Many months ago Vital Info mentioned that he received a daily e-mail newsletter from New Orleans restaurant critic Tom Fitzmorris. I signed up and either read it, or skim over the contents. Today he had something interesting about maintaining a positive attitude when dining out. I am including what he wrote below. If you are interested in sigining up, here is the web address:
A chef I know joins me to dine out once in awhile. Everywhere we go,
he hates everything.
Once I asked him to pick a restaurant with a chef he thought was
excellent. We went there. He couldn't believe it. How could this chef,
whom he thought so highly of, serve stuff like this?
This character entered every restaurant with the mindset that his own
restaurant was by definition better than any other. So he had to have a
terrible meal wherever he went in order to prove that. I stopped going
out to dinner with him.
We all have friends like this. Their sport is to pick apart the restaurants
they attend. Like anyone else looking for trouble, they always find it.
Far be it from me to deny anyone the pleasures they seek, even if
they're a little neurotic. But I don't want to be with them. I don't even
want to write for them.
This seems obvious to me, but lots of diners don't seem to understand
that you have to really want to have a great meal to get one. That
means being in a receptive, happy, positive frame of mind.
Although the cartoon of the restaurant critic is otherwise, that's exactly
how I dine out. I never choose to go to a place I don't feel like going
to, and I never order anything I don't really feel like eating.
Sometimes I find myself as the guest of a friend who chose a
restaurant I wouldn't have. But on those occasions I focus on making
my host happy, which makes me happy.
This technique is not an inoculation against a bad meal. Bad is bad, no
matter how good one's attitude is. But I think it's really dumb to cast
away one's chances of enjoyment in advance by starting with a
negative attitude. That's what little kids do, and it looks even stupider
Beyond just coloring your view of the experience, a smiling
countenance will get a better response from the restaurant. Ask any
waiter: people who appear to be having a great time get vastly better
service and food than the critical sourpusses.