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Were There Candles On The Table?

Oct 12, 2007
Eating out and dining out are very different. When you eat out, little planning is involved, you probably don't have to change clothes and you don't think twice about the cost. Dining out, however, requires reservations; wearing an outfit you'd wear to church if you went to church; and considerable expense. You're paying for white, unstained table linens; silverware that matches; and glasses that don't have cartoon characters on them.

Although the majority of waiters in Los Angeles are struggling actors, waiters in expensive restaurants should be able to act more like waiters. I don't want a waiter to walk by and ask, "How you guys doin'?" - or worse - "Are you still working on that?" Dining isn't meant to be work. It's meant to be pleasure.

It would be a pleasure if waiters didn't remove dishes from the table until everyone was through eating. Rushing is for eating at home. Waiting for the bill, however, is just as annoying. Sometimes I think telling the waiter that would be a more valuable tip than fifteen percent of the bill.

I have a tip for customers too. Don't bring small children to expensive restaurants. That's why Chucky Cheese was invented. When my sons were about six and eight, John and I unintentionally took them to an expensive restaurant. We thought we were going to a family-style, Italian restaurant; but when we saw the maitre d' in a tuxedo, we knew we were in trouble.

When he graciously offered to escort us to a table in the still-too-early-to be busy dining room, we followed. Our plan was to eat and run. Unfortunately, the service was luxuriously slow; and the boys seemed to be up and down more than the yoyos I'd told them not to take out of their pockets.

When I saw a distinguished looking, older gentleman get up from his table, walk past the fountain - yes, the fountain - and toward our table, I told the boys their bad manners had obviously disturbed the man and they deserved whatever he said. My mistake.

The gentleman told John and me that he and his wife had never seen such well behaved children. The man couldn't have been blind - he'd walked to our table. He couldn't have been deaf- he'd replied to my shocked "Thank you". There were only two explanations. Either he didn't have grandchildren or they'd been raised in a jungle.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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