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Least Favorite Restaurant Distractions


Ellen Shapiro
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For me, the worst distraction has to be the icy couple that clearly hates one another and fights throughout their meal.  Of course, they sit in the middle the room and act as if no one can see them.  They suck the life right out of the room.

Gah.

You win.

Aurora: Yes, you win, girlfriend! And BTW, I loved your post. Will join you with the whitehaired set anytime. "The Music Man," perhaps?

Don't mind smoke. Can block the floral fragrace easily enough. Can pray for the life ahead for couples who haven't taught children manners...they are setting themselves up for a rough ride when the kiddies are in high school. I don't like sloppy service.

But if I can't converse because the music's too loud, I will never return.

Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Head high floral centerpieces.

Loud cellphone ringers with owners who take their time to answer them ("Yes we are dutifully impressed that you own a device that is also proffered by teenage mallrats the world over...")

After answering said phone they carry on a conversation loudly enough for all within earshot to participate. (Gee, have we covered that before?)

Dining rooms so dark that you have to actually move the candle in order to read the menu.

Loud, ill behaved children.

Loud, ill behaved adults (Have actually witnessed children better behaved than cooing, baby talking parents... "Oooh! look at the truck!!! Is that a fishie!? You are such a cutie!!")

Waitstaff, bus folks and hosts that congregate in a chattering knot by the service station or kitchen door; it's a job not a social event.

Ten minutes go by after placing order and the soup has not been served; you can bet they've forgotten it and will then bring it out as the same time as appy or entree.

Over attentive obtrusive service during the meal, then when the meal is over and you'd like the check the waiter disappears.

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Not just any music. The scourge of the earth.

MARIACHIS

But I LIKE mariachis. :huh:

See how you feel after working in a restaurant for a few months. Muahaha. :wacko:

What, are mariachis a common fixture in most restaurants? Does this mean I will eventually want to revamp my mariachi-centric wedding plans? :shock:

My biggie is the slobberingly drunk couple at the very next table, about half a foot away, who haven't touched their food--they just continue to order martinis, which the waiter dutifully continues to bring (without clearing away the empty glasses, as if we needed a further visual reminder of their drunkenness), although it is CLEAR they are disturbing at least half the diners in the room and should have been cut off three empty glasses ago.

And then the woman, who is providing us all with an increasingly lovely view of her cleavage, leans her head on the man's shoulder and bursts into tears, and the man, whose bald head grows shinier, more mottled, and more eye-catching with every sip of gin, slides his arm around her and squeezes ( :blink: more cleavage, my male dining companion kicks me under the table and this is my signal that it's getting dangerous :blink: ).

And then the man at the next table raises his free arm, fork in hand, tines shining upwards unto the distant firmament, and says:

Man: "Do you know how much I love you? Answer me! Answer me, Nancy! Do you know how much I love you?" (He waves his upraised fork in a way that is almost threatening. He suddenly, in all his sweating public drunkenness, gains a certain dignity in my eyes--he seems an almost god-like figure with his enormous rare-cooked untouched steak before him, and his fork raised high--albeit a sad, old, accountant of a god).

Woman (tearfully): "No, no, I don't, Greg, I don't know."

Man: "I love you . . . I love you . . . like the stars in the sky! Look up! See those stars? Like those stars up there! That's how much I love you." (He moves her head so that she can see said stars. He waves his fork again, triumphantly, drops it, and watches it confusedly as it whistles its way down to the tablecloth).

Woman: "Oh Greg! I've got to go to the bathroom."

That's my biggie.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Yeah... Drunks... But they have been known to be entertaining.

Sitting in your generic steak house, the somewhat elderly couple at the next table is obviously not on this planet. At the end of some loud declaration, the wife slides out of her chair, sits on the floor for a minute, then keels over. Througout this episode, the gentleman sits calmly and quietly, buttering his bread.

A new family saying is born... In the midst of some crisis or commotion, someone asks what you are doing... "I'm butterin' my bread."

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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What I meant by bad service also includes overly chatty or interrupting waiters. I think it's fine for the staff to chat amongst themselves, comradship is fine, but I'd prefer them to go to an appropriate place, not in full site of customers. And this is only if they keep an eye out for their tables.

Maybe I'm too extroverted or pushy, but I have few qualms telling loud or offensive people that they are disturbing me and probably 75% of the other customers. Shocking how well it works most of the time. This goes for phones, shouting, ill mannered children, you know, most things written here. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, I do take the offenders into consideration like if they are TRYING to control their children, or if one of them is hard of hearing. But if it's clear that they're just being rude and selfish, it's fair game as far as I'm concerned. Plus, people thank me from surrounding tables.

Now you can jump down my throat. :smile:

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What I meant by bad service also includes overly chatty or interrupting waiters.  I think it's fine for the staff to chat amongst themselves, comradship is fine, but I'd prefer them to go to an appropriate place, not in full site of customers.  And this is only if they keep an eye out for their tables.

Maybe I'm too extroverted or pushy, but I have few qualms telling loud or offensive people that they are disturbing me and probably 75% of the other customers.  Shocking how well it works most of the time.  This goes for phones, shouting, ill mannered children, you know, most things written here.  Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, I do take the offenders into consideration like if they are TRYING to control their children, or if one of them is hard of hearing.  But if it's clear that they're just being rude and selfish, it's fair game as far as I'm concerned.  Plus, people thank me from surrounding tables. 

Now you can jump down my throat.  :smile:

For the record, I was going to tell Mr. Greg and Mrs. Nancy (not their real names) to put up or shut up, but then they became poignant.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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To me there is nothing more distracting or disturbing than to walk into a restaurant that smells like bleach or cleaning fluids (like they just mopped the floor or cleaned the bathrooms). I won't even sit down, just leave. And a trendy restaurant in my neighborhood has the strangest unpleasant scent of tar when I walk by. I don't know how people can get past that scent to even go inside. A restaurant must smell neutral or good as a prerequisite.

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For the record, I was going to tell Mr. Greg and Mrs. Nancy (not their real names) to put up or shut up, but then they became poignant.

Actually I should have mentioned that I don't do drunks. There's no point. It'll just exacerbate the situation. But that could be fun too.

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I truly hate it when the roving violinist or guitar player comes

right over to the table and starts playing. I find eating a personal

experience and do not like sharing my space with a stranger playing

music in my face while I am trying to enjoy my linguine with clam sauce.

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I truly hate it when the roving violinist or guitar player comes

right over to the table and starts playing.  I find eating a personal

experience and do not like sharing my space with a stranger playing

music in my face while I am trying to enjoy my linguine with clam sauce.

But I LOVE it when the accordionist stands on the bar and stomps around.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Worst was this past Friday at db Moderne where I observed the manager and host laughing at two teenage girls eating db burgers.

Why were they laughing? I think I might've had a word or two with them if I thought they were doing it out of meanness.

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My biggie is the slobberingly drunk couple at the very next table, about half a foot away, who haven't touched their food--they just continue to order martinis, which the waiter dutifully continues to bring (without clearing away the empty glasses, as if we needed a further visual reminder of their drunkenness), although it is CLEAR they are disturbing at least half the diners in the room and should have been cut off three empty glasses ago. 

And then the woman, who is providing us all with an increasingly lovely view of her cleavage, leans her head on the man's shoulder and bursts into tears, and the man, whose bald head grows shinier, more mottled, and more eye-catching with every sip of gin, slides his arm around her and squeezes ( :blink: more cleavage, my male dining companion kicks me under the table and this is my signal that it's getting dangerous  :blink: ).

And then the man at the next table raises his free arm, fork in hand, tines shining upwards unto the distant firmament, and says:

Man: "Do you know how much I love you?  Answer me!  Answer me, Nancy!  Do you know how much I love you?"  (He waves his upraised fork in a way that is almost threatening.  He suddenly, in all his sweating public drunkenness, gains a certain dignity in my eyes--he seems an almost god-like figure with his enormous rare-cooked untouched steak before him, and his fork raised high--albeit a sad, old, accountant of a god). 

Woman (tearfully): "No, no, I don't, Greg, I don't know."

Man: "I love you . . . I love you . . .  like the stars in the sky!  Look up!  See those stars?  Like those stars up there!  That's how much I love you."  (He moves her head so that she can see said stars.  He waves his fork again, triumphantly, drops it, and watches it confusedly as it whistles its way down to the tablecloth).

Woman: "Oh Greg!  I've got to go to the bathroom."

That's my biggie.

Why, oh why, don't I ever get to be present for dinner theater like that!

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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Extremely tall centerpieces or candles that obstruct your view across the table.

Booths that are too far from/too close to the table (which inevitably can't be moved).

Booths with cloth covering that make sliding into absolutely impossible.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Cleavage..... I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time wondering what items within my reach would successfully disappear down there, given the proper trajectory, of course.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Cleavage..... I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time wondering what items within my reach would successfully disappear down there, given the proper trajectory, of course.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was mapping out the ice cubes, bits of bread crust, and small tomatoes.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Impossibly small tables. [Please clarify as to how I am expected to have room for all THOSE dishes and eat at the same time?!?]

Impossibly small spaces within which one is expected to squeeze between said tables in order to seat oneself. [if I can't squeeze through this space without disturbing the next table, then something's terribly wrong. People and e-gulleteers who know what I look like can attest to this.]

People TELLING a sushi chef what to do. [Don't believe me? Click here and shudder.]

Soba

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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My biggie is the slobberingly drunk couple at the very next table, about half a foot away, who haven't touched their food--they just continue to order martinis, which the waiter dutifully continues to bring (without clearing away the empty glasses, as if we needed a further visual reminder of their drunkenness), although it is CLEAR they are disturbing at least half the diners in the room and should have been cut off three empty glasses ago. 

And then the woman, who is providing us all with an increasingly lovely view of her cleavage, leans her head on the man's shoulder and bursts into tears, and the man, whose bald head grows shinier, more mottled, and more eye-catching with every sip of gin, slides his arm around her and squeezes ( :blink: more cleavage, my male dining companion kicks me under the table and this is my signal that it's getting dangerous  :blink: ).

And then the man at the next table raises his free arm, fork in hand, tines shining upwards unto the distant firmament, and says:

Man: "Do you know how much I love you?  Answer me!  Answer me, Nancy!  Do you know how much I love you?"  (He waves his upraised fork in a way that is almost threatening.  He suddenly, in all his sweating public drunkenness, gains a certain dignity in my eyes--he seems an almost god-like figure with his enormous rare-cooked untouched steak before him, and his fork raised high--albeit a sad, old, accountant of a god). 

Woman (tearfully): "No, no, I don't, Greg, I don't know."

Man: "I love you . . . I love you . . .  like the stars in the sky!  Look up!  See those stars?  Like those stars up there!  That's how much I love you."  (He moves her head so that she can see said stars.  He waves his fork again, triumphantly, drops it, and watches it confusedly as it whistles its way down to the tablecloth).

Woman: "Oh Greg!  I've got to go to the bathroom."

That's my biggie.

Why, oh why, don't I ever get to be present for dinner theater like that!

It's probably because you eat in better places than I.

However, this particular restaurant is considered very high-end for my town.

Go figure.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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My own personal larvae learned their manners at home. There was no such thing as "company" or "restaurant" manners. Manners were manners. I started by taking them to "family" restaurants. Then starting at about age 6 they graduated to NICE restaurants. They knew how to behave and were generally a delight. I was careful not to dally as long as I would have if they weren't there. I will never forget the look of horror on their little faces the first time we encountered unruly children. ("Mother... What is WRONG with those people?")

I agree. We did the same thing with our son. When we started taking him to nicer restaurants, we brought along something for him to do, since those meals tended to take longer. Usually, some quiet colouring or something. Occassionally he will bring his gameboy as long as he has his headphone on.

Manners are manners. He is 10, but wears a suit and tie "like the big people - as he says) when we go to a nice restaurant, he knows which fork to use for what and he is polite. Never, never has he gone running around the tables like I've seen some kids do.

Other distractions. People on cell phones. Really noisy tables. It's nice to see people having fun, but if I have to shout at my companion(s) over that kind of noise, it's not a pleasant dining experience for us.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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