Between long days at the office, sports games and ballet recitals, there are nights when eating out is an inevitable part of life. For the run-of-the-mill chain restaurant, survival is pretty straightforward. At this point I’m confident you all know your way around the every-day mall stops and how to make clean eating choices on the go.
But what about for the true foodies?
Believe it or not, there are still folks out there who go out to eat because they actually enjoy it -- not out of necessity! First off, there is still fun to be had in food, and hitting a culinary hotspot on a Saturday night sounds like a good time for many of us.
On nights like these, who among us wants to restrict themselves to only a small portion of a finely crafted menu? It’s certainly almost an insult to the chef to start deconstructing items. But trust me, making this work is way easier than it might seem.
Portion Is Key
Above and beyond, remember that the portions at a fab foodie institution aren’t going to be comparable to the every-day “Joe’s Diner”. The ingredients are finer and the seasoning is perfection. Since these dishes are handcrafted and not lifted from the dark depths of some frightening warming tray, the flavors are a more intense and satisfying so there’s no need for heaping portions and packed plates. It’s not like one of those hideously kitschy chain restaurants where they make up for quality with quantity – and mounds of cheese to make the bland offerings actually satisfy you.
The One Request Rule
Since the portion is right, go ahead and order the sinful seeming pork belly, just simply stick to the “one request” rule. Skip the potato (or other carb) and ask for extra veggies. And don’t worry about sending your foodie cohorts in to an uproar – if the pork belly is that good, we’re sure they won’t notice your switch-out.
The Man (or Woman) with a Plan
Simple as this -- check the menu before you head out. Seamless Web, Menupages and probably the restaurant’s own website will be able to show you all the options you’ll have. This way you’re not pouring over the menu and can have a gameplan instead of just showing up and becoming enamored with the myriad of tasty choices. But make sure to have a back-up – if you plan on the halibut and they’re out of the halibut, you’ll be way more likely just to say “screw it” and go for whatever seems tastiest.
Bag of Tricks
A few little tricks in your back pocket are the ultimate eating out fail safe. Sip that water! Make sure to get your water glass filled up as much as possible. It’ll help fill you up and it will also give you something else to do so you actually slow down. The point of fine dining out is that it actually tastes good, so slow down and actually taste it. Another way to pump the brakes is to put down the knife and fork. You’ll be surprised how hard this is, as most of us cling to our utensils as some sort of shield and sword of dining, but it will help you. And also, try to time these meals at dinner. That’s mainly because once most of us open up our palettes to something particularly tasty it’s hard to turn that off for the rest of the day. Keep it at dinner and you can even sneak a few tastes of dessert.