The 10 Worst People in Houston Restaurants

Who gets under our skin?

The Unnecessary Educator

He knows everything about everything on the menu, no matter where you eat, because he always has to be the one to educate his friends about current food trends and the story behind the restaurant. Sometimes his contributions are interesting and add to the meal, but mostly you just wish he'd stop talking. You could certainly do without him filling you in on what he feels is the moral injustice of foie gras right after you order a pâté de foie gras on your salad. You could also do without his lecture on the origin of the word "pâté" and his recounting of his summer in France when he learned that you should only really call a dish pâté if it meets certain criteria. By the time he strikes up a conversation with the waiter on the very obvious difference between a tie with a Windsor knot and a tie with a half Windsor knot, you're more than ready for the check. Perhaps you could take this time to educate him on the glory of silence by shoving that beautiful piece of organic chocolate cake (the beans are from Boliva, he tells you) down his freaking throat. KAITLIN STEINBERG

The Menu Rewriter/Sender-Backer

The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake

You know the one: He asks for all sorts of substitutions, wants everything on the side and doesn't have any qualms about sending back a dish he just didn't like, even when it was prepared properly. He doesn't expect to pay for it twice, of course. This person carries a sense of entitlement that confuses service professionals with personal servants. No matter if he's choosing a side for his entrée that comes off a station usually unaffiliated with that particular dish, potentially throwing off the rhythm of an entire kitchen. No matter that the guacamole is already made; he'll take his without onions, thank you very much. He'll demand the addition and removal of sauces and garnishes to fit his whims, and he'll redesign whole swaths of the menu because he really doesn't care for crab, but the crab-cake salad sounds good; can't you do that with the portobello mushroom from the veggie burger, but instead of spring mix, can he have spinach? Then, when it comes out with the hot sauce that he ordered, expecting hot sauce but the milder one, he'll bat his eyelashes and hand the plate back to his server, forcing that person to repeat his Franken-dish again, while the kitchen staff grabs their knives and pitchforks. Don't do that. NICHOLAS L. HALL

The Person Who Refuses to Leave the Loop

I mean, obviously there isn't any culture outside the Loop anyway, right? Like, why leave when everything you need can be found within a five-mile radius of downtown? She'll tell you that she's never been to Chinatown, but she's pretty sure it's stupid, and anyway, there's a P.F. Chang's right inside the Loop! If you want local Chinese food, she'll say, there's always Auntie Chang's Dumpling House and Kam's Fine Chinese Restaurant. Oh yeah, and they both happen to be a convenient 15-minute drive from wherever you are! Alief? Bellaire? Spring? She's never heard of those, and they don't sound like the kind of places she'd want to go to eat anyway. Downtown is the epicenter of any big city, so why would anyone choose to stray too far from there? What's that saying...nothing exciting ever happens in the suburbs? No, that's not it, but it's so true! She'll drag you to meal after meal inside the Loop, which is certainly home to tons of great restaurants, but she'll never agree to eat outside of 610. She will, however, make a "quick trip" to the Galleria for some new shoes in a heartbeat. KAITLIN STEINBERG

The Bad Tipper

I've been to many places where tipping isn't customary. China and Barcelona come to mind; the locals will think you're rich (and a prime target for being ripped off) or just dumb. In the States, though, tipping is customary, so it really gets my goat when I go out in a group, everyone puts in his "share" to pay the bill and somehow I'm left with a $100 deficit that I have to cover out of my own pocket because ten of you forgot to add tax and tip to what you owe. It drives me nuts if we get separate bills and I accidentally get a glimpse of the $5 tip you left on a $50 tab. (And if I catch it, I won't say anything; I'll just supplement it with some money of my own and make a mental note never to be seen in public with you again.) Don't brag to me about how you left a $1 tip for some poor server in an Asian restaurant because you used to be a server yourself and you found her service unacceptable. Or even worse, don't pick up the tab for your table as if you're some generous dude and "forget" to leave a tip for your group entirely. I can do without that type of generosity, and so can the restaurant. If you're confused about how much to tip, err on the generous side; don't be cheap. It's one of the least attractive things for any dining companion to display, and whether you know it or not, people will notice and you'll be forever known as "that" person, a.k.a. the bad tipper, the friend that no one needs and one of the worst kinds of diners on the planet. MAI PHAM

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