Friday 17 July 2009

Tight Fist Tip #15: Surviving Restaurants

He Won't Be Smiling When He Sees The Bill

As any good Tight Fister knows, it is imperative to avoid restaurants at all costs; especially those high class establishments with crazy bells and whistles like 'table service'. But unfortunately, we all sometimes find ourselves in an unavoidable restaurant situation. For instance, say you are out of food and your local grocery store has been firebombed by Martians, or you have been kidnapped by mentally unstable Zagat-huggers. Or maybe you're just vainly (stupidly) trying to impress some spendy member of the opposite sex.

But fear not, The Tight Fist is here to help you through this difficult situation with my step-by-step restaurant survival guide.

1. Ordering drinks. The first thing that fancy waiter-having restaurants will do is ask you what you want to drink. There is only one answer: TAP WATER. This sounds easy, but waiters love to be sneaky and bring bottled water if you don't specifically insist on tap. If you were hoping to get drunk but arrive at the restaurant sober, you've already screwed up, so don't even bother ordering booze. (See Tip #3 for more details.) And if you are ever at a restaurant where they won't give you tap water, MAKE A SCENE AND WALK OUT! That crap is unacceptable.

2. Appetizers. Right, as if the food wasn't expensive enough, you want to add an extra seven bucks to the bill on some tiny plate that won't even dent your appetite. What, are you made of money? Instead, just eat...

3. Bread. This is the one savior of Tight Fisters everywhere. Make sure you go to restaurants that serve decent bread, and fill up! And don't be embarrassed to ask for an extra basket, even if some snooty waiter gives you a dirty look. As a side note, if you live in one of those terrible countries (Austria, for instance), where they have the gall to put bread on your table then FREAKING CHARGE YOU FOR EVERY PIECE YOU EAT, this is completely out of line. I would recommend a revolution.

You would think that in a fancy restaurant
at these prices you could keep the snails off the food!
There are so many snails there you can't even see the food!

4. The main course. As this is the only thing you will spend money on, you need to think carefully. Since you now know how to cook, it would of course be absolutely moronic to order anything you could cook at home. Instead, you may as well use the opportunity to order something that would be impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to make a home. For instance, the dumbest thing to order in a restaurant is a steak, as it is easy as hell to cook at home. (Step 1: Put in Hot Pan. Step 2: Flip. Step 3: Eat.) If the Tight Fisters ever took over the world, we would immediately bankrupt all steak houses. Instead, order things that need to be cooked in crazy contraptions (tandoori oven, deep fryer, etc), are freaking frustrating to make (pie), or require crazy ingredients (kangaroo burger?)

Another thing to consider is that some food items have economies of scale, ie the food is difficult to make, but can be made in really big batches. Since it may not make sense for you to do this at home, it is justifiable to order it at a restaurant. For instance, things like lasagna or gumbo are good bets in this category.

5. Dessert. What, you want to be fat AND poor?

6. Paying the Bill. Date a Tight Fister and go Dutch!

Now that wasn't so bad after all, eh?


  1. You forgot to add that a true tight fister only goes to restaurants which have 2 for 1 offers!

  2. In Austria they don't really charge you per piece of bread, do they? Really?

  3. Gumbo is great at home. You need to imrpove your cooking repertoire Stein. Also I am spreading the word at my office about your wonderful blog. Tight Fisting the world over.

  4. or you could move to singapore where a full meal would set you back a whole 2 pounds.

  5. And yet Dan, you wanted to order Appetizers at La Med? Something stinks, and I think it's the hypocrisy. Ha.