|Do you want drink with your ice?|
There is an art to knowing dining customs in different countries. We are pretty experienced in eating in American restaurants but the knowledge trickled back slowly.
Important tips for Australians eating in the US:
- The main meal is called Entree. So you have Appetizer, Entree, Dessert. In Australia it is Entree, Main, Dessert. Getting this confused will totally ruin your meal portion expectations!
- The prices shown on the menu are before tax (around 6% to 10% depending on where you are) plus a tip. Wait staff are paid slave rates and so a 20% gratuity is expected. Although this is meant to reflect service, it is really how much is needed to give those working in the restaurant something approaching a living wage. So my quick calculation is that you need to add about 30% to the listed price.
- Every soft drink / soda comes with tons of ice. In Australia ice is used sparingly if at all as the drink is already refrigerated when served. We have to get back in the habit of asking for "No ice" and then explaining it was Ok because we were Australian.
- Salads are typically served first and once eaten the main meal is served. In Australia, the salad is eaten with the main meal. So we have to ask for the Salad with the meal. Once more, "It's OK, we're Australian" is our excuse.
The meal was very nice and we were glad to be eating on firm land. Everyone was quickly asleep once we returned to the hotel ready for a busy day one.