I'm a simple person when it comes to food and eating out. I just want good food, and I know I don't need to spend $$$$ to get good food. The fanciest I can get without feeling distinctly uncomfortable is Quartino and Smith and Wollensky, and I am perfectly happy with M Burger.
Here's an example of how simple I am. When my husband and I went to NYC once, we accidentally ate at a too fancy place. They didn't like that I had a water bottle on the table--could I hide it, please? And when my chocolate mousse came with a gold flake on the top, my first thought was to try to salvage it until it crumbled in my hand. They were too damn pretentious, and I felt like a complete redneck country-girl for worrying about glitter poop.
So when I found out that a friend's wedding reception was going to be at L2O, I didn't worry at first--it's a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, so and most of their places were my speed. Then I looked at their menu.
Holy crap. I just RSVP'd to go to an Alinea-style place. And their food! Seafoody smells while battling morning sickness sounded like a recipe for being stuck in their bathroom while dry-heaving.
I had no idea what would be served other than "there will be a fish and beef option," so I researched.
Pomme souffles aren't apple pies--they're potatoes puffed up sopapilla-style.
Haricot verts are fucking green beans.
Fondant potatoes aren't yucky-candy-frosting flavored like potatoes--they're glorified mashed taters.
The research didn't help me feel better about having anything to eat, so I prepared for my fancy pants meal at L2O by eating Peanut Butter Crunch and two egg-salad sandwiches and packing cereal and a granny smith apple and a can of root beer to go.
Yes, I was prepared to brown-bag it at L2O.
But when I got there, I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the food was actually edible. It was too fancy for me and I would never go back even if I had a ton of money, but at least it was not pretentious fancy. I didn't feel too much like a redneck there, even though I kept asking people to translate the "fancy" to normal words.