So my German friend (let’s just call him The German) and I were out in Temple Bar, Dublin, eating mussels and spicy chicken wings when I had a sudden thought watching the table next to ours. First, they were one of those miserable couples that didn’t speak a word to each other and just sat there, not even happy with their food. They looked like sitting at a restaurant with each other made them absolutely moribund, which I hope if I’m in a relationship or married, never happens to me. Now, when you are sitting at a table with The German, you are not bound to notice anyone else since he is rather happy when eating, which is quite fun to watch. I have never met someone who loves food as much as me, so The German takes the cake as being the best dinner companion (although I think he loves eating more than the actual food).
But watching this unhappy couple got me to thinking about the first date you have with a potential love interest. What’s the perfect venue for the first date? I can hardly say- it really depends on the vibe you get from the person you are taking out. To be safe, going for coffee is a good bet but to have lots of fun, why not go to a low-key restaurant known for good food? Everyone has to eat, and a great experience on the first date can create instant romance. However, The German and I agree- there are definitely things you should NEVER ever do involving eating on a first date at a restaurant.
The DON’T- Do- This- On- A- First Date list:
1. DON’T eat before your date gets their food- wait till you both have plates in front of you.
2. DON’T order something too garlicky or smelly. Believe me your goodbye kiss depends on it.
3. DON’T complain so much about the food if you don’t like it. If you aren’t happy with what you ordered, ask the waiter to exchange it, or deal with it. Complaining on your first date ruins the romance, and your date will think you are obnoxious and difficult to please. Not good impressions at all.
4. DON’T eat off your date’s plate unless they offer or you ask.
Otherwise it’s just rude. Also DON’T insist that your date tries whatever you order if they say no politely when asked, it’s an annoying hassle and sometimes they just don’t want to try it because maybe they are lactose intolerant or gluten-free.
5. DON’T (REALLY DON”T) lick your fingers. It’s not sexy and very off putting. Use a napkin.
6. DON’T pick your teeth or discreetly use a napkin to wipe away any caught particles. Worried something is stuck in your teeth? Go to the bathroom and check it out. That’s your best bet.
8. ALWAYS remember your manners, and PLEASE save room for dessert or plan on dessert afterwards. Unless it’s a bad date don’t do it, but dessert rounds out a meal, especially if you share dessert. I’m biased of course, but nothing makes me happier than sharing a dessert or getting one together after walking around a bit.
*****If it’s a good date, talk about food for the second date. Try out a new cuisine together or eat something they love. Food is adventurous and can bring people together in the most romantic ways.
Thanks to all of my foodie friends that I’ve had dinner with and who gave me tips. Another special thanks to The German for eating his way through Dublin with me, and also ordering dessert more than once. You rock!
Now that I’m in New York, I’ve got some big foodtastic plans so look out for them here and on Eat Sweet or Die Bitter; life is pretty juicy and very tasty in the Big Apple.