R R R - Rich's Restaurant Rules

I started on this years ago and recently lost my only copy of my rules.  These are from memory and I'll add more to them as they 'come back to me'.

1 - Your Mother's not here so you don't have to clean your plate.
Come on, you've gone out to eat and have fun, not sit at home and eat your Brussels Sprouts so that you can grow big and strong. Mom's not here to glower over you and make sure you don't make the dog fat so have fun!  If you get full, take it home.  If you don't like it, make a social statement about the food with an interesting little sculpture out of the leftovers (see rule #5).

2 - When traveling, never eat at a place that you have back home.
You've gone someplace, maybe new to you, and there are so many new places to try!  Be adventurous and try a new place.  It probably won't kill you (allergies aside) and you might just discover that really great meal you've been looking for.  This obviously eliminates all chain restaurants and you shouldn't be visiting them anyway.  Shame on you if you are!

3 - If you've decided to take your leftovers home, don't forget them when you leave.
I've done this.  Had a really good meal, didn't eat all of it (rule #1) and wanted to take the rest home.  I either got so involved in a conversation, or put the box where I didn't see it when I left and then got home and remembered that great food still sitting at the restaurant - or in the trash can by now.  A corollary to this is leaving it in the car when you get home and discovering the next day that what is making the car smell really good is no longer safe to eat.  One trick that I use to remember to take them is to place my keys on top of the container.  That way, when I get to the car and discover I don't have the keys I'll suddenly remember where they are.  If you've hitched a ride with a friend, use their keys!

4 - Entertain your server.
This rule works like this:  Serving you is this person's job and we all can get a little bit bored from time to time.  You need to differentiate yourself from all of the other diners and get your server out of their rut.  If you do, they'll treat you a little bit better - you'll get a better dining experience - you'll tip them better (very important!) - and the next time you come in they will remember you and give you even better service.  Another benefit is that once you've put your server in a good mood the other diners will also benefit.  How you set yourself apart from the others is up to you, but do it in a nice way as pissing off the server doesn't usually work very well.

5 - Use your leftovers (that you aren't taking with you) to make interesting sculptures.
This could be a sub rule of "Entertain your server" but it's also a great way to entertain yourself while waiting for the check or dessert.  Once we made a figure out of our leftovers that caused the waiter to do a double take as he was walking by.  Several of the nearby tables were also amused by what we had created.  The waiter then came back and asked if he could take our creation back to the kitchen to show everyone!  Another time we'd had a tamale that was so bad it was almost inedible.  We took the remaining one and turned it into a little corpse with a bleeding stab wound - our comment on our meal.  It helped add a little humor to what was otherwise a disaster of a meal.

6 - Tip in cash.
They love it when you give them cash - and you know why (just in case the IRS is watching).

7 - When you go back to a restaurant, try something different.
Part of dining out is to try new stuff and experience new tastes so don't keep getting the same thing.  Of course there are exceptions like going back to that one place where the Veal Picatta is really good or even trying the same dish at several places to see how they compare.  I have a thing about trying to find the perfect sausage gravy and biscuits and sometimes use it to see just how good the rest of the offerings might be.  Just don't fall into a rut of ordering the same thing every time you go out because you know it's safe.

8 - It's OK to lick the plate if you check with the waiter first.
Believe it or not, this rule originated at a five star restaurant.  We had just had a wonderful meal and were still savoring what we'd eaten but all that remained were the scraping and drippings on the plates.  We told our server how good everything was and then asked if no one was looking if he minded if we licked our plates.  He thought it was a great idea and told us to help ourselves.  Also a good application of rule #4.

9 - If the Salesman is buying, get one of everything.
It's his nickel and he really wants the sale so make him earn it!

If you've enjoyed my 'rules' please feel free to pass them on - just let your friends know where you found them!  I'll also take suggestions on new rules.  Send them to Rich@RichPhelan.com
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