Practicing Mindfulness in Restaruants

My husband and I recently decided that we aren’t going to waste money on crappy food served with mediocre service at restaurants anymore – unless absolutely necessary. We RARELY eat at fast food restaurants. I mean RARELY – and only when there are NO other choices. We have gradually transitioned to packing snacks and lunches or going to grocery stores when we’re out ‘n about. And now, we’re looking at transitioning to “mindful restaurant dining”.

We want to be mindful about the restaurant, the food, the atmosphere, the service…the total package. Instead of on a whim, saying “There’s nothing at home to eat, let’s just go out.” And then proceeding to go have a mediocre experience and so-so sodium rich and calorie-ridden meals. It’s just not worth it to us anymore.

Instead we will work through those times to look for something awesome hiding in the cupboards (I LOVE making up meals with whatever’s on hand!), and save our money to go out to one of the many restaurants that are part of Denver’s new and rapidly-growing foodie scene!

I LOVE to cook, my family likes what I make, and it’s much less expensive. So why not just stay home? We do eat at home probably 95% of the time. However, there’s something about going out to a restaurant, right? Especially if it’s a good restaurant that pays special attention to quality of ingredients, exhibits creativity in menu planning, and sets the standards high for exceptional service. I’m also looking for inspiration for my own cooking. Yes, I want the total restaurant experience.

There are so many restaurants out there that could set themselves apart from the rest, but instead they sit on their laurels, complain about customers, and try to cut costs by using lower quality ingredients and not being properly staffed. I don’t want that for my family anymore. We work hard for our money, and when we go out for a meal, I want to feel like I’m spending that money in the right place.

This conversation all began after Mother’s Day brunch a few weeks back. We went to Linger in Denver. The food was so good – taste, presentation & creativity – paired with such exceptional and professional service that the combination brought tears to my eyes (seriously). In my opinion, it was the total restaurant experience.

Lola dumping donuts

My youngest daughter ordered donut holes that came out in a paper bag on a simple white plate with a special dipping sauce. Her eyes were bright with delight as she chose to dump the donuts on to the plate and watch the powdered sugar sprinkle on top like glitter.

The energy and excitement grew as my whole family began reaching across the table and over booth partners –yes, manners went out the window- to try different elements of each other’s meals.

My oldest daughter, who wants to start a baking business this summer, ordered waffles with Nutella pastry cream and cherries. She took all sorts of mental notes on how tender the waffle was, the texture of the pastry cream and the punch of flavor that the cherries added.

Breakfast Dosa

I ordered a Breakfast Dosa, which had eggs, masala potatoes and sambar curry all crowned in glory with a special crispy crepe. I noted that even the peas “popped” and played a special role where they could’ve easily been lost.

And my husband ordered an amazing chile relleno with this crazy good candied kumquat & tomato salsa. I’ve had raw kumquats before, but now I’m totally inspired to get creative with them the next time I see them in the store.

Linger Chile Relleno

I felt so warm and happy and comfortable and even confident when I left Linger that day. It was #thetotalrestaurantexperience. Will you join my family and me on this search for the total restaurant experience? Something to ponder!

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