I love food. Not just for the taste but for the smells and textures and colours. I’ve just been watching a local programme on television that was spotlighting ‘Westcoast‘ restaurants in Vancouver. They interviewed the chefs and the food critics alternately. My mouth was watering and there is nothing in my fridge that holds a candle to what I was watching being whipped up on the screen. One of the chefs said he wished he had ‘smellevision‘, as he wafted steam at the camera.
It’s not that I don’t like to cook – au contraire! It’s precisely because I do like to cook that I like to eat out. It’s inspiring. I like to get inspiration from the menu items and then I like to order the things I wouldn’t make at home – just because I wouldn’t make them at home. It’s a hard choice to make though. Do I collect ideas for things I can cook myself or do I eat what I can’t be bothered to make at home? What a delicious dilemma.
And it isn’t just the food that I like. I like the ambiance, the people-watching and the whole experience – when it’s done well. When it’s disappointing, there’s no worse waste of money. Different restaurants satisfy different needs in me. Some are for comfort food and a cozy atmosphere. Some are to inspire me creatively. Others are for the buzz.
I have a few musts: the seat must be comfortable; the staff must be knowledgeable and friendly; the food must be tasty and hot, as well as being what they say it will be; I have to be able to hear my eating companion; the food has to be good value for money, and that doesn’t mean quantity; and the restaurant has to be clean and well-lit (not bright), including the bathrooms. My pet peeve is when they don’t tell you that there are fresh tomatoes in the dish and it comes loaded with them. They may think it’s a bonus but, as you know, it isn’t to me.
If the restaurant offers wine by the glass, so much the better. I can’t usually take advantage of anything more than two glasses but I do like the choice. I’m not really into pretty cocktails with umbrellas but an interesting feature drink can be a good thing – even if its a beer.
I have to say that the selection of restaurants has increased and improved immensely since I arrived here in 1990. I keep a list of ideas, just so that my mind hasn’t gone blank when it’s time to make a recommendation. I just have to be able to find it when I need it! A little scrap of paper on my desk isn’t helpful when I’m out for the day.
Lest you think I only like to eat out; no sir-ee! Eating in is great as well. I just wish my little ‘hoosie‘ was a tad bigger. I can work with a small kitchen – less space to cover – but I’d like a bigger spot to put the table and chairs – and hide the dishes. Other than that, cooking is a creative treat for me, even when I cook for myself, but especially when I have someone to cook for. I’ve got a lovely selection of cookbooks and have to cull them periodically. There are currently two new ones waiting to be cracked.
Food is such a great way to commune. When I work with clients, especially when I am ‘living in’, we eat something at the completion of each piece of work. Taking food and drink into the body is a way of integrating the work into our cells. It’s why people have been eating at celebrations and ritual events since before we can remember. Every family can tell you of memorable family events that took place around meals – both wonderful and disasterous, leaving us replete or with indigestion.
Got any dinner dates planned?