Cafe TPT (London, UK) – Table for 1
Y’know… I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie in a theater alone.
On the introvert/extrovert spectrum, I’d probably be here:
So it’s not that I dislike doing things on my own; there are just certain things that I feel are much more enjoyable in the company of others (preferably good friends & family). Going out for movies is one. Eating out is another. Nearly all of my pasts blog posts, and Dan’s too, have been about meals we’ve enjoyed in the company of friends. That’s just how we roll.
I’ve been working abroad for the last month (London’s Chinatown pictured above) and have eaten most of my dinners alone. I’m fairly used to it now, but meals simply don’t tastes as good when you’re dining out alone. That’s my opinion. I’m interested in yours – especially if you disagree! Do you mind eating out alone? I’m not talking about getting take-out (or “take-away” as they call it here), cooking a meal at home, or eating fast-food: those are easy. I’m talking about a normal dining experience at a proper restaurant*
One of the best ways to combat homesickness is by eating something familiar. I did just that the other day when I went to Chinatown for some simple wonton noodles. Chinatown is in Soho and is in the heart of London’s West End; it’s a total tourist magnet. As such, Chinatown is home to a bunch of horrible restaurants cashing in on unsuspecting tourists. Thankfully, there are also some fairly good places. Cafe TPT, a run-of-the-mill Hong Kong-style cafe, is one of them.
But this post is less about the food (the noodles were very nice and came with some tasty freshly-sliced BBQ pork – £8.60 with a drink), and more about reflecting on the whole dining-out-alone-experience. The food can be awesome, but the meal will still feel unsatisfying to me. I’m not entirely sure why.
Lack of dinnertime conversation? Doesn’t normally bother me.
Lack of sharing options? I like sharing food, but it’s not essential.
Am I too clingy? Maybe, but I don’t think so.
The correct answer is usually the simplest one so it’s probably just “because I’m not accustomed to eating out alone“, but I’d like to think that it’s something more compelling.
Note the book in this picture. I’ve discovered that dining out alone is a lot easier when you have a book to read. Not only is it less boring, but you also look a lot less creepy when you’re the only person in the entire restaurant eating alone**
One of the reasons I like going to a movie with a bunch of people is because, after the movie, we can talk about what we thought of it. For, example:
Friend: “Wow, District 9 was amazing. What’d you think of it Eddie?”
Me: “Yea, that was intense. I loved it.”
And then I feel great because not only did I see a kickass movie, I have assurance (via my peers) that it was indeed a kickass movie.
I bet, subconsciously, the same thing is happening when I go out to eat. It’s only a great meal if I think it’s a great meal and my friends agree with me that it was a great meal. My Cafe TPT wonton noodles were great, but since I didn’t have any friends to bounce my satisfaction off of***, I left less than 100% satisfied.
Agree? Disagree? Am I over-analyzing?
PS: Aww… my green onions looked like hearts <3!
*I realize that HK Cafes are slightly fast-food-ish. I cheated.
**Tho the creepiness returns once you pull out a camera and start taking pictures of your food.
***this sounds a little kinky.