Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Iris Sinilong
“What are you writing?”
It was my first time dining alone. The bartender noticed my notepad and introduced himself as Christian. I explained I was going to write about my experience.
When I first stepped inside Cure Bar & Bistro in Washington DC’s Grand Hyatt hotel, I was excited to finally unwind and enjoy a glass of wine. I had a long day of touring and was looking forward to a new experience of dining alone in a new city.
There seems to be a stigma with dining alone, especially for dinner, at least among some of my friends. On the contrary, I’ve never had any issues with it. Coffee shops are my comfort spots, places where I can go to enjoy a latte and something sweet- where newspapers and books are my treasured company. I’ve had solo lunches galore but never a solo dinner in a fine-dining restaurant.
I wanted to experience dinner alone not because I wanted to conquer the loneliness that people are often afraid of, but because I was excited to be completely confident. Because as a food-lover, indulging in a passion of mine in a new city puts me at ease.
“Oh, you want to eat?” I was surprised by the greeting I received by the hostess upon my arrival. “Yep,” I said. Of course I wanted to eat, that’s why I was standing there. If this odd welcome was any indication of the rest of the night, I thought, I should have just stopped at McDonalds. So, I cheated a little and opted for the safer route and took a seat at the bar instead of the central table I was offered.
It was 9 pm and I’d just returned from a visit to Macy’s before it closed (one hour is definitely not enough in that store, by the way!). I was craving a refreshing salad after days of too many drinks, pulled-pork sliders, and nachos. The restaurant had a small menu with a not-so-exciting “House Greens” option. Not entirely sure what I ordered, I opted instead for the ricotta dumplings with roasted broccoli, asparagus, orange, smoked almond crumble, and bacon, dressed with a vinaigrette. And of course, a large glass of Prosecco.
I awaited my meal in the company of my bartender friend. He was a handsome, talkative gentleman from Argentina. We discussed food and travel prompted by the large screen of beautiful travel photos rotating above the bar.
When my food arrived, I was so eager for the vegetables. I savoured the crunchy broccoli, creamy ricotta, light lemon and pepper sauce, salty bites of bacon, and citrus hints of orange. I used this time to reflect on my trip, people-watch at the bar, and have a lovely conversation with a stranger between moments of welcomed silence. The smell of mint being crushed for mojitos, the sound of mixed chatter from surrounding tables, and the comfort of being perfectly content was a nice, quiet ending to a trip filled with networking, group dinners, and new friends.