Different Styles of Indian Food and Restaurants

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

India is the second largest producer of food after China, and is a multi-cuisine country. It is a land of diverse culinary arts with their exclusive features and specialties. North, west, south, east and central parts of India, all have their own exclusive culinary specialties. Indian food presents a range of flavors and specialties as vast as the country itself.
Many Indians are vegetarians, but there is a substantial percentage of people who eat meat. Out of the many cuisines present in the Indian gourmet a few are as follows:

Indian Fare
A staple Indian diet consists of steamed rice served with “daal” (curried lentils), yoghurt, vegetables, lamb or chicken, pickles (there might be over thousands of varieties in pickles made all across India) and “rotis” (unleavened bread made from whole wheat flour and served hot and fresh). This is the simplest description for a basic Indian meal.

Mughlai Fare
Mughlai cuisine is a style that married Indian gravies with the richness of the Mughlai dining experience developed in northern India. The gravies are rich, spices are tempered with cream and butter and garnished with raisins, almonds, pistachios, walnuts or cashews. They form the gravies for enriching lamb or chicken as well as for dishes of cottage cheese and vegetables. “Biryani”, rice cooked with saffron and lamb or chicken is another specialty of the Mughlai Indian cuisine.

Udipi Fare
Udipi cuisine is basically a south Indian cuisine and owes its name to the city of its origin. Southern food is usually vegetarian, light and fiery. A lot of rice is eaten with a mixture of vegetables which are cooked in coconut oil. Every meal is accompanied with “sambhar”(lentil curry) as well as a thin soup called “rasam” which gave rise to the mulligatawny soup enjoyed in the west.

Hyderabad Hot
There is a southern flavor to the cuisine served in Hyderabad. There is an emphasis on mustard in this Indian cuisine.

Kebab Culture
Kebab(skewered barbequed meat) is a boneless piece of meat cooked for a long time over coals. The meats are marinated with yoghurt and spices and either cut into small portions or pounded into a paste or minced. A few different kebabs are sheekh kebab, boti kebab, pathar kebab or malai kebab.

Goan
Equally well spiced are the Goan curries of western India. Goa is best known for its beaches, and therefore visitors can look forward to an abundance of seafood. The specialty here is Vindaloo (meat or seafood cooked in spices and vinegar). Sausages and pork is also popular which resuls in Sorpotel (a combination of tender flesh and spicy hot curry).

Vegetarian Belt
The states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra represents the vegetarian belt of the Indian cuisine collection.

Sweetmeats and Fruits
Indians have a sweettooth and the different types of sweets available throughout India. “Jalebis” (pretzel-like shapes fried in oil and dunked in sugar syrup), equivalent to western confections is “barfi” made of milk, “gulab jamuns” , “kheer”(thickened, sweetened milk in which rice has been cooked and garnished with saffron and raisins) etc. are a few to mention.

These are only a few of the various different cuisines relished in India. International dining and restaurants are also popular in India. Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Thai and Continental cuisine restaurants are also getting popular with the Indian population.

Do you Risk Complaining about your Food – No

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Having worked in the food service industry for most of my working life I believe if there is something wrong with the meal you ordered, you should send back the substandard meal. If something is not up to its advertised standard then you should give the food servers and kitchen staff the opportunity to rectify the error or problem. If your food is sent back it stands to reason the replacement meal will be looked after as the kitchen team will not want to prepare your meal for a third time and the food servers will not want to go over again and sort the complaint as it becomes awkward and embarrassing for them.

There is a myth that all returned food is abused by the kitchen team and just heated up and sent back out to the customer. If a restaurant or food outlet really wants repeat customers and to continue to earn money, that sort of attitude and behaviour cannot be tolerated. When I worked in a nice little village pub in the south of England, the company trainer offered some advice on the problem. They said “Try not to take the complaint personally but to remain calm and listen to what the problem is, and agree a mutual beneficial solution. Secondly you only hear the complaint because the customer cares enough about the place he or she is visiting to give you the feedback. For every person who complains to the staff about a bad experience there is another two who just leave, never complain to the staff but give negative feedback about their dining experience to everyone they know and this means your workplace gets a bad reputation.

Of course all chefs are annoyed if food gets sent back, but they are more annoyed at themselves or the person who took the original food order. True chefs by their nature are perfectionists so if you give them the chance to rectify the situation they will give their full efforts to make the meal perfect. If you are in a poorly rated restaurant or substandard burger bar then complaining to the staff will not really get you anywhere, as the staff in lesser establishments are usually demotivated, underpaid and not interested in the food quality one bit. On the other hand the top eateries pride themselves on their reputations and show off with their awards for their food quality and dinning experience. So these places need positive and negative feedback to make sure they maintain their standard of whats on the menu and food service.

Dining out on Atkins

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Eating out on the Atkins diet is really quite simple. Unlike other diets, in which you need to count points or figure out portion sizes, Atkins allows you to eat unlimited quantities of items that are “free” on the diet plan. The first time you dine out may be a little intimidating, but once you are familiar with all the delicious foods that you can eat on the diet, it is really easy to choose delicious meals that won’t make you fall off the diet wagon.

Breakfast

Breakfast is an easy meal to eat out in a restaurant.  Eggs are one of your best friends when you are on the Atkins diet. You can have them fried, scrambled, boiled or poached. Or have an omelet and don’t hesitate to load it up with vegetables and cheese. While cheese is not unlimited, the amount that is included, even in an overloaded omelet, will not have any adverse effect on your diet. What you won’t be having are pancakes, waffles and French toast. You can feel free to indulge in a few slices of bacon or breakfast sausage. In spite of what you may think, you are not encouraged to eat large portions of bacon or loads of butter. Just the fact that you can have a couple crispy slices is a wonderful indulgence.

Once you are past the early stages of the diet, having a slice of whole wheat toast with your breakfast won’t be harmful. Eventually, even a small serving of home fries is possible, but in the early days these are off limits. If you like lighter items, yogurt and berries are acceptable on the diet, but have a small serving of yogurt, not a supersized one.

Lunch

When you are on the Atkins diet, Caesar salads are a great option for lunch as long as you skip the croutons. Feel free to go with chicken, shrimp or even a burger on your salad. One thing that you will note with this diet is that you are never going to be hungry. You can never run out of points; there are free foods that you can have whenever you feel the need for something to munch on. You can also indulge in a Cobb salad—just go very light on the avocado. Most salads work well on Atkins. Feel free to have blue cheese or ranch dressing if you like creamy dressing. The one thing you need to look out for is hidden corn syrup, which has found its way into many salad dressings. Low-fat usually means higher sugar, so if in doubt go with a simple dressing.

Dinner

Dinner out in a restaurant on Atkins is simple—really it is! You can have most any protein, so feel free to choose steak, veal, lamb, pork or chicken. Most any fish is also great. Start with a salad and you are right on target. You can also indulge in a shrimp cocktail, bacon wrapped scallops or even fried calamari. Just watch out for the coating, which is loaded with carbs, so you don’t want to go crazy. When it comes to sides, avoid starchy veggies and load up on choices like broccoli and green beans. Some restaurants have added the option of mashed cauliflower, which is a great substitute for mashed potatoes.

Dessert will be off limits in the early days, unless the restaurant offers fresh fruit or a cheese plate. As you get into maintenance, you will be able to add a limited number of carbs into your diet, and if you want to indulge a little, share a dessert or have a bite or two. There is no need to deny yourself and there will be no damage done. Atkins is a diet that allows you to lose weight easily, and it is not hard to dine out in a restaurant while sticking to your diet. Atkins is more of a way of life than a diet. Once you become aware of all the hidden traps, you will be able to enjoy food again without ever feeling hungry.

A Guide to Ordering Sushi

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Sushi has gone mainstream. According to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, there are over 20,000 restaurants serving sushi outside Japan, over 10,000 of them in North America. Sushi restaurants offering a sophisticated variety of sushi can even be found in the American heartland, once the exclusive domain of potatoes and steaks. Many versions of sushi have even been fully Americanized, flavored with familiar comfort ingredients such as jalapenos and avoiding raw fish entirely.

Even so, ordering sushi can be intimidating. To begin with, most of the words associated with sushi are Japanese. If you are new to ordering sushi and you don’t speak Japanese, you might not guess that “sake nigirizushi” will get you a perfectly safe piece of smoked salmon on rice, while “unagi nigirizushi” will get you a raw piece of sea eel. Fortunately, many sushi restaurants have English-language translations on their menus. Many even have pictures.

All types of sushi include vinegared sticky rice. Many types of sushi also include a strip of nori seaweed. Raw fish without the rice is called sashimi. If you are nervous about trying raw fish, stick to shrimp and salmon, which are likely to have been previously cooked or smoked. There are also many vegetarian versions of sushi.

Nigirizushi

This is the most basic type of sushi. It is simply a small oblong mound of vinegared rice with a topping, usually some type of fish, although the topping can also be anything from chopped quail eggs to caviar. The topping may be bound to the rice with a nori wrap. Because “maki” refers to any rolled sushi, the proper term for nigirizushi which is wrapped with a strip of nori is “gunkanmaki.”

Rounded, pressed balls of nigirizushi are called “temarizushi.” When it is squared and pressed, it is called “oshizushi.”

Makizushi

This refers to all kinds of sushi rolls. Large sushi rolls are called “futomaki,” while small sushi rolls are called “hosomaki.” You now know the Japanese words for “thick” and “thin.” All makizushi consist of a layer of rice rolled around a filling, with or without a nori wrapping. If the roll is made so that the layer of nori is on the inside, the “inside-out” roll is called “uramaki.” This version is rare in Japan. Rolls can also be wrapped in cucumber skin, or sometimes even crepes.

Makizushi is usually served by the roll, cut into up to 8 pieces. Sometimes the roll is served uncut.

Most makizushi have 3 or 4 fillings, while some hosomaki may have only one. If nori is not used, the outside of the roll may be coated with sesame seeds or tobiko (flying fish roe). The roll may also include wasabi, a spicy green Japanese horseradish. One popular kind of makizushi is the California roll, which is filled with avocado, carrot, and imitation crab.

A nori-wrapped roll which is left open to form a cone is called “temakizushi.” Temakizushi is built so that the fillings spill out of the wide end. It must be eaten quickly, while the nori is still crisp. Because temakizushi is awkward to handle with chopsticks, it is usually eaten with the fingers.

Inarizushi

This is a pouch of fried tofu, filled with sushi rice and sometimes an extra filling. Sometimes a thin omelette is used instead of the tofu.

Chirashizushi

This is simply a bowl of sushi rice with toppings on top. If the toppings are mixed in with the rice, it is called “gomokuzushi.”

If you are still uncertain, don’t be afraid to ask the waitress or chef for advice. He or she will be happy to recommend something which is likely to be to your taste.

Tips for Wine Glass Pairings

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Before a fine wine passes the lips and intrigues the palate, the seduction begins with the pour. Anticipation stirs with the pop of the cork and the sound of the splash in the glass. The eyes succumb to the color that provides a clue to the grapes used and the vintage. The alluring swirl hints at the alcohol content via the presence or absence of “legs,” while the wine’s distinctive bouquet rises from the glass to tantalize the olfactory senses. As a wine reveals its secrets through sight, sound, smell and taste, quaffing from the right “wine and glass pairing” will ensure a fulfilling feast for the senses.

Red wine glassware

Depending on the characteristics of your red wine varietal, there are two styles of red wine glasses to choose from, Bordeaux or Burgundy. The Bordeaux wine glass is tall with a deep bowl, tapered sides and a flat rim. It’s designed for aroma-savoring and delivering big, bold, hearty reds to the center of the palate, emphasizing the perfect balance of fruit and acidity while softening the tannins. Wine-lovers will best appreciate the full complexity of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Rioja, Cab Franc, Merlot and of course Bordeaux in this glass. The height and wider top allows much more oxygen to enter the glass which is great for wines with higher alcohol content that often need swirling action and room to breathe.

The Burgundy wine glass is designed to capture the delicacy of wines derived from Pinot Noir grapes. The wider bowl allows for more aeration and for the aromas to gather. The sides taper inward to direct the full perfume-y bouquet and complexity to the nose. The rolled rim aids in delivering these sweeter wines to the tip of the tongue.

White wine glassware

The white wine glass also known as the Chardonnay wine glass is like a smaller version of the Bourdeaux glass with a narrower bowl and rim. White wines are more delicate than reds, so smaller glasses enable their subtle bouquets to reach the nose. The design of the glass helps to keep the white wines chilled longer.

Champagnes and sparkling wine glassware

New thinking is emerging among champagne and sparkling wine-quaffers. They’re trading the traditional narrower cylindrical flute for the tulip-shaped flute. It is a bit wider in the middle, tapering to a narrow top. With the traditional flute, the effervescence can be a bit overwhelming, whereas with the new design you can discern more aroma and flavor, making it easier to digest. Try a side by side comparison of the same wine in both styles of glasses to experience the difference and see which you prefer.

Dessert wine glassware

Dessert wines or aperitifs tend to be very sweet and typically, not a lot is consumed. Therefore, only small stemware of about 6 ½ inches in height is needed. There are several styles to choose from. The sherry glasses tend to look somewhat similar to the champagne flute, while the classic port glass has the wider bowl and gently tapers to the rim. Also, often used for port, the multi-purpose dessert wine glass have lovely, graceful shape more akin to a smaller Burgundy glass. Dessert wine-glasses can be used more interchangeably among apertifs, so it really is about which style most appeals to you.

Pros and cons of stemless wine glasses

Stemless wineglasses can look either modern and elegant or refreshingly casual. Stemless wine glasses are very practical for avoiding spills or just kicking back and enjoying casual wine-drinking, not necessarily as a connoisseur. If you are walking around with a stemless glass, do set it down often so your body temperature doesn’t affect the wine as much. Stemless glassware creates a beautiful table setting and wine glasses are likely to be held for only a few moments, with the least impact on the wine and certainly makes it easier to pass serving dishes around the table. Stemless glasses are designed with all the same features as stemware for red and white wines, sans the stems.

Glassware for a wine-tasting party

If you’re hosting a wine-tasting party, there’s no need to use your expensive wine glasses. Visit IKEA or a discount store and choose stemware in a small size. Lining up glassware for wine flights will take up less space and you won’t mind if a few get broken. Remember, you aren’t going for big pours and small pours won’t be lost in the glass. Guests will feel like they consumed more wine before becoming too tipsy.

Multi-purpose wine glasses

If you’re just starting out, choose the Bourdeaux style wine glass of the highest quality that you can afford. This is considered the entry-level multi-purpose wine glass.

Experiment with different wine glasses for yourself. You will be surprised to find how the same wine can taste much different based on the glass.  

Tips for Selecting the right Wine Glasses for different Types of Wine

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

When selecting the right wine glasses for different types of wine, it’s important to understand why wine glasses differ. The purpose of a wine glass is not just to contain the wine. It is also meant to display the color and texture of the wine in a pleasing way, to help you keep the wine at a drinkable temperature, to preserve effervescence in sparkling wines, and to control how concentrated the wine’s aroma is when you drink it.

The elements of the glass that enable it to fulfill these functions are its size, the shape of the bowl, the thickness of the rim, and the presence of a stem. The length and shape of the stem and foot (the circular base of the glass) are not especially important, so long as the glass has a stem. The purpose of the stem is so you do not have to touch the bowl when you are drinking chilled wine, because the warmth of your hand will heat it up—an effect that is desirable with red wine, which often tastes better when warm, but less so with whites that taste best chilled.

Bowl shapes

All wines (with the possible exception of fortified dessert wines) benefit from a glass with a bowl that is wider than its mouth. This bowl shape allows the wine to ‘breathe,’ releasing its aromas and allowing certain compounds in the wine to undergo chemical reactions with oxygen, which makes them taste better, while simultaneously trapping the wine’s aroma at the narrower mouth of the glass. The traditional tulip-shaped glass does this, and has been the standard for centuries (along with a V-shape, which is no longer used for table wine, though it is considered acceptable for sherry glasses). Champagne and other sparkling wines should be served in tall flutes, to expose as little of the wine as possible to air, which keeps it fizzier for longer. But for most wines, connoisseurs now prefer the even more tapered egg-shaped glass.

The egg-shaped wine glass is a relatively recent innovation, dating back to the 1950s. It was invented by Claus Riedel, who theorized that while a wide-mouthed glass encouraged drinkers to lean forward and sip, a narrower mouth would encourage tipping the head back to sip, which would cause gravity to spread the wine over different parts of the palate. Since where and how a wine reaches the taste buds makes a difference in how the brain perceives the flavor, this actually does affect the wine-drinking experience.

Egg-shaped glasses now come in dozens of different sizes, with slight variations of shape and proportion to (in theory) allow different kinds of wines to be optimally enjoyed. In actual practice, the slightly different rounding in one bowl versus another may not be important enough to be worth the price of owning more than one or two sets of glasses, but if you’re already in the market for new glassware, it will probably be worth your while to think beyond the traditional tulip shape.

Sizes

When choosing between two similarly-shaped glasses, the larger size will usually be the better choice. The ‘serving’ of wine is 5 ounces, but even white wines won’t shine when served in glasses with less than 10 oz capacity, and red wine glasses may hold as much as 30 oz if filled to the top (which is not recommended, under any circumstances). The rule of size for wines is that a more complex wine needs a larger glass. Aged reds benefit from larger bowls than less-aged ones, and subtler wines like pinot noir benefit from larger bowls than bolder wines like shiraz. White wine doesn’t need as large a bowl as red, but the full fruit flavor of many whites won’t come out unless it’s in a sufficiently large glass.

When buying glasses for your home, plan on purchasing glasses between 10 oz and 12 oz for white, between 16 oz and 24 oz for red, or, if you want a single all-purpose glass, something around 16 oz. A white wine will do much better in a too-large glass than a red would in a too-small glass. Any glass you buy should be large enough to swirl a 5 oz serving of wine at least a little bit without spilling it. Dessert wine glasses can be much smaller—2-7 oz is typical. The size of a champagne flute doesn’t matter in the same way as other wine glasses, because they can be filled nearly to the top, but they’re typically about 6 oz.

Rim

The rim is a crucially important part of a wine glass, because it directly affects the way wine flows from the glass into your mouth. The ideal rim has no lip and is tapered, so that it is very thin at the edge. It may feel somewhat sharp in your mouth, and makes the glass more fragile, but that is the shape that interferes least with your sipping experience. If you can’t find a glass without a rim or rolled edge, try to make sure it is as thin and subtle as possible. It might be better to get a thicker glass with a tapered rim than a thin glass with a rolled rim.

Materials and decoration

When it comes to fine stemware, less is more. Thinner, clearer glass means fewer distractions or potential irregularities in the material to get between you and your wine. Avoid gold or silver trim at all costs, as this will react chemically with the wine and change its flavor. If you must have ornamentation of some kind, make sure that it is restricted to the stem and foot of the glass. Colored glassware can be festive, but don’t use it for your best wines—not all colored glass is chemically inert, and it will make it difficult for you or your guests to see the wine’s color, legs, or other visually appealing aspects.

Buying the right glasses for your household

Of course, it’s not practical to own a glass designed for every kind of wine you intend to drink. Even restaurants don’t usually keep around more than a few different kinds of glasses, usually one or two glasses for red wines, and one or two for glasses for white wines. Andrea Bravi, restaurant manager at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire, says in an interview with the Independent that the hotel finds that “a Bordeaux glass is a great style for most complex red structures; and a Montrachet/Chardonnay for whites.”

You could purchase these styles, or you could choose the glasses specific to the red or white wines you drink most often (e.g. merlot and pinot grigio), and a few champagne glasses. If you can afford them, Riedel and Spiegelau are considered top of the line glassware producers—expect to pay upwards of $10 per glass. If that’s more than you can afford to pay, look for the styles, sizes, and rims you want from cheaper retailers. Ikea has a particularly large selection of glass sizes and shapes, and low prices, although the quality tends to be correspondingly low.

Great Restaurants in El Paso Part 1

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

El Paso, Texas – the Sun City – is known for its food, and, obviously, it’s a city known for its Mexican food.  If you’re planning on visiting El Paso or moving to the city, here are some of the places you should try, in no particular order:

Carlos & Mickey’s is a Mexican restaurant and bar located at 1310 Magruder Street.  It’s ornately decorated inside, and there is a Mariachi band that roams around, performing for the patrons.  One excellent dish is the Carnitas Pork Tips – chunks of marinated pork deep fried and served with tortillas.  The salsa the restaurant serves is spicy but tasty.  The Tacos al Carbon – soft tacos with marinated chicken or beef – are also a good choice.  It’s a popular restaurant and can be crowded at times.

L & J Cafe is a Mexican restaurant and bar located at 3622 East Missouri Avenue.  This restaurant offers red and green salsa to go with the chips, and both salsas are spicy but very tasty.  The chicken burritos are quite big and filling, as well as their taco salads.  You should try their flan for dessert.  L & J Cafe can also get crowded, but it’s worth the wait.  

Leo’s Mexican Restaurant and bar has six different locations in El Paso.  The restaurant’s gorditas (pocket sandwiches made of corn meal and stuffed with meat) are savory. The taco salads and burritos are great here as well.  Leo’s salsa is somewhat on the mild side, but still very good.  The restaurant’s West El Paso location at 7520 Remcon Circle offers a weekend breakfast buffet, and it’s great – there are several different kinds of scrambled eggs prepared Mexican-style, and all of them are very tasty.  

The Real Burrit-O is located at 3535 North Mesa Street, near the University of Texas at El Paso.  This is more of a fast-food restaurant, but it features authentic Mexican burritos with many different fillings.  The Pollo a la Mexicana burrito (shredded chicken) is wonderful and the restaurant offers wheat or flour tortillas.  The Mexican rice that’s offered as a side dish is savory.

These are just four of the many great restaurants in El Paso.  .

The best way to Complain to the Kitchen

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Before we get started, it should be made clear that, in most restaurants, it is impossible to complain to the kitchen. Your only option is to get a complaint to the kitchen. Kitchen staff is typically not trained to deal with customers. Therefore, managers prefer not to have them interact with customers, especially regarding a complaint. Kitchen staff is typically trained to deal with your complaint, however. If you are specific in your complaint then a competent cook or chef will be able to fix your problem.

The first thing that you want to do when you notice there is a problem with your food is to grab the attention of your server. Once you have their attention, tell him/her precisely what the problem is. Try to do this politely. Angry servers often relay misinformation to the kitchen or they get cranky with the cook who then is no way inclined to hurry for that server. It is a sad truth about the politics of restaurants. I should know; I was a cook for ten years.

You may be complaining about the kitchen, but your problem can easily be with your server and they will never admit it to you. For example, if you ordered your stead medium-rare and its medium, it could be a server mistake. This is another reason why you have to be very clear when you make your complaint. If they could mess it up a first time, they can easily mess it up a second time.

The point of complaining to the kitchen is to get new, better food, otherwise you would be simply complaining to the manager and refusing to pay, right? Therefore, be sure to contemplate your complaint and your options. If the taste was just horrible or there was obviously something funky about your dish, you may not want to order the same thing twice. Chances are the same cook will cook it and it will come out of the same batch. So, if your complaint was that the food tasted terrible or it was dubious, ask that something else be brought to you. If you are dining anywhere worth dining, this will be done without complaint.

Now, if you have spoken to your server and found them incompetent or unequal to the task of fixing your problem, ask for a manager. Of course, in a reputable restaurant, one would have been sent to you immediately following your complaint. Now, once you have the attention of the manager, follow the same steps mentioned above. Be specific about your complaint, try to be polite (no need to be ingratiating) and do not be afraid to make it clear how you would like the problem to be rectified, within reason.

This should work in getting your issue to the kitchen in a timely and consistent manner. If not, feel free to demand your bill with none of the complained about food charged to it and none of the food you have not received yet. Chances are you will not be expected to pay for anything unless you are part of a group where a portion of you has been served satisfactorily.  No restaurant should have its doors open if complaints about food are not heard and dealt with in a friendly and professional manner.

Should Cell Phones be Banned in Restaurants – Yes

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Should cellular phones be banned in restaurants? Perhaps this is an individual preference, yet the question still raises a matter of manners.

What is the protocol for politeness, when it comes to cellular phone usage in a restaurant?

Cell phones in fast food restaurants

Fast food restaurants are specifically designed for efficient eating. These eateries tend to be somewhat noisy, catering to families with young children, groups of teenagers, busloads of tourists and the general public. Cell phone usage in fast food restaurants is generally deemed quite acceptable, as long as ringtones and vocal tones are kept to a reasonable volume level.

Of course, cell phone users who desire more privacy for their conversations might do well to step outside for their telephone calls – or choose the drive-through lane and dine in their cars.

Cell phones in casual restaurants

Casual restaurants, such as coffee shops and diners, usually allow cell phone usage. However, the most considerate diners will step away from the dining room in a casual restaurant to place or receive a cell phone call.

 High-volume or volatile conversations (particularly on cell phones) is discourteous in public places, such as a restaurant. Diners at other tables, as well as those at a caller’s own table, may not wish to overhear a personal broadcast.

Cell phone in fine dining restaurants

An ever-increasing number of fine dining restaurants actually print requests for patrons to refrain from cell phone usage in their dining rooms. Certainly, those who make plans to visit fine dining restaurants (often after making reservations) may expect to enjoy their rather pricey meals without the interruptions of loud ringtones and cell phone conversations nearby.

Ambiance is an important factor in the fine dining experience. Diners may pay dearly for the opportunity to partake of painstakingly prepared cuisine in a pleasing environment. Patrons in fine dining restaurants will do well to silence their cell phones, out of consideration and courtesy for fellow diners and those around them.

Of course, emergencies may occur. Babysitters may need to reach parents who are out for the evening in a restaurant. When such calls come in, polite cell phone users usually excuse themselves to continue their conversations in a more private spot.

Cell phone courtesy in restaurants

The etiquette of cell phone usage in restaurants may sound like common sense, but it seems to not always be so. Perhaps we could all use a refresher course in restaurant courtesy.

After all, when folks gather to share a meal together, do they really expect one member of the party to spend considerable time chatting with someone else on a cell phone?

Of course, solo diners may feel comfortable talking on their cell phones while eating, but this should be done quietly, so restaurant customers at adjacent tables cannot overhear. Even better, cell phone users might choose to send text messages, rather than speaking aloud while dining in restaurants.

Certainly, DVD players, hand-held games, iPods, MP3 players, laptop and notebook computers and other audible devices should be silenced in restaurants as well, out of common courtesy.

Are you asking for Trouble if you Send your Food Back in a Restaurant – No

Posted by · Leave a Comment 

Had there been an “it depends” choice for voting, it would likely have been the winner of this round.

Sending food back to the kitchen in a restaurant probably isn’t going to be a major issue if one decides to put aggravation aside and exercise a bit of common courtesy. Unless the meal is being eaten in a rather small family restaurant, it’s probable that the server is not the “chief cook and bottle washer” – so, the tone one takes with his or her server will likely make all the difference in the world as to how the food is handled once it reaches the kitchen on it’s return voyage. 

Having worked in food service for the better portion of my younger years, I know whereof I speak.

A rude customer who quickly develops an attitude as his food is being presented, angrily demanding that it be returned and prepared to his liking, is not going to motivate his server to look out for the well being of his plate once it reaches the kitchen. The server will likely inform anyone who cares to listen, primarily the chef, and that’s the one person said customer would be wise not to anger.

On the other hand, a polite customer who is clearly disappointed with how his food has been prepared, but requests in a kind manner – perhaps apologizing for the inconvenience to the server and the chef – that his food be returned and prepared to his liking, is almost always going to be treated with kindness in return. Such an attitude will usually be conveyed to the chef, or no fuss at all will be made about the return. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. ‘Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night’s lodging. ‘Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.”

It would seem one might have better things to do in life than to risk “scattering pain” by rudely making demands of others. Why not give the benefit of the doubt to the one who may have delivered the meal and request kindly that the issue be remedied?