“The Dish” is all about elements of the dining experience, and the stories that result from a trip to a restaurant.  In order to provide you real stories from real experience, the Dish team felt it best to do just that. Thus, the RDC Dining Club was born.

Last week, we got the crew together for a trip to one of our local partner restaurants, packed our Restaurant.com gift certificate, and headed out for some “field research.”

We arrived promptly at 5 p.m. (early bird special, anyone?) and were escorted to a booth in the back corner and ordered drinks and appetizers.

Jen wasted no time knocking over her water glass, somewhat drenching Heather (a tip on that: best to wait for the staff to bring you a dish towel. Sometimes all the paper napkins in the world are no match for a glass of ice water,) but she was forgiven.

As anyone who has dined out with co-workers knows, it takes a while to break the ice. It is slightly awkward and off-putting to be in a social situation with people you are accustomed to seeing only in a cubicle setting, so it’s pretty standard for the initial conversation to center around the office.  That is, after all, what you have in common.  Even so, all you need is one comment to spark a new conversation and take your dinner banter to the next level.

For us, it was a fairly bland conversation about potential Halloween costumes over spinach artichoke dip and a barbeque chicken flatbread that changed the course of the dining experience.  The costume talk rapidly devolved into the story of Phil’s childhood-scarring first encounter with the movie, “Halloween,” and subsequent lifelong fear of Michael Meyers.  His tale of sneaking downstairs and hiding behind the couch to watch the R-rated flick, and being so terrorized that just seeing the cover art in a video store bin later caused him to throw up on the spot, had us all in hysterics.  Once that ice was broken, everyone had a story to share and the laughs kept coming.

Our food took a long time to come, but we were so preoccupied with sharing tales of our first R-rated movie experiences that we failed to notice. This, friends, is a perfect example of why the experience of dining out is more than just a meal.

Don’t get me wrong – my chicken and angel hair pasta was amazing. Everyone else’s entrees looked delectable as well, and our Restaurant.com certificate provided a very satisfying discount.  But, two weeks from now, when the memory of the pasta sauce has begun to fade, I will still be laughing about a young Phil vomiting in a video store.