One suggestion I heard for practicing Spanish was to go to a restaurant where Spanish is spoken (there are a few Mexican restaurants in my area where the waiters are bilingual) and order in Spanish. Seems like a good idea to me; the vocabulary is simple and the conversations are short, plus I can plan ahead of time what to say.
However, I find that time and again whenever I try to order in Spanish, the waiter switches to English. I know that they speak Spanish; I hear them speaking Spanish to colleagues and other patrons. But they insist on speaking English with me.
In one case, I started speaking in Spanish, the waiter switched to English, then he moved on to my Hispanic colleague where he, without hesitation, conducted the order in Spanish, much to my frustration.
My Spanish isn't perfect, but I've had no problem being understood in basic conversations (my American accent doesn't seem to be too much of a barrier either). I am of German descent and look the part, so I'm afraid that my appearance may be influencing this behavior.
Is there any way that I can order food in Spanish, without the waiter switching to English?