#85 Investigate New Restaurants

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Investigate New Restaurants

For years, our Friday Night Date Night was routine. We took off a little early and then headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for margaritas and dinner. It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us. People nearby would often ask one of us if we had ‘ordered ahead’. While that routine was kind of nice and predictable it prevented us from discovering new restaurants. Since Harlan’s death, I’ve made an effort to discover new Friday night jaunts.


One of the first places I turned to were friends and family. I wanted to know what their favorite eatery was and why. I started my list. It’s always nice to have a personal recommendation when visiting someplace – especially by someone who knows you and is considerate of your time and budget. Most people are candid if they believe you won’t enjoy a certain experience.


This is a great ‘recommendation’ app for smartphones. Generally, you can access the menu there and see photographs that have been taken by other people who’ve eaten there. Of course you can read their ‘reviews’ and determine if it’s a place you want to try. I’ve found that its necessary to read through a number of review in order to get a balanced perspective. Sometimes, people are having a bad day and leave solid derogatory review for a small infraction.


This is another smartphone app that is mostly for reservations; you won’t find every restaurant here but those who are will typically leave a table or two specifically for people who request tables through the app. Case in point: on a beautiful spring day in Baltimore, we strolled along the waterfront and decided to have lunch at a waterfront restaurant. When we approached the maitre d’, he told us it would be a 90 minute wait. We knew we didn’t want to wait that long so we found a bench and I checked Open Table to see what was available in our location. That very restaurant had a table for 4 available in 15 minutes. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch overlooking the Baltimore harbor that day and I spent just a few minutes being just a little smug about the work-around.

Dinner Club

If you really need inspiration, start a dinner club with a couple of friends or family members. Plan to meet once a month at a different restaurant each time. There’s a certain sense of adventure that you’ll experience in doing so and even if there’s a less-than-great meal now and then – you’ll at least have had fun with people you care about.

Be brave, trash the routine, and give your taste buds an adventure by…

Investigating new restaurants.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#309 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive


Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Eat outside

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, it is finally beginning to feel like Spring and I am immediately excited for the opportunity to sit on the deck with a cup of morning coffee or fire up the grill and eat dinner outside. It seems that eating outside brings back memories of favorite childhood moments, or at least mimics those ‘feel good’ sensations.

More and more we are seeing restaurants claiming sidewalks, clearing patio space, and adding decks to lure us with the tantalizing option of eating outdoors. The Europeans have been doing this for decades and the trend – for public dining at least – is catching on here in the U.S. Outdoor spaces are offering propane heat, blankets, and in some cases fur coats so that we can embrace fresh air while dining and digesting our meals.

I imagine that we were born with the innate instinct to consume food in the outdoors. From the perspective of time, it’s only been a blip that we’ve taken to dining indoors. And while I don’t know the anthropological origin… I imagine taking our meals inside was a condition of cold weather and comfort more than anything else (rebuttals welcome). So, it’s in our genes to enjoy a meal in fresh air.

It doesn’t matter if it is a picnic in the park, a sandwich on a trail, a restaurant patio, or you own private terrace… dining alfresco is not only in style but perhaps intrinsic to our nature and at the very least… enjoyable. Summer is only budding here on the northern hemisphere so as you consider preparing your primary meal, think about gathering your peeps and taking it ‘on the deck’ to …

Eat outside.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.