This all began as my effort to bring the “experience” back to my “dining experiences”.
I travel often for work, and to many, many places. On one of my trips, after being gone from home for ten days and eating everything from powdered eggs at the hotel buffet, to carnival food (and sometimes one step above), to a seemingly endless string of restaurants for dinner, I was really bored of food and the whole dining experience. As I was winding my way home from this trip (driving back from Florida to Michigan), I stopped at a Texas Roadhouse in Gainesville. The waitress, a student from the University of Florida, started the ritual conversation between guest and server by asking “What can I bring you?” After studying the menu, pondering an all too familiar problem from the past week, I simply said “Dinner.” Her startled response was “What??” Sensing an opportunity to have some fun and break up the routine of my trip, I told her “Absolutely, please bring me dinner! You do not get to ask me what I like. Think of it as if you invited me to your home for dinner and you get to serve me what you would like.”
And I was off. With more regularity, I took my little show on the road and to the many places I travel to, and I began enjoying my dining experience again. By simply asking the server to bring me dinner, not only have I had countless great meals, I’ve got to experience many of our local cultures, and, most importantly, I have met many great people and for a short period of time, shared a life moment with them. All over the course of a meal.
Since I started this in 2011, I’ve probably had over 150 dining experiences that would have otherwise been the typical dining experience, where it is mainly about the food, and not about the whole event. The dining experience should be more than just about the food, but about the local culture and the people that live there. People often ask, “Don’t they just serve you the most expensive dish?” Never. In fact, more often than not, I get things that aren’t on the menu, but are certainly on the mind of the server or chef.
I’ve had the opportunity to share this kind of dining experience with many people. Customers, friends, and family have all been with me and enjoyed this kind of dining. I’ve even had people ask if they could go to dinner with me, just because they have heard about how much fun a dining experience with me can be. Because of all of this, along with (and most importantly) a prodding by my significant other, I am pleased to launch off this blog with my dynamic duo partner, Karen, and share with you what I think a real dining experience can be.