Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dinner Date Decision-Making

I'm pretty opinionated, especially when it comes to telling people where to go for food & drinks in the District. Want an awesome Mexican place where you can dine al fresco? No problem (Lauriol Plaza)! Want imaginative plates of Greek / Mediterranean mezze? Sure (Zaytinya)! Want a place to have drinks with a view? Definitely (ADC at Donovan House Hotel)! Want me to pick a place for a date? Umm, I'd rather eat pickles, thanks!

As the designated "foodie" (still dislike that word, by the way!) within my circle, I'm occasionally called upon by friends and family to give my take on all things related to food & drinks. Sometimes, I even give them my two cents without being asked! But when it comes to choosing a dinner/drinks date venue, I break out into a cold sweat. Why is that?

Tattoo and I are planning to go out this weekend. Being a new transplant to the area, he gave me full permission to suggest a place. Umm, isn't this supposed to be his job? I am far from being a "I don't know, whatever you want, it's up to you" kind of girl, but this is one task I would be more than happy to relinquish to him. There's so much pressure! Do I suggest a place I love? What if he hates it? Should we play Russian Roullette and choose a random restaurant we've both never been to? What if we both hate it? There are so many angles to look at, so many ways to analyze things, when it comes to finding the ideal restaurant/bar. However, within that wide scope, there are four primary factors that I consider:
1. Food / drink choice – The most difficult part of the whole decision-making process, since tastes and likes are obviously so subjective, but food is a very telling factor for me. I think that how adventurous a guy is with his food shows how vicariously he lives his life. Does he want to try different cuisines, or is he a steadfast meat-and-potatoes, American food type of guy? Is T.G.I.F his idea of gourmet cuisine and fine dining, or will he up the ante and someday suggest dinner at CityZen or minibar (hint, hint)? And the choice of drinks is important as well. Is it a cocktail or wine type of outing, or are we gonna be throwing back some Miller Lites?

2. Crowd type – I used to be the Social / Recruitment Coordinator for my sorority, so during Rush Week I had to speak with a huge number of girls. Socializing with strangers and talking about a variety of topics is not foreign territory to me. I will talk to anyone, anytime, any place! Still, it does not hurt to go to a place that is bustling with energy, a place that has an eclectic crowd, because it helps keep the flow of the conversation going. If Tatt and I ever run out of things to say about ourselves (doubtful!), we can always focus our attention to the people around us.

3. Location – Tying into the crowd type, a restaurant’s location in the District definitely opens up options for post-dinner activities. Whether it's for dancing or playing pool or even just walking around, when the venue is in a lively spot, it makes for an extended fun night out. Tattoo said that because he's still new to the area, one of his pastimes is exploring the different neighbourhoods. Good to know, so I don't suggest a place in Southeast!

4. Dress code – This one is purely selfish on my part. I wear scrubs and a white lab coat all day, so any chance I get to dress up I will. I also love seeing a man who cleans up well after a long day at work, so if we can go to a place where ripped attire is not de rigeur, I will be all smiles all night!
Tatt and I will be finalizing our plans in the next couple of days, so I am sure we both will be throwing out some ideas. He did say that he wasn't for crowded places where people are constantly jockeying for prime real estate by the bar. Considering the above, I already have a couple of places in mind (Beacon Skybar, Chi-Cha Lounge, for starters). Do you have any suggestions?


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