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Restaurant club


McFoodie
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My friends and I are very passionate about food and restaurants and recently decided to form a club in which we meet weekly for lunch to dine at and review a restaurant that is new to all of us. I understand this is very popular nowadays and would appreciate any suggestions or tips on how to make this a more interesting and educational experience for everyone involved.

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I envy you your dining buddies, I am seriously stuck for 'em where I'm at

Same here. It's almost impossible for me to find people to accompany me to places that aren't basic, American or Tex-Mex fare. Or cheap Asian. I can get people to go to the cheap Asian places, but if I want something higher-end I have to beg for days. -sigh-

I would KILL to be a part of a dining club. McFoodie, how did you set yours up? Was it a group of people that decided to do this together, or did you hunt them down and convince them to join? If the latter, how did you do that?

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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There's nothing to envy. I have barely been able to scrape together 4 friends for the "club" of which I am BY FAR the most passionate about food so all the work (researching restaurants and keeping things interesting) will be falling on my shoulders. Which is my I could use some advice from my fellow eFoodie's...

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It would depend on your location and how much variety you've got there I guess.

If the others were only just getting into dining I'd be wanting to hit them with a different theme each visit...one week spanish tapas, another week modern french, another week molecular gastronomy...

Sounds like a great chance to have a lot of fun

*looks at my impoverished vindaloo-obsessed colleagues and friends*

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My wife organized a "Restaurant Club" at her place of employment (the Nashville Public Library). We only did it once a month, but the first few meetings went well. After we went to a provencial French place, though, there were grumbles about "nothing on the menu worth eating" and stuff -- primarily because most ingredients were unfamiliar.

Suddenly, we were eating at kitchy novelty restaurants that served the culinary equivalent of frozen TV dinners. I'm all for going to a good meat-and-three or something, but the restaurants being chosen (we took turns choosing) more often than not were total crap. After that, the club kind of fell apart.

So perhaps set guidelines. It may sound snobbish, but here's my recommendation:

1. If they serve chicken tenders, it's out.

2. If they hand you a pager when you walk in the door, it's out.

3. If the restaurant provides high chairs or a "kids menu", it's out.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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My wife organized a "Restaurant Club" at her place of employment (the Nashville Public Library).  We only did it once a month, but the first few meetings went well.  After we went to a provencial French place, though, there were grumbles about "nothing on the menu worth eating" and stuff -- primarily because most ingredients were unfamiliar.

Suddenly, we were eating at kitchy novelty restaurants that served the culinary equivalent of frozen TV dinners.  I'm all for going to a good meat-and-three or something, but the restaurants being chosen (we took turns choosing) more often than not were total crap.  After that, the club kind of fell apart.

So perhaps set guidelines.  It may sound snobbish, but here's my recommendation:

1. If they serve chicken tenders, it's out.

2. If they hand you a pager when you walk in the door, it's out.

3. If the restaurant provides high chairs or a "kids menu", it's out.

bouchon has high chairs :hmmm:

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I join a group of potters (called the mud bunch), once a month at a different place for lunch. The choice is up to the folk, or folks that have a birthday that particular month. We can have up to 20 lunchers, so that precludes certain places, and I avoid the chains, but, I must admit, I've tried places I would not have tried and was glad I did. There are several foodies and food writers in the group so there 's always a lively discourse afterward. It always amazes me to see how widely divergent the reviews are, about the food. Vive la Differance!

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My wife organized a "Restaurant Club" at her place of employment (the Nashville Public Library).  We only did it once a month, but the first few meetings went well.  After we went to a provencial French place, though, there were grumbles about "nothing on the menu worth eating" and stuff -- primarily because most ingredients were unfamiliar.

Suddenly, we were eating at kitchy novelty restaurants that served the culinary equivalent of frozen TV dinners.  I'm all for going to a good meat-and-three or something, but the restaurants being chosen (we took turns choosing) more often than not were total crap.  After that, the club kind of fell apart.

So perhaps set guidelines.  It may sound snobbish, but here's my recommendation:

1. If they serve chicken tenders, it's out.

2. If they hand you a pager when you walk in the door, it's out.

3. If the restaurant provides high chairs or a "kids menu", it's out.

These guidelines (including #4) are fantastic! I am in charge of picking the initial restaurants but was afraid that once we open it up to the rest of the group, we will be going to diners and chain restaurants.

I came up with the idea of a "restaurant club" (is there a better name for it?) to force my friends to help me review restaurants for my website about local restaurants, www.mcfoodie.com, so I guess part of the schtick will be writing the reviews together after the meal. So far, my friends have been enthusiastic but I think I need to come up with other ways to keep this interesting for those that are less fascinated by food and restaurants.

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I'd be interested to hear how you go about starting the club and any rules you make. The Arizona Republic has Chow and Tell, a dining club for readers. The web site says the paper pays the group a stipend, too, though I don't know how much. It's something our paper might look into if I can figure out a good way to organize it...

Anyone else heard about this?

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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