Some people just don’t get it. OK, so this is going to be a bit of a rant. I was at dinner the other night and a young, well dressed, good looking couple was seated at the table next to us. From the minute they were escorted over to the table they didn’t say a word. Not to the host, not to one another, or to anyone else. They had their faces buried in their respective iPhones and were furiously texting away. When the waiter came to greet them, drop off menus, and take drink orders, they both muttered their drink preference without even looking up from their beloved iPhones. They remained sitting there in silence tapping away at their keyboards. This went on for a full 10 minutes when they simultaneously set their phone on the table, text messaging apps still running, and only then did they start speaking to one another. Their dinner was continuously interrupted by ever so urgent breaks to return a text.
Seriously? This is how adults dine these days? I mean, this wasn’t at some diner or fast food joint, we were in a nice restaurant. Where did these people grow up? My parents would never have allowed for that kind of behavior when I was a child. Let alone as an adult. If I had pulled a stunt like that as a kid I’d have been told, in no uncertain terms, to put whatever it was that was taking my attention away from the meal with my family away. If I had not complied whatever it was would have been taken away until at least the end of the meal and likely a whole lot longer. With these two however, they continued their respective text conversations on and off throughout their meal. This is how you enjoy dinner out? Where are your manners people? Put the phone away for an hour or so, enjoy each other’s company, damnit is it that hard to be civil for Christ’s sake? If your text conversation is so pressing take it away from the table, finish it, and come back to have dinner when you’re done. I swear to god I really do hate people sometimes.
Conversely, the people who own and work at the restaurant I was having dinner at that night do get it. The place serves really great food, in a comfortable dining room that’s neither too formal nor too casual. They have a great wine and beer list, attentive and friendly service and for the most part use local, sustainable, and organic ingredients. They bring in a lot of whole animals and do a lot of “snout to tail” cooking. It’s not rare to see rabbit kidney or chicken gizzards on the menu, and they do a lot of their own charcuterie. In case you don’t know what that means, well, it’s using the bits and scraps left over from an animal to create amazing things like sausages and pates. These guys care about the ingredients, how they're prepared and how they take care of their customers.
Where is this little gem? It's on Damen Avenue in Chicago and it's called The Bristol. If you live in Chicago and you haven't eaten there you have to check it out. If you're not from Chicago, the next time you come you have to eat there. It's one of my favorite restaurants in the world. Seriously, these guys rock.
When you go, don't be afraid of something that might sound like it's outside of your culinary comfort zone. Trust me, you won't be sorry you expanded your food horizons.