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Sep 27, 2006 10:50 PM

Things you won't order out, because you pretty much can make them at home ...

Are there things you won't order in a restaurant, because you can pretty much make them just as well and just as easy at home?

I'll give an example ...

Lunch or dinner with my parents often is at a deli. And my dad gets mad at me for ordering a tuna sandwich on a toasted bagel.

See, I really like tuna on a toasted bagel. And he doesn't have a problem with the sandwich. What bugs him is that it's not that tough to open a can of tuna (probably the same brand more often than not as the deli) and toast a bagel and make a sandwich.

He thinks I'm wasting my deli-time by not ordering a pastrami or a corned beef because we both know I'm not going to sit at home and corn any beef or pepper up any pastrami. A trip to the deli, for him, is a chance to get a great deli sandwich and a tuna on a bagel is a waste of a deli-opp from his point of view.

I'm sort of that way with hot dogs. The HebeNats I grill or boil at home aren't all that different than the HebeNats served at a restaurant and if I want to go Hoffy or Vienna ... you get the picture. And I have the same mustard at home and can chop an onion or pop the top on the relish jar just as well as the chef can.

It's not exactly the same, I realize their are great hot dogs to be had out in the world and I do love hot dogs. But hot dogs to me are a destination food. "I'm going to Carney's for a hot dog." I really don't get hot dogs when there are hamburgers available. Yeah, I can make a hamburger at home ... but there just feels like more skill in the cooking with the burger and if I'm payin' I want that expertise.

(Oh, and when I do go for the dog, I don't want the same Heinz baked beans from a can that I can have at home thank you very much ... I'm in your restaurant ... cook me something, dammit.)

Two eggs any style: I never ask for hard boiled.

Anyone else ...

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  1. I rarely order eggplant parmesan out because it's never as good as what I make at home (if anyone knows an SF restaurant that doesn't drown the eggplant, let me know!). I'd never order, say, cereal at a diner, or granola and yogurt.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MuppetGrrl

      Especially boxed cereal. I could maybe see ordering a particular granola because it's made special at the restaurant, but who is out there ordering those little boxes of Special K?

      Frosted Flakes, maybe I get, because kids will eat them and so a coffee shop keeps them around. But who is ordering a little box of Total?

      Cereal was a great example (egg salad, too, in the post below).

      1. re: PaulF

        Someone who is travelling might order a box of Total/Special K.

        I rarely eat breakfast at home (I have yogurt at the office during the week, and on the weekend I usually have "brunch") so I never have cereal in the house. If I was having breakfast out and felt like cold cereal, I might order it (since I never have it at home). I think there are a lot of people who eat out because it's convenient, not because they want a "dining out experience," and so they order ... whatever is convenient.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Fair enough, I hadn't thought of that.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I'll second that. I'll eat things in hotels that I wouldn't eat at home (but that others might). Cereals and yogurts seem to come up a lot.


      2. Chicken, I can do chicken better than almost any restaurant

        4 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          I agree - plus the fact that I eat a lot of chicken at home and want to try something more exotic at a restaurant.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Bingo. Roast chicken, rotisserie style or whatever - I must have cooked a couple hundred. It's the last thing I'd pay $15-25 for in a restaurant.

              1. re: Problem Child

                but that's for two, right? such a deal! the bread salad that's served with it is truly inspired, tho.

          2. Lasagna. I have never had lasagna in a restaurant that comes close to my mom's. I finally stopped ordering it several years ago because I was always disappointed.

            1. Sometimes I order things I cook well just to see how my home chefery compares - the two that come to mind are pasta carbonara and risotto. Other times I don't care if I can make it better, I just want it. (Like a hot dog or a burger.) More often then not, however, I prefer to order things that are too time consuming for me to make at home or that require special equipment (like a wood oven).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Grubbjunkie

                "More often then not, however, I prefer to order things that are too time consuming for me to make at home or that require special equipment (like a wood oven)."

                I agree. For me it's sometimes also special ingredients...I was thinking about this when writing a post this evening about a Burmese restaurant I went to today. The dish I ordered was easy to make and I could probably figure out how to make practically the same thing at home, but it would probably require some ingredients that I don't use that often, and therefore don't have on hand. But if I were to start eating these Burmese noodles very often, I'd probably try to learn the recipe and then just make them myself.

                Here's a link to my post about Burmese tonight:

              2. Steak. If I were going to the kind of steak house where they have meat of a quality that's not really available retail then I would. But at the bistro down the street where I know it's the same steak as at my butcher -- no way. I'm almost the same way about burgers, except that I don't make french fries at home, so if I want a classic burger and fries combo, I have to go out. I suppose one could make the same argument for steak frites, except that it's kinda silly to buy a whole steak just for the frites!