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Gourmet Group Mangiafesto

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Nov. 8th, 2009 | 05:22 pm

I started a monthly gourmet group with my Houston area friends on Facebook.

Eat adventurously
Try new things, new countries, new cultures.
Dine at a dinner hour, lunch at leisure.

Share your dish with others.
Savor, don't bolt.
A bite of this won't kill you, try it.

According to St. Anthony Bourdain, Tuesday through Thursday are the best nights to dine - best for chefs and fresh food (especially fish) and Sundays are the best day to lunch.
Fridays and Saturdays are for dates, romance, and weekends in the countryside.

Wine is a food.
Strive to eat sustainably and seasonally.
Be open about your "finds" - a successful restaurant helps families sustain themselves and prosper, and encourages other restaurants to get better and provide good value.

Eat together like a family and split checks evenly, because separate checks or nickle and diming at the end of a meal is a crashing boor. If you don't drink alcohol or eat a particular animal protein, then order an extra vegetable dish or another dessert to try.

Thou Shalt NOT Flake. If you can't keep your dinner commitment you short everyone else of a round of dishes to sample. The very least you can do is send a replacement or perhaps a call to the restaurant to put a sample of dishes on your tab for the others to try. (I'm not kidding about this.)

Thou Shalt NOT Be Late. On time means 5 minutes early actually. If you're over 15 minutes late you owe everybody a bottle of wine or a couple of appetizers or desserts. (I'm really not kidding about this.)

Thou Shalt NOT talk about work or weather in depth unless you are a Super Spy or Super Vilain, or the weather includes hurricanes or rains of frogs.

Thou Shalt NOT be so high or tipsy that you fail to be charming or attentive. No dozing or fisticuffs at table.

Dinners are scheduled to last 2 hours. Sunday lunch 3 hours. No bolting your food and twiddling your thumbs for the check. Gourmets do not rush.

No icky facial expressions - if you do not appreciate Tail of Jabberwocky keep your distaste politely private.

We expect to be seated with 2/3rd of a party has arrived.
We expect to tip 20% for service in restaurants in the USA or other countries where waiters can not rely on being paid a professional salary, unless the waiting is absolutely egregious.
We expect that the chef would enjoy making something especially creative for us all, if we ask politely.

Couples should ideally be separated at table to provide more interesting conversational gambits, perhaps a bit of intrigue, smouldering looks, and harmless flirtations.

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Comments {3}

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from: stivalineri
date: Nov. 8th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)

Please let me know what else has worked for your group to make it easier and more fun.

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from: snousle
date: Nov. 8th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)

Good advice, but:

Eat together like a family and split checks evenly

This seems to reduce everyone at the table to a cheap entree and a glass of iced tea for fear of burdening others. The only thing that's worse is when the cash comes up short and everyone is staring at the floor.

I hate going to a restaurant and seeing something really exceptional on the menu, something pricey that I'd be happy to pay for, but not willing to stick others with the tab.

How about "If you can't do arithmetic in your head, put in more than you think is necessary"?

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from: stivalineri
date: Nov. 9th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)

I'm trying to encourage people to eat and share their dishes so that everyone gets a taste. Most of us LJ friends are adventurous eaters, but so many people would never order a plate of beef cheeks or fish collar or sweetbreads for themselves, or snow pea leaves or marrow or red bean ice cream.

Actually in Houston I think the tab for our first outing to a Vietnamese place will be closer to $35 and that includes tea or bottled water, a cocktail, an appetizer, entree and dessert, and tax and a 20% tip. but I told everybody $45 because I'd rather people be pleasantly rather than unpleasantly surprised.

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