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Old 09-11-2006, 07:25 PM   #21
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Slicer, I am with you. I ate out last night at a very casual Chinese buffet. First, a girl old enough to know better (12?) was walking backwards, talking to someone at a table and almost dumped my plate all over me.

Then, there was a couple with a baby that they obviously thought was adorable. And it was adorable, except it began making these amazingly loud, high pitched squeally noises, WHICH THE PARENTS ENCOURAGED!

I just haven't been the same
since that house fell on my sister.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:24 PM   #22
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Add Slicer's complaint about uncontrolled kids to my list!

Also these:

Dirty restrooms!

Waiters who don't hurry back when you pay with cash and there's way more change than a decent (15 to 20%) tip.

Waiters who bring the check and never return for the credit card.

Waiters who bring the credit card thingy back to the table, but don't provide a pen.

Butter in foil wrappers (a lobbyist friend of mine once tried to get a bill through the California legislature outlawing this obscene practice).

Places that pour balsamic vinegar in the olive oil! I don't want no stinking vinegar on my bread!

Places that stick the over-chilled Chardonnay in an ice bucket.

Places that don't supply an ice bucket for the white wine.

Waiters who can't remove the cork from the wine bottle.


Waiters who push yesterday's fish as "today's special."

Having to ask for the pepper grinder.

Having to ask for the Parmesan.

Stale bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Owner's who wander by and ask "how's everything," then don't wait for an answer.

People who b*itch about everything!

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Old 09-11-2006, 08:54 PM   #23
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I can certainly say ditto to any of those listed above. However, I expect a different quality of food when going 4star than when I go to the diner. But what I expect anywhere I go to eat and often don't find is a waitperson who knows what the establishment is serving. I don't care if it is Le FrouFrou Chien or Crackerbarrell...know the difference in clam chowder types and know what you are serving TODAY! Know the difference between loin and tenderloin and don't get them mixed up!

Eating at a non-descript waterside place in small town mid-state California, the waitstaffer told us of the specials of the day, When I ordered off the regular menu, she kindly but firmly repeated, "the FRESH special is Pacific Oysters." When I inquired of the selection I had made she once again insisted, "Sir the FRESH selection today is the oysters." I had the oysters, They were spectacular. I don't know if the rest of the menu came from the freezer or the garbage scow, but I was directed by a knowing waitstaffer to wonderful fresh local seafood.
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Old 09-11-2006, 09:17 PM   #24
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Mrs. Big Dog and I don't dine out much, and when we do, we don't tend to frequent "finer" dining establishments. Our "fine dining out" is Olive Garden or similar, usually.

As for pet peeves, pretty much all that has been mentioned here. I can't think of anything else. My biggest are the closeness of courses, or on the other hand the length of time waiting between courses, and waiting for refills. There have been a few times I have actually gone myself to the server station to fill my water. I understand servers are busy, but if they can't stand the heat, get out of the dining room. Having been a server myself at a family restaurant, perhaps I critique a bit more heavily then others. I recall the best tip I got came after I decided to dump the pitcher of ice water (by accident of course) on one of the guests. Prior to apologizing (and providing napkins/towels), I said that the bath was on the house. I figured I blew the tip, and just assumed I wasn't getting one. Percentagewise, it was the largest tip I got.

Of course, the grand daddy of them all is improperly cooked food. I've been lucky and not really had this problem, but I recall the one time I did, the server impressed me. I ordered a NY Strip medium to medium well, and it came out well crusted but once I cut in to it, it was moo-ing at me. I didn't even have to point it out to the server, that's how bad it was. The server asked if I wanted to talk to a manager, and I said yes. She cleared my plate, brought it to the kitchen, and hollered out "Who the h*ll is responsible for this? I kinda laughed until the manager came and offered to take a buck or two off the bill. I ate the veggie and pilaf of a $12 some dollar plate, and it still cost me $10 bucks?!?!? While swearing I'd never eat there again, I said whatever. I then went to pay for the bill and the server rang me out. She asked what the manager said and I told her. She was appalled, and took another $5 or off. I got a total of $8 off the bill, which joined the server's tip for the efforts.

Another thing that drives me insane is multiple servers. I understand for large parties, but for a small party? TGI Friday's always seems to do this. Between drinks, appetizer, main course, and primary server, you often see 4 different people. Who the heck gets the tip? That really p*sses me off.
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:44 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by BigDog
Our "fine dining out" is Olive Garden or similar, usually.
I shall light a candle for you.

Maybe two.
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:56 PM   #26
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sparrowgrass, you live in the St Louis Arch?
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:59 PM   #27
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[quote=FryBoy]...Service that's too friendly ("Hi! I'm Twit, and I'll be your server tonight! How's the wife and kids? How 'bout them Dodgers?").

...Service that promptly removes the dishes from each diner as they finish rather than awaiting until everyone is done (makes the slow eaters feel rushed, embarrasses the fast eaters)...[quote]

SO and I were treated to dinner at one of the most elegant and expensive restaurats in Boston Saturday night. If you know the area, it's the Oak Room in the Copy Plaza hotel.

The service was in the overly friendly cagtegory. A 16 year-old boy was part of our party and the waiter spent the evening teasing the kid in a good natured way. At first it was fun but became tiresome after a while. He got a free dessert out of it so I guess that's OK.

What really bothered me was that someone swooped in and cleared each diner's plate as they finished.

On a positive note, the hostess replaced the white cloth napkins with black cloth napkins for those in the party who were wearing dark clothing.

Dinner was good but not great.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 09-11-2006, 11:45 PM   #28
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I thought of a couple of others that irk the h*ll out of me, most related to daily specials:

Waiters who don't tell you the specials.

Waiters who tell you the specials but with such a heavy accent that you have no idea what they're saying.

Waiters who tell you the specials in Italian, or Greek, or German, or Chinese, without translating into English, as if you should speak the language.

Waiters who tell you the specials, but then 20 minutes later you overhear another waiter telling another table about the specials, and he lists half a dozen that your waiter never mentioned.

Waiters who tell you about the specials but never mention the prices, and when the check comes, you learn that what's special about the halibut is that is costs more than the lobster.

Specials written on a blackboard in a strange script that requires a Rosetta stone to decipher.

Specials written on a blackboard that's 50 feet away and perpendicular to your table.

Specials inserted in my menu that differ from those inserted in my wife's menu.

Dirty tablecloths. Yuck!

Dirty silverware. Double yuck!

Dirty menus. BLEH!

At least if you go out to dinner with me, you have the joy of endless kvetching!
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Old 09-12-2006, 12:32 AM   #29
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lol...next time we should just let Fryboy write the list for us.

I think you came up with everything FB.
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Old 09-12-2006, 01:46 AM   #30
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We seem to have a knack for attracting noisy children or even grownups nearby. If I hear them as we are being seated, we ask for another area, but sometimes they come in afterward and really ruin what could be a nice time. Another thing that really gets me is if the waiter or waitress talks only to dh as though I weren't there (playing for a larger tip, I think) I try not to think about that if I'm doing the paying, but it does strike a nerve.

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