Wait For Your Entree

Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered too many appetizers, and had THIS happen to your meal?

Doggie Bags!

Sure, it's nice to have something to take home and look forward to tomorrow, but do you really want to get so full from appetizers that you can't even stomach your main course??

Don't get me wrong; I love appetizers.  In fact, the appetizer section is almost always my favorite part of a menu!  I find the most appealing options there, and often do choose to get one or two appetizers instead of a main.  It also works out well because the portion sizes are more realistic than some of the entrees are.  So if that's your choice, like mine, then go for it!  Enjoy those appetizers, those "small plates", but treat them as your meal, rather than course #1 in a gluttonous feast.

When out for a large family celebration last month, my relatives ordered a dozen appetizers for the table, which ended up each being family-style a very large plate, not typical appetizer-size.  Most filled up, a few withheld from tasting to save their appetites, and me?  I tasted a few small bites before deciding that I liked these appetizers a lot more than I would the entree I'd ordered.  We're talking eggplant rollatini, balsamic calamari, and buffalo-mozzarella with roasted peppers, tomato, and basil. MM!  I enjoyed these flavors so much, that I let myself dig in, vowing not to force myself to finish my entree.  It worked: I was happy with my meal, and only had a bite or two of my main--fish and vegetables (below).  Then, of course, I still had some room for dessert.  I walked away feeling quite full, but more satisfied than stuffed.  My appetizers did the trick.

Leftover entree, perfect for next-day's lunch or dinner!

If you're ordering on your own, I am not saying you shouldn't get an appetizer, soup, or salad for yourself; I'd probably encourage the opposite.  But, when you go out with a group, it can be tempting to join in on the shared appetizer selections.  If you want to, that's fine, but keep in mind how much they'll fill you up before your personal order arrives.    If you start feeling overstuffed from the apps, maybe tell the waiter to just wrap your entree to go, so you don't feel compelled to eat that, too.  If you would rather hold out for your main course, then consciously do so; don't give in to peer pressure to join in the pre-entree tasting.  If the appetizers strike your fancy, feel free to make that your main.

My point--my dare--is to recognize the difference.  Assess your personal hunger levels, your personal taste preferences, and your personal desire to have a bite of it all, or hold out and save your appetite for your main course.  Try it this weekend, and you might be the happiest person at the table when you dig in to your entree, and everyone else is already loosening their belts.

Has this happened to you?  How do you deal with food being passed back and forth before the real mean's even begun?  Do you prefer the appetizer or entree section of a menu?  

...What's your favorite popular appetizer? :) 

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