Letter from the Editor, March 2019: The Seven Stages of Fine Dining

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John Fox, Editor-In-Chief

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

Imagining dinner at one of Cincinnati’s best restaurants is like planning a mini vacation: so many things to see, do, and touch and so many ways to break out of the daily routine. I’ve found that I usually experience seven stages of emotions when dining at one of our top restaurants.

Shock: I can’t believe I made a reservation at this place. I’m usually not that impulsive. But it’s her birthday, and she deserves it. Still…

Denial: It can’t be as good as everyone says. We ate there last year, and it was fine. Not amazing. Or was that the other place? Will I find something on the menu I like? Will I even understand the menu? I don’t have anything nice to wear. They’ll figure out pretty quickly that I don’t belong there. This was a mistake.

Excitement: Who cares if I feel out of my element? You only live once. We should spend money on ourselves every now and then, particularly for special occasions. Let’s do it!

Bargaining: Wow, these prices are kind of high. Should we really splurge? I’ve never heard of anything on the wine list, so I’ll order the bottle with a price in the middle of the pack. Maybe we’ll split a dessert instead of each getting one.

Depression: Man, that was a crazy good meal. How did they get the steak exactly right? Everything was perfect. Sigh. We’re terrible cooks. I mean, why even try? This meal ruins every dinner we’ll make at home for the rest of our lives.

Testing: OK, maybe we could try grilling those vegetables with garlic cloves like they did. How hard can it be? It looked pretty easy when they did it at the restaurant.

Acceptance: You know, let’s just leave it be. That was fantastic food, nice wine, awesome service, a lovely space—a truly special time together away from the kids and the daily grind. It was a wonderful evening, and money well spent. Let’s do it again soon. I’ll make a reservation!

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