Same old thing

May 20th, 2011
By

At a restaurant, I always order the same thing. I am boring like that. I make no apologies. I might have a rotating choice of five favorites off the menu, but when I know what I like, I like to expect to eat that.

We've been dining at Pho Mai on King Street for eight years. We love it. It's light, healthy, and delicious, with a really nice Vietnamese man who I presume owns it, and is always gracious upon seeing us. He's seen me and my husband go in as newly married people, as a pregnant couple (which I did weekly when I was pregnant- the soups! To die for!), and now the occasional dinner out with our daughter. If a story could be told through the snapshots of dinners, he would know ours.

We went in last week for lunch. The nice man (I really should learn his name- it's not like me to not know for so long) greeted us warmly then turned to me. "The usual, #26?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded. I had already told Claus in the car I was looking forward to #26.

Claus laughed at this little interchange and shook his head. It happens every time, without fail. Eight years of #26. Well, expect that period when I was pregnant and coming in every week. Then I changed it up, got crazy, went wild. But if I only come quarterly, what's wrong with enjoying my favorite dish?

Sometimes I stray from my path and I'm richly rewarded with a new dish to add to my favorites list. Sometimes I am disappointed, like recently at our neighborhood favorite. I almost always order Linguini with Garlic Clam Sauce. Sometimes Linguini with Garlic Mushroom Sauce. If seeking meat, then Lasagna. I felt daring and ordered Veal Marsala. It was prepared beautifully but... I didn't like it.

I ate enough to feel satisfied and I gave the rest to Claus to finish. I hate that. I really delight in going to town on a dish, savoring the flavors with each bite, then relishing that full feeling after. I like when I like the dish so much, I eat a few more bites past fullness. With Veal Marsala, I ate enough to sate the hunger, and then I sat there and downed the wine.

So, over the weekend when we went to a Chinese restaurant with my parents (it actually should be assumed with my mom present, that Dinner Out= Chinese food) I ordered Ma Po Tofu and Crispy Gau Gee Min. Claus laughed.

"There 180 choices on this menu and you go to your five favorites. Every. Single. Time," he poked at me.

I was still smarting from the less-than-enjoyed Veal Marsala. "I like the same old thing. I'm loyal to my favorites." Then I peered hard at him. "You should feel lucky."

***

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18 Responses to “Same old thing”

  1. Ed:

    No apologies needed. I do the same thing myself. Your story took the words right out of my mouth. Have a great weekend Diane!


  2. hemajang:

    funny! Claus=favorite same old thing.

    At work, we go out eat once a week and Pho 333 is one of our regular stops. We went there yesterday and order "the usual." Co-worker goes there every Tuesday, no fail. "The usual" is a small combination in a large bowl because it can hold more greens that way, has the usual beef flank, brisket, tripe, tendon, & meatballs, good broth, and lots of basil, sprouts, and coriander that I've seen served only at this restaurant.

    Never been to Pho Mai but next door is a very good pizza, pasta, sandwich place, La Pizza Rina. We like their antipasto salad, good dressing.


  3. kanakakuuna:

    aloha Diane:

    i know Claus feels lucky.


  4. M:

    Hello Diane, you are not alone, I do the same thing. At any Vietnanese restaurant, I order the same dish, at any Italian restaurant I order the same kind pasta dish and so on.....


  5. Mr. B:

    The best foods at Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants are not the foods that are listed on the menus. The best foods are the ones that the cooks and other workers eat. Has anyone gone to a Chinese restaurant and witnessed the cooks, and other staff, sitting at the table eating a meal during break time? Have you ever taken the time to look at what they were eating? Most of the time, the stuff they are eating are not menu items. It's more "home cooked"/"country style" cooking. One time I saw chicken feet, lettuce-stir fry, and lup chong cooked with tofu and assorted vegetables. Looked ONO!! But wasn't on the menu.


  6. Rosette:

    well I get smart if my husnbad want to order something different I let him then I order my usual..then if he think it is good he share with me..then maybe I will order next time..any new food I test it on my husband first so I wont get too disappointed....my husband he enjoy tasting different type but I stick to usual...I taste his food then I decide if I want it majority of the time we like the same food.


  7. Rosette:

    my husband he find different restaurant..I am kind of stick to five restaurant and closer to home..HE GOES ALL OVER THE PLACE!


  8. Rodney Lee:

    Speaking about being disappointed with your meal - there's nothing I hate more than saving up my appetite (in other words - STARVING) only to try an old favorite (garlic chicken) at a new restaurant (insert name here) only to find out that it's junk. I feel cheated as I just wasted a good "hungry"!


  9. Rosette:

    he goes and try different restaurant without me then he tell me TRY THIS RESTAURANT...I be whining but he knows I will like it..funny!


  10. Rosette:

    well if the food is not good we go and eat again somewhere else...funny...


  11. Rosette:

    yes ... next time get the most expensive ON THE MENU ....tell CLAUS OH HERE IS MY FAVORITE USUAL.....YOU SHOULD BE LUCKY.....funny!


  12. Rosette:

    that is what I do ...funny..my husband would say lets try this new place..SO FINE I GET THIS that will teach him to bring me to new place.


  13. Rosette:

    if I am bad mood my husband would try his best to cheer me up and bring me to restaurant...it is great he find me restaurant and I like the food...


  14. NaPueo:

    Don"t eat at restaurants much but I stick to my favorites too. That way you're not disapointed when the food is served. Staff greets you as you walk in and asks "Same thing?"


  15. Rosette:

    next time just order...yes I am in my lazy life..I send my husband to order in food..I relax...hey I use to pick certain restaurant closer to home just in case the food doesn't agree with me..but now I ORDER..RELAX watch movie.


  16. RedZone:

    I know the feeling. I have my favorites but want to try something new and when it doesn't work out I am sooo disappointed in not ordering the favorite to begin with.


  17. Titus:

    I like Mai Lan, near the corner of Beretania and Keeaumoku. I always get their special beef pho.


  18. galekaminari:

    I think that what we are doing (I do the same thing) is treating the whole restaurant like a menu item. We are in good company. Reportedly, Pres. Obama does that when he goes to Alan Wong's. He goes to Alan Wong's to have the Kal Bi Korean Shortribs, whatever it is called on the menu, according to the news.

    After I figure out what a particular restaurant's best dishes are, I just go to that restaurant when I want to eat one of those top dishes. So, when I want to eat a specific dish, I pick the restaurant that has the best of that dish. I do not pick the restaurant and then wing it with the order. Of course, I always look to see if others are having something that looks ono, but inevitably I will be allergic to it or something. A dish has to be best or second best on the island IMO, and be scrumptious to me, before the dish lands the restaurant on the repeat list.


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