It's Food & Drinks It's Life

Let’s get real about eating out

September 12, 2016

I love to eat out! Let me correct that….I love a sit down restaurant on a date with a boo but I hate having to grab and go. With my busy schedule these days I don’t have time to cook at home (I seriously want to hire a cook or someone to prepare meals….I hope I can soon) so I have to grab things and I am tired of everything but I have no choice. When you have two kids with three different activities  and you are on the PTO board and you have to handle your small business….it can be tough! I don’t eat out at every single restaurant I see though…I live by a few codes……..

  1. I only eat there if the score is above a 90. Yes….I will look for that score on the window or on a door before I decide to eat there. If the score is under a 90 I am leaving unless it was a place that I had visited before and they dropped without me knowing. Sometimes I don’t look because I visit frequently but I do try to make sure I look often so I don’t miss the score. In drive through if it’s a new drive through that I have never been through before…I will give it a chance the first time but if it’s under 90 trust me I won’t be back! The score tells me how you handle food and your cleanliness. There was a Chillis by me that had a score of a 64…I ate there for years so when I found that out…I never went back. I sure do miss chills but hey….a 64…I can’t do it!
  2. The bathrooms are nasty. So if the bathrooms are nasty as hell……how do you think the kitchen looks. Trust me…..you don’t want to know. I hate using the bathrooms at any type of restaurant or out in public as it is but sometimes my kids have to go………..if I go to the bathroom and it’s nasty…..I am outta there and won’t be back.
  3. The main dish is nasty. So certain restaurants are known for their main dish. Longhorn steak house, five guys and their burgers, red lobster and their pasta salad, etc. If the main dish isn’t good….that tells me a lot! If I am in a new establishment I always ask what’s the most ordered dish and most likely that’s what I eat. If that dish isn’t good then I won’t be back. I remember going to a seafood restaurant a few years ago with the hubs their main dish was a lobster roll. I had it….it was nasty as hell. The place closed down a year ago…..I wonder why *side eye*
  4. The reviews. If I am in a new area or visiting from out of town I always try to check out the reviews of a place. I like to give the benefit of the doubt if the review is lower than a 4.0 but normally if it is….that’s not good. Read the comments in the review section too people will get real and tell you what they really think. Also, look at the dates of the comment if it’s recent I normally try to still check it out. Recent comments let’s me know that they are trying their best and people are still eating there. If the comments are outdated (especially on a popular review site)…stay away from there. Trust me you don’t want to visit a place out of town and waste your money. I did this when we went to Orlando over the summer. We went to Emerils place to eat. Of course I love Emeril and thought this restaurant has to be the bomb. I checked the review and the most recent review was 6 weeks from the date we checked so I didn’t think nothing of it. We went and I was highly disappointed……highly……..the food was nasty and very very very overpriced. Don’t go there you have been warned!
  5. Eating at certain times of the day. When I met my hubs he worked at KFC….I haven’t had them since he quit though and that was her 8 years ago lol. One of the things he use to tell me is that it’s always best to get chicken as soon as they are open or within the hour. After that the chicken may or may not be good depending on the area and the amount of traffic that comes through. If it’s a slow area he said that the chicken will be one that has been there all day! Panda Express is like that. If you go mid evening around 3….the rice is usually not as fresh because it’s probably the last pot of rice that they cooked for the lunch crowd. If you go around 6 in the evening when people are getting off….yep the rice is fresher because they have to keep cooking for the crowd. You also don’t want to eat somewhere that’s about to close….you know you won’t get the best at all.

I like to eat at places that come recommended from people I trust. It could be family members or other bloggers who I know won’t lead me in the wrong direction. Places that are super crowded in the middle of the week tells me the place is good. Just because a place has been in a magazine as one of the best burgers in town doesn’t mean it actually has the best burgers in town. I have fallen for that trap quite often! Always go off the beaten path for food too. Sometimes just because the place is in a busy area doesn’t mean it’s the best spot to eat. I know Atlanta has some great food spots but have you tried some food places outside of Atlanta?

What makes you think twice about eating at a restaurant? Do you live by a few of these codes or do you have your own?

Let's get real about eating out

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    September 12, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I love it! I have been to several restaurants that looked great on the outside, but when I got to my meal it was a very “eww” moment. It pays to do your homework first!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I usually look online for a health score before I even drive to a new restaurant. I also like asking family and friends if they have been there, just to get a feel for what everyone else thinks.

  • Reply
    Audrey McClelland
    September 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    These are excellent tips! I never thought about the time of day being an issue, but it makes sense when you’re eating at a fast food place.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    These are all great tips! I’m always hesitant about trying a new restaurant but it’s nice when I find a new favorite.

  • Reply
    Marcie W.
    September 12, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I love that I am not the only one who purposely seeks out a health department grade. Anything below an A will have me running for the hills!

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    September 13, 2016 at 12:23 am

    I think you have some pretty good standards. I tend to like when places have a decent vegetarian selection because I’m pretty picky about what meats I’ll eat.

  • Reply
    Amanda Love
    September 13, 2016 at 1:43 am

    These are definitely the things that you need to watch out for when you’re planning to dine out. I normally read reviews first before I try a new restaurant. If friends that have the same taste as me have tried it and didn’t like it, then it’s also a no-go for me.

  • Reply
    Toni | BoulderLocavore.com
    September 13, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Love all these tips! I always check if the food and environment is clean, if not, we’ll go and find another place to eat. I’ll surely remember your tips in here, especially about the online reviews. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    We very rarely eat out, and when we do it’s usually a quick stop at a fast food place while we are out shopping quickly.. I’d be scared to enter some of the restaurants around this city!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    This is awesome! We love eating and out these are words to live by!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Dirty bathrooms are a big turnoff for me. So are employees who act like they hate their job or can’t be bothered to provide good service. Both big turnoffs and one that would keep me from visiting a restaurant a second time.

  • Reply
    Mixed Reviews
    September 13, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I like to read reviews before going to a restaurant because I don’t want to waste my money. I also like to see the menu beforehand so I know everything the offer and the prices. I’ve often wondered if food is left sitting all day. We usually dine out in the evening so that’s something for us to reconsider.

  • Reply
    Ora Lee Gurr
    September 13, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Good comments and suggestions about eating out. Good service and fair values are the first things I look for. If a place doesn’t appeal to me after I walk in, I walk out.

  • Reply
    Louise Bishop
    September 13, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Bathrooms are a pet peeve for me as well. My husband and I never visit places with a low rating either. Not worth the trouble.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Love all of this but sometimes I forget to check the score. I never order chicken at the seafood place or seafood at the hamburger joint. That’s asking for disappointment. I’m with you on that for sure. I learned when traveling to eat where the parking lot is full.

  • Reply
    Nicole Escat
    September 14, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Oh, yeah. I hate it when the food that I ordered looks really great on the menu but when it will be served, oh that’s the truth slams on your face!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I didn’t know there was a number on the door. I am going to check our Chili’s and see if it is so low!

  • Reply
    Kenya G. Johnson
    September 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    When we were in Seattle this summer on foot, I didn’t just want to mosey up to any ole place. We checked Yelp and walked in the direction of a particular restuarant. When we were approaching we saw that there was a wait to get in and this was at 11 something in the morning! Parking lot full or people standing around, yep that is a good sign. And it was delicious. I tend to only look at the score if it’s fast food. So my bad on that one. I love Chili’s too. I sure would hate to go in there and see anything less than an A.

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