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  1. Wow, this shows that the economic rights of waitstaff in the USA have been seriously screwed. I'm surprised that the waitstaff haven't revolted against their employers. Obviously there is something wrong with the system and that has been acknowledged by many posters here. But I'm more intrigued by how long this system has persisted and how it has resisted change. I've always thought of USA as a place where workers are vocal and their rights looked after - doesn't seem to be the case for waitstaff.
  2. As a visitor, I do understand the need to tip in USA and I do leave a tip. For me the issue is the amount of the tip. My idea of a tip is based on service level. More exceptional service deserves higher tips. Then comes what is the baseline? Over here, 10% covers most situations (in fact a standard service charge is levied). I remember a situation where our group left a tip of about 10-12% in a restaurant in New York (this was maybe 10 years back). The service was very average. The waiter was not happy and actually demanded that we increase the tip to 15-20%. I was quite taken aback. First it seemed to be very bad form to make a demand like that, and secondly we didn't feel his service deserved it. Anyway, we walked off with the waiter staring at us and mouthing unpleasant things. Interesting to see the progressive increase in the expected tip %. From the tone of your writing you're putting the blame for the increase solely on non-tipping tourists. Seriously, I doubt if the non-tipping tourists make such a big dent in tips as to justify your claim. I'd say that domestic factors account for it more.
  3. I'm from outside the US, but have visited twice as a tourist. Regarding this issue of tipping, the custom in restaurants is well known. What I'd like to know is tipping in other situations. For example: once I took a cab to Boston Airport. After paying the meter fare, I was about to walk into the airport when the cabbie indicated that he should get a tip. I was quite surprised. Since I was rushing and didn't want to get into an argument about it I gave him a tip. But it did leave me an impression that "geez, all service providers in US expect to be tipped". Is this the situation?
  4. Interesting to see that the distances are relatively quite small. I see a few that are 17"-18" to the low 20s. The 14.75" reported by ElsieD was surprising (to me at least). Over here the wall cabinets are typically about 60" off the floor. Countertops are about 32"-33" off the floor. So the distance b/w countertop and bottom of the wall cabinets is from 27"-28".
  5. Thanks for your post Corinna. I wasn't aware Patrick O is the co-owner of Alexis. Seems like the classic case of so much food so little time
  6. Last time I was there (back in 2000) a friend suggested a short drive to the town of Niagara On the Lake to dine at the Queens Landing hotel - http://www.vintage-hotels.com/queenslanding/dining.htm It was an excellent suggestion. The drive there, along the Niagara Parkway, was lovely. If you like icewine, along the way you can visit Inniskillin. The town of Niagara On the Lake itself is very picturesque. And the food at Queens Landing was very good. All in a very worthwhile short trip, both for sightseeing and dining.
  7. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Those are wonderful options. I'll probably give Pig's Ear a try for the traditional Irish food. Thornton's too for lunch. Will check out all the rest's websites too. The boxty also sounds interesting.
  8. It will be my first time in Ireland this coming May. Spending some time in Dublin and was wondering what to eat in terms of Irish food and where to eat? Any suggestions are welcome.
  9. Yes, restaurants and markets would be business as usual. What made you think otherwise? Unless you were thinking of the monsoon season, but that's on the East Coast. If you're not heading there you'll be fine.
  10. To know more about Japanese kitchen knives visit this forum: http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showforum.php?fid/26/ In Tokyo, Kappabashi is the place to go. This is the kitchen supplies district and there are some knife shops there. You can also pick up ceramic wares and plastic models if those catch your fancy. There are also a few knife shops around the Tsukiji market area. In Kyoto, Aritsugu is the most famous purveyor of knives. Their shop is in the Nishiki market street.
  11. I hear that Gonbei in StarHill (across from Jogoya) is pretty good.
  12. It's good to see Ipoh White Coffee gaining fame abroad. Even here in Malaysia I think it has really only gained widespread popularity in the last few years, before that you don't hear much about white coffee outside of Ipoh. Now it can be found in most coffee shops in KL and instant white coffee powder can be bought at most supermarkets. Due to this rise in popularity there are also many more producers of white coffee coming out of the woodwork. One of the original white coffee vendors is Sin Yoon Loong in the "old town" section of Ipoh - my grandfather used to go there and have his cup of white coffee with roast pork (siew yoke). I still go there once in a while as I find their white coffee very "kau" (strong) as compared to other coffee shops in Ipoh.
  13. How about Bijan? I've not been there, but a friend says it's nice. http://www.bijanrestaurant.com/
  14. JC

    Whiny Diners

    What I find interesting about tipping in USA is how the restaurants have effectively transferred the obligation to pay the waitstaff well directly to the customer. The hourly wage that I read about is low indeed, so the waitstaff have to rely on tips and this is a bit of a gamble - some customers tip well, some don't - which then causes the waitstaff to be upset. Some of the venom is read on Bitter Waitress is bitter indeed. Wouldn't it be better instead to impose a service charge on the bill. Here in Malaysia there's a 10% service charge on the bill. Everybody understands it and I do not recall anybody raising a fuss about it. The waitstaff don't have to play dice when it comes to tips and we as customers don't get any attitude about tips because we are only indirectly responsible for the waitstaff's wages. In the end, it think it works out well for everybody.
  15. JC

    Whiny Diners

    Reading the STD on Bitter Waitress was illuminating. Has there been a thread in the past about the tipping culture in USA and how it came to be?
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