Friday, July 28, 2006

The List

My mother is famous for saying, “I’ll make a list.” This can mean anything from a shopping list to a contents log for boxes stashed away in the attic. For Mom, there is a list for everything, and everything belongs in a list. Though I’m not quite as dedicated to organization, I do find lists to be handy for keeping track of some of the essentials in my life. Things like restaurants.

The concept is very simple: whenever I hear about a restaurant that piques my interest, I add it to my “Must-Try Restaurants” list. The List hasn’t quite reached spreadsheet proportions, but it’s definitely heading in that direction. Because there are a lot of different reasons why I go to restaurants, The List includes some vital statistics, plus some additional goodies that I find to be helpful in deciding where to eat on a given night. If you’re just starting out, here are the basics you’ll want to include in your restaurant list:

  1. Name of restaurant
  2. Address (also include the name of the neighborhood if the address isn't immediately familiar)
  3. Phone number
  4. Type of cuisine

For the hardcore among us, you may also want to include the following:

  1. How you heard about the restaurant (If it turns out to be a good lead, you’ll want to remember where you got it from. And if it was a friend who referred the restaurant, they’ll be flattered when you thank them for such an expert recommendation.)
  2. Hours of operation (This may require some initial research, but it will make future referencing very efficient.)
  3. Website address (for quick menu perusal)
  4. A brief description of the atmosphere and scene (Am I in the mood for intimate conversation or people-watching?)
  5. Price range (If you’ve had a starving-artist month for income, you don’t want to mistakenly book yourself for dinner at the Four Seasons.)

The List has been incredibly valuable to me, since I am notoriously indecisive and have an unreliable memory to boot. Now when I’m asked, “Where should we go to dinner?” finding the answer is a snap. There’s no more brain-wracking, trying in vain to remember the name of that 7-syllable Greek restaurant somebody once told me about during a choppy cell phone conversation. Instead, I simply whip out The List and check out my options.

Looking for a hot new restaurant to try? Check out TasteTV’s profiles and chef demonstrations to see what America’s greatest kitchens are cooking up.

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