Friday, February 03, 2006

Update: Lunch for one

My solo lunch yesterday at davidburke & Donatella went well. As I had a great corner seat at the bar, I could see the hustle & bustle in the dining area as it quickly filled up with the hungry lunch time crowd. I missed out on some great photo ops, but I don’t think I could have handled eating alone and taking photos of my lunch in one sitting. Besides, it’s a great excuse to go again, right?

I started with a smoked salmon salad, followed by a scrumptious mushroom cavatelli dripping with truffle oil. Yum yum yum, I loooove truffle oil. This was all washed down with two glasses of pinot noir. They had my favourite dessert, crème brulee on the menu, but in the interest of research I opted for the butterscotch panna cotta instead which was a good choice I must say!

Benefits of dining alone:
* You can eat at your own pace and not feel under pressure to finish - yes I’m a slow eater, I like to taste my food rather than wolf it down.
* You get to hear some fascinating conversations going on around you – the poor lady next to me, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Annette Bening, was allergic to gluten. As a result she couldn’t eat the bread, had to have her salad dressing on the side (??), and had to ask the bartender numerous times if he was absolutely sure there was no gluten or any other nasties in her food because she was allergic, yes, to gluten, yes. (Sheesh)
* You score free drinks – I don’t know if the bartender felt sorry for me but hey, who cares when you get a free drink…..even if it is dessert wine.

* You’re limited to what you order - so if you want to sample other items on the menu, tough titties.
* There’s only so many times you can admire the floral arrangement against the wall near the loo. Having no reading material or other paraphernalia to keep myself occupied was a bit of a challenge, but I’m glad I tried.

All in all I must say eating by myself wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I actually enjoyed it. I suppose I did cheat a little by eating at the bar. I think eating at a table alone would be more difficult. Perhaps next time.

So after 3 glasses of wine and an espresso I stumbled back to work. Needless to say I had a very productive afternoon :)


At February 03, 2006 12:57 pm, Blogger Nina said...

Congrats on your solo dining excursion. I think the hardest part is where to look--it's tricky to avoid either staring at something or darting my eyes around... and even getting space on the counter for a magazine/book and trying to keep it open, can be a bit unwieldy. But I feel kind of adventurous eating on my own, too.

And I just discovered your blog -- I love NY and used to live there, so reading your blog is like reading about home. :) Thanks for all the pic's and descriptions-- for instance, I always meant to eat at 'ino, but never got around to it!

At February 05, 2006 5:07 am, Blogger Chick Pea said...

Hi Nina

Thanks for your comment. Wow, baking and pastry Napa!! Look forward to seeing your posts and great recipes!

Btw, I have an aversion to baking, but I've always wanted to try to bake bread...any tips or recipes you can share? :) Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked, crunchy, soft, chewy, delicious bread!

At February 06, 2006 2:09 pm, Blogger Nina said...

I think I start the bread block at school in about 3 weeks, so then I'll have tons of bread info (and hopefully pic's)! From what I can tell so far, a hot, even oven is very important... and lots of time to let it ferment and proof. It's funny, but most of baking is just waiting for your materials to react to what you do to them.

I've become hooked on bread at CIA... Always fresh and perfect taste and texture... Plus, they even have their own tandoor oven for naan!

At February 23, 2006 4:23 pm, Blogger Julia said...

Hi - found you through Helen/Grab Your Fork. Loving the blog, can't wait to read more.

I love eating on my own, like Nina says I feel adventurous doing it too, especially when you challenge yourself to not reading/writing (or you can't for space reasons).

When I travel by myself reactions to eating alone have been interesting. In Italy people sometimes would stare, giggle, make a joke of it (never rudely), other times people from other tables have bought you a drink and other times waiters would buy you a drink. So you rarely feel alone, and perhaps you're more involved, more in the moment, than if it's just another meal with someone. And it's a great people-watching exercise, one of my favourite things.


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