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Alex

The Best Restaurant if You're Over 50

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Nice article by Frank Bruni in the New York Times 

 

Quote

Your appetite matures, in terms of both the food and the mood you crave. Virgin sensations are less important; knowing that you’ll be able to hear and really talk with your tablemates, more. If having that reassurance means patronizing the same restaurant over and over, so be it.

Quote

What you want from restaurants, it turns out, is a proxy for what you want from love and from life. None of these is constant. All reflect the arc that you’ve traveled, the peace that you have or haven’t made. When I was 34, I wanted bling, because it persuaded me that I was special. When I was 44, I wanted blinis, because they made me feel sophisticated. At 54, I just want martinis, because I’m certain of what’s in them and of what that potion can do: blunt the day and polish the night.

 

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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This, for me, except I'm not 54 anymore: 😂 
"At 54, I just want martinis, because I’m certain of what’s in them and of what that potion can do: blunt the day and polish the night."

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"At 54, I just want martinis, because I’m certain of what’s in them and of what that potion can do: blunt the day and polish the night."

 

This is great. Certainly works at 63, as well. And what a lovely putting-together of words in a row!

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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The article resonated with me (early 50's), as I've found I'm losing my tolerance for "razzle dazzle" (or as I described a website to a co-worker recently..."unicorns puking rainbows"). I want substance with minimal flash.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Interesting as I just did a 75th birthday party.   The celebrant had definite ideas; her daughter had others and we navigated an interesting line.

The mom said that, as she is older, doesn't like to have a lot of food at any one time so did some small bites....shots of soup with quarter sandwiches, snacky type things and mini desserts....it was a success with the celebrant and her friends.

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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 I want nothing more than a  chair that doesn’t attempt to amputate my legs at mid thigh, with a back that has some  likelihood of conforming to the human spine, and of a height that permits  my feet to touch the floor.  After that we can talk about food.  

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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That is a great article.  I do not want to sit at a communal table, I want to sit in a comfortable chair, I want enough light to be able to read the menu and I want it to be able to have a conversation without shouting or having to wear a hearing aid (which I do not need as yet).   As a "mature" person I also appreciate smaller portions.

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Great piece.

 

for me...Good chair, feet on the floor.

Great reliable food. If I can cook it better it isn't good enough to spend money on.

Get me a drink PDQ.

Reasonably quiet...60 dB or so is perfect,  80 is pushing it.

Bright enough to know which is which on my plate.

No plastic forks or styrofoam plates ( I really hate that)

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Really, that was a sweet piece. But Frank, it gets worse. Wait until you are in your seventies. When you fall asleep halfway through the martini. 

 

The noise factor is huge. I hate it at prime dining time. I like looking at all the young people who appear to be able to hear each other but I'm not sure how I feel about being the oldest person in the room. On the other hand I don't like being surrounded by people older than me, either. That was one of the weirdest sensations eating out in small towns in the south. It was a granny fest. That made me really feel ancient. Although if you are surrounded by really old people they've given up trying to talk loudly, so that makes it easier for those of us who are still conversing.

 

I love having a comfy booth. But now that I have shrunk a bit those booth tables seem high, and they are nailed to the floor, so that may create a large drop zone. I hate being in the middle of a room of crowded tables constantly getting the back of my chair bumped. Also I think that's where the noise concentrates.

 

I like sitting next to a window when there is still daylight coming in. I like seeing my food. I like having a walking distance neighborhood restaurant with good food. I have one where the food is pretty good, but I can't tell if their food is getting richer or my tastes are getting simpler.They know me, and that's nice. And in cool weather they have heaters outside and will bring me a blanket without my asking. And outside you can hear yourself talk. But it isn't an everyday kind of place, more of a splurge. And if I want to splurge I might want to go somewhere else. But then it means driving somewhere......

 

And now you know you don't want to dine with me, since I'm so cranky! 

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@Katie Meadow  We should get together.  Based on your post, we'd have a grand time!

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4 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

"...I'm not sure how I feel about being the oldest person in the room."

 

Oh, do I feel this one! And I've been in that position more times than I care to think about, because I dearly love some of the "trendy" places frequented by millenials. And I find more and more of my go-to spots are now being appropriated by folks much younger than I, who look a bit askance when this 60-something grandmother wanders in and demands a drink.

 

No matter. They'll deal with it. I have to confess, the only time I felt somewhat uncomfortable was at an Alabama Shakes concert.  I went with a friend who, when I said "Do you like Alabama Shakes?" said, "I don't know, what's in them?" We were, by a factor of 30 years, the oldest folk in the ampitheater. No matter, that gal can sure sing. And I comfort myself that I can likely mix a better martini than any of 'em.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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While I am over 50 now, I think I have always liked quieter restaurants. I might have chosen to go to a nightclub or loud concert but for dinner I wanted to be able to talk to my companion/s. That's been the case since I was quite a bit younger than I am now! 

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Posted (edited)

As someone who is less than one year from 70 (I look younger, but still), I can identify with at least some of the changes Bruni wrote about, even if I don't drink martinis. I'm all about a reasonable noise level, a reasonably comfortable chair, and a reasonable amount of light (i.e. enough to read a magazine w/o a flashlight and/or see what my food actually looks like). 

 

However -- and this is a big however -- I get bored easily, and always have; and while I appreciate the consistency of my favorite everyday-type restaurants, when I can I actively seek out new food and beverage experiences, both at home (I do a lot of cooking) and away. This is why I'm so looking forward to our eG Gathering at Bulrush in July, and why I'll soon be eating at these restaurants in Chicago: Filipino/Cuban, "elevated" Vietnamese, and innovative small-plate vegan. And I've been expanding my making and appreciation of cocktails, most recently the Corpse Reviver #2. (Next up: the Negroni.)

 

I also would like to comment on this paragraph from the article: 

Quote

If you’re under 50 and definitely if you’re under 40, you have yet to experience how you disappear over the years, especially if you’re not a looker and all the more so if you’re a woman. Sustained gazes, casual glances and solicitous words go disproportionately to the young. To age is to feel as if pieces of you are falling or fading away, so that you somehow take up less space in the world. 

 

And how you're treated can be subtly belittling or not-so-subtly condescending. (Here's a good NY Times article on the subject.) Ms. Alex talks about this all the time. She says that when she travels solo she sometimes enjoys the anonymity, but most of the time she feels that invisibility acutely. I feel it, too, but less so, being a man. I don't simply accept it, though. I usually try charm first. If charm doesn't work, then assertiveness. If assertiveness doesn't work, then I walk. (I have more to say about this, but it's not food-related, so I'll save it for another time, another forum.)


Edited by Alex writing clean-up (log)
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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Frank is an eloquent person. I wish he still edited the Wednesday section. I do not feel the same but I see his point. Today I ate sand dabs in a restaurant in Los Gatos because they taste so....California. I don't eat them in Connecticut where I live but at 72 I want to taste local food in a variety of locales, drink with locals and generally keep turning new corners. 

www.findingfantasticfood.com

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Personally, and as a woman of 71, I can think of a lot of benefits to not being noticed. I'm not a shrinking violet and can get attention when I need it, but not being looked up and down on the street or while waiting for a coffee is a beautiful thing. It's been a long time since some idiot said, "Smile why don't you" to my face and for that I am eternally grateful. I was always afraid that if I said what I really wanted to say back to them I might get punched or worse. 

 

As for that article, I don't really feel as if pieces of me are falling away. In fact I feel like a magician, like I can take up as much or as little space as I am in the mood to do. For many years I was told I looked younger than I was. Going naturally silver was the best decision ever.  

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I am in a cycle where I'm just tired of eating out.  Like restaurant fatigue.  If we do go out, it's for breakfast mostly, ordering the kind I don't make at home (huevos rancheros, or smoked salmon-eggs-fresh bialy etc...).   I don't know if its the noise, the struggle for parking, the somewhat "sameness" of design of all the hip local restaurants, I just don't crave the experience at the moment.  We ate out, a lot, 3-4 times a week.  I bet now its down to 3 times a month.

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Someone in a store called me dear once.  I snapped back "I'm not your dear". The poor young lady fell all over herself apologizing.  I felt terrible and wished I hadn't said anything as it was clear she didn't mean to offend me.  But, she probably never called another older person that again and I have never taken exception to being called that again.  We both learned something that day.

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29 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

Someone in a store called me dear once.  I snapped back "I'm not your dear". The poor young lady fell all over herself apologizing.  I felt terrible and wished I hadn't said anything as it was clear she didn't mean to offend me.  But, she probably never called another older person that again and I have never taken exception to being called that again.  We both learned something that day.

 

Snapping might have been out of line a bit, but your calling her on it was very appropriate. Except for one's significant other, or that certain restaurant server who calls everyone "dear" no matter what their age or sex, everyone else should indeed be gently corrected. For me, there's little difference between that and calling someone out for using the expression "Jew someone down" (which, I'm glad to say, I haven't had to do for many years now). The "more to say" I mentioned in my previous post had to do with birthday announcements at our local minor league baseball team's ballpark (on the scoreboard and via PA). One person was referred to as "62 years young." Management heard from me about this. Then they heard from me again after their weak reply.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Having lived all my life in the South, I'm used to the "dear" and "darling" and "honey" address; most people do it without thinking, and I will confess I'm as guilty as the next person. I am, however, less likely to do so when speaking to an older person, in part because a respectful form of address was always drummed into me as a child when speaking to an older person. So it's "Miss" or "Miz" so-and-so, or Mr. so-and-so. 

 

That said, it grates when someone other than a child addresses me in that fashion. I guess because it confirms my supposition that I'm getting old.

 

But, hey, it beats the alternative!

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Posted (edited)

In my professional life, I went through a number of "titles". I never took them seriously or used them outside that context.  But the one "title" that really threw me a loop was a young boy one day calling me "Mister"!

 

I thought I was a boy too!

(Half a century plus later, my heart and soul still think I'm that little boy!)

As to restaurants, my lifestyle and environment and friends require that I do go to places that are clearly not aimed at my generation. It doesn't bother me too much. But I can't stand noise. Not age related;  I never could.

Fortunately, it's the oldies here in China who love the noise. No more fun that going to eat and having a shouting competition. So I'm happy to eat with my younger friends.

 


Edited by liuzhou typos (log)
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Posted (edited)
On 4/1/2019 at 6:59 PM, kayb said:

 

Oh, do I feel this one! And I've been in that position more times than I care to think about, because I dearly love some of the "trendy" places frequented by millenials. And I find more and more of my go-to spots are now being appropriated by folks much younger than I, who look a bit askance when this 60-something grandmother wanders in and demands a drink.

 

No matter. They'll deal with it. I have to confess, the only time I felt somewhat uncomfortable was at an Alabama Shakes concert.  I went with a friend who, when I said "Do you like Alabama Shakes?" said, "I don't know, what's in them?" We were, by a factor of 30 years, the oldest folk in the ampitheater. No matter, that gal can sure sing. And I comfort myself that I can likely mix a better martini than any of 'em.

 

DH and I have broken the age barrier in just about every restaurant we've dined in for a number of years.     We've never noticed a problem with service and are always welcomed back and back.    To be honest, we notice in some of the hotter places the young people just are checking off a "been to" list, whereas we spend time chatting up staff about the food, chef's concept, wine program.      It's sad to see spectacular food set before a table of loud party-goers who take no notice what's going down.

 

We're old enough to have been there and done that at the kind of restaurant that caters to our demographic.    One way we've found to have a really interesting yet serene meal is to beat the food writers to new places, to go while they're still not mobbed.    After that, it's usually not for us.


Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)
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On 4/2/2019 at 8:22 AM, kayb said:

Having lived all my life in the South, I'm used to the "dear" and "darling" and "honey" address; most people do it without thinking, and I will confess I'm as guilty as the next person. I am, however, less likely to do so when speaking to an older person, in part because a respectful form of address was always drummed into me as a child when speaking to an older person. So it's "Miss" or "Miz" so-and-so, or Mr. so-and-so. 

 

That said, it grates when someone other than a child addresses me in that fashion. I guess because it confirms my supposition that I'm getting old.

 

But, hey, it beats the alternative!

 

Indeed it does!      For some reason that is totally beyond me, I find people calling me "Sweetie".    Now even you people who know me so little must realize that that is not my bag.    But they are well intended and I leave them with their illusions.   But what really galls me is being called "Young lady", mostly by butchers and ilk.    Nothing makes you realize your age more or faster than being called "young lady", and I cringe when someone calls DH "young fella".  

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I dine with those whom I love; if I can't hear myself think, there's not much point in breaking bread together *at that particular restaurant *. DH has a Minnesotan expression for such disappointments,  "Well, I've eaten there twice." (The first time/the last time.)

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