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How to Decide Where to Go


DanCole42
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My sister and I start with these questions:

1. East or West?

2. What haven't you had lately/anything you crave?

3. How hungry are you? (that helps determine how far to go)

4. What do we have here that you don't have in your area? (I live in MoCo, she lives in Fairfax)

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Sometimes I go to the Washingtonian Best 100 or if we're feeling poor, the Cheap Eats, and we look through it until we see something we haven't tried that sounds good to both of us. That got us to Estadio for my birthday last year.

I also scroll through the dining guide if I'm in an area and I'm not sure what I want to do.

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One interesting common demoninator amongst those on this site is our willingness (even strong desire) to try new places. Most are not like that - and the popularity of places like TGI Fridays attest to this.

So my first question, especially with others, is "are you willing to try something interesting?" - and if not, then it just becomes a matter of finding the first cluster of pad-site chain restaurants.

The next question is somewhat related - do I have the time/energy to do something new? If not, I might still do something interesting but head to a place I've been many times. If I have the time/energy, then I'll find a new place, big or small, or head someplace I haven't been in a while.

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Mine usually starts with "How many people are in my party?" If it's more than 6, then I start thinking more about the restaurant's noise and comfort levels, and less about how great the food I am going to get.

But DanCole42, you asked a specific question and I'll give you a specific link.

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We used to dine out regularly with another couple. Every few months, we'd all sit together amd write down 5-6 places each of us wanted to visit. Duplicates were only listed once on the "final" list. We then put the names from the list on strips of paper and we put those folded strips in a big envelope. Early in the week when we we going out, we would pick a name "out of the hat." Our rule was "no complaining, no changing the draw." It worked because we were all pretty adventurous, pretty laid-back and comfortable with one another. It was fun, too. And it saved us hours of time doing the "I don't know, what do YOU feel like eating" politeness dance of indecision.

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Location, Location, Location. If I lived in Clevland Park I'd probably eat at Dino once a week, same if I was close to Rays. IMHO its generally who I am meeting and where they live. Then noise level comes into play. FWIW, tomorrow night I am meeting friends at Blacksalt for dinner. They live in Arlington, we live in Rockville and I figured its fairly quiet and kids free.

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I'm going through it right now.

First thought: how far am I willing to go? Should I call a cab or Uber? Do I feel like walking to the Metro in this heat? Or would I rather stay closer?

Okay, I'd rather stay closer. Let's keep it cheaper and let's keep it cooler. What do I feel like eating? Let's go through the neighborhood - if I'm going out to eat, I'm going OUT to eat, not get pick-up, not go for fast food, not go somewhere that doesn't have a beer or two I can order.

Closest: El Paso Cafe. Service isn't typically very good, but the food's fine, and it's closest by a long shot. Meh. Ate there too much during "derecho". And by too much, I mean twice in one day, the day after having Taco Bell, and ... uh ... yeah you don't need more details.

Not as close: Bailey's (crap food, decent beer selection, often surprisingly quiet on non-sports nights). Rock Bottom (no on a Friday). Union Jack's (no on any night). Ted's (ugh). Willow (don't feel that fancy). Rio Grande (ugh no). Rustico (ehhhh). Other places I can't think of within walking distance...gah.

What about further out, then...well, maybe we'll see once I start walking. After all, I usually don't know until I start walking. If I can handle the heat, I might end up at Eventide (haven't been there in a while). Just so long as where-ever I go has A/C, and preferably a spot at the bar where I can read my Kindle and eat/drink in peace.

See? That helped no one!

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