That sucks almost as much as Pennsylvania's liquor laws.

I went to culinary school and was ServSafe certified, and was taught that the only requirement to offer rare steak is that you have to put a disclaimer on the menu about eating raw/undercooked foods. Didn't know it varied by state.
posted by segfaultxr7 at 5:12 PM on January 14, 2016


Yesterday I had a waiter give the bill back to the man I was with AFTER he watched me take my card out of my wallet and hand it to him *while the man was in the restroom*. Like, basic serving dictates that if someone has discretely waited until their dining companion has left the table, you continue being discrete with the bill. This does not change if I am wearing a dress. FFS
posted by stoneweaver at 5:17 PM on January 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


...and you will know the quality of one's character by how they treat the waitstaff.

God, is this the truth.

I'm more or less convinced that I can tell if a person is someone I want anything to do with simply by watching them interact with waitstaff for about 30 seconds.
posted by tocts at 5:35 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sometimes they will come around and pour wine for you, which I also don't like. My wife in particular likes to drink wine in discreet glass amounts, so regularly topping up wine is an annoyance for her.

There's a specific type of drunk I think of as "nice meal drunk" that comes from the constant refilling without knowing how much I've really had. It's not actually drunker than "I decided to do shots all night, 'cause whatever," but it is sneakier.


I also hate when this happens at breakfasts and I end up with the coffee shakes.

And I don't know why it is that waiters will wait until you have food in your mouth to pop by and ask if you need anything else. Is it a skill they learn during staff training?
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:36 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


ricochet biscuit: "She could not speak to me without squeezing my shoulder or gripping my hand or patting my forearm. She seemed to be the same way with everyone, to judge from what I could see around her section."

Arg, totally not cool with me either. Intentional or otherwise, I feel like I'm being manipulated with physical intimacy that is 100% affected (unless it's actually a server that I'm friends with). I would like to believe that this is something else that would slowly die out if tipping was replaced by decent wages. I believe the temptation to offer (and to accept, uninvited) touch as a way of ensuring a fair tip is really high and many servers I know complain that they feel like a piece of meat as a result.
posted by WaylandSmith at 5:37 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm more or less convinced that I can tell if a person is someone I want anything to do with simply by watching them interact with waitstaff for about 30 seconds.

I think there may be a cultural element here, as in, if you travel to foreign countries you realize the acceptable norms for treating waitstaff varies a lot.
posted by um at 5:45 PM on January 14, 2016


Man, maybe I'm really low-class, but I was kind of impressed the one time I went to a restaurant where they didn't write anything down. I was like "oh man, he can just remember everything! He must be good! This place is fancy! The bread comes with butter and salt that isn't white!"
posted by teponaztli at 5:47 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Wow, the menu tells you what temperature your egg was cooked at! Outstanding!"
posted by teponaztli at 5:50 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I agreed with the chef, but wondered why if the woman was paying for her meal she couldn't have it how she wanted it. Eventually there was a compromise as he offered to cook a different cut of beef well done for her.

Professional ethics? I mean, I know there are a lot of people who walk into a restaurant and think of everyone there as the hired help who should be asking how high they should jump, but other people realize that they are engaging the services of someone who is a lot more knowledgable and creative than they are. It sounds like you were in a good restaurant where the chef actually cared about the food. So just like demanding an architect build you a structurally unsafe monstrosity, a chef in my opinion has a duty to tell you when you're asking for something that isn't going to work. They're the expert, not you.

A lot of people think that just because money is changing hands, they should get whatever they want. The customer is NOT always right (or even usually right, if you've ever worked in any kind of service). Not even at knowing what they like. No, taste isn't entirely subjective and no, not all opinions are equal. It's the chef's house. You don't have to eat there.

Personally, as someone who cares about food, I think if you're going to ask an animal to give up its life to feed you, the least you can do is be respectful of the ingredient and not burn the shit out of this poor chunk of cow until it tastes the worst it possibly can.
posted by danny the boy at 5:55 PM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Personally, as someone who cares about food, I think if you're going to ask an animal to give up its life to feed you, the least you can do is be respectful of the ingredient and not burn the shit out of this poor chunk of cow until it tastes the worst it possibly can.

And personally, as someone who is increasingly alarmed by what comes out of food safety news and relevant deregulation, I'd rather the chef cook the living shit out of whatever comes my way than take any chances.

Plus some of us _prefer_ the taste of well done. I know, we're mutants.
posted by delfin at 6:00 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


13. Stop serving food like this BBQ place round the corner from me does - give me a plate so the table doesn't end up covered in juice and sauce.

Why does this spread look like it cost $50, and how do i know that's almost definitely true?
posted by emptythought at 6:04 PM on January 14, 2016


And personally, as someone who is increasingly alarmed by what comes out of food safety news and relevant deregulation, I'd rather the chef cook the living shit out of whatever comes my way than take any chances.

That's because you don't understand food safety? What you're worried about with cuts of beef is bacteria, which exists on the surface of the meat. The interior of a muscle cut from an animal is essentially sterile. As long as you sear the outside sufficiently, you're fine. This is why food temperature guidelines for ground meats are higher than for whole cuts, and why you can age meat for months without killing your customers.

And yes, you can have whatever preference you want. And no one is actually obliged to accommodate you. Freedom!
posted by danny the boy at 6:21 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


The steak is not sterile internally if the meat was mechanically tenderized. (Although probably not the case at expensive steak houses)
posted by biggreenplant at 6:28 PM on January 14, 2016


THE MEAT IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.
posted by vrakatar at 6:29 PM on January 14, 2016


danny the boy: "Personally, as someone who cares about food, I think if you're going to ask an animal to give up its life to feed you, the least you can do is be respectful of the ingredient and not burn the shit out of this poor chunk of cow until it tastes the worst it possibly can."

"Be respectful of the ingredient" means "cook the meat the way danny the boy likes it"? The cow couldn't give a damn. That's a pretty low way to give your subjective opinion weight. "I like my food to taste like this, and you like it to taste like that. Not only am I right, but you're engaging in needless killing and disrespecting of the dead by having tastes that differ from mine."
posted by Bugbread at 6:31 PM on January 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


When I go to restaurants with Mr Corpse -- he is clearly a man, I am clearly a woman -- the check always seems to be placed on the table precisely between us. I can't think of the last time I was with a man and the check was presented to him in a way that bothered me (and I am the sort to be bothered).
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:52 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Please turn the music down. My dining companion and I shouldn't have to shout at each other to have a conversation over our meal.

If i could only pick one complaint from anywhere in that post or this thread that i got to solve or never deal with again, it would be this.

So fucking tired of going out to eat or get a drink and having a fucking hoarse throat afterwards from basically yelling the entire time i'm there because shitty music is blasting really loud. This goes double for actual sit down restaurants, not just "casual" places.

I've been to WAY too many, by which i mean more than one, actually nicer places that do this. Like check for two people is ~$70+ kind of place. What the hell?

I've also been at a place that was doing this, where everyone else i was with was complaining about it and we could barely talk, and then someone went and TURNED THE MUSIC UP. Not like a louder song started, but in the middle of the song it went up a couple notches.

For fucks sake?
posted by emptythought at 6:59 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I would add the following addendum to the check-to-the-appropriate-person rule: present the bottle to the person who ordered the wine.

I've been to far too many restaurants where I've ordered the wine and they've presented it to my male companion for tasting. No, he doesn't know a damn thing about wine. That's why I ordered it in the first place! Leave the patriarchy out of the sommelier-customer exchange.
posted by librarylis at 7:06 PM on January 14, 2016 [16 favorites]


When I go to restaurants with Mr Corpse -- he is clearly a man, I am clearly a woman -- the check always seems to be placed on the table precisely between us. I can't think of the last time I was with a man and the check was presented to him in a way that bothered me (and I am the sort to be bothered).

Last serving job I had was at this small town restaurant that was on it's way out mostly because the owner was horrible and word got round. I was instructed that the proper way was to give the check to the' Man' unless it was obvious that the woman had her wallet out. Dead serious that's what he said. I didn't.

Made it a whole four months at that job. The final straw was when he lectured me on the way I that I thought about things being barbaric and that just wait you will see that things will return to normal when people figured it out. Normal in his mind was basically women going back to their 'normal' roles.
posted by Jalliah at 7:21 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I go to restaurants with Mr Corpse -- he is clearly a man, I am clearly a woman -- the check always seems to be placed on the table precisely between us.

This seems to be what happens almost always when I -- a man -- am dining somewhere with my wife or with a female friend. Which suits me well: I know several successful well-compensated women and when we are not splitting it evenly, I would say I am being treated 60% of the time. Yay!

Last night my wife and I were out with several friends at an Italian place. The missus, sitting beside me, had pasta while I split a pizza with a female friend across the table. At the end when the unfinished food was being boxed up, the server had a of difficulty with the concept that the other pizza diner and I wanted two separate boxes. It required two or three rounds of explanation to get the idea across: the concept that I could share a meal with someone I did not live with was an elusive one.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:45 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


In all these situations, are the wait staff bringing the bill to the table and not presenting it to the person who asked for it?

Because that to me is a logical way of doing it.
posted by Mezentian at 7:49 PM on January 14, 2016


It's always puzzled me why people try to figure out a tip to the fraction of a penny (literally, trying to determine if they should round up or down, to the fraction of a cent) based on a specific percentage. It's like a magic number, where if they tip this one exact amount they're not over-rewarding the undeserving while also not appearing miserly -- and then they never tip anything else other than this percent, and will try to argue about any other figure. I even caught one picking up a bit of a bonus I'd put in to thank them for some of the special requests made by our group, excusing her behavior by saying she thought we were overpaying and was taking back some of her tip. From others I've seen little plastic cards with more exact numbers, calculators, and extensive math scribbled on napkins as people argued about who owed what portion of the tip. Bistro math, could it's nefarious power be harnessed, could indeed be a potent power source.

And, anyway, when I tip I go up for better service and, yes, when it is clearly the wait staff's mistake that forgot my order or similar things that were part of their job, I'll knock that tip down hard -- but once you're in the ballpark, use the perfomance modifiers and go from there.
posted by Blackanvil at 7:56 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Many is the time we've gone somewhere, and the person who has led myself and my obviously blind husband to the table has tried to hand him a menu.

Wait staff who haven't seated us and didn't see us come in, when they show up with menus later once we're seated, aren't guilty of this - they'd have no way of knowing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:19 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know what I hate? When you go to the drive up window and they make you pull into a spot because the chicken nuggets are still back in the freezer. Oh, and no need to ask every time if I want to biggie size that. Except the chocolate shake. Of course biggie it up!
posted by AugustWest at 8:35 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


My new favorite restaurant goal for 2016 is not to be served a veggie burger capable of bleeding, which I cannot say for 2015. (Cows, you might be surprised to learn, are not a vegetable.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:51 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why does the restaurant employer get to make the customer responsible for the staff's payment? The waiter works for the restaurant.

Independent contractor wait staff on demand. They set their own service charge and register with a smart phone app. You take out your phone and select one from the list of qualified (have passed a menu test at each restaurant they serve at) servers in the area. The app provider gets a cut.
posted by ctmf at 9:12 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's like Uber for rubens.
posted by No-sword at 9:20 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Go to better restaurants.
posted by iffthen at 9:28 PM on January 14, 2016


It's like Uber for rubens.

Ubn?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:29 PM on January 14, 2016


Or maybe Ruber
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:30 PM on January 14, 2016


You wouldn't bring a toddler to a gallery opening or a play would you? That's just cruel to everyone, kid included.

Derail but - we took our then baby and then toddler to openings and restaurants all the time. I have blathered on about this in detail here on the blue. Plays no though. But really - stop assuming kids are some monolithic group who are all badly behaved and can't be controlled. Please.
posted by Megami at 10:03 PM on January 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate when servers ask me how the food is, or how it tastes. You're supposed to know!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:24 PM on January 14, 2016


I pay 20% tips because I'm embarrassed not to, but when did 15% start looking bad?
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:41 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Damn, it's 25-30% now. (Last time I ate at fancy places with any regularity was 2010, mea culpa)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:47 PM on January 14, 2016


I would 1000% go out for dinner in any restaurant with a dainty hamster.
The Dainty Hamster sounds like the pub that David and Jack should’ve visited instead of The Slaughtered Lamb.

Would've made for a more boring movie, but probably a much better backpacking experience.

Can I have a piece of toast?”, indeed.
posted by blueberry at 11:01 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


the least you can do is be respectful of the ingredient and not burn the shit out of this poor chunk of cow until it tastes the worst it possibly can.

I like it burnt. No one is being respected when I am served food I don’t like, don’t eat it, and it gets thrown out.
posted by bongo_x at 11:11 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


The chef is being disrespected, though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:14 PM on January 14, 2016


cotton dress sock: "I pay 20% tips because I'm embarrassed not to, but when did 15% start looking bad? Damn, it's 25-30% now."

10% was the average, but people became aware of the importance of tips, so they tried to go a little above and beyond. (Just look up through this thread or any other restaurant tipping thread on MeFi and you'll see quite a few "I try to tip a little extra" comments). So after a while, lots of people tipped a little extra, at 15%, which eventually made it the norm. Then the cycle repeated, which is how 20% started happening. Since then, 20% has become the new norm, so people who want to be generous tip 25%. And then that will become the norm. And the cycle of life goes on.
posted by Bugbread at 11:34 PM on January 14, 2016


And I don't know why it is that waiters will wait until you have food in your mouth to pop by and ask if you need anything else. Is it a skill they learn during staff training?

Here it's "How's everything tasting?" and the answer is "Mmmrrff!"
posted by louche mustachio at 11:42 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just do that thing where you chew and you raise your eyebrows and hold up a finger like "Hold on just a second" and chew some more and make that little "mmph" sound that means "I'll be with you in just a minute, as soon as I swallow this bite" and then chew some more and maybe wiggle the finger a little like "hold on just a bit" and then chew some more and make some more mmph sounds and chew and move your eyebrows and chew and chew and just keep doing that until you see who buckles first.
posted by Bugbread at 12:39 AM on January 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


Thanks, Bugbread - the timescale was the confusing thing for me, sorry. (I still sometimes expect to see 00s prices on menus. Had a few years somewhere else; between currency conversion and the temporal leap forward, my mind just doesn't want to do that math :/) I did just google it for myself, though, and it seems there were a lot of articles written about tip creep around 2011-2012, so maybe then?

I've been out of the food as experience thing for long enough that most of these curiosities provide enough entertainment to be worth the price. (Although, tbf, though I am sympathetic to anyone working for tips, 30% sounds like a lot!)
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:12 AM on January 15, 2016


Kind of the opposite of the bill getting handed to the guy problem, has anyone else had the experience of the vegetarian dish always being given to the female? My husband is vegetarian, but I'm not, and 90% of the time they start putting the vegetarian dish in front of me.
posted by Kris10_b at 1:18 AM on January 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


I eat gluten free and I have had them assume my wife was getting that meal. I just give them the look that says "I’m the girly one, if that’s what you’re thinking".
posted by bongo_x at 1:29 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


has anyone else had the experience of the vegetarian dish always being given to the female?
Related to that, I pretty much always get my wife's double espresso rather than the latte/flat white I actually ordered. Then there's that momentary flash of masculinist contempt from the server as I ask that the cups be exchanged. Ah, gender assumptions and food and beverage orders!
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:48 AM on January 15, 2016


Ask that the cups be exchanged? Why not just swap them yourselves? Are you sitting at either end of a really long Downton Abbey-style dining table?
posted by rifflesby at 2:08 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Awkward verbal expression on my part. It's more like the server will automatically serve the cups in the wrong order and I'll say, "no; that one's mine." But yeah, it's mostly a discreet post server swap, conducted with a knowing grin because it's happened so many times now.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:16 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kris10_b: "Kind of the opposite of the bill getting handed to the guy problem, has anyone else had the experience of the vegetarian dish always being given to the female?"

Not an opposite, but your comment made me remember that my wife's beer order often gets served to me.

Also, my elementary school kid always orders the large ramen, while the rest of us all order the regular ramen, and the staff always give me his order. That one just makes sense, though.
posted by Bugbread at 4:15 AM on January 15, 2016


mandolin conspiracy: "All I have to say is that there better be an autoclave in the kitchen to clean those things."
Given that the carts seem to have plastic handles, I doubt it.
a halcyon day: "In some US states, food safety laws prohibit serving anything cooked below a certain internal temperature, which includes rare steak."
It would be great to know which states these are, so I can avoid them. A good steak should be served so rare that a skilled veterinarian could resuscitate it.
posted by brokkr at 4:36 AM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


The chef is being disrespected, though.

One of the things I like best about eating in small places where there is an actual chef in control is being able to say "make it how chef recommends" and getting a happy and sometimes surprising result. But I'm a person who likes both rare and well done meat and enjoys seeing what a professional thinks best; it would be frustrating to have very specific tastes but not feel heard.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:49 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


ctmf: "Independent contractor wait staff on demand. They set their own service charge and register with a smart phone app. You take out your phone and select one from the list of qualified (have passed a menu test at each restaurant they serve at) servers in the area. The app provider gets a cut."
History fun fact: in 19th century Cologne, there were a number of breweries in the city centre who figured out they could capitalize on their location by serving beer more or less straight from the production line, which saved expenses on transport (and the city was always full of thirsty people anyway, natch). However, they didn't want no truck with hired waitstaff and the like, so what happened is they just had a Zapfkellner - "draught waiter", a salaried employee - sell beer directly to independent servers (called Köbes), who cooperated to set up small operations with benches and tables on the street outside and sold beer to patrons. Largely indistinguishable from other beer gardens, they were not actually fixed establishments, just a bunch of guys competing who could sell the most beer.

Today, it is customary in Cologne that unless you specifically signal your waiter that you don't want another beer (by putting your coaster on top of the glass) they'll bring you another one as soon as your glass is empty.
posted by brokkr at 4:56 AM on January 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


And if I tell you I’ll fill the wine glass myself I mean it. Tell your colleagues so I don’t have to keep repeating myself.

Why yes, that will work very well. All the staff should constantly be updating each other about the needs of their clients; this could never get confusing or go wrong.


I'd like to address this point from way up-thread. I've served tables. I've worked in restaurants and catering for a long time, both FoH & BoH. In some restaurants, the person serving your table is the only person interacting with you. They don't split tips and they run all their own plates to the tables they serve. In other restaurants, more commonly these days, the server who takes your order relies on their colleagues (including bussers/food runners) to deliver your food to you, fill your water/wine, etc, etc.

Absolutely, they should be in communication. That is their job. If they can't get their shit together to keep eachother in the loop about the needs of every individual table, they are doing a poor job. This is basic service! This is what you're paying for! If these people don't have the short-term memory to remember the quirks and requests of the different tables, then like taking an order, they can write it down.
posted by Evstar at 5:15 AM on January 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


And list bottles in price order from cheapest upwards. I love learning about the wines of the world, but not when I’m knackered and just want a sodding drink. I don’t like having to hunt for something in my budget.

Better yet, why not just provide a statutory upper bound on bottle prices? Don't bother me with any of this left-bank vs. right-bank nonsense, you effete wankers. Hell, I don't even want to know if it's red or white. They're all just made from grapes, right? How different can they be?

Proposed solution: Regardless of what he or his tablemates order, Jay Rayner shall hereafter be served nothing but Boone Farm's finest fortified wines, which will solve all of his stated problems in one fell swoop.
posted by Mayor West at 5:29 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sometimes they will come around and pour wine for you, which I also don't like. My wife in particular likes to drink wine in discreet glass amounts, so regularly topping up wine is an annoyance for her.
Likewise, I prefer to swig my wine from the bottle, whilst swaying slightly and pretending to be French. A good restaurant will keep these preferences in mind.


This is my particular pet peeve. When we go out, I generally nurse half a glass of wine all through dinner while my husband drink the rest of the bottle himself. But when the waiter keeps coming around to top my glass up, it means that I end up passing a full glass of wine over to my husband at the end of the meal for him to finish up. Especially bad if it's white, because then it gets all lukewarm and ugh.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 6:02 AM on January 15, 2016


I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate when servers ask me how the food is, or how it tastes. You're supposed to know!

Right, but...subjectivity means their own knowledge of what the dish tastes like is irrelevant? They aren't asking you to describe the food and list its ingredients. They are asking you if you personally like it, or if anything needs to be fixed.

This is why I wasn't a big fan of customers asking me my favorite dish, when I was a server. I mean, I'll tell you what I like, but then if you don't like it I feel like you'll blame me for it. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR HEART AND STOMACH DESIRE.

("How is everything?" is also one of those American-isms that doesn't mean what it says, because when I asked that of my tables, I was never asking that. I was creating a conversational opening for customers to ask for another drink, or a side of honey mustard, or extra napkins, or a packet of crackers for the toddler who is now refusing to eat chicken fingers. It's like asking a co-worker "How's it going?" The question means something other than what it says.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:05 AM on January 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Once in all the times I have been out for a meal in the past I-don't-know-how-many-years have I been served by a member of staff that remembers the covers (who ordered what). It doesn't matter if there are two diners or twenty. Often it is the case that the person or people who are delivering the food to the table are different to the person who took the order, but that is no excuse. Admittedly I am not fine dining, just regular dining, but there used to be a habit of remembering what people ordered. Now the staff arrive at the table and shout the name of the dish they have in their hand. Certainly when I worked as a waiter it was expected that I would remember which plate to put in front of which person, but admittedly that was last century.

This also determines how many other interruptions the staff have to make, if there is specialised cutlery (such as a soup spoon) to deliver, or a drinks order every time they arrive at the table they are going to want your attention to repeat the order you gave them minutes earlier.

The last place where the person taking the order remembered the covers was such a revelation that it caused two other people out of a party of five to comment. Our waitress expressed surprise when commended on her abilities, it just makes things easier if you remember who ordered what, she said. Yes! You better believe she got a tip.

While we are on the subject of good service, I found the staff at Dalmatino on Hvar island in Croatia to be exemplary. I wandered in because they were advertising local dishes at reasonable prices. It was late in the day, pretty much the last sitting, but the maitre d' appeared pleased to talk and discuss menu choices. During the meal I pointed out that one of the leaves in my salad was black and withered to my waiter, bearing in mind that the kitchen had been serving for 12 hours by then and the ambient temperature was 25°C at 11pm, I was just passing on the information rather than being a prickly customer. After that there appeared free drinks, a free sweet and I had to force them to take a tip. Looking them up later it transpires they are the number one restaurant on the Trip Advisor list, with good reason!
posted by asok at 6:07 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Shoot, my husband and I were in a freakin Dunkin Donuts in New York City and the cashier addressed herself exclusively to him, although I was the one handing over the money. In all fairness, he was standing slightly closer to the till, but seriously. She even handed my card back to him!
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:24 AM on January 15, 2016


Now the staff arrive at the table and shout the name of the dish they have in their hand.

The sad thing is that there's a standard way to prevent the auction problem: use seat numbers. Every table has a number. Every seat at every table also has a number. A well-run restaurant will make sure every person on staff knows the origin point for each table (say, the corner closest to the kitchen) so they all know that guest #2 asked for gluten-free and guest #3 is the one with the soup, and so on. I've never even waited tables and I know this system. Not using it is just sloppy.

I'll admit the system breaks down if people at the table move, but in that case the people who moved only have themselves to blame. And musical chairs is less common in fine dining anyway.
posted by fedward at 6:28 AM on January 15, 2016 [4 favorites]




According to my Home Ec teacher in 1996:

- Salted butter for cooking and finishing savory dishes and cream sauces
- Unsalted butter for baking, as baking requires more precise applications of salt.
- Cultured or fresh butter for eating with bread at the table, unless you add in flavoring, in which case use unsalted butter and mix in your additions, (for things like maple butter, honey butter, herb butter, etc), and salt to taste.

This is the final word on butter, as far as I'm concerned. I can't be bothered to learn anything more about butter. But in the end, I follow my dad's advice, passed down through Scottish generations, "More butter is better. Always."
posted by SassHat at 6:47 AM on January 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: I am the sort to be bothered
posted by SassHat at 7:04 AM on January 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


And I don't know why it is that waiters will wait until you have food in your mouth to pop by and ask if you need anything else. Is it a skill they learn during staff training?

Those are the ones who are working their way through dental school.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:38 AM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the whole auctioning off plates at the table/delivering the wrong food to the wrong seats thing is an indication of a totally malfunctioning FOH system. Every seat has a number. When servers punch the orders into the POS, they assign each dish (and each drink for that matter) to a seat number. It is then the responsibility of whoever is expediting the orders in the kitchen to ensure the server knows which dish for which seat.

If this problem keeps happening to you at a given restaurant, stop going there; it shows a restaurant that doesn't care about basic details of decent service.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 AM on January 15, 2016


This is the final word on butter, as far as I'm concerned.

Certainly your Home Ec teacher's final word, anyway. Buying two different types of butter seems like needless complication to me. It's a trivial matter to add whatever amount of salt is required/desired to any dish.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:08 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kris10_b: "Kind of the opposite of the bill getting handed to the guy problem, has anyone else had the experience of the vegetarian dish always being given to the female?"

No, but if my soda order gets messed up, it's because they give me diet soda. My husband never accidentally gets diet soda. (Diet soda seems to be one of my migraine triggers; I'm not risking it.)
posted by telophase at 9:38 AM on January 15, 2016


No, but if my soda order gets messed up, it's because they give me diet soda. My husband never accidentally gets diet soda. (Diet soda seems to be one of my migraine triggers; I'm not risking it.)

This is why I've stopped ordering any kind of sweetened or fancy drink at coffee places--they seem unable to resist giving me the "sugar-free" version, which will leave me queasy in a darkened room for 36 hours.

Yes I'm aware that I am better off for never ordering another pumpkin spice latte again, but that's not the point. Just because I'm female-presenting doesn't mean I want a "skinny" drink. My male partner has never had this problem despite ordering FAR fluffier drinks.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:48 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kind of the opposite of the bill getting handed to the guy problem, has anyone else had the experience of the vegetarian dish always being given to the female? My husband is vegetarian, but I'm not, and 90% of the time they start putting the vegetarian dish in front of me.

This is part of a larger general problem of gendered and specifically "feminine" food and drink items.

I will, very often, order a totally ridiculous fruity drink if a restaurant has a fancy cocktail menu and it sounds cool. Often times it is. My partner usually orders like, a vodka soda with bitters or something unless a drink on the menu really catches her eye. Guess who gets which drink? And the reverse if she orders like, a sour ale and i order a cocktail.

I'm not saying every place screws this up, but it happens way too often for it to be an accident. And even at the places that are better about it, the end result is usually the server going "Ok i have the NAME_OF_DRINK?" and second guessing it, when that doesn't happen with the food.

I at least partially blame the shithead guys who get SOOOO insulted and emasculated if someone ever sets a fruity drink in front of them. Yes, that's a thing, and i've seen it happen more than once. Shit, i saw that happen with sugary coffee drinks when i was a barista. "No this is for my WIFE, not ME, haha i wouldn't drink this" or worse.

Going that route is just the safer option when the alternative is possibly having some insecure asshole rant at you or go whine to your boss.
posted by emptythought at 11:22 AM on January 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


So in the Chef's Table series (Netflix), the episode featuring Dan Barber's Blue Hill Restaurant, he offers his guests the different butters of three (restaurant-owned) individual cows as part of bread service.

If you're going to go over the top, don't just clear the bar, aim for the moon.
posted by bonehead at 11:33 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I hate, and have happened admittedly only a couple of times, is the server seeing my half-empty glass and try to top it off with the wrong liquid. Both times for me it was my regular cola being topped off with diet (I cannot stand to drink any artificial sweetener currently in production) and received a new glass when I pointed it out, but really, if you don't clearly remember what someone ordered, ask before refilling. No, wait, just don't refill unless asked, nobody needs that much sugarwater anyway.
posted by Blackanvil at 11:43 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


What pissed me off was at [expensive restaurant] where for some reason we'd ordered bottles of flat and sparkling water, and they'd consistently refill them wrong. (I wasn't paying, or I would have commented about this, because thanks, I don't want to pay for 3 extra bottles because of your mistakes.)
posted by jeather at 11:56 AM on January 15, 2016


Ten years of dining out with my husband has taught me that , regardless who ordered the wine, the person asked to taste it is the person wearing a tie.

(And, per way above, you don't have to say anything but "good" or "mm" or just nod, you're checking to make sure it's not Undrinkable from a rotting cork. Trust me, you will know this on the first sip and so will everyone else by the face you make.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gendered wine tasting, that's so true. She's got a much better palette than I do, but I still get given the first pour. Bloody donkey waiters.
posted by bonehead at 4:00 PM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's only an issue when I got out with my friend who is wine writer and has as one of the finest palettes for it I've ever known. I'm always slightly afraid they'll ask me to taste cause I'm the dude but thankfully it's never come up. It might be the huge fur wrap she wears tho
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ten years of dining out with my husband has taught me that , regardless who ordered the wine, the person asked to taste it is the person wearing a tie.

What happens if there is no tie?
posted by Jalliah at 4:31 PM on January 15, 2016


It’s a draw? Someone wins?
posted by bongo_x at 4:43 PM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


it's a tie!
posted by andrewcooke at 4:49 PM on January 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


It doesn't happen every time but more often than not in mixed gender crowds I hear the waiter asking "Who would like to taste this wine?"
posted by mmascolino at 8:23 PM on January 15, 2016


The interior of a muscle cut from an animal is essentially sterile.

Fortunately, these days you can use steak glue (Transglutaminase) to cut up that muscle, render it non-sterile, then put it invisibly back together and pretend it's a nice safe piece of steak that could be eaten rare.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:08 PM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


yabbut 99 times out of 100, that tg steak is being cooked sous vide... so it's actually fully safe. the more you know!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:10 PM on January 15, 2016


Really? I don't actually eat steak except at pretty nice places, so this isn't something I've spent time worrying about - but I didn't realise sous vide cooking was so widespread that you could rely on it being used these days. (I am a lot more worried about grocery store steaks that have been glued back together, as that's something more likely to make it into my diet, and those definitely aren't cooked safely for chopped meat)
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:19 PM on January 15, 2016


In my experience, tg on steaks has only been used for subtle changes--e.g. cutting the sinew out of a flatiron and gluing it back together, then sous vide for like 12 hours--taking a difficult piece of meat to use in a chunk because it gets too tough, and turning it into something else. Or sort-of shortibs of prime rib, which we deboned and glued back together, then cooked sous vide for like a day so they came out like melting pork ribs. Stuff like that. Some chefs for a while were gluing two different fish together, sometimes cooking one and leaving the other raw after gluing (technical pyrotechnics, really impressive to me anyway)--but they'd only be using sashimi-grade for anything raw anyway so you're probably safe there.

I dunno, maybe there are chefs out there gluing things and then just grilling or whatever, and I'd totally agree that would be pretty concerning. Just cause I haven't seen it doesn't mean anything--it could be really common for all I know.

Tg's used all the time though. The chicken at Subway, chicken nuggets at McDs and everywhere really, etc. Its general safety seems pretty well-established, which suggests to me really just look at where you eat and how they approach things. Which is why all of us need to be advocating for much more transparent and detailed public health inspection reports. Like if somewhere gets a conditional pass because the handwash sink was dirty, was it because it was actually filthy and unmaintained, or did some twit empty something into it five minutes before the inspector showed up and the inspector was having a bad day? (or, indeed, you didn't pay them off). I think the more the public is educated on what consitutes safe food handling practices and general cleanliness practices, fewer places will be able to cut corners. This is good for everyone, on either side of the kitchen door.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:47 PM on January 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


(I am a lot more worried about grocery store steaks that have been glued back together, as that's something more likely to make it into my diet, and those definitely aren't cooked safely for chopped meat)

Well you're just going to have to get yourself a sous vide setup for home then, aren't you? One of us one of us...

Some chefs for a while were gluing two different fish together, sometimes cooking one and leaving the other raw after gluing (technical pyrotechnics, really impressive to me anyway)--but they'd only be using sashimi-grade for anything raw anyway so you're probably safe there.

Well you're safe there if the chefs themselves aren't the ones introducing the e coli into that combination, which is not exactly a sure thing. But the risk of the kitchen being the vector is there regardless of whether they're cooking your meat over 140. Having worked in a bar and known no shortage of people in food service it always makes me sort of confused that people are drawing the line on their exposure concerns with meat temp. I'm way more worried about folks without health insurance working sick or some clown with a slack attitude about hand washing and the "last mile" than I am something hiding in the ground beef. I save that worrying for meat I get myself from the grocery. In a restaurant there's a bazillion other more likely problems IMNSHO.
posted by phearlez at 1:31 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


"In some US states, food safety laws prohibit serving anything cooked below a certain internal temperature, which includes rare steak."

Could be, but this time it wasn't state law (Hawaii). I'd had a nice steak earlier in the week at a better restaurant. At that place, I think they would have been A-OK just describing the concept of fire to the steak and calling it done if I'd ordered it that way. Second time I was in a hurry, in a mall. (I know. A mall. But, the first place had been in a mall, too? America.)

But really, the thing was, why not just put it clearly on the menu? "No rare meat for you, tourist boy!" And, the waiter's response of a flat, "We don't do that," meaning "Try again! See if you can guess correctly this time." Not, "We don't do that, but would you prefer something else?" or "How about medium rare? I know, sorry, it's the best I can get you," just killed me.
posted by Gotanda at 1:28 AM on January 17, 2016


(this may relate to an earlier thread where people were surprised i asked for a bill) am i the only one who actively works with the waiter and indicates who should get the bill, or who should taste the wine? (not, like, pointing, but a "look of expectation" when the bill arrives, or a nod to whoever enjoys the attention when it's the wine). in my experience, waiters are often open to / grateful for such guidance (but then they would act like that even if they weren't, so what do i know?)

american fine dining seems a bit too passive for my tastes.
posted by andrewcooke at 5:32 AM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


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