Article: “Speakeasy cuisine” (Jan.2006)

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excerpt:
“They were at Ghetto Gourmet — one of the hottest restaurants in the Bay Area that you have never heard of. And that’s by design.

Ghetto Gourmet isn’t listed in the phone book. Nor will you find it by cruising Rockridge’s restaurant row on College Avenue in Oakland. Ghetto Gourmet has no sign. It has no wine list. It doesn’t even have chairs.

…Culinary speakeasies like Ghetto Gourmet are popping up in cities in the Bay Area and beyond, across the country and around the world.

Part of the thrill, of course, is the hipness factor, the ego-inflating I-know-something-or-somebody-you-don’t-know feeling that comes with being on a VIP list. But underground diners also can find surprisingly good food at bargain-basement prices.”

source: “Speakeasy Cuisine” by Janine DeFao (San Francisco Chronicle, Jan.22,2006)

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Article: “Quick guide to settle the dining check” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
"From cozy first dates to power lunches to family brunches, ending the meal on a high note often hinges on an exercise in courtesy, etiquette and meeting expectations. The best way to cruise through the payment process is to iron out the details before you sit down, according to experts."

source: "Quick guide to settle the dining check" by Helena Oliviero (Cox News Service, Jun.13,2006)

Article: “Make dining out with a big group more enjoyable” (May 2006)

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excerpt:
"Are you always part of that restaurant group that leaves both you and your server frazzled? Did you even have a good time? Here are some ways to navigate any group dining situation, whether deciding whom to sit next to or quibbling over the bill.

Call Ahead
Even if you're only giving 30 minutes' notice, a call can help you get seated faster.

"With as many people that eat out in the Dallas area, it is always smart to book an advance reservation when possible, especially for groups with six or more guests," says Norma Dickey, director of special-event planning and marketing for Consilient Restaurants, parent company of Cuba Libre, Fireside Pies and Hibiscus…"

source: "Make dining out with a big group more enjoyable" by Erin Wade (May 22,2006)

Happy Eating.

Article: “Table for 12? Plan ahead for those special occasions” (May 2006)

excerpt:
"It could be Graduation Day or a Big Birthday. Maybe it's a gathering of your book club, softball team or gourmet group. Perhaps you're planning a farewell lunch for an office mate or a night on the town for relatives from out-of-town. Your mission: to score a restaurant reservation for a large party. That way, you won't show up at 7 p.m. begging, "Uh, table for 12?"

In the best of all worlds, there will be a warm welcome and a comfortable table waiting for you, whether you've planned that meal out two months ahead — or two days ago. But don't count on it.

Instead, count on these tips from area restaurant pros to help you get that table, make the most of your visit and leave saying, "Hey! That was fun!"

source: "Table for 12? Plan ahead for those special occasions" by Nancy Leson (The Seattle Times, May 3,2006)