Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Update

The company has gone through the start up year on a minimal budget so dining on the road wasn't a frequent event.  I'm seeing a little revenue and hope to begin more travel in 2011.  Look for new posts soon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chicago Chop House, Nov. 3, 2009

The start wasn't a good sign -- I was seated at the worst table in the house... ten feet from the door on the only path to the main dining area. Virtually every patron that dined there that evening walked within 18 inches of my table. The waiter was attentive, the music (live) was a bit too loud. Upon asking the manager (Pancho) about compensating for the poor seating, perhaps a free drink or appetizer, he pointed the finger at the hostess noting it was her fault. It makes me wonder how they would handle bigger issues. The first martini was poured a bit short, but the second was a good pour. I was not offered a wine menu. The wedge salad was well prepared. The 10 oz fillet with cracked peppercorn was average. Good pepper coating and properly prepared and cooked rare as ordered.  However, the beef was an average grade, not anything better than I've purchased at the local Kroger -- disappointing considering the restaurant’s reputation as a high-end chop house. The sautéed mushrooms were great. The baked potato was average grade for an up-scale chop house. The waiter, Raymond was professional and courteous. I was offered a desert menu but declined on this trip.

Overall Rating (Possible 1-5, 1 being don’t waste your time or money, 5 is a definite return trip)
Price: $$$$
Service: ++++
Food Quality: +++
Client Entertainment: A safe choice with an old-school gentlemen's club atmosphere.  Very retro chic.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The "Business" of Dining Alone

Everyday thousands of us do it--we travel on business, and lo and behold, we find ourselves alone at dinnertime. The choices are many, but the decision is limited. Do you: retreat to over-priced room service, grab some fast-food, sit at the bar, or actually dive into the restaurant and pretend to be a regular customer? Of course, restaurants are really designed for, at minimum, tables for two. This blog will detail my dining adventures--at many times fine, and sometimes, not-so-fine restaurants. I gather information and my impressions on my BlackBerry as they happen at the restaurant. Waiters and restaurant managers generally hate it!

About me:

I own a specialty insurance agency/consulting firm. I work with auto lenders on a national basis. Although based in Atlanta, I travel throughout the entire United States. Admittedly, I am a bit of a food snob, okay, maybe not a snob, but I really don't do dinner at an establishment without a wait staff, with the exception of BBQ joints. My analysis of the bar is simple--can they make a respectable classic martini. I try to keep my orders in line with what the establishment is known for, that is, I do steak at chop houses and fish when near the ocean. No need to order Lo-mein at a Waffle House. It isn't going to be good. The wine selection is basic - Chardonnay for fish and fowl, Cabernet with red meat. I'm not trying to expand any one's dining repertoire. I hope you gain some insights as to what dining establishments excel at making solo diners comfortable and whose food actually meets their reputation.