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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Wow, something I've been for years now has a name:

Bay Area waiters have a nickname for many of their customers these days: the non'trée.

Non'trée (pronounced "non-tray") refers to the folks who order appetizers rather than a pricier entree - a popular practice in economic hard times. In fact, as the value of real estate plummets, the stock market totters and the jobless rate grows, diners are sharing meals, skipping dessert, opting to drown their sorrows in a glass of wine rather than ordering a whole bottle, or staying home altogether.

The people in this story all sound aggrieved -- how dare we cut back on restaurant spending just because the economy is in the tank. And a single glass of wine. The very idea! But cheapness is not the reason I've ben a non'trée on occason (at least not the only reason). If you're in a restaurant like Hartley's, where all the appetizers are wonderful, it can be a great meal for four people to each order a different appetizer, then split them up, accompanied with soup or salad and a dessert.

If you want to go the cheap route, a great trick is to go to a good upscale restaurant for lunch -- same food and ambience, but the portions and prices are smaller.