I love to eat and I love to dine out.
I eat out a lot, partly because I travel frequently, but mostly because I relish it. In fact, I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than relaxing and laughing with my hubbie and/or friends over a good meal, a donut, a coffee, an ice cream cone…basically anything delectable.
Friends, family and readers of this blog often ask me where to dine and what to eat, so I decided to create this section and share my experiences as an enthusiastic diner instead of rewriting them several times a week in texts and emails!
This feature on my blog represents restaurants and other food establishments that I have eaten at since starting the blog around March 2014. These are my opinions, and believe me, by no means do I consider myself a professional reviewer – one whom might visit an establishment several times to get a full sense of place and menu and give details, details, details. I’m simply sharing what my taste buds and eyes experienced over one or many visits, my goal being to provide a quick easy reference for my readers.
For me, three things are necessary to create a delicious dining experience – the food, the care given by kitchen and wait staff, and the atmosphere. I much prefer a genuine place than one that tries to be something it’s not. I’m just as happy with a homemade all-American potato salad made authentically with real ingredients as I am with an exotic or complicated dish that I can’t easily replicate in my kitchen.
It almost goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: no one cares for sloppy or slow service from wait staff or kitchen. It often completely ruins the rhythm of a meal. I admire atmosphere that complements the food and the style, and which adds to the overall dining experience whether it is a hip new restaurant or a lobster shack overlooking the ocean.
Some of you might find this crazy or a bit OCD, but it drives me BONKERS when I see typos on menus. It’s like the word pops off the menu and hovers over the table. Gah! To me, the equivalent to nails going down a chalkboard. Yeah, it could be perceived as persnickety (probably by people who can’t spell anyway), but in my previous marketing job for Whole Foods Market, I did a lot of proofreading, and the skill just won’t leave me.
What’s Up with WHAT ABOUT THE VEGANS?
This is actually a question I often say out loud to my husband when we are choosing a place to eat with a mixed group of palates.
Even though I am no longer one (or vegetarian…or macrobiotic…I’ve done it all), I do appreciate a restaurant that goes beyond salad to accommodate a growing sector of plant-loving patrons. Having many friends and a few family members who are vegan, I see how much effort it takes to accommodate us. And honestly, with so many creative cooks and chefs in the world, and amazing recipes readily available, accommodating vegetarians and vegans seems not only reasonable but necessary. So many people travel/eat in mixed crowds of omnivores and vegans/vegetarians that we often struggle with where to eat to accommodate everyone. Well, I’m happy to say it can happen, but not everywhere, so it’s going to be a question I answer for each place I write about. Also, I’ll point out vegetarian options, or where vegetarian items can be adapted to accommodate vegans, but again, I encourage you to CALL AHEAD to check on current menus because menus change constantly!
Some details you should know:
- Check the website or other contact info included at the end of each review for the most updated info on days and hours of operation, reservation requirements and other establishment policies.
- If you are a vegan/vegetarian diner or have other food/allergy restrictions, it is always in your best interest to call ahead. Many establishments are willing to help you with selections or adaptations, especially if they have an advance notice. It makes it a more pleasant dining experience for everyone involved.
- When I make up my own word combos like lunch/dinner, I read it as one word. I may not be a math whiz, but I can count (I’m also phenomenally fast at figuring out percentage off as in SALE! But my math skills end about there).
- Of course, I know I wrote more than 10 words when one factors in all the other info I provided.
I’ll keep adding my reviews over time, so do check back to read new and updated reviews!
Have suggestions of where to dine or questions? Contact me at: barbara (at) spiritedcook (dot) com