Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Boycotting Saturday Night Out

Enough about the weather!  The illustration is actually several time more congenial than the experience that most people have on a Saturday night in a restaurant (especially in winter  when no one has the choice of an outdoor cafe.  As of last Saturday I've gone to my very last Satuday night dinner in a "serious" restaurant.

We were four, we had reservations but had to wait fifteen minutes in a very crowded little area with two sofas, one coffee table and no other waiting area except the crowded bar.  We asked for a booth in the vain hope it would be  a bit quieter than a table in the middle of the room. It wasn't. The sound was so intense it could have been baled and used for ballast in a ship. Conversation was almost impossible which was very frustrating as I was with people who have many interest. A conversation would have been enjoyable had it been audible.

Noise is my main complaint. I have long accepted the fact that restaurants make a killing on drinks, both wine and coffee. The simple house chardonay was actually very good but not quite worth what it cost. The servings of food are generous in an all purpose restaurant (not into haut cuisine and fancy presentations). In fact, they are generous enough older people, as we were, are not inclined to have appetizers or salads. I could not finish my pasta choice but there was not enough to do the doggie bag thing.  Only one person -- who had just had a birthday and wanted to celebrate -- had a dessert which proved to be a disappointment to him.

In short, nothing was actually pleasant about the evening except the wine (and that was probably because it was a bit later than I usually eat and I was hungry). By the next morning I had decided: no more Saturday nights in restaurants. I know it's a  tradition here in middle American but I've been there, done that (and enjoyed it far more at a younger age, in less popular restaurants). 

I think how very easy it is to make a simple meal for friends -- at least at my age when I've also "been there, done that" with fancy main dishes. A simple entree, a roasted chicken, a pot roast, grilled fish with a very simple vegetable and with rice, potatoes or a pasta, is almost stress free. People can sit in a comfortable living room, have some wine or a drink, dunk a cracker or stiff chip in some purchased humus, or have some other simple appetizer. And talk, maybe share some piece of news or a new thought,even if you know one another well, there is always somehing to say. I won't change anyone's restaurant going habits -- except my own.  Certainly my one-person boycott is not going to do the local economy any harm at all. I'm too old an grumpy to be uncomfortable and pretend I'm enjoying  something that seem pointless.

8 comments:

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I think that there may be more people of our age agreeing with you than you think. Noise, overpriced food and sometimes poor service have had us giving up on dinner out. However, we do have a little locally owned restaurant we like that is casual and always good food and service. Our other option is lunch out on Saturday afternoon.

Usually we do invite our friends in to spend the evening just as you describe. The time spent together MUST be quality time. Now that I am retired, I don't mind fussing in the kitchen a little.

June Calender said...

Two very good points Carol: lunch is often a better option for eating out. In fact, I'm very found of brunch too. And I totally agree about quality time. Time to talk with people who are not single-mindedly caught up it work issues but have time to share various interests is very rewarding. Thanks for your comments.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I do not do restaurants of any type anymore. No matter the day or night. Once you are into organic eating no restaurants that I have ever lived by can give you the freshly prepared quality of organic food. Maybe if I lived in some of the organic nodes of the country would I consider eating out. But like you "been there, done that" I've had plenty of experience with eating out when I was younger. Now my time is more valuable than to shout across tables for conversation. I liked your honesty in your post. -- barbara

June Calender said...


Somehow I'm not surprised you're way ahead of me, Barbara. Among people I know here mine is a fairly radical stance. I think brings a variety of kinds of wisdom, and seeking peaceful, truly delicious means is one of them.

Lynn Guardino said...

I totally agree with you June. What's worse is Saturday night in the summer! We have found some nice, small and inexpensive options close to our home. We are not food snobs so a simple meal, shared by interesting friends, works for us. We also like sitting at the bar at the Riverway in S.Yarmouth because it is not noisy and we can have a meal and enjoy the company of others who are always willing to share their stories. Fun. Recently, I bought a new (old) dining room table, one that easily accommodates 8 and we have had such pleasure, serving simple meals to friends who have helped us fill those spaces. So, you certainly are not alone and I certainly hope you will come, sip some wine, and eat some of our pasta soon!!!

June Calender said...

Lynn, what a kind offer! It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't enjoy loud restaurants. Summer, as you say, the crowds are impossible.

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

You certainly hit a nerve about weekend eating out. I hate Friday nights eating out, Saturday eating out and Sunday after noon eating out . You are right, it's too much noise, too crowded. Portions of food ridiculous, they should have senior portions available or give us the opportunity of ordering child's menu. So my advice is to stay at home on weekends. One more thing. If ever in D.C. Don't go to the Washington Grill. Dinner there for 7 plus wine cost my son $700 plus tip 100.00. (Portions were small though)

June Calender said...

Di, at $100 a person, that is not a restaurant for ordinary people -- I wonder if the Washington politicians think that's the way everyone lives.