What is a Foodie? Webster’s and Wikipedia both offer pretty much the same definition: A person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet. But, based on my experience, the phrase “particular interest” is an extremely modest description of any man or woman who defines themselves as a foodie.
In San Francisco, a foodie is not just interested, they’re obsessed – with every new restaurant, every re-imagined bakery, every re-invented fresh-cut butcher shop, every grand opening of every specialty grocery store.
Foodies spend hours online following the anticipated arrival of French or Italian bistros, organic Chinese cuisine, Gluten free dim sum and, more importantly, plotting how they can secure a reservation as soon as possible. They’re also acutely attuned to each time a celebrity chef leaves one high-end kitchen and where they land their next five-star gig.
This is all fine and good for the foodies. They relish every delicious bite of each special on the menu. They love the mixture of distinct spices and unusual combinations created by these master chefs. Foodies also usually possess a good wine palate and often choose restaurants that have wine and food pairings that ensure every course is accompanied by the perfect wine.
This is also extremely profitable for the restaurants that cater to these gastronomes. Tables are often booked three months in advance; especially if the revered food critic has given his blessing.
But here is the fly in the soup, so to speak. Foodies can be a challenge for those who love them (but might not love food quite as much). There is no such thing as a “quick bite” or casual dinner when you have a foodie across the table – and paying the bill can require the services of a certified financial planner.
Food lovers believe every meal is a sacred event; every cheeseburger must be the best available; every salad must be a work of art. Want to test your capacity for grace under pressure? Invite a foodie to dinner in your home.
I am both blessed and cursed to love and live with a foodie. So, just in case you find yourself facing a similar fate, I offer you these tips for enjoying the adventure.
- Talk to your foodie friend before you go out to eat and let them know your budget for the occasion.
- Research the restaurant your gourmand has chosen beforehand so you know what to expect. (Many restaurants share sample menus online).
- If you’re going to have dinner with a foodie, eat a really light lunch. If you’re brunching or lunching, have a very simple breakfast.
- Anytime you’re invited to a wine pairing meal, plan ahead for a taxi or Uber ride. Do not drive. Wine pairing invitations often say they only give you a half-glass with each course, so that may not sound like not much – until you discover most of these events have at least five courses.
Of course, the best way to enjoy living with a foodie is probably just to dig in and participate fully in the experience. My local foodie friends all recommend regular reading of SF Eater, Inside Scoop or San Francisco Menu Pages. You’ll find links to all these and a few others in our online Resources.