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A little nervous about my first foray into the world of tasting menus...please assist!

nooodles | Mar 29, 200501:46 AM

I've taken the plunge and booked a table for two at The Dining Room at Ritz-Carlton. I gave my sister, visiting from LA, the choice between dining at 5 or 6 mid-priced SF restaurants or eating at home for three days and then dining in style at the Ritz.

To my delight, she chose the latter! So now I find myself asking all the questions I didn't think I'd have to ask for several more years.

How does the whole tasting menu thing work? I go in, I'm seated, I get handed a menu...and then what? Do I just explain to the waiter I'm new to this, need a little guidance, but want two nine-course tastings and one wine pairing (sister is underage)? Any tips for doing this elegantly?

If I get two 9-course tastings, will we really get to try 18 different dishes? In other words, will our tastings be the same or different?

At the 9-course level, are there amuse bouches between courses? How long does it take to eat all that food?

Are there views at the Ritz? Should I attempt to ask for a particular part of the room?

Much thanks, both in helping out with the research that led me to this final choice, and for all comments and advice! I can't say how much the SF 'hounds have helped me grow to love the SF dining experience simply because with your help, I never have a bad meal out. It saves oh so much money and heartache.

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