It's so easy, so obvious, you might not even believe me. But recently on a trip to Shake Shack, the cashier read my order back to me. Now maybe I'm better at this than most because whenever someone speaks to me, my lips move, saying their words back to me - a trick I picked up studying acting in high school - but after I recalled my order with them under my breath, I suddenly subconsciously shouted, "Jinx, you owe me a Coke!" I was so embarrassed and the cashier so stunned, she actually gave me one! This is why I love Danny Meyer restaurants, they're one of the few quikserve eateries where your orders are read back to you and this can only work in your favor.
Even better, go to your favorite Midtown Lunch food cart or truck and most do NOT read your orders back to you. Ask them if they would, and they'll be totally off guard while you know exactly what they're going to say and just like that - jinx! - they'll owe you a Coke! These spots are so busy that if they can't talk they can't take the next order so they have to pay up or pay the consequences. Just be careful not to always order the same thing everyday or one of these days they're gonna open a can of whoops! on you!
Last year my idol Gael Greene left a copy of her book Insatiable as payment for a meal at Corton and since then, I'm hesitant to admit, I've done it a few times myself. At least until her tenyear at New York magazine came to an abrupt end, but now that she's a critic at Crain's it's only fair to spread the love and let the hat out of the bag. Yes, you're gonna need one, so snuggle yourself under some haberdashery - nothing's more flattering - a turned down brim can take off years, transforming a Priscilla into a Lisa Marie. Next, shore yourself up by opening an account on Opentable under some clever anagram for Gael Greene like Glee Reagen. (So not only will you eat for free but you'll make money doing it!) Then try to book an early seating because 1. it adds credibility, that's what old people do and 2. no one will have gone Greene before you got there. Finally, when the check comes, just take a copy of Insatiable, now only $11.19 on Amazon, and place the check inside it and be sure to say a prayer for the patron saint of the prix-fixe for pensioners on your way out the door. As long as she's dining out, you can dine out on her!