Tag Archives: Eating Out

House Rules: Doggie Dining

Let us say this emphatically, because we want you to know it and believe it right off the bat: The Chop is not, repeat not a mean old dog-hater. We like dogs. We like them a lot, actually; more than we like most people. Dogs are almost always nice and friendly. People are often inconsiderate assholes.

As the Sun’s Julie Bykowicz reported last month a new state law will officially legalize bringing dogs into the outdoor seating sections of restaurants. The way we see it, when the law takes effect July 1, it will merely serve to double down on an already prevalent practice among dog-owning Baltimoreans.

A visual approximation of the Chop enjoying some peaceful, quiet, uninterrupted, dog-free al fresco dining.

The main reason we started a “House Rules” section on this blog is that a lot of people simply don’t know how to act when they’re out in public. This is never more true than where dogs are concerned. Where dogs cause problems, it’s never the dog’s fault. People are the real problem.

Let’s assume for a moment that your dog is perfect. It’s not true, but let’s imagine that your dog was the valedictorian of obedience school and that he’ll lie motionless under your chair for the duration of a meal. You’re still bringing it into an environment with several other dogs, and one of them is going to bark at your dog. We’re at the next table over, and we were just about to make a point before a whole patio of barking erupted because someone else not you, gentle reader doesn’t know how to keep their dog quiet.

It’s not even always the dogs that annoy. Even if you’re dog is lying still and sweetly under your table, somebody is going to come outside to smoke. That person is then going to fawn all over your dog whether you want them to or not. Although you’re probably used to that by now, we’re not, and we’re at the next table over. This asshole is now bumping into our chair and getting smoke all over us while we’re eating.

It’s not your fault either, that you let the waiter pet your dog when he brought the little bowl of water for it. He asked, after all, and it would have been rude to say no. But we just watched the waiter pet your dog and we’re not too happy about it. Especially since our salad hasn’t arrived yet.

These are just a few ways that even your perfect little pooch can cause a lot of chaos in a restaurant setting. If you’re eating outside this Spring and Summer, please keep in mind that you are in a restaurant and not at a kennel club or dog show. You don’t have to pet every dog you see just because it’s cute. We love eating outdoors, but come July we’ll be enjoying the air-conditioning in the dog-free, smoke-free indoor part of the restaurant. We’re not the only local blog who feels this way, either.

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House Rules: Credit Card Roulette

The Chop is not typically given over to gambling. We used to frequent Pimlico when the horses were running, and we’re loathe to back out of a bar bet if we’re absolutely sure that it was Paul Rodriguez who co-starred in DC Cab and not George Lopez. Aside from that though, we tend to eschew games of chance believing the odds are always in favor of the house.

So it may be a bit uncharacteristic of us to come out and endorse credit card roulette, but endorse it we do, and heartily.

CCR is great for fancy restaurants. Just make sure you don't eat like a horse...

For the uninitiated, credit card roulette is a game played by a group of friends out dining or drinking. When the bill comes, all parties at the table produce a credit card, which cards are then shuffled and one is picked at random, usually by a waiter or busboy. The owner of the card picked is then gracious enough to pick up the entire check, while everyone else’s card finds its way back into their wallets unswiped.

Credit card roulette is not new, per se, as the earliest reference to it we found in a quick Google search was 2006. It is however new enough that it has yet to gain much in the way of popularity. Despite a few mentions here and there on TV and in the movies and print media, many people have still never heard of it, and those who do know about it often balk. With the great recession taking hold in mid-2007, most people out there were lucky to be eating at all, let alone in restaurants, and that’s to say nothing of picking up the whole table’s bill. We’re slowly crawling out of that mire though, and we hope that 2011 will be the year that CCR really takes off as a social phenomenon.

Granted, it’s not for everyone. For those who go out often enough though, and who tend to go out with the same groups of friends on a regular basis, the rewards easily outweigh the risks. Hell, we endorse paying the bill out of sheer generosity if you can swing it. The reaction to a surprise check pick-up can range anywhere from genuine gratitude to outright awe. If you’ve never felt this from your guests (and at this point they are your guests), you owe it to yourself at least once. Even as a winner (loser) of credit card roulette though, a hearty round of thanks and appreciation are still your due.

Another great aspect of this game though, and the main reason we endorse it with so much gusto is because of the social bonds it can create and nurture. If nothing else, it’s an inducement for the loser to invite everyone else back out for another meal in the hopes of getting back to breaking even. After a few meals are exchanged and it all evens out (and maybe a few new marks get to pay once in a while) the whole thing becomes more of a gentlemen’s society and rotating supper club than anything else. And hey, who doesn’t like a free meal once in a while.

What about you? Have you played credit card roulette before? Won? Lost? Was the loser a sport or did they get all huffy about it. would you try it again? Let us know in the comments.

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