Monday, November 9, 2015

Why I Hate Going Out to Eat

I have many wonderful memories of going out to eat when I was growing up. From this young girl's perspective the food and service was always good. Plus, going out and doing something different was a fun adventure. Some places had a nice salad bar, where I could put as much cheese and sunflower seeds on my salad as I wanted. Some places had dress codes so I would get to put on my fancy clothes and have what I was certain was a very adult experience. I loved it. 

These days, going out to eat is rarely a pleasant experience. The food is almost always far too salty. The service is often a let down, either slow or the food comes out wrong. I'm always afraid to send things back to the kitchen because you never know what they are going to do to it because you had the gall to ask for the right meal. I've gotten sick more often than not after sending food back to be corrected so I'm pretty gun shy now. 

Becoming a vegetarian has made going out even harder. Most restaurants have NO vegetarian options at all and when forced to go to one of these places all I get to eat is french fries. While fries can be tasty, it is NOT a meal so I'll still have to go home and find something to eat. Some restaurants will offer a veggie burger but, if you are like me and don't like soy based veggie burgers (most of them are) then you are out of luck. Every once in a while a restaurant will have a couple meat free options to choose from but most of those options are tofu. If you don't like tofu, again you are out of luck. It's like the restaurant industry can't imagine food without meat and certainly isn't willing to be creative enough to make good meat free options that don't involve simply replacing the meat with tofu. 

That's why breakfast has become my meal of choice when going out to eat. Between pancakes, waffles, hash browns, toast, oatmeal and fruit there is always something I can eat at a breakfast place. I often still run into problems with food coming out wrong or the water smelling like dog but at least I can eat a satisfying meal. 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I still find the idea of going out to eat a romantic one. I guess my childhood memories of doing so were just that pleasant. 

What happened to going out? Did the restaurant industry change? Is it me and my desire for yummy, healthy, meat-free dishes? And how the heck do they get all that sodium in dishes that have no business being so salty? I don't remember food being so salty when I was young...

Home cooked meals are the best
When I think about it, most of the restaurants we frequented back in the day were local, independently owned and operated. We had a few chain restaurants in town but most were not. Nowadays chain restaurants are the norm. Perhaps the problem IS these chains, where food comes prepackaged and gets microwaved before arriving on your plate instead of being prepared by chefs. 

As much as cooking and dishes can be a pain in the rear, no restaurant dish can come close to a home cooked meal. Always fresh, tasty, cheap by comparison and never salty. I don't have to wonder what's in it or how it may have been compromised by unwashed hands or worse. 


  1. there are only a few places I like to go to when I go out to eat. Panera and Chipotle are my favorite. I do like italian so I like Olive Garden but I like their soups and salads (with romaine lettuce no iceberg for me!!!). There is a non-chain mexican place that is really good around here too. My housemates do the cooking so we have good food most of the time here. I can't stand up long enough to cook anything other than microwaving. It just hurts too much.


    1. Chipotle is on our list of places we can go too :) Sounds like you have wondeful housemates.