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I believe it is because eating food is a sensory experience.

I was at L20 in Chicago with a friend of mine who remarked that I spend so much money on fine dining. He asked why I did it, wouldn’t my hard earned dollars be of better use somewhere else. He clearly is not a foodie. While I do understand the need to be frugal I see nothing wrong with saving up and enjoying an exquisite meal. I have been known to spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment on dinner or lunch. Do I have anything to show for those experiences at The French Laundry, Per Se, Alinea and L’Ambosie? Maybe around my hips. The beauty, at least for me, is about the privilege of eating at these temples of fine dining. I am in love with the crispness of the linen table clothes, the sparkle of the flatware, the pop of the champagne cork, the muted sounds of other diners, the focus of the wait staff, the smell of each dish as it is placed on the table, and the perfect balance of seasoning in those first few bites. It’s a heady experience and I am hooked.

In this crazy, hectic world I believe that we have forgotten about the art of the table. We rush around, never slowing down, multi-tasking all day, texting, talking on the phone while driving and checking our email constantly. Dining is my opportunity to relax. I enjoy savoring each bite, each sip of wine and appreciating the beauty of each ingredient on my plate. It is my stress reliever.

That’s why I enjoy dining out. I encourage all of my fellow foodies to slow down as well and go somewhere this week to worship at the table. Not sure where to go? Check out Best of Westword or 5280 Magazine’s Top 25 Restaurants. Bon Appétit!Why