Skip to main content

Dining Out: Rules We Live By

Nicole and I love living in a metropolitan area. The Twin Cities is a great place to live. It’s not too big, and there is always something to do. One of the prime reasons we love to live in a city is that we can always find good food. We follow six rules for dining out: (1) The Black List Rule; (2) The Chain Rule; (3) The Branch Out Rule; (4) The Tipping Rule; (5) The Favorites Rule; and (6) The Pasta Rule. I will post about each rule separately.

(1) The Black List Rule

This is a very important concept. The basic idea is this: if we eat at a restaurant and the experience is so outrageously bad, the restaurant is “black listed.” This is a very serious matter. Once a restaurant is black listed, it can never, ever come off the list. Once on the list, we can never eat there again. Never before has a restaurant been removed from the black list. Nicole and I both must agree to place the restaurant on the black list. When a restaurant is under consideration for the black list, it is typically placed on the “provisional black list.” Sometimes those restaurants on the provisional black list are given a second chance based on a particular redeeming factor (read: they give us free food to come back). There are no set criteria for being placed on the black list. It’s like the Supreme Court’s definition of pornography: we know it when we see it. A restaurant cannot be black listed for purely deficiency in service, unless the service is so poor that no rational person could put up with it regardless of how good the food is. I cannot recall a restaurant getting black listed solely for poor service. I do remember once going to Mai Village in St. Paul. We had eaten there several times, and loved it very much. It was a weekday and it was not very busy. We were seated and ordered. As we sat there, tables filled in around us, and everyone around us started to get there food, while we waited. When our food finally came, my food was ice cold. It just so happened that at that moment, a manager stopped by our table and asked us how our food was. I told him mine was cold and that I wanted a new dish. He then proceeded to touch my plate, which was hot, and he said “But your plate is hot.” In which I replied, “But I’m not eating the plate. The food is cold.” So he took the food, and 2 minutes later came back with a piping hot microwaved plate of noodles and vegetables. Gross. It was terrible. Nicole’s food was also bad. Thus, in that situation, Mai Village was black listed because of how the manager handled the situation, in addition to the fact that the food was terrible. There is only one restaurant I can recall where the food was literally inedible. We once ordered delivery from this Chinese place in West St. Paul called No. 1 New China. The delivery took forever, and once it got to our house, the food was ice cold. This is bad enough, but when we tried to heat it up, it was so bad we couldn’t even swallow it. To be fair, I did call to complain and received a refund. Unfortunately, that did not save No. 1 New China from being placed on the black list. I could go on and on about restaurants on the black list, or the provisional black list, but it would take forever. We don’t actually have a list written down, we just remember it.


Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.

One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…