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Dinner Tips

Avoid These Restaurant Dining Faux Pas

Dining out at a restaurant should be a fun and pleasant experience, but we all know that is not always the case. For the consideration of your party, other diners, and the restaurant staff themselves, please avoid doing these things in a restaurant.

X      Don’t keep your phone ringer on.

We may all be guilty of using our phone during a meal, however, we should refrain from this, especially when dining with company. Ringers should be silenced and phones should be put away. And this rule is not only limited to dining guests – the wait staff and back-of-the-house employees should refrain from check their phones and taking calls.

X      Don’t sit down at a big table well before the rest of the group arrives.

If you have a big party, and you know your friends are running late, don’t sit at the table early. Their inconsideration to you should not spill over onto you. Instead, let the restaurant utilize the tables while you wait for your guests at the bar or in the waiting area. The wait staff will appreciate you allowing them to serve more tables, rather than lingering at your table alone.

     Don’t block the server’s path.

Blocking a busy pathway is not only a nuisance to diners and staff, but it can pose a potential hazard and safety issue. It is likely that servers are walking back and forth with plates of hot food and drinks and any roadblock can slow them down and possibly trip them up.

X      Don’t let the kids run wild.

With that said, please don’t let your kids run wild. If the kids are running around, they can get hurt or be in the way of others. We understand that kids need to eat to, but please be mindful of other diners and the workers.

X      Don’t stray too far from the menu.

Slight modifications and special requests are to be expected, and are usually easily accommodated. However, don’t go too crazy as the chef has put much thought and consideration into the menu. If you have serious allergies to common foods or ingredients, be sure to call head to ensure that they can safely cater to your food allergies.

X      As the host, don’t finish first.

If you are hosting the dinner and have gathered your group of friends at a restaurant, make sure to pace yourself so that you end up being the last one to finish each course. This behavior has somewhat disappeared over the time, but it is a way to signal the wait staff that they can collect everyone’s plate once the last person finishes.

X      Don’t reach across the table.

It’s great to share food, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Instead of reaching across and sticking your fork in the other person’s food, politely ask them to put a bit on a bread plate and pass the plate along.

X      Don’t ask to split the bill several ways after you’ve gotten the check

If you know you would like to split the bill between your guests, check with your server beforehand to see what the best approach would be. If they know ahead of time, they can keep orders separate and organized. Or remind your guests to bring enough cash to chip in ahead of time.

X      Don’t tip according to a comped price.

When it comes to tipping, whether you get something comped because you know the right people, or you purchase a great discounted deal, you should always tip on the full price.

X      Don’t show up right before the kitchen closes.

Although a restaurant is technically still open, you should still be considerate. It is considered poor taste to stroll in minutes before a restaurant is closing. If it seems like they are already in closing mode, you may want to take that as a cue to move on.

What other restaurant faux pas can you think of? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch – weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Enjoy yummy sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and more! Stop in, order online, or get your food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Tips For A Healthier Valentine’s Day Meal

February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re planning on treating your Valentine to a fancy restaurant dinner or a hearty home-cooked meal, be sure the menu is safe and heart-healthy. Here are some tips to make healthier choices on Valentine’s Day (and every day).

Restaurants

  • Assess the scene – Food safety is priority so look for the health inspection score (you may be able to access the health inspection reports online) and certificates verifying the staff is trained in food safety practices. Take a look around to ensure the glasses, silverware, napkins, and tablecloths are clean.
  • Know the facts – Look up the nutritional information in advance – most major restaurants chains have this data online. You can identify the healthier dishes and plan ahead.
  • Beware of unexpected sources of sodium – More than 40% of sodium that we eat comes from these common foods: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, poultry, soups, cheese, meat dishes, and snacks. Luckily, most restaurants offer lower sodium options for entrées and dressings, so be sure to check the menu or ask the staff.
  • Ask before ordering – Unless they are commercially pasteurized, raw or undercooked eggs can be a hidden hazard in foods (ex. Caesar salad, custards, some sauces).
  • Order it cooked thoroughly – Remember that foods like meat, poultry, and fish need to be cooked to an internal temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria. To err on the side of safety, order your foods well done.
  • Sharing is caring – Restaurants are known for hefty portions so consider sharing one entrée.
  • Refrigerate your leftovers – Your dinner was delicious, but you’re too stuffed to finish it. Unless you are going straight home, leave the leftovers there. Food should be refrigerated within two hours of being served, or one hour if the temperature outside is warmer than 90°F.

Dining In

  • Make recipes healthier – Healthier versions of classic recipes are just a click away (thank you, Internet). Get creative and find healthy swaps for saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol in baked goods and other foods.
  • Choose low-sodium options – Reach for spices before you reach for the salt, and try adding a citrus element. You may find that you don’t need salt after all. If possible, avoid prepackaged mixes (which may be loaded with lots of salt) or seek low-sodium or salt-free versions.
  • Steer clear of frying – Instead, try roasting, grilling or steaming your foods as these methods add little to no fat.
  • Keep HOT food HOT – Once food is cooked, it should be held at an internal temperature of 140°F or above. Just keeping food warm (between 40°F and 140°F – also known as the “danger zone”) encourages fast growth of germs that cause foodborne illness/food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to make sure your meal stays out of the “danger zone”.
  • Keep COLD food COLD – Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below.
  • Follow the two-hour rule – Throw away all perishable foods (ex. meat, poultry, eggs, casseroles) that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the outside temperature is above 90°F).
  • Continue the celebration – Ate to your heart’s content, but still have leftovers? Go ahead and put them in the fridge to eat within three to four days. If you don’t plan on eating it within that time period, stick it in the freezer.

Share your own Valentine’s Day dinner tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Avoid the crowds and treat your Valentine to a yummy breakfast or lunch at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli. You can dine in with us or get the goods delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS!