Gregg Hunter’s Newspace
I visited the venerable Tam O’Shanter Inn on Los Feliz Boulevard for the first time since they suspended lunch menu dining room service in keeping with the economy and in favor of the popular, less expensive sandwich bar. We had a pleasant mid-day experience with just enough carver selection and table service. Being a Lawry’s landmark restaurant, the meats at the Tam are juicy and well roasted with a choice of roast beef, roast pork, pastrami, turkey and the signature prime rib carved to order and piled generously on a choice of breads. (I favor the big onion roll.)
There’s a self-serve salad tray included plus a few side dish options, including Tam’s distinctive creamed spinach for $3. The full bar is open and beverages are delivered to the table. If you can resist the sweet aftermath, (i.e. dessert), a typical food-only tab runs from $14 to $18. There’s parking service and reservations are unnecessary. If you must talk business during lunch, dining room seating is available.
The domestic tipping code hasn’t changed in years with 15- to 20 percent of the tab still the norm. When in doubt refer to the pre-tax dining tab and divide by five. Add or subtract a bit for excellence or frustrations. Never “stiff” a server or it may seem you don’t know about tipping. For really bad service, leave a token 5 or 10 percent to express your disappointment. The inept server will get the message.
Traveling abroad changes all the rules, so it’s smart to prepare before you set sail. In Europe restaurants customarily add about 15% percent to food and beverage charges but a small tip is still anticipated from the tourist – 5- or 10 percent will suffice. At your hotel, tip the maid about $5 daily while bellhops expect $2 per bag. Tip the doorman a dollar or two for hailing a taxi and such. The concierge will expect $5 for restaurant or theatre reservations. If he lands tickets to a sold out hit, reward him with $20 or so.
The rules for tipping on cruise ships have changed as of late. Passengers used to tip stewards and servers in cash on their final night aboard. Now the ship management simplifies the process by adding a daily gratuity of $10 or $15 per passenger to the bill. Most lines also add a 15 percent gratuity to the tab. Better pack along ample cash plus your platinum plastic when you sail. Check cash and valuables in the ship‘s safe and sleep easy.
On terra firma, most tour directors work long and hard to keep the journey smooth and should be rewarded $8 per day per traveler with half that amount also due to the coach driver. Make their lives bearable by being packed and ready on time.
Wherever you travel don’t hesitate to ask responsible parties for local tipping and shopping advice. Happy landings!