Thursday, September 2, 2010

31 New Things: Eat Dinner In a Fancy Restaurant By Myself


Would you believe that this 31 New Things goal nearly gave me palpitions? Yes. How silly is that? As I walked into The Lexington, I was literally compiling a list of solo accomplishments in my head to bouy my confidence ("Moved to New Zealand without knowing anyone to get an M.A. Crossed the border between Bolivia and Peru by myself with beginning Spanish. Navigated five different kinds of transport, on my own, to get from Greece to Italy.")Because The Lex? It's a St. Paul landmark. It has chandeliers. It has patrons celebrating anniversaries and promotions. It has a red carpet outside, for the love of Pete.

So obviously I chose a place like this for my solo dinner. Go big or go home, guys. See?

But you know what? All that worry was for naught. It was fantastic! Absolutely, 100% fantastic.

There was a fantastic, corner booth - perfect for eavesdropping and people watching. There was an amazing caramelized shallot and mushroom torte for starters (!). There was wine. There was pasta and scallops and, yes, there may have been some fantastic creme brulee shoveled into my full-to-bursting stomach. And I enjoyed every minute of this by-myself feast.

You guys? I felt a little bit like a Bond girl! Or a sexy, mysterious movie character. (Maybe I was casing the joint?) I felt like I was the grown up that I had always wanted to be - wearing a great dress, sitting in a gorgeous restaurant, eating amazing food.

If you're keen to try eating in a swanky place by all by your cute self, here are my pointers for making it as awesome as humanly possible.
* Go on a week night - fewer couples and loud parties
* Wear something that you love and that makes you feel confident (it matters! trust me.)
* Try to sit in a booth, on the edge of the room (makes for better people watching)
* Go some place really nice - it'll feel more like a special treat to yourself and less like a challenge to be endured
* Resist the urge to sit at the bar, bring a book or text on your phone. Get a glass of wine and relax!

Have you ever eaten at a really nice restaurant by yourself? Would you?

The Lexington was nice enough to comp my meal but that doesn't change that fact that their food is fantastic, their waitstaff is lovely and the lighting is daaaang flattering

27 comments

  1. I'm one of those freaks who actually loves eating out by themselves. When I was single I'd eat out every week or so by myself, people watch, read the paper, have wine and yummy food that only I wanted. Awesome!

    I dont' get to do it now I have the inconvenience of another half. Ha ha, I don't mean that :)

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  2. I've done this lots of time - generally when I'm travelling alone. It always feels a bit awkward at first, but I figure why deprive myself of good food just because I don't happen to have someone with me?

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  3. whakatanegirl9/2/10, 6:17 AM

    this beautiful poem ... resonance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs

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  4. Good for you!
    I have eaten alone in a restaurant but it was in the kind of place where you could bring a book. I did eat at a more low end restaurant once, WITHOUT bringing a book. It was one of those things I had decided to do.

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  5. I've had meals by myself while I was travelling alone as well. Usually I did go to someplace nice as I wanted to eat well instead of just shovelling junkfood into my mouth...

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  6. This is so inspiring! Good for you! This is something I want to do - but I thought it was tough enough eating by myself at a food court the other day haha. i need to be more comfortable with myself.

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  7. This reminds me of the time last year when I went to the Sidewalk Arts Festival by myself. My hands were literally shaking when I got out of the car and started walking. And it makes me laugh, because today? I prefer to go alone. Hahahaha. Enjoy!

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  8. i used to sort of eat alone. i had a friend who worked at a restaurant and they would comp my meals. so once a week when i was feeling bored i'd go "visit my friend" at work to get free dinner.
    she was normally too busy to talk to me for longer than 10 minutes so it was mostly alone.

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  9. i used to sort of eat alone. i had a friend who worked at a restaurant and they would comp my meals. so once a week when i was feeling bored i'd go "visit my friend" at work to get free dinner.
    she was normally too busy to talk to me for longer than 10 minutes so it was mostly alone.

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  10. I do all of the time ~ it never bothers me to go out and eat or go out by myself =D Good for you accomplishing another goal!

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  11. I did!
    I went to a restaurant on my own, actually that was a day all for myself (I was new in a new city) and I had such a great day!!!

    Yay for self-dates!

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  12. So scary!! I always thought it was weird to do things like go to the movies by yourself...But now I wanna try it....and now you've maybe talked me into treating myself to a lone dinner all gussied up ;)

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  13. Eating out alone is one of my favorite things ever :) I'm glad you enjoyed it...that outfit is pretty adorable too, lady :)

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  14. I love this. Hooray for you! I would have ended up falling back on the book in my purse, I'm sure.

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  15. That's awesome! I think the scariest thing for me would be getting my photo taken. I don't like asking someone to take a photo even when I'm with someone.

    I think it helps that you seem very smiley and happy, because I just hate when I see a sad old person eating alone and they look all, well, sad. (I can see the Bond girl in you!)

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  16. Good for you! The nicest place I've eaten alone is Perkins. LOL. And I had the same nervous feelings beforehand that you did. It was empowering to know I could do it though.

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  17. You are so brave. Did you have the server take your photo? :)

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  18. Bravo!
    I do this with coffee all the time, but never dinner!

    But my 21st birthday is coming up and it falls on a Monday. I don't start clsses until 12 on Mondays, but I'm the only of my friends who has the morning off.. I'm thinking I'll go to this place that I've always wanted to try that's famous for scrambled eggs and ricotta hotcakes (http://www.bills.com.au/bills/index.htm#).
    On my own, if I have to!

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  19. I love eating out alone! No idea why there's this "shame" around being out and about without other people. It's a different kind of pleasure.

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  20. I love to take myself out on little 'me-dates' like this. It is daunting to begin with, but once you do it once, all the fear goes out of it. It can acutally be quite relaxing and you get the opportunity to watch all the other people in the room, which is great fun.

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  21. I'm proud of you for enjoying this so much! People watching while eating delicious food and feeling fancy? Awesome!

    I do feel that when I do things alone, I usually feel sad that I don't have someone to enjoy it with whom I can say 'This food is great!' to. However, I have gone to the movie theatre by myself, and it was GREAT. So, maybe I should do things like that more often.

    It does give me the feeling of being independent and smart- being able to do things without having another person along for support.

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  22. This was a great one to include in the list! I've never eaten in a fancy restaurant on my own, only normal ones. But I have to say that doing things on my own has always felt liberating and when I started doing it is when I realised I was growing up :)

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  23. I ate at a restaurant alone the first night I was in Boston for a conference. It wasn't fancy and I sat at the bar, but that was hard enough. I am impressed that you could do a big meal!

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  24. Wow - I'd definitely be terrified to do this! I can sit in a cafe by myself with a book, but that's about it. You're awesome!

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  25. You are so brave. This is on my life list. I am super nervous to do it.

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  26. I have done that before! Only been able to do that in the last few years though...It was also great to eat by myself when I was travelling around Europe...I ended up talking to strangers and very cute waiters :)

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  27. Good for you! And I thought I was intrepid by going to a movie on my own five years ago.

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