Saturday 5 June 2021

Let's Go To Dinner

Welcome to a warm and sunny South Manchester on day 448 of Covid-19 restrictions. The weather has improved dramatically and we can now look forward to at least three weeks of lovely warm sunny weather to raise our spirits and help us to make the most out of this dreadful pandemic. Added to that, the European Championships start next Friday and I can look forward to a couple of weeks of international football (that’s soccer for any American readers). 

I have been making the most of the easing of restrictions by seeing friends and tonight Mrs PM and I are visiting a lovely local Italian restaurant for a cosy meal for two. 

That will be nice. 

Shall we dive into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. When is the last time you went out to a meal with someone special? Tell us about it.

Well – as I said above, I anticipate that the meal tonight with Mrs PM will be special. However, we met a couple of friends two weeks ago and after a quick drink in a bar in the city centre, we all went to a lovely restaurant where we chatted about life, the universe and everything. It was special because it was the first time we had been to a restaurant since late summer of 2020 and the first time we had seen those guys for well over a year – perhaps closer to two years. 

2. Show us a picture of your favourite cuisine.

I can’t choose so here are four of my favourites (in no particular order).





3. What is the funniest thing a man/woman has said to you lately?

I share a lot of banter with the guys at work and, during one meeting, one member of my team said to me:

“Dave, I’ll bet you love wearing a mask to bars now. You probably stand more chance with women because the mask covers most of your face.”

4. What makes a gentleman a gentleman in today’s dating world? Are there any left?

What do you mean “are there any gentlemen left”? Of course there are – and I am one of them. I don’t have to date because I am in a loving relationship but if I did I know that I would be the perfect gentleman. I AM the perfect gentleman. 

How very dare you!

5. Is there anything you won’t tolerate when out to dinner with your significant other?

I am with Joey from Friends on this.

There are exceptions; for example I am happy to share Chinese food and, sometime, Indian food – but nothing else. I would prefer than Mrs PM orders a plate of chips for herself and only eat a couple than steal mine.

She knows this – even though she frequently tries to humiliate me about it. I don’t care – I am who I am.

6. What type of ambiance do you enjoy in an eating establishment?

I like a fairly busy place with a little light music in the background, with friendly attentive staff. Of course, the food has to be good too. There are a lot of very good restaurants like this in Manchester.

7. Tell us about the worst public dining experience you ever had, whether it be a date or with your family.

Here’s a good one – not the worst but quite funny.

I was in a restaurant in Zurich with a work colleague and we were about to eat pizza. The food was very nice but the two guys on the next table were very drunk and very loud. Their banter and conversation were harmless and they didn’t butt in and talk to us but their voices were so loud that we could barely talk to each other. They were speaking German so I didn’t fully understand what they were saying (I speak only very limited German). However, one of them stood up just as my pizza arrived. The waiter put my pizza on the table and, next to it, a large glass of German beer. The drunk guy stumbled into our table and knocked the entire glass of beer over my freshly baked pizza and partly over my lap.

To be fair to him, he was mortified. 

He started apologizing profusely in German and I had to say “Ich spreche nur ein bisschen deutsch.” (I only speak a little German). He switched to English and said “I’m so sorry!” 

He then ran after the waiter and called him back and spoke rapidly in German. He basically told the waiter to take my food back. 

“I have ordered it again for you, my friend,” he said. “I will pay for your meal!”

“There’s no need,” I said. 

But he insisted. 

Meanwhile, my work colleague was struggling not to laugh out loud. 

Sure enough, a fresh pizza and another beer arrived and then the guy kept talking to me, apologising over and over again. 

Eventually he got the message and stopped talking and sure enough, he paid for my pizza, despite my protestations. 

So, I guess it ended okay.

8. What is the lamest or rudest thing a man/woman has said to you lately?

Nothing recent – but I got into a discussion over Brexit with some friends a couple of years ago and a bloke decided to intervene in our conversation to tell me that I hated the United Kingdom because I disagree with Brexit. Thankfully, the guys I was with all rounded on him and told him, in the sweetest possible way (not really), to go back to his wife, to enjoy his meal and not to be such an arsehole and butt into other people’s conversations.  

9. Are you a good tipper?

Tipping is not mandatory or expected in the United Kingdom, but I do tip if I have enjoyed the meal and the waiter has been half decent. Generally if you tip in the UK the tips are all shared out at the end of the night.

Of course, I have been to America where tipping is expected and, to be honest, I always feel a little odd when I am over there. I once saw a waitress take the bill payment and the person left without leaving her a tip. She returned to the table and basically lost the plot and threw every single one of her toys out of the pram. 

“What did I do wrong?” she complained to anyone within earshot. “I don’t do this for fun you know!” before storming off.

She was our waitress too. I did leave her a tip of course because, despite the outburst, she was sweet and friendly to us – and I did enjoy the food. But I still felt a bit odd. 

10. Do you ask for doggie bags when you leave food on your plate at a restaurant?

Only in America. The amount of food that you are served there is incredible. 

On one occasion I was working in Atlanta but had the weekend off. I popped into a local restaurant and ordered what I thought was a small burger, fries and a coke. When it arrived I was stunned. The burger was enormous and the amount of fries that came with it was enough for about three people. And then came the coke – a huge bucket of the stuff. 

I didn’t know what to do. I tried my best to eat as much of the food as I could but it totally and utterly defeated me. Thankfully, I was staying in an aparthotel so I asked for a doggie bag and took it with me. The coke also came with me when I left and it lasted most of the rest of the afternoon. 

I had the remains of the burger and fries back at the hotel later – thank goodness my room had a kitchen.

11. What is your pet peeve about restaurants and dining out in general?

I don’t like really expensive restaurants that charge the earth for food but only provide you with enough to whet your appetite. That really boils my blood and I avoid such establishments like the plague.

12. Do you prefer to order yourself or do you ever let your significant other order for you?

I absolutely prefer to order for myself. Why on earth would I let anybody else order for me? I will listen to recommendations of course but ultimately it is my choice.

The only exception to this is in China. Whenever I have worked in China, I have usually dined with the Chinese guys I am working with and allowed them to order the food, having told them what I will and won’t eat. Things I won’t eat include insects (and anything related to insects such as larvae), spiders, scorpions, dogs, offal or anything that comes from inside the animal’s head. That said, I have never had a bad meal in China – the food over there is absolutely brilliant – much better than most Chinese food in the UK – and whenever I go there it is the one thing I look forward to the most.

13. Describe your most intimate romantic dinner ever. (fantasy or real)

Café Deco on the Peak in Hong Kong without a doubt. It was a beautiful restaurant with amazing views of Victoria Harbour. Sadly, I have just discovered that it has closed which is an absolute shame. When I worked in Hong Kong for three months in 1999, Mrs PM and I used to go there often for a lovely romantic meal while enjoying the amazing views.

The food was international and always wonderful. 

Cafe Deco

I will miss the place when I next manage to get there.

14. Do you enjoy piano bars?

Not really – mainly because I don’t like the music. I have stayed in quite a few hotels in the world when travelling with work, and when I sit in the hotel bar and there is a guy playing the piano, it generally annoys me because the music is not really the kind I like, particularly if the singer tries to emulate people like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or any of those old-time singers. 

Give me a bar playing rock music any day.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world for dinner, where would it be and who would you be with?

I would go to Hong Kong with Mrs PM and have a chinese meal somewhere in Wan Chai. I would have chosen Café Deco if it was still there.


Bev Sykes said...

What great answers. Is that picture at the top the real hamburger you were served. It's obscene!

I hadn't thought of it until you brought it up, but the amount of food people are served these days is terrible. I mean I eat a lot and am considerably overweight, but I can't make a dent in the amount of food I am served. We waste entirely too much food in this country.

Loved the story of the Hong Kong restaurant.

River said...

#10; not usually, it depends on the food, some is ok later but some is best left to be thrown out. I have occasionally ordered a dessert, but packaged to go, because I know I'll be too full to enjoy it right after the meal, so I'll have it later at home, with coffee.

Pandora Behr said...

Ah, OM, I wish I could have gotten to know Hong Kong like you know Hong Kong - it had changed in the six months between visits for me - and the food was amazing.

LOve your German pizza story - I think that's a good story - great ending.

Kwizgiver said...

That clip of Joey is so true! I hate when people help themselves to my plate without asking.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

No - that isn't the real burger but it was huge. There were far too many fries.I have other similar tales about restaurants in America; it's the same all over the country or so it seems.

We don't serve meals that big in the UK or Europe but there are signs of it starting to happen here in the UK.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I think in America it is a necessity but my recollection of Australia is that it similar to the UK in terms of the amount of food they serve.

I rarely order a doggie bag in England.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Sadly HK changes every time we go. Back in the 1990s there were lots of places that we used to go to but a lot of them had disappeared on later trips, and when we were there in 2019 more places had disappeared. Some are still there though and have been replaced by similar places.

We plan to head back that way in 2023 hopefully so let's see what is different then.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Mrs PM always always asks me if she can try my food and she always gets the same answer.

I am sure she does it on purpose.




Me, Myself, and I said...

I hate the amount of food that we are served here. It's obscene, really, and the thought of all that getting thrown out when there seems to be a homeless person on every corner just boils my blood. Hubs and I started splitting one meal recently. I don't feel so bad about that.

LA Paylor said...

I look forward to your stories about the world!
don't worry about too much food in the US now... shrinkflation has struck giving us much less value for the dollar. Either less food or higher costs.

Lori said...

Enjoy your dinner out tonight! I am glad it is starting to ease up over there. Glad you got to visit with some friends too. Loved your answers! Have a nice day!

Kim said...

That pizza story was insane! Great answers!!

CountryDew said...

I enjoyed your answers to this. I found the questions difficult as we don't eat out much. Loved your pizza story.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Me, Myself and I.

The fact that there are homeless people around does make it worse, that's true. Mrs PM and I split some meals last time we were there - but that goes against my "Joey doesn't share food" mentality so I have to be careful.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi LeeAnna,

I am sue that the portions will be large next time we visit (whenever that is - no plans for a few years sadly).




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kim,

I had to laugh about it later, to be honest.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Sadly we haven't eaten out much in the past year.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

The meal was fab. Heading back to normality.