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  • Jenny

The beauty of solo dining

Before I get into the dining adventures, I'd like to start by saying... I feel this immense pressure to write something unique or artistic with these blog posts, and I need to mentally overcome this hurdle.

The whole point of the blog was to be an outlet for more thoughts and musings on food and experiences, beyond the 2200 character limit on Instagram captions. As a Type A, task-oriented person, I wrote on my to-do list today "write a blog post (solo dining, LA cost, whatever comes to mind - NO PRESSURE)" like I really needed to hype myself into doing it. Or should I say chill myself into it since I'm trying to mentally normalize posting. Well, the line item has a square next to it and it begs to be checked. So here I am. After a few months of Wix nagging the back of my mind.

But in reality... I do want to write and I do have a lot of thoughts. Content creating is quite therapeutic and fulfilling for me. I'm spending a lot of time, energy, and money experiencing new restaurants and bars, so it's like an extra bit of justification when I produce something out of it (a post, a reel, a blog, a story) and "give back" in some way. Like there's some way that my habit of eating out can turn into something philanthropic. Lol.

Whatever food blogging really is for me... I love to experience new things, and this weekend was eye opening. Not only am I on my first solo trip (not for work) and am learning a lot about myself, I'm also experiencing socially dining alone for the first time (a bit of an oxymoron…can you really be socially dining if you're alone?). What I mean by it though, is that I am not solo dining through work, which is not only paid for, it has become normalized. (We people in the corporate world DESERVE nice meals you know? Totally kidding.) It dawned on me that the solo dining through work, and the solo dining for desire to experience the world even without a companion or friend... have two very different mindsets. At least for me.

Dining alone in it of itself is already amazing. You can be totally unplanned... almost always being able to grab a seat at the bar. You can strike up a conversation or you can sit in silence -- either are totally acceptable. You can order food as slowly or as quickly as you'd like. You can do all of the people watching. You can be on your phone and catch up on texts. You can be as present or aloof as you wish. These are just the logistical elements.

But dining alone "for fun" and not through work takes it to a whole other level. On an emotional and introspective level. You're intentionally there... whether it is to experience, observe, chat, meet new people, or simply eat. You have to quite literally sit with the fact that you're choosing to be there and you're embracing whatever the outcome is. It's quite empowering really.

In my time in Palm Springs so far (have been here for about a week and a half) + LA (weekend trip), I've solo dined a handful of times now. Biggest realizations are 1) it is expensive as all hell in both PS and LA, and 2) I have a level of guilt associated with solo dining. But really there shouldn't be. It innately feels a little more selfish to eat out when you're on your own when you could make a meal at home. You're not furthering a friendship or partnership, it feels like you're spending to spend, and you're splurging on solely yourself. But what I've come to realize is that we shouldn't base our desires for new experiences on whether we're with someone else or not. It should be based on what you want to do -- and eating, introspection, experiencing food and drink should absolutely not be excluded to people who have a friend or partner to dine with.

And same goes for hiking or exploring the outdoors. Joshua Tree National Park was mesmerizing yesterday and I felt humbled walking through it alone.

Here are a few restaurants I went to solo:

Boozehounds, Palm Springs

Aesthetic interior, dog-friendly patio, great variety on the menu. I loved this burger a lot and this cocktail was called "a f*cking good martini" and indeed it was fucking good.

El Mirasol, Palm Springs

The Chile Releno here is out of this world. This is a restaurant I wish I sat n the patio for to experience the beautiful outdoors! Instead I sat at the bar which was fine but not nearly as charming.

Belle's Beach House, Venice Beach

Kind of an odd experience where the server told me he put in my order but didn't really? Turns out "all day menu" is not as all day as I thought and not during brunch. I was SO hungry after waking up over 7 hours prior, going for several walks and a 5 mile run, and not having had anything before this brunch. Cocktail was delicious, but the breakfast burrito (order attempt #2) was even more delicious, especially having waited almost an hour for it.

In n Out

No explanation needed. Double double + fries. My one regret was not ordering animal style. I think I was thrown off that there was no line when I got there (mid drive from LA back to Palm Springs). It was a few minutes before 11 and I was customer #8. That's a first!

Wabi on Rose, Venice Beach

Around 8 pm on a Saturday and amazing people watching, especially at this circular bar. Sushi here is good, but the ambiance is better. Great music. Expensive sushi (crispy rice tuna for $14 and a salmon hand roll for $12, and a whole bunch of desire for more... but maybe that's how the people of LA stay skinny).

Tac/Quila, Palm Springs

Sunday 5:30 pm early dinner in preparation for my east coast hour day the next day. Honestly a little disappointed by my experience aftering hearing AMAZING things about this place. The corn salad was bland (best part of it was heating it up today and putting it in my daily wrap) and the short rib enchilada was tasty but lukewarm.

I have 5 more days (today through Friday) for dinners in Palm Springs and am going to try to make the most of it, hit up some esteemed recommendations, and channel feelings of gratitude instead of guilt.

Cheers! To new bites & booze.


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