Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

"I'm hungry."

"Me too."

"What do you want to eat?"

"I don't know. What do you want?"

"I don't know."

I know a lot of my friends are good citizens and plan their evening meals for the week, have fully stocked kitchens, and actually cook most nights. I may even aspire to that someday. For the time being, even when we do prepare dinner at home, the above conversation frequently occurs.

"Well, is there a particular cuisine you want?"


"Okay, is their anything you DON'T want to eat?"

"Yeah, no [insert cuisine here] for me tonight."

"Oh! I have an idea. I could really go for [such-and-such]"

There might be a facial expression here, such as a wrinkled nose.

"No, I don't really feel like having that. I think I could go for [whatumacallit]"

Okay, great! We're narrowed it down to something specific that at least one of us Indecisives wants. So, the naming of possibilities starts. It can range from going to a favorite one-of-a-kind eateries to finding a chain restaurant to making a run to the market for ingredients.

This very thing happened last weekend. It was decided from the start that we were going to eat out. We went through the back-and-forth and, after some negotiating, settled on a particular direction. There were basically two choices, as in "I can go for this or that." The this and that were somewhat related, which helped. We started to rattle off places and agreed on seven different restaurants. Ugh. It was hard enough to come to that point, so how would we decide? Light bulb!

A spreadsheet. I sat down and starting making a spreadsheet. I listed the seven establishments and made several columns. I first marked whether the restaurant severed This, That, or Both. I followed that up with price range, estimated wait time, and proximity to home. To narrow it down further, we had to look at other important attributes. Those included cleanliness of the restrooms, attractiveness of the wait staff, the presence of a fairly close place to pick up an L.A. Weekly, the selection of salad dressings, and whether or not they have root beer, of course.*

The list is real, aside from one item which only one of us wanted. Honestly, we could have added many more factors, but were getting really hungry, and finally made a choice. For what it's worth, we both ended up being very happy with the chosen locale and had some delicious food.

So tell me. What you would put on your spreadsheet?

*I suppose it goes without saying that we aren't foodies and don't really do "fine dining."


Darlene said...

You're hilarious, Jodi. How long did it take you to make up the spreadsheet and decide where to go? What was the restaurant you finally decided on?

the slackmistress said...

Agreed, this is brilliant (and funny.) We eat in a lot (I get a local CSA delivery.) My problem is that in going out, I'm usually so hungry by the time we decide that we have to go somewhere where WE WILL BE SERVED FOOD IMMEDIATELY.

I would include in location:
Can you walk?
Parking situation (I might drive farther if it's easier/cheaper to park.)

Also: douchebag factor. There are places I used to love to go that have been taking over by the Ed Hardy set.

Peeved Michelle said...

When I was in high school, my mom kept all of our favorite restaurants written down on little pieces of paper in a bowl. When we were eating out, we would draw a piece of paper and that is where we would go.

nicole said...

That's hilarious. And I thought the Excel spreadsheets I create when we're planning a vacation were anal. ;)

Nanette said...

Love this!

For obvious reasons, kid-friendly is now a requirement for us. Sans kid, we try to try places we've never been before but have been wanting to for a long time. Those locations are places usually talked up by our friends/bloggers/restaurant reviewers.

madretz said...

since we moved to San Jose, it's nearly impossible for us to find a place to go out to eat. We're not big fans of the super franchises (Chilis, applebees, etc) but J doesn't really like to try new things. We've driven around for nearly an hour just to find some place to eat, of course, dying of starvation by then. I like your idea of, at the very least, writing a few ideas down and their +/- list.

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