Wednesday, September 18, 2013
I remember when going out to eat was special. In my family growing up, going out to eat meant it was a birthday, an anniversary, a Mother’s Day, a good-grades celebration and other occasions. Other than those special occasions, we rarely went out to eat growing up.
For many special occasions, my family would often go to Michael’s, a classic fine-dining restaurant in downtown Rochester, with dark wood décor and thick carpets. Michael’s had the best steak in town (it still has good steak!), and fresh bread and salad before the meals. The hallway on the way to the restaurant was lined with framed photos of many celebrities who had eaten there over time.
Sometimes we would go to Perkin’s for breakfast, but usually only when my dad had medical appointments early in the morning. I’d have pancakes or French toast, with sausage on the side. I’d spread a big square of butter on the pancakes and drown them in maple syrup. Even the sausage tasted better with a bit of maple syrup! I’d have a glass of orange juice on the side. My parents would drink coffee with their breakfasts, but I didn’t like the taste of coffee until I was in high school.
After college, I started to go out to eat more, with family and friends in the Twin Cities. Still, for a long time, it was a special experience to me, getting to go to many new restaurants—like the Twin City Grill or the Cheesecake Factory or P.F. Chang’s—choosing a good entrée from the menu, and sometimes having a glass of wine or dessert with dinner.
But over time, I’ve realized that going out to eat has lost that special factor. It’s turned into something I just happen to do once in a while with friends and family, wherever it’s convenient to meet, or when I don’t have time to cook at home. It’s lost the feeling of being something special, of being a celebration.
I think I’ll go back to how I grew up—going out to eat to celebrate, to enjoy life, to spend time with family and friends, and to eat good food. When I go out to eat, I’ll remember to savor the experience and enjoy the entire meal. Next time I have something to celebrate, I’ll be going out to eat!