A True Dining Experience . . .

What ever happened to dining? I am not talking about simply going out to a restaurant for a meal … I am talking about real “dining”. By dining I mean a meal with the focus being totally on the enjoyment of the food and time spent with others. Does it only exist in parts of Europe? Can only the most wealthy afford it? Do people today even seek it?
If you have eaten out in the United States lately, I bet at least one of the following contributed to your experience ….
… toys for kids
… play area for kids
… Quick service (in and out in an hour or less)
… highly processed, reheated entrees or deep-fried food
… hard plastic chairs built for only 10 minutes of comfort
… coupons or special monthly “deals”
… boring menus with only the American basic food groups (burgers or chicken)
… Mood music
… One or more televisions playing different channels
… Mood music plus a half-dozen televisions playing different channels and a jukebox

The list above, is expected at a fast food chains. However, have you noticed how the main stream sit down restaurants have added entertainment and pride themselves in fast service, too? And, the price difference is not that much any more. The places where you can go for a quiet dinner out, one that last hours and is totally focused on the enjoyment of the food and conversation are harder and harder to find. Some coffee shops have this type of atmosphere, but when it comes to a quality dining experience you really have to search for it.

This weekend, I was profoundly gifted with a pleasantly peaceful and relaxing, chef prepared meal in a local restaurant. It was a little Italian Bistro I have been waiting to try out for a year. The food was unique, locally grown, and all hand prepared by a chef … making the menu itself an interesting topic of conversation. The dining room was small, the atmosphere light yet intimate and it was casually comfortable. The timing between courses was perfect … a bottle of wine (samples first), a little bread, an interesting salad, and a main course. This is definitely not a place to go if you are in a hurry .. this is a place to go for intimate conversation and original food … it is a place to “dine”. Our dinner lasted a little over two and a half hours and I never felt irritated about waiting for things to show up .. the service was friendly, the food was unique, every aspect of the dining experience was warm and comfortable … it was simply a wonderful event. It reminded me of a few european restaurants I visited many years ago … not the fancy, elaborate places with confusing eating etiquette, instead, the small places where spending an entire evening talking and dining was extremely special.

I will admit, it was more expensive than the standard, commercial sit down restaurant … but, it did not matter. The charges were for more than food, we were paying for an eventful dining experience with hours of enjoyment. (If you decide to go in search of a dining experience of your own, choose your company well … someone(s) that you can talk to for hours – no cell phone interruptions wanted or needed)

With all the rush around meals in our lives, we have lost a lot with regards to actually enjoying the food and conversation that goes with it. If there is not a similar restaurant in your area, “dining” at home is another lost art. Cooking a meal from scratch and sharing it course by course with people you care about in your home can be just as good if not better.

I encourage everyone to gather a special someone or a small group of someones and visit a relaxing restaurant for hours of “dining” with conversation and great food. Or, create a wonderful dining experience of your own in your home.

Please share your recommendations for similar dining experiences in your corner of the world . . .

~ by bearyweather on September 25, 2010.

7 Responses to “A True Dining Experience . . .”

  1. Almost every night, my family sits down to dinner together…no tv etc…and home cooked healthy meal. I think it is an American lost art! Glad you had a lovely enjoyable meal.

  2. I just realized that I had not added you on my blogroll…sorry about that. I put you on there!

  3. I’ve been missing this kind of experience for a while now and I was lucky enough to have enjoyed it last week with some friends.

    I also miss the more intimate dining experience of having friends around for dinner. Cooking a meal and having as much time as anyone needs to talk and enjoy each other’s company is definitely something we don’t do enough of these days. I really need to buy a dining suite!

  4. I tend to save these dinning experiences for vacations. But I do love the cozy comfy seating that comes with it! You made make want to make reservations!!!

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