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the twentyfive:thirtyfive rules

We have loved being able to travel around the country, eating and drinking at many wonderful spots. We have noticed that no matter where we have gone that there are often a lot of overlapping similarities. We’ve also developed our own sense of what we’re drawn to and what tends to rub us the wrong way. So, with tongue in cheek, here are “the twentyfive:thirtyfive rules”:

Rule #43: “We’re suckers for menus written on chalkboards” (Bunk Sandwiches, Portland, OR)

1. Never waste a meal

2. Local ingredients are preferred, ditto for local beers

3. The longer it takes to get to a restaurant and the longer we have to wait to get a seat, the better the food should be

4. Chef-owned restaurants are almost always better

5. No cocktail should cost more than $12

6. It is far more important for a restaurant to make one dish the best than it is to make 20 average dishes

7. The sandwich we order at a restaurant should taste better than the ones we can make in our own kitchen

8. We would prefer to not smell like the restaurant we just ate at for the rest of the day

9. If a restaurant serves dinner and doesn’t take reservations it should have somewhere comfy for people to wait

10. A cool website can go a long way to making us want to check out a restaurant

11. If a restaurant has pictures on its website they should be done by a professional

12. Fantastic food can make up for bad decor but fantastic decor cannot make up for bad food

13. It is unlikely that we will know exactly what we want to drink the very moment we sit down without first looking at the menu

14. We understand that the food may need some work after opening day of a restaurant but service should be good from day one

15. If a restaurant has an open kitchen they should do their best to make it look like they are having a good time

16. If a restaurant is going to serve an “elevated” form of a cuisine it needs to be sure to elevate it to a level that warrants its elevated prices

17. High quality versions of ethnic cuisine tend to taste better than fusion versions of them

18. A chain restaurant is almost never the right answer to the question of where to go to eat

19. The price of a meal has virtually nothing to do with how good the food will be

20. Your taplist should not contain the words Bud, Coors or Miller

21. A great meal is a memory that can last a lifetime

22. More patios please

23. A meal on a patio on a beautiful day is ruined by the smell of cigarette smoke

24. Consider it a very bad sign when a restaurant has had more than 3 head chefs leave

25. Our expectations of a restaurant’s food are directly proportional to the food’s cost

Rule #22: “More patios please” (Perla’s, Austin, TX)

26. We are over the trend of trying to hunt down food trucks…either go brick-and-mortar or else get a bunch of trucks together and stay put at one spot

27. We expect that if you are working at a restaurant that you have actually tried the food you are serving there

28. With a few exceptions, one page for the food menu and one page for the drink menu will generally suffice

29. We find it hard to justify the cost and distinguish much difference between most steakhouses

30. Avoid restaurants where most of the patrons are tourists

31. Friendly, attentive, knowledgeable and consistent service can take a restaurant from good to great

32. It would have tasted just fine without the drizzle

33. Without question brunch is the best meal

34. Just because you were on “Top Chef” does not mean that your restaurant is any good

35. Men, when in doubt, go with an Old Fashioned

36. Women, when in doubt, go with a French 75

37. If a restaurant claims to have the best something in town it is rare that they actually do

38. Yelp and UrbanSpoon ratings are not to be trusted

39. Trip Advisor and CitySearch even less so

40. “House-made” is generally a good thing

41. We aren’t exactly sure why the breakfast taco isn’t more popular

42. We are dubious of oyster bars in landlocked states

43. We’re suckers for menus written on chalkboards

44. Why is it so hard to find good Texas Beef Brisket outside of Texas?

45. Frozen yogurt never tastes as good as ice cream

46. It takes somewhere between 3 – 5 years for food trends to get from NY, LA, and San Fran to reach the rest of us

47. A handful of local artisans can change an entire city

48. If a customer is justifiably upset about something the best thing a server can do is: 1. apologize, 2. say you will make it right, 3. make it right

49. Assume that tap will be our water of choice

50. Chips and salsa should always be free

Rule #44: “Why is it so hard to find good Texas Beef Brisket outside of Texas?” (Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX)

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