All dressed up and no where to go!  ๐Ÿ™

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I had glorious plans to meet with Katy for a beer tasting event after work, but I got into my car and my window was STUCK in the down position!  Uh oh!  I rushed to the mechanic and tried to get it fixed ASAP, but I ended up wasting way too much time and had to cancel on Katy. 

 

Blurry Husband to the rescue!

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Hus picked me up and took me to Hue, one of my favorite downtown Orlando restaurants.  They are located on a busy corner and have perfect outside dining.

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Beer, please!

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The Husband had wine, which came in this lovely glass (fun fact:  did you know that most restaurant wine glasses have symbols or phrases on them at a certain point in the glass so waiters know how much to pour?).

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We started off with a great bread basket.  I had one roll.

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Hue changes their menu on a daily basis, and every other time weโ€™ve been, theyโ€™ve offered at least one vegetarian AND one vegan meal.  I was pretty surprised to see that there wasnโ€™t a single veggie meal on the menu tonight.

 

Hereโ€™s how to order (healthy) vegetarian at a restaurant:

 

  • Always be nice to your waiter, but be EXTRA nice if youโ€™re asking them to beg the chef for a special order.  The Hus and I both worked in the food service industry before, and you should ALWAYS be nice to your server and tip a minimum of 15%, unless they did something so horrible you need to complain to the manager.  We normally tip 20% or more.  Waiters work really hard for their money!
  • If thereโ€™s no veggie options on the menu, check out the sides and try to create a fun meal.  Donโ€™t just look in the โ€˜sidesโ€™ section, but look at the entrees, too.  You might be able to combine a risotto, casserole, or other carb with two delicious veggie sides.
  • Alternatively, tell the waiter youโ€™re a vegetarian or vegan (or just want a veggie meal!) and ask what the chef can do.  Specify you want something other than pasta, or youโ€™ll probably just get a load of creamy fettuccini and limp veggies.
  • Make suggestions:  Ask if they can create a mushroom sandwich or a grilled veggie wrap.

 

The Hus and I suggested mushroom sandwiches and asked for veggie sides.  It was glorious!

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The mushroom sammie came with cheese and roasted red peppers.

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Plus, broccolini and other fun steamed veg!

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The Husband โ€œtalkedโ€ me into this tower of pecan pie with vanilla ice cream and steamed apples.  It wasnโ€™t very hard to talk me into it!  He got his own dessert, too.  So I managed to eat almost the entire plate.

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Oof.  It was a wonderful dinner, but I am so FULL.  And sleepy from beer and dessertโ€ฆ  Time to go to bed!

 

What kind of special requests do you make at restaurants?

Edited to add:  Totally forgot to blog my afternoon snacks.  For accountabilityโ€™s sake, I had 1/2 a melon and a handful of crackers.

{ 103 comments }

 

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) March 31, 2010, 9:39 pm

    man, someone would’ve had to hold me down and force that down my throat…NOT! that sounds amazing and i am now depressed that i don’t have such a fabulous dessert ๐Ÿ™‚

    sounds like a really fun night! i’m so glad y’all got a chance to get out, and thanks for the awesome tips!

  • Runeatrepeat March 31, 2010, 9:40 pm

    I think it’s best to tell the waiter you’re vegetarian even if you just want a veggie meal – it makes them more willing to help you if you’re truly stuck without something to eat.

    I am always super nice and have created my own dish at several restaurants this way ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I feel like an old pro.

  • Evan Thomas March 31, 2010, 9:41 pm

    I definitely need to learn to speak up better at restaurants, because now I wholly avoid the problem by going places I know there’s something on the menu, and that really isn’t spontaneous enough

  • Lisa March 31, 2010, 9:43 pm

    That looks like a yummy restaurant! And I’m definitely envious that you can eat outside in the warm sunshine. When I go to restaurants, I asked for dressing on the side, butter on the side, etc. My big thing at restaurants is substituting things: like a salad or grilled/steamed veggies instead of fries.

  • Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) March 31, 2010, 9:43 pm

    I’m a vegetarian and do everything I can to not be obnoxious about it at restaurants. I agree with your tips for sure. Another tactic I often take is to order an appetizer as entree, maybe with a salad or soup to start.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2010, 9:44 pm

      great tip!!!

  • Cat March 31, 2010, 9:43 pm

    Love that your husband is playing on his iphone in the background of the bread basket photo! I get in trouble for doing that ALL the time with my friends. It’s an addiction!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2010, 9:45 pm

      we dont even speak to each other anymore, we literally sat there for 15 minutes and played on our phones in silence. LOL

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) March 31, 2010, 9:46 pm

    I am very specific with my food orders due to my IBS and just let the waitress know of my food problems. They are usually pretty understanding.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is March 31, 2010, 9:46 pm

    Ahhhh that pecan pie looks ah-may-zing!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 31, 2010, 9:48 pm

    I always modify things at restaurants, asking for dressing or sauce on the side, or a different protein. As long as you are super nice to the waiter, I think its fine. I always tip 20%+ for good service, 15% if its not great. I, too, worked in the food service industry, so I know what its like to live on tips!

  • swimsutra March 31, 2010, 9:49 pm

    I can’t stand making a fuss at restaurants– I usually just try to work with what they have on the menu, including removing stuff from my plate once it arrives. Seems like a lot of restaurants are getting hip to the veggie thing though… now vegan, that’s where it must get tough. There is always cheese on everything!

  • Kelly March 31, 2010, 9:50 pm

    I am not a vegetarian but am a pretty picky eater….ok a really picky eater. Great tips on suggesting things the cook can probably make if there is nothing on the menu that suits you. And Rachel’s comment about ordering an appetizer as an entree is a great way to go as well.

    Also that wine glass is awesome. Love it.

  • Jenny March 31, 2010, 9:51 pm

    I’m the dressing on the side girl:/ And I love adding extra hot sauce and spiciness to the dish! Bring on the heat:)

  • Chloe (Naturally Frugal) March 31, 2010, 9:54 pm

    I think those are great tips for anyone eating in a restaurant. Most restaurants are accommodating and happy to help, but the key is to be nice and pleasant to the staff.
    Looks like a yummy dinner, and that desert looks divine.

  • Morgan March 31, 2010, 9:56 pm

    As a vegetarian I always make special requests at restaurants. I’ve been in the food industry, and always make sure to be really nice. I’ll usually start by saying “I’m sorry to be a pain, but…” and that always gets a good response.
    I also almost always tip 20% or more. Waiters do work really hard for the money.

  • Amy B (Second City Randomness) March 31, 2010, 9:58 pm

    I have a firm belief everyone needs to spend at least one summer in customer service. I did retail for 6 years and had my fair share of “unpleasant customers”- and get so mad at friends if they undertip or start treating the people waiting like crap. It’s so important to be respectful!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2010, 10:01 pm

      i agree, i feel like it should be a law. lol

  • Lex @ sweettoothlex March 31, 2010, 10:01 pm

    I am pretty “easy” as a customer – I’ll take it as it comes and make alterations when it gets to the table.
    My requests are usually sauce on the side, or easy on the cheese!

    Those roasted red peppers are making me drool!! mmmm

    I also tip at least 20%. I’ve worked in the food industry and so many customers take servers for granted. Most servers BUST their butts every day and have to deal with so much crap! So many people can judge a server but they usually don’t have any CLUE what it takes to be one.

    BTW – cute cute cute dress!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2010, 10:03 pm

      thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Lee March 31, 2010, 10:06 pm

    I usually make a lot of “on the side” requests – for dressing or cheese mostly. Or if there is a sandwich with mayo or some sort of sauce, I’ll ask for it without. I sometimes ask for a non-buttered bun, but sometimes I just let it slide.

    Do you find Orlando is a good town for vegetarian restaurants? I’m not a vegetarian, but find that there are tons of vegetarian options in almost every restaurant where I live in Atlanta.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2010, 10:15 pm

      its not GREAT but there are some good places. better than other towns, for sure!

  • Stina @ Girl Can March 31, 2010, 10:23 pm

    I’m horribly picky at restaurants. I don’t think I ever place an order without changing at least one thing if not making significant changes. I guess the way I see it is if I’m paying for the food I should get something I want/ like.

    However, I always tip my server at least 20% unless they were just awful. Even then, I usually still leave 15 – 20%. I have an acquaintance who is terrible/ stingy when it comes to tipping. Once we had a waitress who’s only mistake was having my friend’s credit card on her rather than leaving it at the bar. My acquaintance was pissed she wasn’t able to close out her tab “fast enough” and didn’t leave the waitress any tip. I actually pretended to forget something inside and went back in to leave some cash on the table because I thought this girl was being totally ridic!

  • Matt March 31, 2010, 10:23 pm

    Lol I am really picky at restaurants and I ALWAYS customize. I just know what I want ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Meg March 31, 2010, 10:27 pm

    I have celiac disease and eating gluten free at restaurants can be such a nightmare! I have my few favorite places where I know what I can order, and the places that are willing to accomodate, but I’d usually rather go home and eat something I know won’t make me sick rather than take a chance. Or I will actually call the restaurant ahead of time and talk to the chef and see if they can help me out. Some of them really enjoy it I think, others… not so much lol.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:25 am

      i have a friend with celiac disease and she agrees with what you said – she’s rather know she’s safe at home than eat out. which is so sad! we have a gluten-free restaurant here in orlando! its cool chefs are willing to work with you.

      • Meg April 1, 2010, 12:32 pm

        Thats awesome, do you know the name of it?? I will have to check it out when I’m home in two weeks! (I’m from Oviedo)I’ve never been to an entirely gluten free restaurant!

        • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 1:28 pm

          dandelion! it might not be entirely gluten free but i think everything can be made gluten free.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 31, 2010, 10:32 pm

    OH wow, that dessert looks AMAZING!!! Funny thing, I love pecan pie but I have to eat it deconstructed. I take the pecans off and eat them, then the gooey center, and then the crust. I’m strange ๐Ÿ™‚

    LOVE your shoes in the picture!!!!

  • Angharad March 31, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Hmm. The only thing I really ask for/am particular about is when I order english tea, having milk (preferably skim or 1%) rather than cream! It just tastes so wrong with cream…I’m sure you understand ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can imagine you have to get pretty imaginative as a veg but I bet you often end up eating healthier as a result.

  • Midgetkeeper March 31, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Omg your dessert looks amazing.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 31, 2010, 10:42 pm

    Great tips! I too have worked in the food industry and agree 100% that being nice will get you a lot further!!!

  • Tyler Ramey March 31, 2010, 11:09 pm

    My Panera order sends all the employees running for the hills.

    “Yes, I will have the pick two…half the Mediterranean veggie…no tomato basil, add wheat. No feta, sub mozzarella. I also want the fuji apple chicken salad with NO chicken and dressing on the side. No feta either.”

    Is that bad?!?! haha

    • Neely March 31, 2010, 11:11 pm

      Yes. Yes, that’s bad.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:26 am

      hahah no, just put a dollar in the tip jar first.

  • Sarah March 31, 2010, 11:18 pm

    I’m not one to make super special requests, but for some reason it can be a big deal in places just to ask how something is prepared. I’ll want to know if it’s fried or if they use a cream sauce, etc.

    Mostly I’ll just ask for no cheese, or dressing on the side. Oh, extra tomato is always a big deal. Places usually only get my “special requests” about 60% of the time, haha. I never send it back though, I’m usually too hungry ๐Ÿ˜€

    I love your dress Caitlin! I wish it was that warm up here in Washington!

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:26 am

      than you!

  • Dominique March 31, 2010, 11:19 pm

    You know, silly enough it’s never occurred to me to make a special request at a restaurant. The BF and I always avoid restaurants that I can’t eat at for various reasons (allergies to shellfish, chicken, IBS, etc). Even at restaurants we do eat at, I try to order the least offending thing and then deal with the consequences later. The BF and I are big tippers anyway so I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about politely asking to customize my meal a little bit.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:26 am

      no you really shouldn’t feel bad. i know the husband and i never minded special requests as long as the people were polite.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople March 31, 2010, 11:37 pm

    What an amazing dessert!

    I don’t usually have to be too picky at restaurants, except that I always ask for certain things dry as my stomach can’t handle oil or butter. Since I don’t feel like finishing my meal with a bout of burning indigestion, I have to find a nice way to get them to not use those!

  • Sarah-Mae March 31, 2010, 11:58 pm

    That sandwich looks excellent! As does the ice cream (drool!)

  • caronae April 1, 2010, 12:11 am

    The pie looks delish, as does the mushroom burger!
    I am not veg, but often customize my meal. I don’t do well with a ton of carbs, so if something comes with bread and potatoes or pasta and breadsticks, I often exchange one for a fruit or veggie. Most of the time ppl are nice about it but at one diner the waitress refused and said it was “impossible”, lol.

  • Lorin April 1, 2010, 12:21 am

    I don’t make any, I even feel bad if I make a starbucks order complicated!
    I have a question though, for you, or any readers really. What do you do when you haven’t excersised for a few days because you haven’t been motivated to work out and you eat decently, but get overly full at one point ( I blame souplantation on that one)? I feel guilty for missing my excersise and eating past fullness. I guess I’ll just eat healthier tommorow and go to a cycling class or something!

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:28 am

      i would say… don’t worry about it. i know it’s hard not to feel guilty, but you really shouldn’t. health wise, you’re doing minimal, minimal, MINIMAL harm to your system by overeating at one meal, even if the food is junky. weight wise, you have to eat 3,500 extra calories to gain a single pound, so it’s not like one meal will have a difference on your weight. when i’ve fallen off the healthy living wagon for a few days, i just go back to normal (NOT punishment, restrictive) mode and know that things even out eventually!

  • megan April 1, 2010, 1:28 am

    15% is not enough- even for just “good” service. Always give at least 20%. Most places the servers have to tip out to the bartenders (even if you didn’t order alcohol) and host/eses, so they aren’t even getting all of your tip.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:28 am

      good point!

  • peony April 1, 2010, 1:53 am

    we dont get any of our tips ๐Ÿ™ the manager puts them in a pot and rades it if were short on change in the till..its anoying ๐Ÿ˜›
    im alergic to tons of foods so eating out is a nightmare, i try to avoid it or check out the menu before hand ๐Ÿ™‚ theres always a jacket potato…

    • Margaret June 21, 2012, 3:35 pm

      I realize this is a super old post, but for anyone else reading it in the future, what peony mentioned here is almost certainly illegal, and if you’re in that situation you should be reporting it (to the manager’s supervisor, restaurant owner, or if need be to a government agency).

      I’m not in service industry, I’m in accounting, but dealing with business owners overlaps into some knowledge of other business and employment issues. There are rules about who’s allowed to share in tips when they’re pooled (such as manager/supervisory level employees might not be allowed to), and definitely saving them to balance the till is not ok! Basically, there are laws to ensure that the tips benefit who the customers intended them to benefit.

  • Frou Frou April 1, 2010, 2:15 am

    I’m avoiding dairy for 2 months which can be a bit tricky! Though, I admit it’s easier to say “Does this dish have dairy in it?” than “How processed is this food?”.

  • Hedda April 1, 2010, 3:03 am

    Oh, this was interesting and an eye-opener.
    Usually when I am at a restaurant I just go for what they have, without daring to ask for some changes. Like I think the chefs are probably too busy already, and don’t have time for my rather picky nose. But, look at what a great meal you two got out of making some suggestions!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs April 1, 2010, 3:30 am

    My aunt has the vegetarian problem loads – if she’s stuck, she just asks the waitor what’s the best the chef can do, except she’s normally very tight and rude about it :s
    That dessert looks AMAZE!

  • Laura April 1, 2010, 5:08 am

    I remember when I was a teenager in Florida with my family for a holiday and we were eating in a Perkins I think, I order the steak and mushroom sandwhich without the steak, the waiter thought I was nuts and checked about three times if I was sure I didn’t want the meat hehe. I always struggled on holiday cause we ate in all the comercial restaurnts like ponderosa and golden coral which didn’t really cater too well for me but my meat eating family loved them ๐Ÿ™‚

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:29 am

      hahaha steak and mushroom sandwich, hold the steak!

  • AM April 1, 2010, 5:41 am

    I’m vegan, and I avoid non-veg restaurants at all costs because i do not (and have reason not to) have faith that my meal will be vegan. Vegetarian, sure. But vegan? The list of animal-derived ingredients is endless, and asking whether something contains dairy or honey simply doesn’t cut it –restaurant bread is rarely vegan (l-cysteine is made from duck, and it’s in most commercial breads), for example. Whenever i see vegan bloggers ordering sandwiches or pizzas or soup, etc, i wonder whether they’re concerned about the animal derived products. (I don’t judge either way, of course. I am just curious how they handle it.) And even soup is generally made from a meat-based broth, even if the server tells you otherwise. (Don’t even ask why i know that.) Hell, candied nuts in salads aren’t vegan! It’s just so hard for a server or chef to know. If it doesn’t have dairy or meat, they’ll often call it vegan.
    Of course, i’m always going to have to deal with going to restaurants for work. When i am on business, i order a salad and eat at my desk before or after.
    If i’m going out for pleasure? Then it’s somewhere i know can accommodate me, and I enjoy it. (I’d rather support veg restaurants anyway!)

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:31 am

      i do usually check the soup broth but i had no idea about the candied nuts!

  • Renee Boutwell April 1, 2010, 6:16 am

    I have been following your blog for almost a year. I follow several of the blogs and find it so interesting. I want to start my own blog and was hoping that maybe you could give me some pointers to making is as sucessful as yours. I try to lead a healthy life and have turned vegetarian over the last few months. I am hoping that I will get to be a part of the Healthy Living Summit this year. I really wanted to attend last year. I am a runner and live in Jacksonville Florida. I feel like I know so many of the bloggers because I follow you on your journey. I really want to start my own journey in the blog world. I have set up a blog but I am still learning all aspects. Thanks for taking the time to read. My blog is on blogspot. Please check it out at healthyrunningmama.blogspot.com. I have a big learning curve as I have never done anything like this. Thanks Caitlin for being such an inspiration.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:32 am

      checking it out now! welcome to the community. http://www.graduatemeghann.com has a “blogging 101” section on her top posts page that is super helpful and we hope to see you at HLS 2010!

      • Renee Boutwell April 1, 2010, 4:55 pm

        Thanks so much Caitlin. I am starting this blog because I really want to meet people who share my views. I have had so much fun follwoing everyone’s blogs and I thought what the heck I should have one of my own. This is really exciting for me and I can’t wait to meet people. I am also looking forward to your book. I follow Meghann’s blog as well. Thanks for the link.

  • Christie {Honoring Health} April 1, 2010, 6:33 am

    I love that photo of the wine glass, looks so professional.

    I don’t eat out much anymore because of all of my dietary restrictions but I am getting more comfortable asking for what I want. I am gluten, sugar, yeast free and *almost* vegan. I tend to only go to places that have dedicated gluten free menus and then work my way around the menu from there.

  • danielle April 1, 2010, 6:58 am

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 4 years now, and one thing that still gets to me is when I’m in a restaurant and I order something as-is, just without the meat. “I’d like the grilled chicken salad, minus the chicken” or something like that. But 99% of the time, I still get charged full price even though I’ve eliminated a pretty hefty portion of the food involved. Sometimes places will even charge for the things I add, like maybe avocado, without uncharging for the meat! I assume servers don’t have a lot of discretion with how they punch orders into the computer or how the computer generates a bill, but I wish I didn’t always end up paying for meat I’m not eating! Maybe concocting a “new” dish from menu ingredients instead of just subtracting meat from an existing item is the way to go.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:33 am

      i agree, that is SO annoying when they charge full price.

      on a brighter note, our sammies were $10 and most of the entrees were $20.

  • Lauren April 1, 2010, 7:08 am

    I find that most restaurants are entirely compliant to your dietary needs. Especially nicer restaurants so that is why we try to save going out for special occasions and go to a place that we know we will enjoy.

    That sandwich looks like it had to have been the best thing on the menu!!! And that dessert!!! Holy yum!!!!

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind April 1, 2010, 7:10 am

    That mushroom sandwich meal should have been on the menu anyway – it looks awesome.

    I make lots of requests, but with many “sorry”s, “thank you”s, and smiles mixed in.

  • Paige April 1, 2010, 7:39 am

    Whenever we go out for pizza, I usually have two slices and a BIG salad. The request that I make is that the salad have no cheese. I usually get a weird look from the waiter/waitress, but then, I just smile and say, “The cheese is on the pizza!” Usually “no cheese” is not a problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Paige April 1, 2010, 7:40 am

    Oh…and I love your cute sandals!!! Where’d you get ’em?

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:34 am

      ross? i think they are originally steve madden, though.

  • Foy Update - Cook. Garden. Write. Repeat. April 1, 2010, 7:50 am

    I figure if I am paying them to make me food, it should be food I want to eat. I don’t feel bad asking for vegetarian food to be made for me and I always explain that I am vegetarian. If they hear the request often enough they might actually add a vegetarian option to their menu.

  • Jes April 1, 2010, 7:54 am

    Oh that is Chris’s favorite restaurant (and I love it too)! The mushroom sandwich looks delicious!

    I always ask for sandwiches without mayonnaise, and salads with dressing on the side, or baked potatoes with butter and sour cream on the side; sometimes, I’d rather just pour italian dressing on my baked potato. Yum!

  • Angel31@keepingslimandgettingstylish April 1, 2010, 7:56 am

    Wow, so happy that your drinking beer from my home town of Newcastle Upon Tyne! xxx

  • April April 1, 2010, 7:57 am

    I always ask for EVERYTHING on the side: dressings, sandwich condiments. I also usually ask for something to be omitted, added or substituted. I feel like a waiter’s nightmare……but I try to be really nice and don’t complain if they get it wrong.

  • Julie @SavvyEats April 1, 2010, 8:07 am

    You should come visit me in Ithaca… 3 vegetarian/vegan restaurants within 3/4 mile of my apartment!

    I typically ask if I can combine vegetarian sides to make a meal…they are usually more filling than getting a salad without the meat!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) April 1, 2010, 8:15 am

    Great tips- and your meal looked great!!

    xo
    K

  • Amy @ The adventures of a ginger grad student April 1, 2010, 8:22 am

    I have some pretty interesting allergies, including blackberries, and when I went out with the girls a couple weeks ago to a Dine around Town event, all the appetizers on the list had blackberry, but the chef and waiter were more than willing to make me a salad appetizer without the added blackberry, and to make a desert with out it either. I find as long as I’m nice and explain that I need a substitution there isn’t a problem.

    As for tipping, I tend to be of the mind set of if you do a good job I tip great, if you don’t then I don’t tip very well. I get that a lot of waiters live off their tips and having worked in the food service industry all through highschool I can understand that, but I look at it this way, most waiters (at least where I live) make more than someone in a retail store where they may help you just as much as a waiter (A friend of mine complains about this all the time) and I don’t tip at a retail store, so if I’m going to tip in a restaurant it needs to be good service. That being said, I never leave less than 15% unless it was really bad service!

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired April 1, 2010, 8:36 am

    I constantly make my own meals. I add stuff, take stuff off, combine meals, whatever. If you’re nice and polite, usually they don’t care. I just say something like “Ok..I’m going to be a little difficult, so I’m apologizing now” and they usually laugh and say it’s fine. I just feel like you’re paying for a meal and the experience so you should have the meal YOU want. I always tip 20% or more, because I’ve worked in a restaurant too and I know how hard they work! Unless someone is really awful and/or rude it’s always 20% in my book.

  • Jayce April 1, 2010, 8:38 am

    My husband took me to Hue the night he proposed to me!!

    At restaurants, I often ask for small changes, such as pairing my entree with a different side, because I don’t like certain veggies or textures of certain grains. The servers are usually really nice about it.

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:34 am

      aww so romantic! it’s such a sweet restaurant.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 1, 2010, 8:38 am

    That whole meal sounds fabulous!! I’m always so worried about asking for special requests. I worked in a restaurant too- I would have no problem making special orders for people that were nice about it, but I know my coworkers HATED it. I usually just cross my fingers and hope I get a waiter who understands ๐Ÿ™‚ And asking for a dish other than pasta is key (unless you want pasta)- that always seems to be the go-to!

  • Olivia April 1, 2010, 8:46 am

    Thanks for kick-starting this discussion – it’s a good one! I have no qualms asking for substitutions on menu items, but one thing I will openly admit gives me pause is requesting no oil/butter. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, because I have every right to request a healthy meal if one is not provided, but somehow this one request seems to be toeing the line of being a fussy customer in my mind(I too, waited tables for years). I usually resort to blotting and scraping once my oily dish makes it’s appearance. I know, I know – I’ve got to suck it up. I’m sure it’s not half as big a deal as I make it in my head. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) April 1, 2010, 8:49 am

    That’s awesome that the waiters were able to order a special meal for you guys! Usually I’ll ask for simple switches like dressing on the side, or a change of cheeses on my salad if it’s one I don’t like, etc.

  • Ashley April 1, 2010, 8:51 am

    Hey – I’m not sure if you knew this, or not, but Newcastle isn’t vegetarian. I’m not sure how strict you are (I think you mentioned that you do still eat marshmallows), but I figured I would let you know just in case!
    It’s treated with isinglass.

    • Amy @ The adventures of a ginger grad student April 1, 2010, 9:20 am

      Just to comment on Ashley’s post, a veggie friend of mine sent me this website that has a fairly substantial list of companies and if they use animal derived clarifiers. Though with microbreweries and craft beers it’s safe to assume they use isinglass as the majority do. That being said, the isinglass does not remain in the final product, so if your a vegetarian for dietary reasons, and not ethical then it’s safe to drink it (I learned this on a local brewery tour). I don’t don’t if you’ve seen this site before but just in case here is the link.

      http://www.barnivore.com/

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:36 am

      ehhhh i hate to be a “bad” vegetarian but i really don’t get worked up about things like non-vegetarian beer, at all. i also occasionally eat marshmellows and gum with gelatin in it. to each their own! BUT thanks for this information – i find it fascinating that things like beer and wine aren’t vegetarian/vegan.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) April 1, 2010, 8:58 am

    I’m always a little nervous about asking for vegetarian options. Usually the only place that won’t offer them though are like, steak houses. So I pretty much try to avoid them. I think the response wouldn’t be so nice if I requested vegetarian at a steak place. The last time I went to a steakhouse I had….two beers, while everyone else ate their slab o’ meat LOL

    • caitlin April 1, 2010, 9:36 am

      haha i hate the worst vegetarian meal ever at a steakhouse once.

  • Jenny @ nutmegger April 1, 2010, 9:35 am

    Ive been trying to drink Organic Milk only so I’ll ask for that or for soy milk — I’ve been surprised that most places don’t have it! What are you supposed to do if you are lactose-intolerant?

  • Kelly April 1, 2010, 9:47 am

    Haha I’m sure hus had to work really hard to “talk” you into dessert. Your dress and sandals are uber cute.

  • Lauren April 1, 2010, 9:50 am

    It looks like your Hus got a short pour! Unless he took a big gulp when he got it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ashley K April 1, 2010, 10:51 am

    Hey Caitlin! I think we’ve all had our fair share of obnoxious food orders at restaurants- I always feel so bad when I customize things, since I currently work at a restaurant. I just wanted to leave a quick comment that everyone should tip at LEAST 20 percent and if your server does an exceptional job, add on to that. I get paid $2.65/hr and rely on tips for income. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love your blog- have a great weekend!

  • Morgan April 1, 2010, 11:03 am

    Eating at a restaurant for me, typically means I have saved up all my food calories for the week to eat there or I have researched the best place to eat and read all the reviews. So by the time I get to said restaurant (which I don’t eat at chain places), I typically order the special or whatever the chef recommends-they do prepare it best! Therefore, I try not to ask for special requests, unless I am asking for the recipe or extra butter for my bread! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries April 1, 2010, 11:41 am

    Oh gosh..pecan pie is my favorite thing ON EARTH!

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething.com April 1, 2010, 12:22 pm

    super cute dress!

  • JavaChick April 1, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Well, for one thing, I tend to ask for “no mushrooms” because I can’t stand them. That dessert looks awesome though!

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sophie @ yumventures April 1, 2010, 12:35 pm

    Waiters, chefs, and managers tend to freak out if I ask for something gluten free, because of cross-contamination, and I have often been told that they can’t give me anything! I am not super sensitive so frequently I won’t tell them I’m GF and just order food that I know is GF naturally. Its such a pain! Thanks for your tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rachel @ Suburban Yogini April 1, 2010, 12:54 pm

    As an ex-waitress I am always very very kind to wait staff, I know how hard they work!

    I tihnk it is much easier to get vegan/veggie food cooked to order in the States than it is here. Having said that I went to a fantastic pub for lunch who did me the most amazing mushroom burger. My camera had no batteries though so I have no picture of it’s yumminess!

  • Kelly April 1, 2010, 2:02 pm

    I have such a problem with restaurants. Even though I’m incredibly nice and gracious they always mess up my order by putting something non-vegan in it. I get so frustrated honestly. At least here the staff have no clue what is vegan and what isn’t. They end up telling me I can eat fish or pick things out. After my experience today I won’t be eating out much anymore. ๐Ÿ™

    On tipping, I hate when the tip is already added to the bill. They cheat themselves out of better tips. I am a VERY generous tipper. But when they automatically add the tip that is what they get. I realize it’s to cover for those people who feel it’s ok to not tip. But still do not like that practice.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 2:34 pm

      i dont like that, either!

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale April 1, 2010, 2:13 pm

    I try to only make special requests at casual restaurants or chain restaurants. If I’m out somewhere unique or high end, I generally let the chef do what he or she needs to do, without my input!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookie's Crumble April 1, 2010, 2:41 pm

    I’m not a picky eater and not vegetarian or vegan so I rarely have a special order, but I totally agree with you on the tipping! I’ve always been a 20%+ tipper. My friends and I always joke when we get bad service “This server sucks! He is getting 15% and not a penny more!” I’ll show him he’s a bad server by giving him a standard tip….

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 2:42 pm

      i love the way you think, you are an excellent person!!!

  • cara April 1, 2010, 2:55 pm

    I am allergic to chicken so I always have to ask the waiter if certain things use chicken broth and what not. Usually I just try to avoid things that might have it in them (soups and rice often use chicken broth in them that kill me) etc). If there are no other options I definitely use the sides option.

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing April 2, 2010, 11:08 am

    I try to ask for things like whole wheat or brown rice, etc. I’m not vegetarian or vegan and I don’t have any food allergies so I don’t have to be too picky.

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