Speaking as someone who has dealt with social anxiety for many years, I have never understood why the mass majority of people I know feel uncomfortable dining alone in public. As far as I know, we are all humans; humans who need to nourish their bodies in order to…you know…survive.
So what is the harm in grabbing a bite to eat alone? I personally love the solitude from time-to-time. I love that I can order whatever I want without another person at the table judging me, I don’t feel obligated to come up with small talk or a topic to keep awkward silences at bay, and I have time to thoroughly enjoy and savor each and every delicious bite of food I place into my mouth. I could care less what the restaurant staff thinks because chances are they won’t remember me anyways, or at the very least they just don’t give a shit (as much as we think the world revolves around us). And for those of you reading this saying to yourselves, “Well I go to McDonald’s by myself all the time, I can eat alone!” Sorry, that does not count. I am talking a full-blown restaurant and asking a host or hostess, “Table for one, please!”
Frasca | Pizzeria + Wine Bar
I recently had an opportunity to grab a table for one in between a work shift and a hair appointment, so I decided to walk around near the salon and go to the first place I saw that looked decent. I chose Frasca | Pizzeria + Wine Bar located in Chicago.
The restaurant itself was clean and uniformed, and had a nice welcoming ambiance to it.
Of course the restaurant name has “Wine Bar” in it, so the first thing I ordered was a glass of Chianti—specifically their Sticciano “Casa la Fornace,” which was smooth and perfect in every way a glass of Chianti should be. (No, I didn’t order any fava beans).
While sipping on my wine, I looked through the menu in detail and originally thought I should try their pizza, since that is also part of their name. Their pizzas are all wood fired and from glancing over at other people’s tables, they looked delicious. But instead, I opted for some cheese and bruschetta to go for something a little lighter and a little different.
Frasca has a menu option called “butchers platter,” which you can opt to choose your own 4 items or 8 items in 3 different categories: bruschetta, cheese, and/or cured meats.
I chose the 4 item platter of 2 cheeses (blue jay and cana de cabra) and 2 bruschettas (classic fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil, and then a hand-whipped ricotta with pistachio and honey).
Dining on my small plate (which was actually larger than I thought it was going to be), and sipping my red wine while just observing my surroundings and being alone with my thoughts, is a special occasion I try to schedule with myself at least once or twice a month. It feels empowering, peaceful, and I am telling you sometimes the food just tastes better. The only thing you have to focus on is yourself and the food you’re feeding your body. Give it a try at least 2 to 3 times before you decide whether or not dining alone every now and again is for you. And if it is not, at least you tried something new.
I, of course, can only speak to what I ordered. And if what I ordered was the only good thing on the menu (and I am sure it is not), it is still worth going back time and time again just for the butcher’s platter…even if you don’t go alone.
Every bite was an experience. The fresh mozzarella was in fact fresh, the pistachio and honey was unbelievable- the flavors complimented the ricotta extremely well, and the cheese was creamy and unique. The perfect appetizer or meal.
Frasca | Pizzeria + Wine Bar is located at 3358 North Paulina St, Chicago, IL 60657. For a look at their menus and hours- please visit their site here.
Writer’s Spin on the Butcher’s Platter
Build Your Own Platter
Ingredients (for my simple platter):
- Multi-grain crackers
- Mixed nuts
- Italian dry salami
- Blackberries (crushed up)
- Gouda cheese
- Goats milk cheese
- Almond sparkling white wine
Grab a cheese board (cutting boards and larger plates work too), slice up your cheeses, crush your blackberries (jams also work well), and display however you want!
Super simple, super quick, and super good! You can really use whatever ingredients you want and play with the wine and cheese paring, but this makes a great appetizer or fun meal. You can even step it up a notch by adding different meats and veggies to make it a fuller meal. I made the butcher platter pictured below with a New York Strip steak and roasted veggies, added a bowl of soup, and made it into a romantic meal for two. That’s right, I don’t always eat alone…I can also enjoy a meal with other people (if I absolutely have to).