Hello Calgary and welcome to the dirt on dining out. I have a true passion for food and wine and the dining experience as a whole. I am always on the lookout for new restaurants, cafes, and other food induced activities and thought I might be able to share with you a little bit of my food fun and a lot of my food opinion.
So, I will start my first blog and introduction with an observation and in a way a question to set the stage for what kind of dirt you can expect to read about.
To get the ball rolling – I have worked in a service oriented job my whole life in some way or another so I believe I have a pretty good idea of what good service is and how to give it; and here’s the thing – it’s not that hard. Most often it requires a smile, an ear and a little genuine effort. During the ‘boom’ in Calgary – dining out was interesting to say the least. For a couple of years there I was starting to feel like I should stop going out until the pending recession, because restaurants seemed to quickly get a little too high on themselves. So many people joining our great city in so little time meant an unexpected influx of diners which, equaled restaurants seeming to feel as though they didn’t have to care as much as they did before about providing a great experience. On the food side of things it became normal to get average or often below average food at best. Couple that with service (if you could even call it that) that would sink a business nowadays and you have a very unsatisfying dining experience. But the kicker? We all went out anyways.
I realize with the ‘boom’ came a huge shortage on labour, especially in service type positions; and I remember feeling no different from anyone else – just happy to get food and service at all, never mind good food and service. So here we are just a few short years later and I feel like Calgary as a city has excepted average and below as the norm when it comes to dining out. Now, don’t get me wrong – we have some fantastic restaurants in this city (that are often forgotten) that really get that dining out isn’t just about the food, the room or the service. It’s about everything. I just feel like there are so many restaurants that receive unjustified praise because we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking average is awesome! On top of that if everything is considered great, what happens to the people and places that really deserve to shine? Well, they get buffed out by all the mediocrity.
Come on Calgary, are our expectations really this low? We work hard to live in this great city, so when spending our limited time and our hard-earned money at someone’s dining establishment – don’t we deserve to expect the best?
I believe there are other factors too – like having ONE main food critic in town (one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog). And, not just one food critic, but one food critic that everybody knows and is prepared for when he happens to grace the restaurant with his presence, because the restaurants are told ahead of time. I guess I just think that the average diner might not experience quite the same treatment.
So, to conclude: my goal here is to give you real, honest information about my experiences as an average joe dining out in our great city and whatever other city I might happen to be visiting throughout my life.