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0818 Placing a Drink Order

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 818: Placing a Drink Order.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 818. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Are you interested in improving your business English or English for daily life? We have special courses on our website just for that. Go there and take a look.

On this episode, we're going to listen to a conversation between Joel and someone who works at a restaurant. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Server: Hello, I’m Allie and I’ll be your server today. Here’s a menu. Can I take your drink order?

Joel: I’d like a glass of water with no ice.

Server: Sure. Will that be sparkling or still?

Joel: Uh, tap.

Server: Okay, one glass of tap water. Would you like anything else? We have soda, iced tea, lemonade...

Joel: I’d like a Diet Coke.

Server: Sure, I’ll be right back with your drinks in just one moment.

Joel: Can you bring me a wine list?

Server: No problem. Here is your water and Diet Coke, and this is our wine list. Are you looking for any wine in particular? We have an extensive selection and some very fine house wines.

Joel: I’m looking for the kind I drink at home.

Server: What label is the wine you drink at home?

Joel: I don’t remember the name, but it has a very distinctive packaging.

Server: Oh, can you describe it?

Joel: Sure, it’s a large white box...

Server: You mean it’s a boxed wine?

Joel: Yes, that’s right.

Server: I’m sorry. We don’t have any boxed wines.

Joel: And you call yourself a restaurant?

[end of dialogue]

Joel is sitting in a restaurant and a woman comes up to him. She’s the waitress. We would also more generally call this the “server.” The “server” (server) is the person who serves you your food, usually also the person who asks you what you want. We would use the expression “takes your order,” – asks you what you want to eat and drink and then gets those things for you.” That’s a server or a “waitress”, if it's a woman, a “waiter” (waiter), if it's a man.

So, the waitress or server says, “Hello, I'm Allie,” that’s her name “and I'll be your server today.” This is kind of become a common way that waiters and waitresses approach someone who comes to the restaurant and sits down when they first walk up to you. They may give you their name. Now, personally I don’t usually remember their name, so giving me their name doesn’t help me much, but that’s what some restaurants, a lot of restaurants, do now. The server will give her name or his name and tell you something obvious, like they’ll be your server today! The server says – Allie says – see? I remembered her name! – says, “Here's a menu. Can I take your drink order?” Your “drink order” would be what you want to drink.

Joel says, “I’d like a glass of water with no ice.” “I'd like” is the same as “I'll have” which is the same as “I want.” Here's what I want to order. Here's what I want you to bring me. “I'd like a glass of water with no ice.” The server says, “Sure.” Okay. “Will that be sparkling or still?” When you go to a nicer restaurant, you can get your water “sparkling” which means (the technical word here would be “carbonated”) it has bubbles in it. “Still” would be non-carbonated, without bubbles, but still perhaps from a bottle. Joel however says he wants “tap” (tap). Tap water is water that you just get from the sink. So, there are three kinds of water you could get. Tap water would be just regular water from a sink (or a faucet in a sink, technically – that’s the thing that the water comes out of). Bottled water can be either still water or sparkling water. Sparkling water has the “bubbles” in it, if you will.

The server says, “Okay, one glass of tap water. Would you like anything else? We have soda, iced tea, lemonade…” She starts listing all of the kinds of drinks that they have at this restaurant. “Soda” (soda), sometimes called “soda pop” or in Minnesota, where I'm from, we say simply “pop.” It's a sweet carbonated (with bubbles) “beverage” or drink. Coca Cola, 7-Up, Pepsi – those are all examples of soda. “Iced tea” is tea that is made the normal way with hot water, but then you put it into ice and it becomes iced tea. Iced tea is very popular in the summertime. “Lemonade” is a drink made by mixing the juice of a lemon, a fruit, with water and sugar. Lemonade is also very popular in the summertime in the U.S.

Joel, however, says he wants a Diet Coke. When you order a drink that is “diet,” usually you're ordering it without all of the sugar. It has what we would say “fewer calories.” It's not as bad for you. It won't make you as fat. That’s really the idea. So, a lot of people like me who don’t want all of the extra sugar will order a soda in its diet version, so Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. Sometimes different soda companies have different names for this. There's a type of soda in the U.S. called Coke Zero. Well, that’s really another kind of Diet Coke, but there's also a separate kind of Coke called Diet Coke. It's very confusing!

The server says, “Sure, I'll be right back,” meaning I'll return quickly “with your drinks in just one moment,” in just a minute. Joel says, “Can you bring me a wine list?” The “wine list,” as it sounds, is a menu of the kinds of wine that you can purchase or buy at a restaurant or at a bar. Again, a nicer restaurant will typically have a wine list that you can order from. I don’t go to very many nice restaurants, so I don’t have a lot of experience with the wine list. When I do get a wine list, I don’t usually open it because I don’t drink wine typically for dinner. I have sometimes.

The server says to Joel’s request for the wine list, she says, “No problem,” which is sort of an informal way of saying “Oh sure, of course.” Then she says, “Here is your water and Diet Coke.” So, she goes away back to the kitchen and she gets some water, tap water, and a glass of Diet Coke. And she says, “This is our wine list. Are you looking for any wine in particular?” That is, is there a specific kind of wine that you like? She says, “We have an extensive selection and some very fine house wines.” “An extensive selection” would be a lot of different kinds of wine. “Extensive” means large or many of or something that is very complete. So, this restaurant has an “extensive selection” meaning an extensive number of different wines that you can order and she says (“Allie,” right?), Allie says, “some very fine house wines.” A “house wine” is not a wine that comes from your house. It's a wine that the restaurant sells usually by the glass. You can buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant or you can just buy (in many restaurants) a glass of wine. Usually the house wine is not the most expensive one. It's usually not a famous brand, a famous kind of wine, but it's – if it's a good restaurant, usually a good wine, not the best wine they have, however.

Joel says, “I'm looking for the kind I drink at home.” So, here Joel is saying that he wants the kind of wine that he also drinks at his house, so in some ways this is kind of a house wine, but that’s not the normal definition of house wine. In fact, the word “house” has a couple of different meanings. Take a look at our Learning Guide for some more of those. Joel says he’s looking for the kind of wine that he drinks at home, so Allie asks him, “What label is the wine you drink at home?” The “label” (label) is literally the piece of paper or sticker on the outside of the wine bottle that tells you what kind of wine it is and what company made the wine. When we use it in this case, when someone says, “What label is the wine?”, they mean what kind of wine, what company made the wine that you're interested in.

Joel says, “I don’t remember the name, but it has a very distinctive packaging.” “Distinctive” means it's very easy to recognize. It is something that as soon as you see it you know exactly what it is. “Packaging” is the way that you sell a certain physical product. So, when you buy cereal, it comes in a box. The box is its packaging. It's the thing that you put it in, the container, typically. Joel says that the wine he drinks at home has a very distinctive packaging. The server says, “Oh, can you describe it?” Joel says, “Sure, it's a large white box.” The server says, “You mean it's a boxed wine?” A “boxed wine” is a very cheap wine you can buy. Usually it is sold in a box. It's the cheapest, least expensive, and lowest quality kind of wine you could possibly buy, not a very good wine.

Joel says, “Yes, that’s right.” It's a boxed wine. The server says, “I'm sorry. We don’t have any boxed wines.” If you go to a restaurant and they have boxed wines, it's probably not a very good restaurant, and this is a good restaurant, so they don’t have any boxed wines. Joel is not happy. He says, “And you call yourself a restaurant?” This expression, usually in the form of a question, “And you call yourself (something),” is a phrase we use in a rude sort of way, or it could just be in a joking way, to question how someone has described himself. For example, I come from Minnesota where it's cold in the winter, so when I go say to a warm place like here in California, people expect me to be used to the cold. So, if it gets a little cold out and I say, “Oh, it’s terrible here, it's freezing, it's really cold” and I start complaining, my family or other people who know I'm from Minnesota might say, “And you call yourself a Minnesotan?” meaning you're not really a Minnesotan. You're not really from Minnesota if you think that, say, 50 degrees Fahrenheit is cold. So, Joel is saying here that this isn't a real restaurant if they don’t have boxed wine. Of course, Joel is a little crazy, so that’s the reason for that.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Server: Hello, I’m Allie and I’ll be your server today. Here’s a menu. Can I take your drink order?

Joel: I’d like a glass of water with no ice.

Server: Sure. Will that be sparkling or still?

Joel: Uh, tap.

Server: Okay, one glass of tap water. Would you like anything else? We have soda, iced tea, lemonade...

Joel: I’d like a Diet Coke.

Server: Sure, I’ll be right back with your drinks in just one moment.

Joel: Can you bring me a wine list?

Server: No problem. Here is your water and Diet Coke, and this is our wine list. Are you looking for any wine in particular? We have an extensive selection and some very fine house wines.

Joel: I’m looking for the kind I drink at home.

Server: What label is the wine you drink at home?

Joel: I don’t remember the name, but it has a very distinctive packaging.

Server: Oh, can you describe it?

Joel: Sure, it’s a large white box...

Server: You mean it’s a boxed wine?

Joel: Yes, that’s right.

Server: I’m sorry. We don’t have any boxed wines.

Joel: And you call yourself a restaurant?

[end of dialogue]

We have an extensive selection of wonderful dialogues written by our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
server – a waiter or waitress; a person who brings food and drinks to customers in a restaurant or bar

* The server gave us menus and then told us about the daily specials.

drink order – a request for what one would like to drink

* Most mornings, one of the receptionists takes drink orders for the other employees and gets those drinks from the cafe downstairs.

sparkling – carbonated; with bubbles

* Cosby likes to mix sparkling water with fruit juice.

still – non-carbonated; without bubbles

* The best drink for dieters is simple, still water.

tap – water from a sink, not from a bottle

* Why would anyone pay for bottled water when you can drink tap water for free?

soda – pop; sweetened carbonated beverages

* Which type of soda do you prefer: Coke or Pepsi?

iced tea – a drink made by pouring hot water over crushed (broken) leaves and then adding ice and possibly sugar, honey or lemon, served cold

* Do you have any decaffeinated iced tea?

lemonade – a drink made by mixing lemon juice, water, and sugar

* This lemonade is too sweet! Why did you add so much sugar?

diet – referring to a drink without calories or with fewer calories because it was made with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar or honey

* Andrew lost a lot of weight once he replaced regular sodas with diet ones.

wine list – a menu of the types of wines available in a restaurant or bar

* The restaurant is so simple that it doesn’t have a wine list. It just offers one red wine and one white wine.

extensive – thorough; with many options or details; covering a lot of information or types of something

* The doctors have conducted extensive exams and tests, but they still haven’t found the cause of Reza’s pain.

house – an inexpensive wine sold in a restaurant, usually by the glass, without a well-known brand

* Tonight, we have two house wines: a chardonnay and a merlot.

label – the brand of a bottle of wine, showing the type(s) of grapes used, the winery where it was made, and the year when it was made

* All the wines on this shelf have labels from the Pacific Northwest.

distinctive – easily distinguished; characteristic and recognizable; unlike others

* Mozart’s sonatas have a distinctive sound.

packaging – the way a product is prepared for sale, usually in a bottle, jar, box, bag, or a similar container

* Food manufacturers spend millions of dollars designing packaging to make consumers more likely to buy their products.

boxed wine – very inexpensive wine sold in a cardboard box designed to be kept in a refrigerator

* Carl has very sophisticated tastes and he refuses to drink boxed wine.

and you call yourself – a phrase used rudely or humorously to question how someone has described oneself

* You’ve never been to Asia or Australia? And you call yourself a world traveler!

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these types of water would be least expensive?
a) Sparkling water.
b) Still water.
c) Tap water.

2. What are house wines?
a) Wines made by the restaurant staff.
b) Inexpensive wines served in a restaurant.
c) Wines made in the local region.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
tap

The word “tap,” in this podcast, means water from a sink, not from a bottle: “If your child burns her finger, hold it under cold tap water for a few minutes.” “Tap dancing” refers to a style of dance where the dancers wear shoes with pieces of metal on the bottom so that they make a loud sound each time their foot touches the ground: “All that tap dancing is driving me crazy! Can’t you practice with your shoes off?” “Taps” is a well-known song performed by a bugle (a horn instrument) at funerals and sometimes at the end of the day in the military: “He didn’t cry at his father’s funeral until they started playing Taps.” Finally, a “tap” can be a light touch, usually on the shoulder, to get someone’s attention: “She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned her head.”

house

In this podcast, the phrase “house wine” means an inexpensive wine sold in a restaurant, usually by the glass, without a well-known brand: “The house wine is so good! Why would I want to pay more for a more famous bottle?” The phrase “on the house” is used when a restaurant or bar gives a customer something for free: “Try our crab cakes. They’re on the house.” The phrase “to bring the house down” means to make a lot of people laugh: “The comedian was so funny. She really brought the house down.” Finally, the phrase “to set up house” means to begin living with someone: “After graduating from college, they set up house together and started planning their wedding.”

Culture Note
Milkshakes

A “milkshake” is a “rich” (with a lot of calories), sweet, cold, and “thick” (a liquid that moves slowly) drink made by “blending” (mixing together very quickly, usually with a small appliance called a blender) ice cream, milk, and other flavorings such as chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Milkshakes are usually served in a large “stainless steel” (a silver-colored metal) cup and “topped with” (with something placed on top) whipped cream, “sprinkles” (small, colored pieces of candy), or a cherry. They are eaten with a spoon and/or a straw, depending on how thick they are.

A “hand-blended milkshake” is made “the old-fashioned way” (as things were done in the past). It requires “scooping” (pulling out with a large tool similar to a spoon) ice cream into a glass, adding flavored “syrups” (thick sugar liquid), berries, or powders, and blending everything together. Hand-blended milkshakes were popular at “soda fountains” (informal restaurants; see the ESL Podcast Blog entry from October 6, 2011) and “lunch counters” (informal restaurants). Today, many milkshakes are made in fast-food restaurants that use a different “technique” (a way of doing something). They tend to use “soft serve ice cream” (ice cream that is softer and comes out of a machine) or a “milkshake machine” that freezes a “pre-made” (made previously) milkshake mixture.

The image of a young man and a young woman sharing a milkshake is a symbol of romance and/or friendship. It is common to see photos of a man and woman sitting across from each other at the same table, each with a straw in their mouth, drinking from the same milkshake.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b