This little exchange occurred on the rec.travel.europe group today.
I was going to re-write it, but decided to just copy it because it shows how we ate as we travelled, and why we chose to do it that way.
This comment was posted by Ian F:
"Mrs. F. and I were in our favourite small traditional Italian restaurant in Soho, London last night around 9pm. All the bars and restaurants in the area were extremely busy and there were small queues (lines) at several of them, including ours. A table for two came free next to us and two young American girls took it. They read the menu, and tried to order one starter-portion bowl of pasta between them! They were duly sent packing! What on earth makes people think they can do this at such a busy time?"
Fascinating. I've read all the responses to date, and I think you chose, unwittingly, a very apt subject:"What is it with some people".
What is it with you and this restaurant owner?
Boy, is he a lucky guy that I wasn't that customer. Not that I am American, young or female. I am Australian, 59 and male.
I am also a diabetic with some very specific dietary limitations and I travel with my wife who aspires to be 5' tall and eats very small meals. So we travelled the world for a total of eight months in two trips and umpteen different countries sharing meals at every opportunity.
Occasionally we would both have a full meal, most often when I wished to eat seafood or fish, because she can't. But generally we ordered one meal and an extra plate and cutlery so we could share. When language and communication were difficult, we would order a main course for me and a side salad or similar for her, then mix-and-match when it was served. Even in Paris, with "Plat du Jour" as a standard, we were able to find cafes which would let us share one between us. I'd have the soup and half the main, she had the other half and the dessert. Sometimes we would just have an appetiser each, and nothing else.
The economic saving was nice, we saved a lot of cash, but it wasn't the reason. We shared meals for medical and dietary reasons. We didn't want to get on the plane out of Brisbane as passengers and return three months later as cargo. As it happens, I lost 2Kg on the trip.
It is much, much easier to stick to a diet plan when you do that than to leave food that you've paid for on the plate.Try explaining to a waiter in mutually incomprehensible languages that you want a low-carb meal. It's hard enough in some places to order anything edible, without complicating it.
There were rare occasions when it was difficult to arrange because the restauranteurs were of the same grasping nature as yours. Actually, in 94 days on this last trip we only struck it twice, both on the same day for lunch in Languedoc. We walked out in both cases - but left no doubt behind us of our opinion of the restaurant or the restauranteur. I am generally a mild-mannered, gentle person. However there are times when I forget that, and it appears that being 6' and large can be intimidating to some.
Of course, in the USA it was never a problem. The only saving grace of the "tip-for-absolutely-everything" culture is that they will serve you as little or as much as you want if you make it clear that the tip will be generous.
The journey starts here: Brisbane to Singapore