I have been dining out for many years and have a little pet peeve. I would like to preface this post by saying that I love to eat out and am a pretty low maintenance diner, but this particular item ruffles my feathers time and time again.
Prior to ordering food at any restaurant, a waiter will usually ask if you would like still or sparkling water. They may offer up a $5-$10 bottled water first, and with waning enthusiasm offer “tap” water. Plunking down this much dough for a bottle of water that would cost $3 tops at the store is not the end of the world; it just doesn’t make me smile. Sometimes I am in the mood for sparkling water and I pony up, but the bubbles sting just a tad on the way down. (I am not cheap) The other thing that breaks my little heart is being snubbed by my waiter for electing to drink the local water. There was a certain French restaurant in Long Beach, CA, where the waiters were particularly snooty. I used to take great pleasure in announcing, “I would like the Long Beach water please — with lemon!” I lived in Long Beach for years and love it, but it aint no Calistoga and I would rather drink the tap water than be bullied by garcon into paying for Perrier.
The water fairies were listening! A few years ago, I dined at Bottega in Yountville, CA, one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world. They offered me purified still or sparkling water in pretty bottles and on the house! I reacted as if they had comped my $38 steak. They explained that the water was created with a lovely new machine called “Natura”.
Natura® is the only system of its kind that uses both high-grade carbon filters and INNOVATIVE UV technology to eliminate impurities and bacteria while retaining healthy, thirst-quenching minerals.
Invented by Italians and engineered in America, Natura® Water is the only water purification system of its kind that provides chilled sparkling and still water. The taste is guaranteed to please even the most discerning palate. In Italy, water, like wine, is considered an essential part of every meal.
So it turns out that restaurants aren’t simpy adopting the Natura machines because it gives customers warm-fuzzies. The Natura system is cost-effective and extremely “green”. Bottled waters from Fiji, Italy and France carry a big carbon footprint, not to mention the fact that the boxes and packaging aren’t always recycled.
I feel that small details like not paying for water at a restaurant can make a big difference in my overall experience.
I would love to hear of the extra “little” things that your favorite restaurants do that make you smile, like giving you a little tomato crostini before the meal, cucumber scented water or placing a little yummy cookie on top of your bill.