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Dinner With Friends

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This week I went out for dinner with friends. I wish I would have appropriate photos for the post but the food, the talks with my friends and the whole evening was so great that I even forgot to photograph the delicious meals with my phone. That’s extremely uncommon because I am one of those lunatics who shoots pictures of anything and everything. But even without showing you photos of the meals we ate, I want to talk about the day anyway as I liked it a lot.

I am not exactly the person that goes often into restaurants, but this week I did it twice with my friends. On Tuesday we went out to eat in a Chinese restaurant, it was an “eat all you can” kind of buffet. On Wednesday we ate Turkish things in another place but that was a lot cheaper. The Chinese buffet was pretty costly but it was fantastic. The reason why I don’t like to go out for dinner often is that my brain really can’t comprehend why I should spend the amount of money in a restaurant that I otherwise could use to cook for seven days straight. Some of my friends are the same but one of them convinces us and said: “Common guys, it’s December, let’s see it this way, we treat ourselves with something special at the end of a year and we can have a nice chat while we eat together”.

He continued to ask us until we all said: “Yeah, why not, let’s do this”. I wasn’t convinced of the idea until it happened. You know what? It seems good food can change my mind. The friend who convinced us knew the Chinese restaurant and said it’ll be great. And honestly, he was right. I was a bit afraid when he said it’ll be a buffet but there have been enough people in the restaurant that these buffet containers were constantly freshly refilled. And things stayed warm too. So, we filled our first plate with all kinds of things (it was so hard to decide) and went to the table and started to chat about this and that.

As a runner and someone who started counting calories a bit over the last years, I certainly had difficulties with the first plate but I managed it to scrape my plate. One of my friends said “Next round?” and everyone else laughed and agreed when I said, “Dude, give me a bit of time, I gonna explode”. But we haven’t been in a hurry, nobody took a look at the clock. The friend who asked for the second round thought the same and we all decided to continue chatting and let our stomach process the delicious things for a while. I usually only drink water or water mixed with direct juice but it was a special day and when my friends ordered a glass of Coca Cola, I decided for the same. I think a half-hour later we went back to the buffed to fill up a second plate.

My eyes were like “Wow, wow, so many things I didn’t try yet” and I went for everything I had on my previous plate plus all the things I discovered now. Just on the way back to the table, I asked my self if it wasn’t a bit too much because now my plate was filled with twice the amount of things as the first one. I worked myself through the dish but a couple of carefully sorted mushrooms, a small hill of noodles and three chicken wings seemed to show resistance, at least that’s what was going on in my mind. You need to pay extra if you don’t finish your plate because the restaurant is against food waste, which I think is reasonable. There was a card where they explained that you better go several times than overestimate yourself. Easier than said, but I get their point.

My friends emptied their plates and said: “Keep cool, we have time”. So, over time I managed it to empty my plate too but had a severe fight to empty my Coca Cola glass. Meanwhile, my friends asked if we go for the dessert, like ice cream or something and I replied: “No way, you guys can go for it, but I’m done” and they laughed. All in all, we sat there for 3 hours, lots of time. But you know how it is with things you like, in the moment it can appear like a long time but later you realize time actually flew away.

While I value the time with my friends together, I am definitely not converted to a regular restaurant visitor. The friend who convinced us said afterward that it would be great if we do this once a month but everyone’s reply had the same meaning “It was honestly great, but I don’t think we always need to spend money to meet each other”. He knows that we value money in a different way, he’s not a saver but he was pretty happy when someone said: “Look, more like every three months, and then it’s fine” and everyone else agreed. I do agree, while such an evening is really special, it’s not like we all are super-wealthy. Putting money to the side is important and getting the bill was really like “Woah, that would have been a week of cooking and surviving”.

But then again, the food was perfect and the atmosphere together with my friends too. So, it definitely was worth it. We all agreed to do it a few times a year, just not every month. As I said, it was timeless until later at the end when I realized time actually flew away. Even if we sat together for 3 hours in the restaurant, I was a bit sad when I went home because I liked the evening so much. The fact that I forgot to take pictures of my food really shows how much I liked the evening. And what I like too about my friends is that we are the same when it’s about mobile devices. Nobody played with the phone, even if all our phones made some message sounds once in a while. That’s very traditional, like, I am here with you guys, I don’t want to get distracted now.

11 Comments »

  1. It is nice to go out for a meal once in a while. I used to do it with a group of friends in the Huon Valley, we’d go to a different local restaurant every month. I had to budget for it and sometimes would choose from the cheaper end of the menu but it was the time we spent talking that I enjoyed the most. For this group meeting to do other things wouldn’t have worked. It is actually a lot harder than you think to get six or eight retired people together on the same day. They are all so busy.
    Going to a restaurant once in a while is a nice opportunity to eat something that you would not make for yourself at home too. I’m glad you and your friends had a nice evening.

    • Yes, some good points. And it was similar because we don’t get them all together every time either. We had one particular friend there who is doing a daytime job and evening school. But this week he had free and it was a chance to see him.

      And the food point you brought up is good too. Yes, that was very special as well. We will do it again… but when the one friend said we should do it every month, the rest of us said “Nope”. We are a bit different… we know he is doing it regularly with workmates as well, he’s a restaurant fan and spends a lot of his money there. But once in a while is fine. I am going to be there if it is not too often.

      • Some of my older friends I consider to be “foodies”. They love to go to different places to eat and spend a lot of time talking about food and cooking. It quite amuses me actually that when the group gets together it is often the men who are talking about food while the women might be tallking about politics and current affairs. I just like a place where the food is good, not too expensive and where you can sit for a couple of hours talking and the staff don’t badger you to leaave as soon as you have finished your meal.

        • I think that’s how my friend is too. Yes, I think he is a “foodie” 🙂 I think what made our evening expensive was the fact that he wanted to do the buffet. They had a cart there, so we could have decided for something “a la card”. I actually brought that up… I said that I probably won’t eat more than two dishes from the buffet and when I looked at the card, I discovered that I’d be way below the buffet price if I would order two menus from the card lol. These restaurants calculate this fact, they absolutely know that most people won’t manage it to eat more than that. So, they actually earn more with the buffet than with the menus. Not that I wanted to tell them that I dislike the idea with the buffet but it’s just one of those enlightenments you get when you see the price difference. People think the buffet is cheaper because “all you can eat” sounds cool, but it actually isn’t.

        • Most people can’t eat that much although the idea that you pay more if you don’t eat what’s on your plate is an interesting one. I hadn’t heard of that. When we were on both the cruises we would have breakfast and sometimes lunch in the buffet restaurant. There were so many choices of food but Naomi and I would just get ourselves a normal sized meal. We saw many people loading up their plates with every kind of food and we thought that they could not possiblly eat it all. Some people react that way to a buffet. I read a few people’s complaints that the buffet did not have enough variety. There was plenty of variety if you tried a different thing every day of the cruise but not if you tried everything on the first day.

        • Fortunately, we stayed at the normal buffet price as we all emptied our plate but even then it was already expensive. But we talked about the extra payment and decided it’s probably like with everything, some people broke it for everyone and the restaurant came up with a rule… as in you case where some people loaded it up and probably didn’t eat it all. What I find annoying about this rule was the question where do they draw the line? Do I already pay extra if I can’t eat those 6 mushrooms anymore? Or is it about the people who want to pay and go home but leave a full plate behind? If it’s about the last, then I do understand it because that’s very wasteful and I think anyone should be able to estimate if he/she can eat another full plate or not. If it’s about the first group, then I find it idiotic… it’s not uncommon, not even at home, that people leave behind 3 potatoes or whatever as they, out of a sudden, feel they can’t eat more. In the restaurant, this made me battle with the few last noodles, mushrooms and those 3 chicken wings. At home, I wouldn’t have attempted to eat the remaining things, my stomach was about to explode.

        • From a wastage point of view I like it. I don’t know if any places do it here but I do agree that not everyone cleans their plate. Maybe the fee should come into effect only after people go back for second or third helpings although I don’t know how you would enforce that.

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