Restaurants, I miss you.
I miss the anticipation of a night out. Putting on real clothes instead of my “daytime pajamas.” Swiping on some lipstick and mascara. Looking through my jewelry to pick the right earrings, even though I almost always settle on the same pair.
I miss cocktail menus, full of delicious elixirs I could make myself, but won’t. At home, it’s always red wine, bourbon on the rocks, dirty martinis, or White Claws (pink grapefruit only!). But at a restaurant, it could be a frosé, icy and refreshing. Or an Old Fashioned with fancy bitters and rich syrupy Luxardo cherries. Or something herbal with an infused simple syrup that I’m far too lazy to recreate.
I miss the feeling of being taken care of. There’s nothing like an excellent server that has perfected the craft — hospitable but not obsequious, attentive but not overbearing. I love knowing that for a couple hours, my only job is to be courteous, appreciative, and a good tipper.
I miss the game plan. “Okay, we can start with this appetizer…or do you think we should skip the app and get dessert? How about this: we get the app, split an entrée, and then we can do dessert? Oh, and that one side looks amazing, we should get that too.”
I miss ooh-ing and aah-ing over each dish as it gets placed on the table, discovering how my preconceived notions of the meal based on the menu description were either on the money or missed the mark.
I miss sitting in a buzzing room full of dates nights, anniversaries, and birthdays, celebrating with good food and great conversation. Spending quality time with friends or my husband, experiencing the same beloved people in an exciting new place.
I miss people watching. The dance on display in an open kitchen or a busy bar? It’s better than a movie. And the other guests…Ooh, that couple is having an argument. A college graduation, that’s nice. Those girls are having a blast, I bet we’d be friends.
I miss the food. I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who both likes to cook and is very good at it. But I crave the dishes we just don’t (or can’t) make at home. Sushi. Raw oysters. Great ramen. Slow cooked barbecue. Thai tea affogato from Sway. Everything on the menu at Emmer & Rye.
I know this will end, eventually. And while it’s heartbreaking that many of the restaurants I love won’t survive, I know this isn’t the end of the industry.
But restaurants, I miss you.