Having worked in the restaurant/food service industry, and having been a server for close to nine years, I think I may be a bit of an authority when it comes to ordering food.
For the most part, I think I've seen it all - from people ordering the most insane substitutions, to me actually having to ask the goddamn customer if she actually wants me to eat it for her because she seemed to want the cooks to bend over backwards and make the item completely different from the way it is supposed to be served, to me handing a customer's pathetic tip back, letting them know that they apparently need it more than I do.
But today we're going to focus on just ordering your food. That's right, a couple minute process that you can butcher so bad you may wind up looking like an asshole...or worse, offend the waiter.
And I think we all know what happens when a waiter gets offended: food gets fucked with. Different story for a different time, friends (think blown-nose banana split or booger chicken).
Just three simple rules, let's dig in!
Rule #1 - if it's not on the menu, don't order it. Do you go to a Mexican restaurant and order General Tso's chicken? Some of you shitheads may, but the vast majority of people don't. Pretty much common sense here, but you'd be surprised at the crap the general public tries to pull.
Rule #2 - if it's not on the menu, don't order it. This one is important, that's why I listed it twice. Just one last time to emphasize how important it is, let me put it into perspective: if you were blind, and I was reading it to you, I'd be screaming it in your face, spattering your ugly mug with spittle.
Rule #3 - those are really the only two rules; they just have to be applied to different parts of the menu and ordering process: sides, substitutions and a category I'll call overall tackiness. So let's get started and have you properly ordering food as soon as lunch today!
Sides - order from the goddamn sides they have listed. french fries, side salad for $1.79 extra, mashed potatoes, whatever. I don't care if you really like deep fried artichoke hearts, order the appetizer if you want those. Do you know why deep-fried artichoke hearts weren't a side option to choose from? Me neither, but they weren't, so shut the fuck up.
Exceptions: my wife, cause she is smart, hot and awesome and gets a free pass for a lot of things. And because I'm usually a direct beneficiary of her ordering transgressions - I enjoy the spoils of her ordering transgressions without actually transgressing.
Substitutions - This is the most blatantly, egregiously and flagrantly flubbed part of ordering. You've got sonsabitches trying to substitute veggies with meat (I'm serious, some dumb bitch tried to switch her pickle, lettuce and tomato for another burger patty). Take me for example; I don't like shrimp, but if there's a dish that looks amazing, and just happens to have shrimp in it, I either pick out the shrimp or just forcefully eat the entire thing. Don't like pickles? Fuck you! Pickles are awesome! Hate lettuce? Shut the fuck up! Not a fan of tomatoes? Nobody gives a shit!
And you said you're allergic to peanuts? Haha that's funny, I don't remember anybody asking you!
Many restaurants have professional cooks and chefs prepare their menus. My guess is they do that because these people know a thing or two about food - complimentary tastes, textures, scents and how to make a really great burger, among other culinary talents. Long story short, all that stuff you pretend that you don't like, it was all put there for a reason. Shut the heck up, take a sip of your beer, and enjoy that meal the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Think of it this way, imagine your spouse saying, "I'd like to order my spouse, but swap his abs with Brad Pitt's, his net worth with Bill Gates', his brain with Stephen Hawking's, and his violent temperament with that of any random spineless liberal pussy". That shit won't fly, so what makes you think it's cool to pull that at the restaurant. Yeah, no question mark on purpose. My blog, my rules.
Exceptions: my wife, some allergies, sauces/dressings on the side, your parents swapping baby you for a stuffed animal.
Overall Tackiness - This one is a little subjective, so I'll just throw out a few situations, and you'll be able to get the idea.
Fat chick in an over-sized NASCAR t-shirt soaking something in extra ranch.
Anybody ordering a meal consisting of only fried food.
Asking the server to essentially choose between two items, and then going with a third, unmentioned item.
Adults ordering off the children's menu.
Having to ask the price (because you can't afford it).
If you have any more ordering etiquette questions, please feel free to post them in the comments, tweet me, facebook me, or hit me on email. In summary, order from the menu, don't be an asshole and well, just don't be an asshole. And order from the menu.