I think you all know that I love my home country. We have the best soccer team in the world, we have really cool cities, sometimes not so friendly people, we have mountains, we have the sea, we have lakes, we have good cars....we also have some awesome food.
And yeah, America is a pretty cool place too. As you can imagine, there are lots of differences between the two countries. And there is definitely a huge difference between the restaurants....Two different worlds of dining experiences. And that's what I want to talk about today.
1. please wait to be seated.
The first time I went to a restaurant in America I just wanted to walk right in and go to the best looking table and sit down. But no. It wasn't that easy. On my way in I saw a sign from the corner of my eye. "Please wait to be seated". Okay. That was strange for me. I have to wait for somebody to come and show me a table? I can see all the tables and I am able to pick the one I like. Thank you. But hey, I am in a strange country so I have to follow the rules. It just doesn't feel that comfortable, to be honest. I mean, in Germany, I have all the time in the world to search my table, take off my coat, sit down, get comfortable and THEN somebody comes, brings me the menu and asks me what I want to drink. I like it that way. Maybe I will get used to the other way someday. We will see. But I am not a little child who needs a leader to a free table. I want to choose. I don't want anybody else to make that decision for me. Sure, I can say that I prefer another table but that's all so complicated. It could be soooo easy! Why do you make it so hard for me? But maybe it is just polite? Maybe people don't want to make a decision and are happy that other people do it for them? I really don't know. All I know is that I have chosen my table for my whole life and I would like to stick to that. What's so bad about that? And yeah, even in Germany people come and help you take off your coat etc when you found your table. So we are not impolite. Just to make that clear.
I admit that I am not the easiest eater in the world. But there are other people in this world who prefer their meals without meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, onions etc. And I am always able to find something that I want to eat in a German restaurant. But I never had so many problems before than I have now in America. I mean, you would think that you are able to just pick a salad from the menu and you are fine. But NO! I went to so many restaurants, looked at the menu, saw that there are salads on the menu, looked a little closer and found out that there is meat in EVERY SINGLE stupid salad. Why is that? Can somebody explain that to me? I expect a salad to be meat-free. Or at least I expect that there is one salad on the menu that is meat-free. I don't think my expectations are that high but maybe I am a snob. I have heard that I am a beer snob (Hi Kari, my dear!) but I think this is a little different! And I really only want one meal on the menu that I like to eat! Please! So yeah, maybe I went to the wrong places, I am sure there are lots of great vegetarian restaurants in the country that would offer great stuff. But first of all, there are no vegetarian restaurants in this town. And second, it must be possible to find something that fits my needs in every restaurant. The third thing is that my husband and all my family here do eat meat etc. so they want to go to a restaurant that offers meat. But thank you, Chinese restaurant in town for having a wonderful tofu with mushrooms and peppers in pepper sauce! Thank you so much! You make it really easy for me!
Another thing is that I am usually not in a rush when I go to a restaurant so I don't have a problem to wait a little longer for fresh products. I prefer to eat things that don't come out of a can or aren't frozen. So you don't think you have to hurry to bring me my meal! I would LOVE to wait a little longer for a fresh prepared meal, don't worry!
Okay, okay, I realize that I am a little mean and that it sounds like I hate eating in America. That's not true! I am just making some improvement suggestions. Haha. No, seriously. I like America and I like eating here. So there is one really great thing here in America: free refills (except of all the stupid ice but we have talked about this before. here). I love being able to drink as much as I want. I mean, in Germany I order a drink and I pay 2,30 for a little 0.33l coke. That's not enough to drink for the whole meal but a whole lot of money. So yeah, I need at least 2 drinks. And maybe you want a coffee after your meal and then you end up paying more for the drinks than you pay for your food. That's just not right. So yeah, woohoo for America and free refills! You don't even have to ask for it which is really really nice! You can just drink drink drink and don't have to worry about the money. The only sad thing is that you don't get a free refill on beer but I guess you can't have everything. Plus I would not want a free refill on American beer, I am a beer snob, never forget about that.
I have been to some restaurants that have plastic cups or even plates. Why is that? I am in a restaurant and not on a camping trip, okay? I can't help myself but that's a little disgusting. The restaurants with the plastic plates were those kind of places that offer a buffet. But that's not a reason to have plastic plates, right? (Saying "right" at the end of sentences is a very German thing too, I guess.) So I don't know why you do that. They just never look really clean, I don't know why. Porcelain plates are so much easier to clean and you don't see all the cuts from the knifes in them. So I can't explain why you use them, American restaurants. Get porcelain plates, please. And glasses. Not plastic cups. I mean, I always use a straw because the plastic things look so pfui (German for "icky"). But I would really prefer a nice glass. Thank you!
I have to be fair and say that I have only been to a couple of restaurants like that in America. So it's not that big deal. But I have never ever seen a restaurant with plastic cups or plates in Germany.
That's a thing that annoys me a lot. I am still eating and the waiter brings me the check? Honestly? Don't disturb me! Leave me alone. I want to eat my meal. Maybe I will order a coffee then. And think about a dessert. But at least I want to sit there and talk to my husband, friends, family as long as I want. Without being disturbed. Sure, sometimes they say that there is no hurry to leave but what else do you think when they bring you the check? Do they want you to leave and make room for other people to spend their money? Going to a restaurant is an event for me. I want to enjoy it. I want to stay as long as I feel comfortable. Even if that means that I stay until the restaurants closes. You can do that in Germany. Nobody will kick you out or bring you the check. So yeah, I do understand that American restaurants want to make more money and they won't when you stay as long as you want because you get free refills. But the customer is king, so shouldn't you allow him to stay as long as she/he wants? I would say so. So please don't rush me. Give me the time to finish my meal and have a coffee. I would appreciate it a lot!
Thank you America! I love you a lot!
Did you ever eat in another country? What are your experiences?
If you want to read how an American feels about the German dining experience, go over here to lovely Amanda's blog: Overseas Adventures
My song of the day is "Write about love" by Belle & Sebastian.
I don't really have a story about it...it's just a very cute song.
Have a lovely Saturday!!
Oh, you can also read America vs. Germany partI and part II.