Friday, July 13, 2007

Dating & eating: Minefield number one

Eating out on dates can be a minefield. I’ve already occurred enough raised eyebrows in this city because I expect to eat, yes, eat, and eat like a normal person too, you know, French fries, butter on my bread, pizza, that kind of thing. And, of course, sloppy table manners, chewing with mouth open, tipping badly (practically a crime in this city), and rudeness to waiters can all be huge turn offs too.

But the one thing that I didn’t think would be a huge problem here was being a vegetarian: there are enough food fads going on in this city that most restaurants cater for much more awkward eaters than cheese/egg eating vegetarians. Granted those grating faux French bistros that populate London are much in evidence here in Manhattan too with their vehemently pro-carnivore cartes but, so long as they are avoided, it’s pretty simple to eat and to eat well in every quarter of New York.

What I hadn’t bargained on was dating a carnivore whose idea of a good vege-friendly restaurant was Chat n Chew, an American soul food & BBQ café, his third suggestion after I turned down a Belgian bistro on the wholly reasonable grounds that there wasn’t a single thing I cld eat on the entrée list, and a café that only served one vegetarian thing on the entire menu. After all, it’s pretty dull having to eat something, rather than having the luxury of choosing your supper.

Thing is, when you spend all day at home working, going outside is exciting, let alone going out for supper. It’s not just an opportunity to re-fuel. I don’t expect Nobu, but I do ask is that my dates actually engage with the idea of places where we could both have an interesting meal, instead of inadvertently making me feel awkward for rejecting their suggestions. (I always used to smile sweetly, but after a date took me to Ditch Plains where all I could eat was a bowl of French fries and fried mozzarella sticks for my supper, the worm turned.) After all, it’s not like I intend to inflict Angelica’s Kitchen (a notorious vegan haunt) on a poor carnivore when it’s my turn to choose.