Author Topic: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks  (Read 7689 times)

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blarg314

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 10:05:14 PM »

What I was taught for situations like this was to 1) Order from the middle of the menu and 2) follow the hosts.

So if the hosts are ordering top-shelf liquour and lobster, or if $7.50 a glass whiskey and lobster are in the middle of the menu, or if they suggest those items as particularly good, then you're fine. If you're ordering the most expensive items on the menu, or ordering much higher or more than other people at the table, then you're going to look like you're milking the hosts for as much as you can get, and that won't reflect well on you.  At the same time, ordering nothing but a side salad and water will draw attention to yourself as well. 

As far as 4) goes, I would say that when you are being hosted by someone else, ordering five drinks is a bad idea, unless the rest of the group are heavy drinkers. As a rule of thumb, I'd say use your hosts as a guide - if they have a drink or two, you have a drink or two. If they don't drink, you wait to be encouraged to order alcohol. And you don't drink to the point of drunkenness.

If I were hosting someone, I'd pick a restaurant I could afford. But if I get the impression that the person I'm hosting is thinking "Woo-hoo, free food!" and packing as much high end food and drink as they can fit in, or deliberately getting plastered on my tab, that's probably the last time I'll host them.


shhh its me

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2012, 10:06:28 PM »
 #1    It depends  on what OP means by "open menu"  if I'm at a restaurant for a party and I'm just handed the normal restaurant menu  I follow the order from the middle rule, unless the host cues "order from the top of the menu". If it's a private party and the menu is custom made by the host (even if that only means picking 3 entrees) then I just order what I want.
 #2  there is a couple I know , who would offend me if they ordered wine or even soda; They are opposed to the profit margin restaurants make on beverages and adamantly refuse to ever order anything but free water.  Other then that one couple,  I think ordering a glass of wine is fine , of course the host must cue wine is acceptable rule still applies.
#3  If I host an open bar  I don't save money if you order the house vodka once I've upgrade to the top shelf , go nuts.   So it depend a little on the set up...... I don't think guest should think to themselves " score!!! , ha ha  on them  our bars bill is normally $20  now that someone else is paying  and no one is watching I'm running this sucker up to $200" but I offered  an open bar because I intend guest to drink.

# 4 it's a party have fun , but don't become incapacitated.

Instantkarma

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2012, 10:38:31 PM »
If your host allows full menu choices, feel free to order whatever you want.  By allowing full menu choice the host -- whether it's Mr & Mrs Smith or Widget, Inc., is taking the risk that everyone will order Lobster Amandine and Dom Perignon.  And behave graciously.

I am a New Yorker.  And very proud of it.


I dont know whwat that has to do with anything??

I think it is rude to order more than you normally would because someoen else is paying for it.  To me that is taking advantage of their hospitality.

The OP was trying to get a sense for whether the answers reflected variance by region, etc.  I believe the poster was providing information for that breakout.

For mine, I'm in California.

Thank you for explaining I was very confused!

Deetee

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2012, 10:58:07 PM »
Well I think it's wrong to have good whiskey mixed with 7-up.

Drink it neat for gosh sakes.

TootsNYC

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2012, 11:37:53 PM »
I'm from New York and that made me smile  :D New Yorkers have lots of reputations all over the map - literally and figuratively. But one reputation that's true, and that we're proud of, is hosting big.

I say when hosted,it your obligation as a guest to njoy yourself to the fullest while presenting your best self. So you may indulge in decadent food and quality beverages, but you do so with warth, cheer ad good intentions, not with greed or negativity.

When I host I am careful to do so within my means, but once I've budgeted, gosh darn I want my money well spent! I want my guests to leave full and a little bit (happily) drunk. So I say as a guest I try to have what I honestly want but not just for the sake of having it. If the lamb really does sound thebest, I'm not going to stress the higher price, but if the salmon sounds better I'm not going to get the lamb just because I can.

But one should go and accept hospitality with enthusiam. Enjoying what's provided is showing your hosts success.

I will certainly say, I'm paying for top shef open bar at my wedding. The price is preset - the more my guests drink the better a value I purchased.  ;D Same with the food - whether everyone orders steak or vegetarian lasagne for dinner, I'm paying the same, so I hope my guests live it up and have a great time.

Etiquette would say, "go with the middle of the road." So, maybe top-shelf liquor, but only 2 or 3 drinks.

*CHARACTER* would say, "don't be greedy; don't be a taker." And, "don't take advantage."
So, if you are given the full menu to choose from, choose based on what you really want to eat.

Ceallach

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2012, 12:41:48 AM »
If the host has provided a set menu, then it's rude to go outside it.  That would be like bringing takeaway food to a private dinner party.  Not cool.   It's essentially saying "your hosting is inadequate".   (Exception is if you have allergies / can't eat what's served and explain the issue to the host beforehand).  Otherwise if you don't wish to partake of their hospitality as provided, simply do not attend.

However, if it's a hosted dinner but without a menu, e.g. just free-for-all, standard menu, then yes you can order whatever you want from the menu.  Common courtesy says don't go for the most expensive item, of course.
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Adelaide

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2012, 09:26:14 PM »
1.   It depends. If you have been handed the regular menu, go for it, with one caveat. I have been to dinners where money isn’t a factor. However, there’s often one menu item at a restaurant that “stands out”, such as a giant steak or ice cream topped in gold flakes or something. These are usually items that people order strictly to show off, so if you’re eating on your host’s dime then I wouldn’t ever order one of the “showstoppers” because it seems pompous and crass, especially since there’s usually some fanfare involved by the staff when they bring it to the table, like five knives being stuck straight up in the steak or the gold-flaked ice cream coming out in a giant, shiny goblet. Also, please, please don’t order something “expensive” and then take pictures of it to show your friends.  >.<

 If you have been handed an abbreviated menu and there is only one “expensive” item on it, I would hesitate to order it, especially if you know the hosts are on a budget.

2.   If your hosts are drinking it’s fine. Otherwise, and especially if no one else is, I wouldn’t.

3.   No. They put it out there for a reason—if they didn’t want to pay for it, then it wouldn’t be in the bar.

4.   With #3 being said, one of the only rudeness issues I can see with this is how many drinks it would take to make you drunk/inappropriately tipsy. Again, smart hosts know what their budget is and they have planned accordingly.

My answers wouldn’t change in terms of who was hosting the event, they just change based on what is happening at my table. If everyone’s ordering the moderately-or-low-priced items and not drinking, that’s what I go for.

Also, even if the hosts know your particular “habits”, it’s not really their places to notice if you’re drinking, unless you’re the only one drinking or you’ve decided to get schmammered at the table. Ditto for what you’re eating, unless you’re doing one of the things I’ve mentioned above, like ordering a “showstopper” or the “one expensive option” or something that’s $10 higher than what everyone else is having.

CluelessBride

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2012, 11:46:43 PM »
This is why I never host dinners out - I can't afford people going crazy just because they aren't paying.  And I dislike them because it's awkward for me to order knowing that someone else is paying.  Instead, when I'm out with people I'll sometimes just offer to pick up the tab *after* the bill is delivered.  Sometimes someone else will pick up the tab after the bill is delivered.  Sometimes the check gets split.  But because no one says anything until the bill comes, it's assumed that it will be split.  And so no one goes crazy, no one feels bad about what they are ordering, everyone can order what they want, and sometimes you get a nice treat.  I imagine this wouldn't work in every group - but it works pretty well in ours.

As a host, I think you need to be prepared to pay for anything a guest orders.  Or offer a limited menu (if the restaurant will allow it).  As a guest, it might not be rude to effectively spend considerably more than you would if you were paying, but I wouldn't think very highly of someone who did that.

shhh its me

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #23 on: February 29, 2012, 12:07:34 AM »
1.   It depends. If you have been handed the regular menu, go for it, with one caveat. I have been to dinners where money isn’t a factor. However, there’s often one menu item at a restaurant that “stands out”, such as a giant steak or ice cream topped in gold flakes or something. These are usually items that people order strictly to show off, so if you’re eating on your host’s dime then I wouldn’t ever order one of the “showstoppers” because it seems pompous and crass, especially since there’s usually some fanfare involved by the staff when they bring it to the table, like five knives being stuck straight up in the steak or the gold-flaked ice cream coming out in a giant, shiny goblet. Also, please, please don’t order something “expensive” and then take pictures of it to show your friends.  >.<

 If you have been handed an abbreviated menu and there is only one “expensive” item on it, I would hesitate to order it, especially if you know the hosts are on a budget.

 

My answers wouldn’t change in terms of who was hosting the event, they just change based on what is happening at my table. If everyone’s ordering the moderately-or-low-priced items and not drinking, that’s what I go for.

Also, even if the hosts know your particular “habits”, it’s not really their places to notice if you’re drinking, unless you’re the only one drinking or you’ve decided to get schmammered at the table. Ditto for what you’re eating, unless you’re doing one of the things I’ve mentioned above, like ordering a “showstopper” or the “one expensive option” or something that’s $10 higher than what everyone else is having.

I think I disagree with you on #1 but to clarify  I'll use an example.....

If the menu contains 5 items  that are $13.99-18.00  , 20 items that are $22.00-35.00 ,3 times that are $45.00-60.00  and one final item that is $300   I think you should order from the $22-35 range not the $45-60 range and defiantly not the one odd ball $300 item.  If you order the $60 meal I will be able to pay for it but I wont look kindly at that choice (unless I give you a cue  that it's OK)

If it's a limited menu I made that menu  I am fully ready for everyone to get the most expensive thing on it.

SisJackson

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #24 on: February 29, 2012, 01:30:05 AM »
This is why I never host dinners out - I can't afford people going crazy just because they aren't paying.  And I dislike them because it's awkward for me to order knowing that someone else is paying.  Instead, when I'm out with people I'll sometimes just offer to pick up the tab *after* the bill is delivered.

There are certain people I won't host either, due to this not-so-lovely practice.  I've actually had my own brother say, in all seriousness, "If I had known you were paying I'd have ordered the surf-and-turf."  We do have plenty of friends who we swap checks with regularly (we pay this time when we go out, they pay the next time) since we all tend to order the same type of things and even if we were to split the check the two amounts would be very close.  There are a few, though, who order very reasonably when they are paying their own way, but suddenly when someone else is hosting, they go all out and order an appetizer, a soup, salad, an entree from the high end of the price range, and dessert, plus expensive beverages.  Even if it's not technically rude, it sure doesn't make me view them in a favorable light.

The most egregious thing I ever heard of was from a sales rep who took a potential client out for dinner - the client left the table and snagged the waiter and ordered a second entree to be boxed up to go, and it was put on the rep's bill.  I guess in the client's mind, since the meal was being expensed, who cares?  Still, a pretty classless move.

Thipu1

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #25 on: February 29, 2012, 11:58:42 AM »
When my cousin was getting married, she held her Bridesmaid's luncheon at a place that offered a Scandanavian buffet.  The idea was that we would all order the buffet and enjoy our meal with a glass of house wine.

We all did, except for one.

She looked at the buffet and sniffed.  While the rest of us were getting our salads and appetizers, she went back to our table, called for a menu and ordered the most expensive dishes.  She ordered  escargot, a sirloin steak and a glass of very pricy champagne.   

Let's put it this way, at the time and place of the luncheon, the expected price for each person would have been about 8 USD.  The rest of us considered that a generous meal. The renegade Bridesmaid's  luncheon cost almost 20 USD.  Is there any surprise that the Bride left the Restaurant with smoke coming out of her ears?

TootsNYC

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #26 on: February 29, 2012, 01:23:25 PM »

 If you have been handed an abbreviated menu and there is only one “expensive” item on it, I would hesitate to order it, especially if you know the hosts are on a budget.


An abbreviated  menu is specially prepared, and therefore it should NEVER have the prices on it.

A good host doesn't allow their guests to consider what the menu cost.

blarg314

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #27 on: February 29, 2012, 08:28:00 PM »

Fundamentally, the key thing at a hosted dinner is to not look like you're greedy, or taking advantage of the host's generosity.

If you're ordering in line with what the hosts or rest of the table are getting, or are ordering from the middle of the menu, or follow the hosts' urgings or suggestions, then you're going to be pretty safe. If you order from the top of the menu, or order multiple courses when no-one else is, or toss back multiple drinks of high end liquour, or waste lots of food, then you are going to make yourself look bad.

From the point of view of pure self interest, if it's a social dinner, then the benefit of a top end meal at someone else's expense will be more than out weighted by never being hosted by them again, and being viewed as a boor by the rest of the table. If it's a business dinner, you can do yourself damage professionally.

Alcohol is a particularly tricky part of  a hosted dinner. There tends to be a much bigger range in the price of alcohols than meals at a restaurant, and it can be really difficult to restrict yourself to hosting at places where you could afford to pay if your guests decide order the highest end liquour. (I'm having visions of $500 bottles or wine here).



shhh its me

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #28 on: February 29, 2012, 09:03:38 PM »

 If you have been handed an abbreviated menu and there is only one “expensive” item on it, I would hesitate to order it, especially if you know the hosts are on a budget.


An abbreviated  menu is specially prepared, and therefore it should NEVER have the prices on it.

A good host doesn't allow their guests to consider what the menu cost.

You're right I forgot about that and  even if you figure out live lobster costs more then chicken I  specifically put lobster on the menu  go for it.

Ceallach

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2012, 01:27:08 AM »

 If you have been handed an abbreviated menu and there is only one “expensive” item on it, I would hesitate to order it, especially if you know the hosts are on a budget.


An abbreviated  menu is specially prepared, and therefore it should NEVER have the prices on it.

A good host doesn't allow their guests to consider what the menu cost.

You're right I forgot about that and  even if you figure out live lobster costs more then chicken I  specifically put lobster on the menu  go for it.

I agree.  The usual rules don't apply in that case because you *know* your host is willing and able to provide every item on the menu as they've selected them specially.
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