Who's Dinner is This Anyway?

Thursday, May 30, 2013


We make simple dining requests throughout our lives.  Some are made out of convenience, others are made at the recommendation of friends or food critics.  I made such a request, for my past birthday. 

My wife asked me, perhaps out of an expected birthday courtesy, where I would like to eat for my birthday dinner.  I responded with a choice that I am quite fond of, an Italian style place that has a railroad theme inside; the name escapes me presently.  She paused just long enough to pretend to give it some thought, “I don’t want to eat there.  You’re joking, right?” 

I wasn’t joking, actually.  It had been a while and I had a real craving for the manager’s favorite with clam sauce and mizithra cheese. 

I should probably offer up a little background about my wife, for those who are unfamiliar.  She has clear opinions about restaurants, as any normal person would and should.  When it comes to dining, she’s not a big believer in second chances.  If she’s had a less than perfect experience once, it’s not likely that she will return there anytime soon.  I’m slightly more forgiving about such things, food poisoning excluded.  I know why she doesn’t want to go back to this place, but it was my birthday, and I do like the restaurant.  Besides, isn’t it standard operating procedure that the person with the upcoming birthday gets to choose the venue?

Up until the night of my birthday, I had held out some small hope that my simple request would be fulfilled.  On our drive home from work that day, she asked me again where I would like to eat.  I had my suspicions that it didn’t really matter what I said, she had already decided on a place. 

I have no complaints about the restaurant that she chose.  It’s a place on my short list of acceptable eateries.  She had even gotten more family and friends together than I had expected.  All in all, it turned out to be a good birthday meal.  In fairness, she didn’t ask me to bake my own birthday cake.  Baking, after all, is one of my hobbies; she could have easily twisted my arm and I would have whipped something up. 

But, you know, I still have a craving to go to dinner at the restaurant that I had originally suggested.  It’s been a while since I’ve eaten there, especially since my wife added it to her “no dine” list.  I spoke with my daughters and my brother, and everyone is on board to eat there with me one day in the near future.  Will my wife join us?  I’m not sure.  But if she does, I’ll be sure to alert the manager at the Spaghetti Factory beforehand to make sure that everyone on staff is on their best behavior.

photo courtesy of The Old Spaghetti Factory

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