I’m one of those really irritating people ..wait – I haven’t finished the sentence yet!.. to eat out with. I never know what to order off the menu and when the food arrives I am disappointed. The reality doesn’t measure up to the vision and expectation in my head. I then want what everyone else has instead. Really annoyingly - I pick off other people's plates- good friends only.
has cured me of that! America
Eating out here is a bit like a Ground Hog experience. Most restaurants are part of chains and all serve a variation on a theme – Burgers, pasta, chicken wings… Think of TGI Fridays as high end adventurous menu!! I don’t know why but waiters rarely tell us what the ‘specials’ are. I think there are two reasons for this; 1. They are intimidated by our accents and it stuns them into silence – but this is flawed because usually they come back far too often to ask inane questions and then confess to loving our accents before asking which part of
we are from or if we know Bob from Australia Leicester. So reason No 2; They don’t tell us what the specials are because, realising that, wherever we are from, we are not American, they know we wont be fooled by their specials menu. It is the same as their normal menu. Proof positive is when we went to an Italian restaurant in the state capital, Raleigh. We were with Americans and the waiter didn't hear us speak. He told us the special was Spaghetti bolognese. Really? In an Italian?
One of the few times a waitress told us the specials she had such a strong southern drawl I couldn’t understand a word she said and it felt rude to keep on asking. I do love the southern accent. Most people here are imported from up North so it is lovely to hear real locals, even if I haven’t a clue what they are saying! If you order a side salad it comes before your meal! You are given a bewildering choice of dressings – I tried to listen and choose one a few times but soon gave up trying to keep up with the options.
Beverages have free refills. Soda is usually served in buckets and topped up without asking you if you want any more. They once filled up my son’s pail of milk. I didn’t notice until he reproduced it as cottage cheese on the way home! Some places offer ‘bottomless’ options – meaning as much as you like …bottomless fries…bottomless shrimp (not prawns here! Shrimp!) All adds up to the opposite of ‘bottomless’ - big fat asses!
The portion size is just shocking. Everyone walks out with ‘to-go’ trays of all the leftovers they didn’t eat. I know families who eat out every night because it is so cheap to do so and eat the left-overs for breakfast or lunch! Don’t get me wrong – the food, especially the burgers at these places, is very good but if I didn’t want it for dinner, I don’t want it 12 hours later! Urggh!
Eating out here is functional… as in they need food so they eat out. It isn’t social. The queues for tables are out of the door at and the places are empty by 8. In
we are used to making a night of eating out. Several times when I have ordered wine they have brought a glass and expressed a shocked ‘You want the bottle?’ when I have pointed out their error! We were the only ones sat at our table at in one place and they asked us to sit at the bar so they could clean up for the night. They were not expecting any more diners! Strange! Britain
Hubby ordered a crab sandwich. I knew exactly what he had done. He had done what I used to do before I came to
. He had a vision of what would be served. In his head he saw the crab sandwiches at The Anchor, Seatown, served on fresh crusty bread with white crab meat, salad garnish including cress and big wedges of lemon. Fresh and delicious! What arrived in Calabash was a burger bun. When the bun was opened it revealed a whole, deep fried, soft shelled crab – claws and all dangling over the edge of the bun. I think this may have topped our crispy chicken experience in America . When we lifted the lid off that dish we found, placed carefully on top of crispy chicken in soup, the chicken’s head spilt in half to reveal its succulent brain. Hubby’s reaction was the same both times. ‘Oh my f**king good god!’ He said, as he hastily put the lid back on and got pissed instead. And yes! This time we want the whole bottle! China