The Culture of Eating Out

At GQ, Daniel Riley discusses being 22 and strapped for cash during the recession, but still falling into the foodie culture:

So many meals! So much $! (Twenty-five-dollar dinners seem reasonable until you start eating out six times a week.) This was very cool for a while. Every new restaurant led to new knowledge of others, connections. There were lots of dinners where the conversation centered solely on what other places we’d been to and which we planned to try. For every restaurant we checked off, we added two — until that game became unwinnable and exhausting. The restaurant universe was ever expanding, faster than ground could be covered. There was no way to touch its edges. Heroin addicts and astronomers get bummed about the very same concept.

Not long ago, around dinnertime, I confronted the 90,000 restaurant options in N.Y.C. There were dozens on the old lists and six months’ worth of magazine intel on new openings. I thought for a moment about the charge I’d always get when I stepped into a new place. It had nothing to do with the anticipation of tasting the entrée that had been recommended or the drinks we’d be served, but rather with the validation of crossing that thing off the list and knowing full well that I’d have a new “Yep, I’ve been there” to wield.

What an asshole.

I’ve certainly not been immune to any of this. Some friends and I will be dining out tomorrow at restaurant we’ve been planning on going to for the last three months (hello, Friday estimate!).

Photo: Krista

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