Friday, December 28, 2007

Questions About The Restaurant Scene in Houston

I don't understand it. Why do restaurants seem to think that keeping the noise levels at a deafening roar is the way to go?

We have been out to eat several times while we are NOB and in all but one of them it was impossible to hear anyone but the person sitting immediately next to you. There couldn't be a conversation across the table and certainly not one that included the whole table. At Beaver's six of us were sitting in a tight booth and there wasn't any possibility of having a six-way conversation. I had to shout at the person sitting across from me. My theory is that so many of the adults in the 20-50 age range have already damaged their hearing with things like rock concerts and earphones at maxi levels, so I guess the sound level doesn't bother them.

The other thing I don't understand is why they serve such huge portions. This wasn't something I noticed while we lived here, nor did I think that the restaurants in San Miguel de Allende served smaller portions when we moved there. But now that we are accustomed to the portions in San Miguel de Allende, the ones here seem like way too much food. Or maybe the serving size has increased even more in Houston. At any rate, I can't belong to the "Clean Plate Club" in Houston.

Even with my complaints about the noise and the size of the portions of food, I have to tell you that the restaurant scene in Houston is alive. There are so many restaurants with excellent food. Variety, vibrant flavors, beautiful presentations.

But my last question about the restaurant scene is how do so, so many people afford to eat out in some of these nice places. Every restaurant was full and had people waiting in line. On our budget "back in the old days of raising children" eating out was a treat and something that we didn't do very often. However around the Christmas season the whole family would go out to a nice restaurant. The "boys" had to dress up in their Sunday best and practice their manners. I remember one year we were at a restaurant where they cooked some items at the table. Two sons ordered the Steak Dianne. They carefully watched the cooking and then when they tasted it they decided it tasted a little bit like the goulash in the school cafeteria....only better.

We have one more restaurant to make before we leave here.....Fleming's Steakhouse. But that restaurant visit will be just the two of us....celebrating our 51st anniversary.


Cynthia said...

Happy Anniversary and a Very Happy New Year.

Jonna said...

One of the cultural generalizations about Americans is that we are loud. At first when I read this somewhere, I was surprised. I don't think of us as a loud culture, not like the Chinese for instance or even the Mexicans in their celebrations. But, what I discovered is meant is that we talk louder in regular conversations than other cultures do. Of course, if you can't hear what someone says unless you are looking at them speak, then talking softer won't work :) I blame all those rock concerts in my youth.

Happy Anniversary! and Prospero Año Nuevo!

Anonymous said...

I was told, by a former restaurant consultant that now lives in SMA, that the loud restaurant is done on purpose to promote faster table turnover. We have had the same experience in Houston.

Bill O.

Anonymous said...

All those rock concerts in your youth Jonna - alright - rock on! ;-)

All good points about restaurants. Anita and I usually share one meal or maybe just order from the appetizers. We are light weight vegetarians.

Of course one might bring up the street noise in Mexico - I think the world has become considerably noisier as I have grown older.

How they afford it might be tied into the 14 trillion in credit card debit that is happening up there?

Congrats on the ann. - Anita and I will be doing that celebration tonight (actual date tomorrow) - not 51 years but a lot and all good ;-)


wayne said...

Congrats on 51 years! That is so fantastic.

I was a little surprised to read this post re noisy restaurants. I haven't eaten anything or anywhere NOB since May 2006 so maybe I am just not remembering correctly but I don't recall them being noisy. Or maybe that's just Minnesota?

Loud Americans? Just this week I have had no less than 8 of my Mexican friends ask me why Americans have to talk so loudly!

La Gringa said...

Answer to your question: Credit Cards!