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What menu items need to be retired?

Here is my question:

I would like to know what everyone thinks is the most overused, tired, long-gone, or generally disliked food trend that needs to be retired? I hope I get some replies on this because there are a few which I would love to see go the way of the dinosaur.

Spinach & artichoke dip
Tuna tartare
calling anything between two buns a "burger", for example, a chicken burger

I would be interested to find out what others are tired of seeing.


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  1. I will probably get a lot of flack for this, but as a pastry chef I hated making Tiramisu and creme brulee.

    I would like to add artisan breads with excessive mix-ins. Olives, non-traditional herbs, etc.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      how about "ye olde hummus plate", esp at non-middle eastern, non-greek, non-hippie ethnic eateries, such as indian restaurants. . .

      also from chef's perspective though, the hummus plate, spinach dip & creme brulee will be with us as long as people keep enthusiastically ordering them (the familiar & non-threatening vaguely "yummy" thing they will never make at home). tilapia will be on menus as long as exec chefs choose cheap fish. . .

      one person's tired and passe is another's exciting and exotic. what is really disheartening is not that these dishes are on menus everywhere for years and years, but that they're so uninspired and bad most of the time. i recently asked a fine dining waiter, after a great meal, to rec dessert: without hesitation he recd creme brulee. my heart sank but i trusted him & ordered it-- it was fantastic, a beautifully prepared, classic creme brulee perfect in every way and anything but trite or tired. when chefs make the old standbys with new care & attention to detail each time, maybe with an unexpected tweak now & again, i think that's so much more refreshing than being on top of the latest food trend or flavor of the season. folks will come back for the perfect creme brulee. . .

      sorry to get off topic though, i do get the op's original intent. i personally don't understand why individual molten chocolate cakes won't die, already.

      1. re: soupkitten

        I agree with the tepid hummus plate. That can be very good at a middle eastern restaurant, but most places used canned salty hummus that is better suited to patching drywall.

        I don't mind tilapia, as it can be a versatile canvas for imaginative chef to explore, but much of it comes from China and SE Asia and has questionable nutritional /safety background. Chilean Sea bass also needs to go, as does planked salmon

        I grew up eating Creme Brulee, as my grand parents are of French descent, and lived on a farm. Creme brulee was a efficient way of using excessive eggs laid during the past week. I had never heard it called Creme Brulee until I was in college, as we called it baked custard at home. The use of flavored/spiced sugars can add a bit of spark to this tired flavor, as can the use of cinnamon/Turbinado sugar .

        I had forgotten about the chocolate lava cakes, but Ive been away from the pastry station for 5+ years, and they aren't commonly seen in a stand-alone bakery where I will occasionally fill in now.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          totally agreed! Most of them but the cedarplanked salmon?! what is that?! eating of a wooden plank, nasty!

          1. re: mariekeac

            That's so amazing! I was also going to put Chilean sea bass and planked salmon, but didn't want it to look like I hate seafood, which I don't!

            1. re: mariekeac

              Cedar planked salmon is a filet of salmon that is cooked over a open flame on a cedar shingle. The wood chars from the heat adding a bit of smoke flavor to the fish, and a unique presentation.

              I love seafood, but both of these have run their course. Any establishment outside of NOLA still serving blackened catfish also needs a update.

            2. re: Kelli2006

              Yes! Planked salmon! Enough of that already.

              1. re: Kelli2006

                mmm....lava.......and chocolate =)
                but yeah. enough of the salmon madness

              2. re: soupkitten

                similar story re creme brulee. recent trip to san fransisco, had creme brulee twice which is sort of unusual for me but both times incredible different wow just extraordinary simply because the chef bothered to put a spin on it. once it was oriental black sesame custard, mandarin cardamom custard, the other was tea scented custard. so i would keep it if its all of the abv.

                1. re: foodwich

                  Live in New Orleans and avoid both creme brulee and bread pudding like the plague when I eat out. Sooo tired on both. I make bread pudding at home, more like a bread souffle (18 eggs) than a hard loaf of sickenly sweet bread pieces, and I add either extra ripe diced peaches or pears and rum. I love my own, haven't found anywhere else that makes it the way I like. Creme brulee just seems like such a throwaway recipe in 99.9% of restaurants. However, I attended a cognac dinner about 5 years ago - every course used a different type of cognac in the recipe and the same cognac was served with every course. The first course was a lobster, cognac creme brulee. NOW that I still dream about.

                2. re: soupkitten

                  You may have hit on the whole story right there. So many things seem so tired because of poor performance. The reason they first became so popular gets lost.

                3. re: Kelli2006

                  I am so glad to see Tiramisu- on the "retire" list - really a dessert few restaurants do well but for some reason many spots feel it is needed on the menu. Word to the wise-get rid of it unless it is done well, please.

                  1. re: jme90

                    you're right that molten chocolate cake is EVERYWHERE. somehow i can't get behind any effort to get rid of it, though. it's too damn tasty.

                    1. re: etowernyc

                      I think molten chocolate cakes are so popular because they are so easy to make, so hard to ruin, and are so cheap. But everyone's right - they need to get off the restaurant menus. Anything that can be made so easily and affordably at home doesn't deserve a place as a "fancy" dessert for seven bucks at a restaurant.

                      1. re: alysonlaurel

                        "Easy to make, hard to ruin, cheap" -- and available frozen at Costco, GFS, and other places. So no muss, no fuss, no work.

                  2. Ranch Dressing (almost makes me miss thousand island)

                    38 Replies
                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      yes! esp the california tendency to put ranch on everything, incl pizza!

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        I was born and raised in Northern California (SF Bay Area) and have lived here almost my entire life. I have never heard of anyone putting ranch dressing on anything but salad and occasionally as a dip for french fries, onion rings, and fried mozzarella sticks (and even that, only in places like Denny's -- I always thought it was a midwestern thing that somehow came over here with the industrial chain diners!). Could it be a Southern California thing to put it on everything, not California in general? It's definitely not happening anywhere around here that I've seen.

                        1. re: Kitchen Imp

                          I've lived in both halfs of Cali, native of So Cal, don't go blaming us! I you're right that the ranch on everything trend comes from the middle of the country (where I have tons of ranch-loving relatives.) Ranch goes on salad and the occasional french fry. Ranch on pizza sounds disgusting!

                          1. re: writergirl

                            "Ranch on pizza sounds disgusting!"
                            Unless you are in college, it is 3 a.m. and you're just getting home from the bar. It really dresses up the cardboard that passes as pizza in a college town...ahhh, good memories.

                            1. re: amy_rc

                              My son loves to dip the pizza's crust in Ranch after eating all the good part of the pizza. It was a good way to get him to eat the entire piece of pizza instead of having a plate with a bunch of pizza crusts at the end.

                          2. re: Kitchen Imp

                            "but salad and occasionally as a dip for french fries, onion rings, and fried mozzarella sticks"

                            Well, that's three more items than I ever put ranch on...and I grew up in Iowa.

                            1. re: sebetti

                              I think Iowa is pretty notorious for ranch-loving. One of my friends waitresses at a pizza restaurant in Cedar Rapids, and she says people are constantly asking for ranch dressing to put on absolutely everything!

                              1. re: Mangojane

                                Yeeeah...that's pretty typical. Getting anyone in my family to try something on their salad other than ranch or Western is like pulling teeth.

                                1. re: spellweaver16

                                  What the heck is "Western" dressing? Here on the east coast, I suppose our "Eastern" dressing is a concoction of :
                                  extra-virgin olive oil, finely chopped shallots, white-wine vinegar, pure maple syrup, kosher salt & fresly gorund black pepper.

                                  1. re: JayVaBeach

                                    Western dressing is some kind of red dressing, I suppose like "french" or "catalina" or something. If I'm eating somewhere that the only options are Western or Ranch, I have both. If there's a third option, I choose that.

                                    First time I remember seeing Ranch dressing was on a chef salad my mom got from my dad's cafeteria, when I was in fourth or fifth grade. I remember eating it for lunch one day, not being too impressed, and then coming down with stomach flu the very next day. I don't think it had anything to do with the dressing since no one else got sick, but it pretty much put me off ranch for a very long time. To this day it's definitely not one of my favorites, and I'll go without salad it it's the only dressing offered.

                                    1. re: revsharkie

                                      It's fun to reminisce on old food memories. I remember my Mother was appalled when she came to parents weekend at my prep school (VES) circa 1984, my freshman year eating "good green gravy" - yikes !

                                    2. re: JayVaBeach

                                      Yes, Western dressing is very similar to French or Catalina. I liked it as a child because of its sweetness, but I've grown out of it.

                                      1. re: JayVaBeach

                                        With the idea of making the salad dressing harmonize witht he meal, Western probably has some of the same spices that are used on the meats when they are fire-cooked. I've seen a recipie for cole slaw thats bbq flavored so it goes with bbq.

                                2. re: Kitchen Imp

                                  ranch dressing originated in cali (hidden valley ranch), & the trend of putting ranch on/dipping everything in incl. french fries, onion rings, fried mozz, chicken wings, pizza crust, tacos, etc. comes from "surfer cuisine"-- basically unhealthy fried bar food made more unhealthy by being topped with/dipped in ranch or another sauce. . . from there it just went thru the nation's youth culture like mad, getting the greatest early hold in texas and socal. pizza made with ranch instead of red sauce came in the 90's, in cali. most college-aged stoners just dip their crusts in, though.

                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                    I live in Cali, Colombia. There is no ranch dressing here. I was born in California. We had no ranch dressing growing up.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      ranch dressing was created in cali in 1954, but it was made "shelf stable" in the 70's by clorox co., and nationwide takeover ensued


                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        When did you grow up in California? (Clearly before the slang term "Cali" was in use!) I grew up here in the 70s/80s and Ranch was definitely the salad dressing of choice. Maybe it is generational...and the generation younger than me uses it on everything.

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          Yes, I thought the reason why ranch on pizza got popular is when pizza places started serving wings and at the end there were no more wings left and people started dipping their pizza in it.

                                          speaking of wings, I hate seeing wings on a pizza restaurant menu, when and why did that become so popular.

                                          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                            except that the trad. accompaniaments to wings are celery stix and bleu cheese dressing!

                                            1. re: betsydiver

                                              I'm always amazed at the term "bleu cheese". Why do you use a french word when there's a perfectly good English equivalent? The French themselves do not refer to "fromage bleu" - they use the name of the variety, like Roquefort or Bleu de Bresse, or whatever. The English always refer to their mold-enlivined cheeses as "Blue", or again just the varietal, such as "Stilton".

                                              But it's no big deal - I'm off to enjoy some roast beef with au jus sauce.

                                              1. re: FrankD

                                                And that seems to be unique to America. Up here in Canada it's BLUE cheese (or the specific kind - Stilton, Gorzongola, etc), never "bleu cheese".
                                                In Quebec they probably call it "fromage bleu" which would make sense.

                                                "au jus sauce" and "bento box".... those also make me cringe!

                                      2. re: soupkitten

                                        You should see the use of ranch dressing in Texas. My SO always says if they run out of ideas they just fry it and serve it with ranch dressing.

                                        1. re: kkak97

                                          I've lived in Texas and california, no ranch on my plate. Maybe those places that serve ranch with everything I'd think are commerical chains you can find all over the country. Or bar food. I wouldn't go blaming regions of the country for a food, its how the household your grew up in consumed it.

                                          1. re: mai_world

                                            A. I'm not from Texas (transplant)
                                            B. I don't eat in chain restaurants
                                            C. Food is absolutely regional
                                            D. We never ate ranch in my household

                                            1. re: mai_world

                                              I won't eat any sort of shelf stable creamy dressing. Yuck. Ranch is too sweet for me, and I'm a Texan.

                                            2. re: kkak97

                                              Perhaps someone could do a special thread on the topic of The "ORIGINS of RANCH DRESSING" and it's various uses?

                                              1. re: kkak97

                                                That's for sure. I'm from the midwest and grew up eating the various forms of red dressing (see previous reference to Western - always a staple in our house). I live in Texas now and it's hard to find a restaurant that serves any type of red dressing. You can bet they serve 15 different flavors of ranch though.

                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                I'm from California too, and I definitely must be of the ranch-on-everything generation. If we're eating greasy fried food someone at the table will generally ask for a side of ranch, for dipping...anything on their plate. Tortilla chips and ranch, pizza crust and ranch naturally, fries, burgers (not dipped, but with ranch instead of mayo or mixed with bbq sauce), with wings instead of blue cheese, I've even seen people put it in fajitas.

                                                I haven't even tried to order it in New York where I live now, cause I know I'll get the we-don't-do-that-here sneer.

                                                1. re: Olallieberry

                                                  that sneer is not unique to ranch dressing.

                                                2. re: soupkitten

                                                  What! you'd rather have Japanese pizza with Tater Tots and mayonnaise on it? '-)

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    You guys should try creamy Italian on pizza... Yum! : )

                                                3. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  One of the funniest things I ever saw happened about 10 years ago when I was attending an international conference in Boise. There was a delegation from South Africa there who were a bunch of party guys. One night they went to some bar/resto and tasted ranch dressing for the first time -- likely with onion rings and a lot of beer. The next day they were back at the conference raving about it and wanting directions to the mall. They ended up buying cases of the stuff and packing it their luggage for the long trek back to S.A. Who knew it was so addictive?

                                                  1. re: Greg B

                                                    Along those same lines, I was in line at a Sbarro's pizza at a mall in Phoenix, and there were two French tourists in front of me. The person behind the counter was telling them what type of salad dressings they had, and the girls just did not understand "ranch". They kept saying "French? French dressing?" I poked my nose in and suggested they try the ranch. The look on their faces when they got their salads was priceless.

                                                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    Absolutely Ranch Dressing, it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread.
                                                    I live in California and somehow have raised a son who loves everything Including pizza) dipped in ranch dressing. gah

                                                    1. re: laliz

                                                      I have eaten ranch on very few things...originally from WNY and Buffalo, I grew up putting blue cheese dressing on absolutely everything!

                                                      If anyone is interested in the history of ranch dressing, Slate.com did an article on it.

                                                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Lord yes! Gawd if ever anything has been done to death...

                                                    3. Every restaurant has spinach and artichoke dip on thier menu. How boring? It needs to go.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gelato_in_Roma

                                                        Yes, they do, but it varies from one place to another. Some of it is truly inspired with little extras tossed in and some could be made at home with a carton of sour cream. I still like it, at certain places.

                                                        But Buffalo wings have got to go! Good grief! Like you can't get them on every corner. They are so yesterday, IMO. Now if they have wings that have other flavors that may be okay (I like tequila lime ones), but the buffalo ones need to be yanked out of the restaurant appetizer section!

                                                        Also Mozzarella sticks! No more!

                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                          Buffalo wings? Noooooo. Granted most of what we find are bad versions. But back when I was in college (80-85) one of my first roomates was from Buffalo so we knew about wings before they went national. We were cooking 'em up at every bash and they were new to everyone. It was fun watching them become so popular.

                                                          Like others have said...when they get done right they are the best thing served with beer since the peanut.

                                                          Sadly they are rarely done right.

                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            Particularly "boneless" chicken wings - really, how hard is it to eat your chicken off the bone???

                                                            1. re: Antithesisofpop

                                                              "Boneless wings" are not wings at all. Nobody, for the most part, is going to bone out a wing.. Boneless wings are pieces of chicken breast - they are for the "EWWWW, skin and bones - yuck" people. "Boneless wings" really need to go away.

                                                              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                                I'm pretty sure that boneless wings are usually thigh meat. At least Tyson, who I think invented the idea.

                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                  Most restaurants I've been to are using white meat.

                                                            2. re: danhole

                                                              Please don't make Buffalo wings go away. Sometimes that is the only thing on the menu that isn't covered in wheat (breading, batter, buns) when I get dragged out to eat somewhere uninspired. I went to a "better" restaurant with a friend for lunch and it was literally the only thing on the menu I could eat. So much for being a "better" restaurant.

                                                            3. re: Gelato_in_Roma

                                                              they do? Where the heck are you eating?

                                                            4. Fried calamari, except in the VERY few places that get it right. Too often it's become just another heavy, greasy "appetizer" not worthy of the name. And while we're at it let's put deep-fried mozzarella into the same category.

                                                              And I'm not sure if this is quite on-topic, but another thing that bugs me is restaurants that try to appear sophisticated by serving you olive oil and balsamic vinegar together instead of butter with your bread. Olive oil alone, yes, that's classically Italian, but you NEVER get served vinegar with your bread anywhere but in America, and it needs to stop!

                                                              25 Replies
                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                The vinegar appears in the UK too... and I like it, as it is a fat-free option.
                                                                Except (as is usual) they float the oil on top of the vinegar - what's that all about?

                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                  haha, I am always so foolish, because I love calamari - i always order it. And you are right, NO ONE gets it right. I have a list of 2 restaurants max, at any given time, that can make it. (I like it very lightly fried with a slightly sweet sauce)

                                                                  The only thing is Bob, its really not worth the effort to clean squid, and and deep fry at home. Its like 6-15 dollars as an appetizer... and frankly, that's something that's worth every penny.

                                                                  1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                    in wonderment, i have made fried calamari at home exactly once, but it was quite easy and economical. plus, mr. alka and i felt like little magicians, creating this wonderful snack. we would do a batch and eat it. then another... 'twas fun!
                                                                    we have also easily used calamari to make the thai salad with calamari, ginger, lime, lemon grass, cellophane noodles, etc. again, easy and so delicious. it was an adventure to recreate the dishes at home!

                                                                    now, i will put in my two-cents worth on spinach and artichoke dip. i love spinach and i love artichokes. i love the combo. i love mayo, sour cream, parmesan, gruyere, etc. i like them combined with spinach and artichokes. and garlic. most places do not do it right, but they could if they cared. (and please, use the right ratios -- MOSTLY artichoke and fresh spinach. NOT mostly gloppy goo.). (so, there is my two cents worth, now 5 cents, with the dollar devaluation....)

                                                                    ps, bring back green goddess!

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      Thanks alka. I havent tried it yet. I did however watch someone clean squid, and it looked sort of scary. I think if I can find squid mostly cleaned, I will try it. Frying isn't too bad, just kind of messy.

                                                                      Calamari is so good.

                                                                      1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                        whole foods has frozen cleaned squid. texture is not as tender as really fresh. a good fish place will clean it for you, but it is easy to do (don't forget the beak!)

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          marinate frozen squid in milk overnight. It will soften it right up! freaky, huh?

                                                                          1. re: TSQ75

                                                                            cool, thanks TSQ75! what do you make with it? i see from your avatar an affinity for squid! ;-)

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              thanks both of you. i didn't realize whole foods had cleaned squid, and its nice to know that milk will soften it up.

                                                                              im not big on cleaning things... but i do LOVE calamari.

                                                                              1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                you're good to go, in wonderment. happy frying! we use peanut oil.

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  thanks alka and everyone else in this post. :)

                                                                                  1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                    Cleaned squid ususally still has some cartilidge in the middle of the tubes, so check before preparing. You should be able to buy it at a lot of places, not just Whole Foods. Just look in the frozen section. If you see it in the fresh fish display, I'm guessing it's just thawed out, unless you live right by the ocean.

                                                                            2. re: TSQ75

                                                                              This technique also works well with beef/calves' liver

                                                                        2. re: alkapal

                                                                          I bought some a few months back @ Kroger. It didn't last long!

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Ohhh, alkapal, this is an old post (someone seems to have revived the thread, as happens)

                                                                            I LOVE green goddess dressing! I make at home a few times in summer when my herb garden is going strong, and salad can be the most apealing meal on a hot day.

                                                                            But I never see it in resto's. It is actually a reasonably complex dressing if made right and it doesn't keep well. Seems perfect for some restaurant with a decent volume of business to have it be a signature... sigh. I can dream:)

                                                                          2. re: in_wonderment

                                                                            TJ's has frozen breaded calamari rings, which are pretty good. It's never been rubbery or overly chewy.

                                                                            1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                              In my experience, the places that "don't get it right" overcook it. I send it back. Then they get it right!

                                                                              You can buy flash frozen calimari rings to make your own. You can also buy fresh squid and cut the rings yourself. Not difficult. There's no reason to love calimari and be deprived of good calimari. When restaurants goof, just send it back! It's sooooooooooooooo American not to send things back and just pay for bad food like the flock of sheep we too often are.

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                One of my one & only "fried" hors d'oeuvres I truly enjoy & prefer to order them out, as I don't do much frying at home - Calamari Fritti. If I'm not actually in Italy, the next best spot is the Isle of Capri in Virginia Beach - their batter is unique & the calamari is always perfect.

                                                                                1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                  thanks from one virginian to another.

                                                                                  1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                    In Wonderment - I see that you're from Charlottesville, VA - wahoo - I love c'ville - I've spent a lot of time there as the University of Virginia was both my father's & sister's alma mater. We use to love eating at Eastern Standard when in town. I was an hour south @ Hampden-Sydney College. "Virginia is for lovers" definitely for fine food.

                                                                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                      definitely. lots of great restuarants in charlottesville. thanks for the calamari suggestion in the southeast. when we visit down there, its overwhelming to find good seafood... because its offered so much. its tough to tell what is good, what is just catering to tourists, etc. its funny, a lot of the time it doesn't have to do with price either. so ill take suggestions when i can get them :)

                                                                                  2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                    Next time you're in or near a Japanese restaurant, see if they will do some calimari tempura for you, if it's not already on the munu. An added bonus is that Japanese restaurants very rarely overcook anything.

                                                                                    For home, heat about three inches of peanut oil in a saucepan, dip the calimari rings in either canned (evaporated) milk OR buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned flour and into the really hot oil for a minute or two. For those who prefer gilding the lily, you can double dip, double flour the rings for a thicker batter. The evaporated milk produces a somewhat thinner crust than the butternilk, the buttermilk has a tad more tang. I find the evaporated milk version reminiscent of tempura batter, but a bit thicker.

                                                                              2. re: BobB

                                                                                I love fried calamari, but it is true that many restos do it dreadfully. There are a couple of places in Montréal, where I live, that do it rather well. No sweet sauce with it here - usually served rather plain, with wedges of lemon.

                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  I have to disagree. If they can't get calamari right how do they get the rest of the menu right?

                                                                                  Also in Italy I've never seen bread served with anything. No butter, no oil, no vinegar. But the type of bread they use is very different than here too. I only object to vinegar as most served are not the good quality ones.

                                                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                                                    I agree , my Italian friends who live in Milan think it is an American thing.

                                                                                  2. re: BobB

                                                                                    i just wanna see the words 'dipping sauce' fall of the face of the globe. don't say 'baked spaghetti' to me; nor 'emeril' nor a couple other things, but puhleeease let's all just get over dipping sauce with everything. i think more than anything else, this brings out the food snob in me. there are other things to call those that we really need to keep, and the rest is all just extra fattiness that adds nothing except appeals to the basest of us all for getting even more obese needlessly! yes, i've eaten and enjoyed potato chips with mayo, but do i need any of it?

                                                                                  3. aioli on everything
                                                                                    "panini" that aren't panini, but toasted sandwiches
                                                                                    mix-n-match pastas and sauces- certain pastas and sauces go together (or don't) for a reason.
                                                                                    "an assortment of ice cream and sorbet"

                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                      Aw man, I could kiss you for that second line. We've got a place around here (that's actually good otherwise) that has something called "wood-fired panini". That would be a hoagie anywhere else (or a wedge, sub, grinder, etc.)

                                                                                      My over opinionated list:
                                                                                      - Bloomin' onions. Even at Outback.
                                                                                      - Anything crusted with macadamia. Especially mahi mahi. Unless you're at a hotel in Hawai'i.
                                                                                      - Giant non-entree salads with a half pint of dressing on the side. Small, fresh salads and a proper amount of the apporpriate dressing on the greens when served. Not on the side. And no choices. Chef chooses the dressing. Period.
                                                                                      - Boneless chicken breasts.
                                                                                      - Any coffee order requiring more than three ingredients including the coffee. If we can get there, then we can shoot for two ingredients. Then maybe just one...
                                                                                      - While we're at it, any espresso beverage over 12 ounces. Because at that point it's just a milk drink. You could use Postum and it wouldn't matter.
                                                                                      - Cheese plates that don't feature any locally produced cheeses.

                                                                                      1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                        Panini Guy,

                                                                                        You obviously live in a great food territory. I'm still trying to get most of the restaurants to ADD a cheese plate at the end of the meal - regardless of the origin of the cheese. I do agree with you, however, as there are so many great artisinal cheeses, that to omit these in favor of 100% foreign is a disservice. Probably, next to a great wine list, I appreciate a great cheese list.


                                                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                          yes to retiring the huge salads and boneless chicken breasts. chicken is now usually gross in chain restaurants b/c they serve huge hormone-filled dried out breasts, grilled, then topped with some kind of sauce. great. a lot of effort went into that.

                                                                                          1. re: fara

                                                                                            Chicken in the US cannot have hormones added. It may be full of lots of other things like preservatives and antibiotics, but no hormones.

                                                                                            1. re: phofiend

                                                                                              pho, chiming in, i wish people would know more about what they post. so many issues -- like concering preservatives, GMO, additives, or whatever -- are demagaogued about "health" or "green" issues on these boards. i wish people were more reluctant to post when they know just a teeny bit or nothing at all about the issues at hand....

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                That sounds a tad snarky to me. The reason some people mistakenly think that hormones are fed to chickens is because so many processors put "hormone free" on their packages. That is akin to labeling olive oil "cholesterol free." It's not needed and misleading, but after time folks assume that hormones are abundant in lesser brands of chix.

                                                                                            2. re: fara

                                                                                              Let's add salads with chicken. I appreciate a good salad for a meal, but no one seems to do them right. Everyone puts too much iceberg, tops them all with chicken, and only seem to offer creamy or diet dressings.

                                                                                            3. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                              Panini Guy--Why can't the paying customer choose which dressing they want? Maybe they have dietray concerns or just don't like a main ingredient in it. Boneless chicken breasts appeal to most everyone and is always a safe option to have on a menu so everyone can find something to eat.

                                                                                              1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                I'm with you on this one. And I like getting the dressing on the side - it means I won't get a soggy, drenched salad.

                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                  Me too. They put too much dressing on salads. I like just a bit.

                                                                                                2. re: Jacey

                                                                                                  We're on Chowhound, which implies we're looking for above average, thoughtful and tasty food.. We're not talking about feeding everybody and looking for the lowest common denominator. We're talking about stuff we'd like to see go away.

                                                                                                  Personally, I'm much more interested in a salad when the chef has thought about what to put on it than I am a waitress dumping little prepared ramekins of industrial dressing on my table so I can choose. YMMV.

                                                                                                  1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                    Likewise Panini ! I recently had a simple Mesclun house salad & there was NO dressing option. The chef's choice this evening was a warm bacon dressing & it was wonderful !

                                                                                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                      A great example of why I want to be able to choose my dressing. i may not always be able to find a kosher-certified restaurant, but I at least want to know I'm not going to get bacon dressing.

                                                                                                      1. re: sailrox

                                                                                                        Point taken, however, the type of restaurant that would think about marrying a dressing to a particular salad would most likely, (a) tell you in advance on the menu or have the waiter tell you what the salad and dressing are, and (b) would created something else for you if you made them aware of your dietary needs.

                                                                                                        The point we're trying to make (or at least me) is that a good chef at a good restaurant should be able to create a salad of their choosing, including dressing, without diners whining about "Well, I wanted French/Ranch/Thousand Island". At some point you just surrender to the chef (within reason, kosher/diabetic/allergies, etc.)

                                                                                                        There's a place for bottled dressing and then there isn't, agreed?

                                                                                                      2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                        If someone puts that much thought into it, I am happy to eat their dressing.

                                                                                                      3. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                        anyone invited into the kitchen and salad prep area of a restaurant about 4:30 anyday seeing those gallon-sized Sysco industrial strenght dressing and mayo marked 'heavy weight' or some such something would get an eyeful. mostly, yes, it's a waitress slathering over over-chilled uninspired greens and tossing lots of bread into a basket.... i stay home any more. there is so much factory food coming out of restaurants, especially the national chains. you can drive across the country without too much planning, i'll bet, and eat only at olive garden! this is the reason we all believe paula dean cooks southern food! there is hardly any regional differences left with our mass-produced, long-distance food...................... ain't that a shame?

                                                                                                    2. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                      Yes on the cheese plates!! I'm from Wisconsin, and I can't stand it when there's a cheese plate without local cheese. I live in Minnesota now, and there's a sheep dairy a few miles from me that has *great* cheese that I never would have known about if not for a particularly considerate cheese plate.

                                                                                                    3. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                      I think that's partly true(some people swear by angel hair pasta and shrimp which I think is a horrible combination, too much going on texture-wise)
                                                                                                      But it does work in certain occasions, that's both a positive and a negative in many cuisines, (Mexican, Tex-Mex; Chinese, pan-Asian/California-fusion; French, french/american/vietnamese fusion, etc.) It either dilutes the true original dishes or it enhances a cuisine and something new and great comes about, or at least you get a variation on the old standbys.

                                                                                                      1. re: b0ardkn0t

                                                                                                        yeah, fusion should go the way of if it hasn't entirely already. another bad idea like 'deconstructed' and the absolutely awful things done to grits for a while. like lemongrass in grits. i mean, come on... gimme a vinegar pie. please. something lost and forgotten and so very good. and homemade!

                                                                                                      2. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                        Chipotle Mayo is freaking everywhere! (And I love a good mayonnaise so the crap aioli everywhere thing gets me too vvvindaloo)

                                                                                                      3. getting sick of seeing pecan encrusted chicken salad EVERYWHERE these days.

                                                                                                        Chicken nachos plates in almost all restaurants none of which are tex mex.

                                                                                                        Agree with many of the others here, that chocolate molten cake is too common.

                                                                                                        1. Fried calamari is on every menu, popcorn shrimp, crabcake appetizer, potstickers. And apparently there is a surge of Spanish restaurants because everyone has "tapas" on their menus - ok not everyone.

                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: steeltowngrl

                                                                                                            I actually expect to see Jack n' the Box offering a tapas menu soon.

                                                                                                            Heartily agree with the fried calamari. There are but three restaurants that I've ever had any, that were worth eating. One is gone, and another actually has tempura calamari steak, so it's not those little rubber bands in heavy breading.

                                                                                                            I almost feel the same way about "blackened" anything. However, on a recent trip to NOLA, I did have some excellent "blackened" seafood, so maybe a chef needs a license, before they can put it on the menu.

                                                                                                            Gotta' be more - let me get a glass of wine and give it a long thought.


                                                                                                            1. re: steeltowngrl

                                                                                                              Add those jalepena poppers to the list. In defense of tapas...I love the whole small plate concept. It allows me to sample a few different things as opposed to one gigantic portion of food. Can I also say I am sick of stacked food?

                                                                                                              1. re: rHairing

                                                                                                                no one makes their own poppers! they are all frozen -- probably from hopperville, ca.. ;-)

                                                                                                                i know of only one exception, in st. pete, in a resto right near the vinoy (maybe "harvey's fourth street grill"?). the owner let us "test" various cheese-stuffed fresh poppers he was experimenting with for the menu.... so good. so rare!

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  We have a dumpy Mexican joint that makes them from scratch. They are stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese, breaded, fried, and served with house made queso dip. I can't eat any other any more.

                                                                                                                2. re: rHairing

                                                                                                                  There is a restaurant near me that makes their own jalapeno poppers. They are not the ubiquitous half a pepper with cream cheese and breading that belongs only in teh frozen aisle of the supermarket. They are a whole pepper with the stem end lopped off seeds removed or not depending on the day, filled with cream cheese and topped with bacon. They are delicious and the peppers taste like peppers rather than like pickled.

                                                                                                                3. re: steeltowngrl

                                                                                                                  like most resto offerings it depends if they prepare it well.

                                                                                                                  M&M jfood had a wonderful tapas dinner the other night including mushrooms with goat cheese, empanadas, skirt steak paillard, braised short ribs, gambas, and a wonderful dessert. All in the bill with tax and tip was $75. It does not get better than that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                    I'm specifically referring non-Spanish restaurants who have removed the word appetizer from the menu and replaced it with the word tapas. And these items include buffalo wings, artichoke dip...the usual suspects, not real tapas. And the corner sandwich shop in my neighborhood (think subway but nonchain) that added the word tapas to their signage outside. Yes, I frequent places that serve wings.

                                                                                                                    1. re: steeltowngrl

                                                                                                                      There has been a similar trend in my area. Restaurants have basically begun replacing the word appetizer with tapas on their menus, and at most of these establishments, it makes NO sense. I am a fan of REAL tapas eateries, but it seems to be one of those trends that loses its true meaning as its popularity grows.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                                                        Can't wait until they discover that they can serve "charcuterie platters" of pimento loaf, vienna sausages, and Velveeta for $24.95.

                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                          You have the makings of a real restaurateur.

                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                            reminds me of being in Germany. (this is a good thing).

                                                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                              I think I had that... at some hipster bar called Levack Block in Toronto.

                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                Charcuterie indeed. Crack me up .lmao all by myself with no one to hear. What an awful vision. Coming to a resto near you. Still laughung.

                                                                                                                            2. re: steeltowngrl

                                                                                                                              wow, have not seen that in FFD county CT yet. Tapas are served only in the spanish restos around here. there has been a tremendous increase in Spanish and Latin/South American restos in the neighborhood recently. The flavors are fantastic, have great price points and the energy keeps everyone young.

                                                                                                                              http://jfoodonfood.blogspot.com New posting 11/20/07

                                                                                                                            3. re: jfood

                                                                                                                              jfood... on the tapas, have to ask... Barcelona? Loved that place when I used to live in Norwalk.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                Yup, M&M jfood love sitting in the back room next to the wine fridge. Great place.

                                                                                                                          2. I'm getting kind of tired of the wedge of iceberg with the blue cheese dressing myself. I know it's "retro" but there's a reason we leave things behind...

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Rosemarg

                                                                                                                              I had never had that until a couple years ago, and I grew up in the 60's. I really like it, but am amazed at how dull it is at some places, and how great it is at others.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Rosemarg

                                                                                                                                i agree with you
                                                                                                                                i mean iceburg with blue cheese. what people rav about i don't get

                                                                                                                                1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                  Yes Jay! I hate wraps! How these became popular I will never know or understand....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: bourbongal

                                                                                                                                      Isn't this like saying sandwiches are too ubiquitous? There are bad wraps and good wraps. I don't think you can make such a broad generalization.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                        Most def. a matter of opinion, Humbucker, but it's the actual *wrap* part I have an issue with. It is extremely unappealing to me. I would much rather have my coldcuts/salad of choice between two slices of bread, thank you very much. To me there is no such thing as a 'good wrap'. They are all bad :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: diablo

                                                                                                                                          the only good wrap i have had lately is moo shu pork. tortillas for BLT, tuna salad, chicken salad, etc. wraps... they most always use a huge doughy blah tortilla with very little filling-to- wrap ratio. it is all about the ratio -- and the quality of the tortilla. i have yet to have a good tortilla here in NOVA.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            The wrap business is so silly because lots of ppl. think it's healthier?! I mean, that chew toy wrap has tons of carbs in it, too!

                                                                                                                                            Myself, if I'm having bread it's pita or really good rye. yum!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: diablo

                                                                                                                                            I'm 100% with diablo. The wraps themselves are the worst possible type of heavy, raw-floury commercial industrial grade tortillas. Often there's something tasty inside but you just made it hard to get to. Then they add some dye and cal them flavored. Just shake them out and eat the insides.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: bourbongal

                                                                                                                                          I'm right there with you on wraps. yuck.
                                                                                                                                          They were a bad idea to begin with and are now
                                                                                                                                          totally out of control.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kkak97

                                                                                                                                            I agree on wraps too. WTF...i never got it.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cor

                                                                                                                                              I know, those things are raw dough I swear - gross.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                        That's what I was going to say, too. I don't have a problem with their availability at school cafeterias and such, but they turn up in their oddest places and in the weirdest forms sometimes.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                          Wraps are so ignorantly perceived as a healthier option to a good old-fashioned sandwich, thanks to today's menu architects. I so disagree. I will reminisce back to my childhood (early 70s) & my "Sueshee" (my Cuban nannie) made "croquetas," which were her version of "wraps" filled with a yummie bechamel sauce and ham, chicken, or just good cheese, covered with breadcrumbs and deep fried - they were wonderful, but certainly not healthy - now that's a WRAP.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                            Wowie Zowie! That sounds incredibly good, Definitely her version of "comfort" food

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tay

                                                                                                                                              Tay - they were absolutely fabulous - as was everything she did. God rest Sueshee's soul (she passed 2 years ago & I miss her more than some family members), she made life a treat everyday - literally ! She taught my siblings & me what "sueshee" was before sushi was trendy (I'm talking early 70s) & what fusion cusine really is. Cuban cuisine, aka, Criollo cooking is truly a combination of what she always prepared - a fusion of African, Caribbean & Spanish - so many folks consider it similar to Mexican & it truly is quite different & much better in my preference. My favorite hamburger still today were Sueshee's & I seldom share with my dinner guests what my secret ingredient is in the ground round (I season it with paprika & chopped shallots), making the patties tiny (just like Sueshee did) then grilling them & topping them with her special mojo sauce - they're really good & everyone has more than one.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                What a wonderful (and delicious) tribute to your 'Sueshee' and the foods she passed along to you. It sounds unique. With that in mind, you might want to open a Cuban Fusion eatery and call it (what else?) Sueshee's! I don't know aboutCVa, but I'm sure it would be a big hit here in The City. Thank you for sharing your special memories and foods with us

                                                                                                                                        2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                          agree, the wrap always looks like a dried out, artificially colored tortilla. plus it's cold. i don't understand it and find it annoying. eat some bread already.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                            Oh man! I'm so with you on that one! When I was a kid, when we were hungry, we just took whatever was left over and WRAPPED it in a tortilla. We called it a burrito. It absolutely kills me to "sundriedtomato tortillas" and "garlicbasil tortillas" that are used for "wraps." Then at restaurants they charge $7.95 for what we basically considered leftovers without using a plate.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: tachis

                                                                                                                                              What about the schwarma and falafel wraps you can get at many a mediterranean/middle eastern takeout joint? They're delicious and the lavash bread isn't dried out or artifically colored! Also, some dim sum places have peking duck wraps, which are basically the pancake, duck, and hoisin pre-assembled for you. How can you not like peking duck?

                                                                                                                                              I'm sure there are plenty of terrible wraps out there, but there are also many good ones that, in my mind, redeem the category.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                lavash bread is not a "wrap." it doesn't go all the way around the filling like an open burrito.a "wrap" in my mind only applies to flavored tortillas. (dried out ones at that)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: fara

                                                                                                                                                  Lavash can be used as a wrap like an open burrito. Here's a photo of one of my favorite wraps (Chicken Schwarma from House of Falafel in Sunnyvale, California):


                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                    Humbucker, what are the two sauces?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      There's a yogurt based sauce and a sriracha-like hot sauce

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                      And it makes for a kickass quick pizza crust, with some shredded cheese and whatever's leftover in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                        monkeyerotica, lavash is so very thin. does it hold up in a single sheet, or do you fold it over (with olive oil brushed between)?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                          I've seen two types of lavash in the stores: one thin like burrito skins, another thicker and more airy. I use the latter, but the former makes for a super thin crust pizza. Just make sure you cook them on the middle or lower grill in the oven so the cheese melts before the crust burns.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                        That sure looks like a burrito, or is it just me? As a matter of fact it looks like a fresh flour tortilla. I didn't think that was the same as a wrap. Is it? Because I have never had a "wrap" before. I thought they looked dry and tough, but I do like a burrito.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                          lavash is not a flavored tortilla and it is not folded the way a burrito is folded! completely different kind of starch.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: fara

                                                                                                                                                          Finally, my question has been answered!

                                                                                                                                                          I’ll explain: In the local grocery store deli, one can get a tortilla wrapped around lunchmeat and a few veggies, held together by herbed cream cheese. They are served cold, and while presumably more healthy than a greasy burger, they’re fairly bland and blah. Here’s the question – they call them a “Lavish”, ie. Turkey Lavish, Ham Lavish, etc. I wondered where they came up with that name! Now I get it! It’s some sort of backwoods take on a Lavash!

                                                                                                                                                          Now that my most humble ignorance has been exposed, since the word had been unknown to me, all I can say is...

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks you guys! I learned something today! Yay!

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                      I AM SO WITH YOU! The problem with wraps is I have NEVER had a good tortilla/other wrapping. They're always hard, cold, flavorless. Also, there never seems to be a good filling ratio. It's always too much lettuce, or too much rice. And underspiced.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: writergirl

                                                                                                                                                        the only wrap I ever really appreciated was a freshly assembled (in front of my own eyes) hummus wrap with hot sauce at a college cafe (not much else tempted me in this place... had it weekly for months

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: writergirl

                                                                                                                                                          I make a wraps at home with a variety of fillings mostly so that I can get more protein in the filling and not fill up on the bread like I would if I were eating sandwiches. But then again, with my current health issues, carbs are not something I need to worry about.

                                                                                                                                                          I get the wrap tortillas at the grocery store and they're actually pliable and soft, not dry like other posters mentioned that they see in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                            The 12" tortillas that are now sold for wraps are really high in both calories and carbs, and also fat. I mean like over 350 calories and close to 60 grams of carbs. Check it out:

                                                                                                                                                            It's a well know secret that companies (like Tyson who is the biggest producer) promote these new fangled wraps as being healthier for you, but they're not really. The reason that they're pliable is due to all the fat that is added to the recipe, as opposed to traditional dry style.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                                yeah those processed wrap things with the extra fat in them to make them pliable are funny. why don't we all just eat our sandwiches fillings between deep fried chips while we're at it?

                                                                                                                                                                usually i'll stick to bread, myself-- but sometimes a wrap is desirable, for whatever reason. here's a simple restaurant tip for wrap assembly (using regular flour tortillas or whole wheat tortillas--which are even more dry and crumbly & difficult to "wrap" properly than white flour tortillas): just use a pastry brush to brush a small amount of water over the inner surface of the tortilla, and let it stand for 10-30 secs before adding the filling and finishing the wrap. this moisturizes the floury surface enough to make it pliable, and it will behave long enough to complete the wrap and have it not fall apart in the customers' hands. you don't want to use too much water or it will get gummy-- use a light touch and go quickly. no doubt chowhounds will try to improve on this by brushing on the same dressing used in the wrap, but trust me, water is fine and non-messy. :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                  "trust me, water is fine and non-messy. :)"

                                                                                                                                                                  and sooo lo-cal! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                          "A wrap is the adult contemporary version of a burrito. Truly the Kenny G of sandwiches."

                                                                                                                                                          Hate to revive this old sub-thread but I also hate wraps and needed to post this amazing quote.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                            I think wraps are starting to give way to "bowls," where you get the same stuff you'd get in a wrap, except they ditch the wrap for those who don't want the carbs, and dump it in a bowl and charge you $2 more.

                                                                                                                                                            I still say the Next Big Thing in trendy fine dining will be Aromarestaurants, where you just sit and inhale food vapors through a mask and not eat anything. Kinda like an oxygen bar except with more molecular gastronomy and less sense.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                Wow, wonder if they could do that with bacon? :-)

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                I'd get the bowl, as long as the teeth-chatteringly raw-floured stupid wraps weren't around them. Talk about a useless carb.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                  american style sandwich wraps are way too much flour tortilla. i agree, ewsflash.

                                                                                                                                                                  the only wraps i like are pita on some indo-pak food! or thai lettuce wraps. or, chinese pancakes with some peking duck. burritos. those are *good* wraps.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                    Yay on Chinese pancakes and lettuce! Yay on rice wrappers!! corn tortillas, and pretty much all hot-off-the-grill flatbreads (injera, pita, whatever...) and booooooooo
                                                                                                                                                                    on sandwich wraps that I have to cut 2" off each end to begin eating!! (insert ocd comment here.) Because those "loose ends" have no point and are gluey, nasty and useless to boot. : )

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                                  Great quote. Do you remember where/who said it?

                                                                                                                                                                  "the Kenny G of ..." is lots better than saying "plain vanilla."

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it was from a great comment on this blog post, "Is a burrito a sandwich?":


                                                                                                                                                                    And actually I misquoted, the original is even better:
                                                                                                                                                                    "A wrap is nothing more than an adult contemporary burrito. The Kenny G of foods if you will."

                                                                                                                                                                    And there is another excellent one in BJN's brilliant comment:
                                                                                                                                                                    "A wrap, that bastard, is nothing more than a neutered, submissive and insipidly anglicized burrito."

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                                  Add me to the wrap hating section of hounders.

                                                                                                                                                                4. Yeah, spin and art dip tops my list too. Also:
                                                                                                                                                                  caesar salad (the crappy kind)
                                                                                                                                                                  caprese salad (again, most of them are horrid)
                                                                                                                                                                  pineapple on pizza
                                                                                                                                                                  quesadillas (chix & chs)

                                                                                                                                                                  I could go on forever...

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                    Need to be retired --------------------------
                                                                                                                                                                    Confit is only duck -
                                                                                                                                                                    Carpacccio is only beef
                                                                                                                                                                    Foam only on top of my beer
                                                                                                                                                                    Butter served rock hard. Impossible to spread
                                                                                                                                                                    Molten chocolate cake that is barely warm
                                                                                                                                                                    Anyone yelling BAM repeatedly

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                      Completely agree on sliders in all of their forms.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. These most go:
                                                                                                                                                                      1) chicken fingers, especially with a "side of ranch"
                                                                                                                                                                      2) nachos supreme
                                                                                                                                                                      3) any salad with spinach, canned mandarin orange segments, and almond slices
                                                                                                                                                                      4) tuna melt
                                                                                                                                                                      5) a bunless burger and cottage cheese on the same plate

                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, no, Veggo! Not the tuna melt! Any New Jersey diner will redeem the tuna melt for you, I'm sure. It's the TUNA MELT! It's melty deliciousness of tuna and cheese. Two of the best things on the planet. I agree with you on everything else, though.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: diablo

                                                                                                                                                                          former jersey girl here who has to jump in & defend the tuna melt with diablo...when done properly [i.e. at a jersey diner] it's fantastic!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: diablo

                                                                                                                                                                            Three for a nickle in saving the tuna melt. Made correctly, and NJ diners taught jfood as weel, it is a great saturday snack. Side of Campbells tomato soup made with milk and some saltines and it's a perrfect saturday lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: diablo

                                                                                                                                                                              diablo, with humility but mostly with cowardice, I succumb to peer group pressure and I redact tuna melt from my list. In its stead, I wholly support a post below that inadequately trashes fake crab.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                LOL, Veggo! You are a good sport :)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                              My first thought for this post was chicken fingers, because I think it's on 75% of the menus I've ever seen. I couldn't get rid of it, though, because when I'm hungry and nothing else looks good, a big plate of fried chicken tenders and fries hits the spot perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. Am I the only one looking at these posts and thinking, "I'd miss these things if they were gone"?

                                                                                                                                                                              I think for a lot of the items mentioned here, another poster put it very well. It's not about the fact that they're done so much, but about how they're done. I love a good spinach and artichoke dip. I love wings. I love molten chocolate cake and tiramisu. What makes them so bad is the fact that they are so ubiquitious that lazy cooks can get cheap or pre-made components so that it all tastes cheap and commercial.

                                                                                                                                                                              Granted I could make many of these things myself, so I suppose there really isn't a reason to have them in a restaurant. I can see the point on that one.

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't get the wrap thing or the panino thing either. Why do people consider a sandwich so special just because it's served in a big tortilla? If the tortilla doesn't contain burrito filling, why is it special? Why is turkey and swiss better in a wrap than it is on rye? As for panini, I'm still trying to figure out this weird definition. When I studied Italian in high school, I was told the word "panino" (panini is plural and I wish people would stop saying "paninis" when they are speaking of multiple ones) meant "sandwich." It didn't mean "Sandwich on ciabatta or focaccia pressed with some special press." This whole concept of toasting and pressing bread as if it's the most genius gourmet thing in the world is really getting tiresome.

                                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                Technically you are correct on panini, IF you're in Italy. But even there a panino is generally one of two things 99% of the time: a very small roll with a piece of salumi and some aioli-type dressing OR a pressed sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                Here in the US it used to mean a pressed sandwich, which is a valid differentiation because very often panini are made/designed to be eaten either hot or cold, not both. Unfortunately, many establishments are now terming their sandwiches as "panini" because they can charge a bit more for the "gourmet-ness" of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                As for wraps... I think you can blame Atkins. People think bread is too filling, too calorie-laden. I'd suggest most of those folks don't really care for good bread anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                                                                  My favorite OXYMORON - a Cuban Panini !
                                                                                                                                                                                  Even more humorous is when the chef insists on serving the pressed sandwich combined with Prosciutto Ham in lieu of the classic Cuban Serrano Ham & laces it with Parmigiano-Reggiano & not Cuban Swiss - they throw a few pickles on it & it becomes Cuban - Crazy !

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                                                      >>>>Cuban Swiss<<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                      now *that's* fusion!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                        The Royal Highness of Luxemborg, Maria Teresa Mestre, is Cuban. Luxemborg's King is the son of the Queen and King of Belgium. They met in Switzerland. A Cuban -Swiss tale. Lots of Europeans, mostly Spaniards, in Cuba. Swiss cheese in a Cuban sandwich is not a rare thing. Swiss cheese in the national sandwich is not a rare thing. In fact, Sloppy Joe is Cuban. Sold at the internationally famous, pre-Communism Cuba, Sloppy Joe Bar. The mayor of a town in New Jersey (he used to visit Havana all the time) brought it to a New Jersey Deli called "Town Deli" in the 50s. The meat in the sloppie Joe is probably the national beef dish of Cubans. It is called "Picadillo." Ask for it at any authentic Cuban restaurant served with white rice and sweet plantains.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Girasol

                                                                                                                                                                                          The Grand Duke of Luxemburg is not a king, and he is not the son of the Belgian monarchs.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                                                        JayVa Beach youn are so right nothing better than a GOOD cuban sandwich nothing worse than a fake one. Had plenty of good ones in Miami at sidwalk side bodegas.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                                                                        The flavored wraps you see everywhere are 300 calories each, with 80 calories from fat (that's why they're so pliable). In case you thought they were a healthy alternative (I've heard there's a low fat version out there, but I've never seen it in real life) . Also in case you don't know, they're made by Tyson, at least the ones you'd be getting in a restaurant. Just FYI !

                                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd miss a lot of these items. Sure, wraps can go, but I'd miss the iceberg lettuce + blue cheese, fried onions, and chocolate lava cake. Also, I haven't had a chance to try spinach and artichoke dip, so don't get rid of it yet!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly! Something starts out as a wonderful dish, it catches on and begins to be a cliche, people take shortcuts and industrialize it, and soon all the goodness leaks out of it and people start to loathe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If I ever started a restaurant, I would do a whole menu of cliche dishes but do them perfectly, with the best ingredients, so people would love them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. That horrible recipe for "Green Been Casserole" made with frozen green beans, cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions. If I never see one again it will be too soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                          23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nosurndr

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, chicken fingers are awful. They are usually tough, stringy, and taste like the oil they're fried in. Yes, ranch dressing should go, but only because the quality you get is so inconsistent. It can be delicious at one restaurant, and nauseating at another. And HELL yes to that gawd-awful green bean casserole! Why anybody anywhere ever thought that was a tasty dish is beyond me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: breadbox

                                                                                                                                                                                              Salads of romaine lettuce and slivers of raw carrot and red cabbage, topped with "Russian" dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Little bits of raw veggies (broccoli, cauliflower) to be used with dips. Just too healthful.

                                                                                                                                                                                              French fries, usually called "frites" (and should be pronounced "frights") with everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. 99.9% are some frozen item, just shaped, or seasoned differently. Does anyone actually do real fries, that have not been run through a machine to shape, and then flash-frozen? I still have fond memories of iron-skillet fried potatoes from the MS Gulf Coast. They would never get a "Health Mark," but OMG, were they ever good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                A client does commercial kitchen equipment and once in their lobby, I picked up a copy of a food item trade mag. I was blown away by the page, upon page, of frozen potato items.


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt


                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are a couple of places here in Mmephis that make their own frites. Hand cut, parcooked and then second cooked for that crispy outside with creamy center.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wrap in a paper cone and you're set!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Its Still Mooing

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whew, I thought that it had become a lost art. Glad that someone is still doing it right. Thanks for the update - now I've just got to get to Memphis.


                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tuna Tartare..enough already! I would love to see some steak tartare once in a while.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bloomin Onion or whatever they call it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seasoned French Fries, I can see having it as an option, (I loathe them) but to make that your standard french fry...grr
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seared Ahi
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Southwest Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fried Chicken Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe I have been very fortunate, since I have had some wonderful “Seared Ahi.” Whether it’s been done with toasted sesame, or course-milled Madagascan peppercorns, many have been world-class dishes. Now, I’ve had many, that SHOULD be removed from *their* menus, but then there are some, that I’d order 3x/week, if I had that option. As someone said, up the thread, there are a few dishes, that some will be in love with. In this case, just a few examples of this dish, but I’d cry, should those be banished.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Otherwise, I do agree completely.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OK we don't have to ban all Seared Ahi, I too like it when it is done well but more often than not is is bland and the grade of Ahi is questionable. I will remove it from my list and replace it with;
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sandwiches with 15 ingredients on Herbed Sun Dried Tomato or some other over flavored bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can I add garlic french fries to the seasoned fry option above? The garlic always tastes burned and NASTY!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                                                        or raw and bitter...Yes add those to the list as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seasoned fries, yes - disgusting monstrosities!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                                          yes i hate seasoned fries, especially the red-orange ones, and even more so if they're curly. i can't even eat good seasoned potato wedges after being forced with the seasoned fries for so long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fara

                                                                                                                                                                                                            when i was in high school, we used to go to a diner (yes, they still had those then!) where they served orange spicy curly fries- only they were called "disco fries"- so of course we ordered them every time. i haven't been able to enjoy those in years, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've never been to Arby's (!) so I can't say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have had ONE good incarnation of fries with garlic, where the garlic was added after frying. Every other kind of flavored fry has been abominable and should be banned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: breadbox

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Two words - fried onions

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, the creamy consistency is pretty nice too. You get a whole creamy food-and-fried-food consistency, but still feel slightly virtuous because a green vegetable is involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Long live the green bean casserole!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: breadbox

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can do you one better on the gawd-awful green bean casserole. My friend's girlfriend wanted to bring something for Thanksgiving, and suggested that, and I said OK, because some people like it. She made it with jarred brown mushroom gravy instead of the cream of mushroom soup. ICKKK!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: nosurndr

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have never seen a green bean casserole on a menu. I thought that was a "family" type dish, not a menu item. Am I wrong? I guess I don't eat at places that would offer that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nosurndr

                                                                                                                                                                                                            they wanted me to try some green beans but I said "No, No, No!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nosurndr

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can't see how that was EVER good. It was invented in the 30's or 40's as a way to sell more canned goods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gentlyferal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                by campbell's soup company, to sell the cream of mushroom soup -- a very popular product for the company that had focused on preserving foods. http://www.campbellsoup.com.au/about-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. French fries passed off as "pomme frites" in overpriced restaurants. Go to McDonalds for french fries!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I am seriously tired of "foams" being used everywhere...unless your name is something like Robuchon or Boulud you're probably not doing it right anyway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                sorry but the foam is just outta control...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I totally agree on foam. Foam off already!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm tired of seeing garlic mashed potatoes. Don't get me wrong...I love me some mashed potatoes, but they are played out in restos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The same 4 desserts on every menu...brownie sundae, apple pie variation, ice cream and cheesecake. That is the choice in nearly every Applebees/Outback/Chilis/local chain...and I TELL YOU IT'S GOT TO STOP. Bring in something original....corporate test kitchens!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Steve860

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, it'd be nice to have an option that doesn't have to involve ice cream. My fave independent place has a to-die-for tiramisu. Just wait until the chains get ahold of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve860

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        UUGGGHHH! I thought no one was ever going to mention cheesecake. That giant glob of creem cheese disgusts me. There was a time when I liked cheesecake, but it was about 15 years ago...I can't even look at the stuff. Yesterday I was at an upscale dining establishment and one of the dessert offerings was a cheesecake wrapped in filo dough and deep fried. WHAT??? I think that they called it a cheesecake egg roll or something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: amy_rc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's unfortunate that people think what they are now eating in the QSR's is Cheesecake. Jfood is a traditionalist and grew up with the best NY cheesecakes (and no he is not a NY snob since he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in NJ). The best he ever ate was S&S cheesecake from the Bronx. Served in several NY restos and sold undercover at some bakeries, this is the King of CC. Unless you make at home, there is very little close to this all-time perfection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: amy_rc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, Amy, no. Cheesecake is divine. ANd that cheesecake in phyllo pastry thing sounds like a dessert fit for an emperor!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: amy_rc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm inclined to agree with you- not a huge fan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chef4hire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Spice "dust" is the new "foam." Beware!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Maryland called and they want their crab cakes back. The number of bread crumb pucks with a dash of old bay that are passed off as crab cakes is scary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quesadillas are so played out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Thai" Lettuce wraps and sattay chicken- if these are the only asian items on your menu drop it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken fingers, nuggets, sponges should be reserved for the children's menu.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Coconut crusted shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GastronautMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree so completely with the crabcake comment. It's one of my favorite dishes, but its rarely made correctly. What's interesting though, is that you would think that a seafood restaurant would know how to make them.... especially if you are overlooking the ocean. But instead it seems like ALMOST ALL keep out the expensive crab, and replace it with artificial or flavored, and far too many breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              charge me more and add crab meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I mentioned later on that I never know how to complain about them, short of "yeah... you dont know how to make these" Have you ever said anything or complained? Often I feel jipped. If it's lunch time, and I am having a 10-15 dollar crabcake sandwich, I really don't want flavored breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Along those lines, I'd ban any crab dish, that uses Krab. Though I did see a piece in the local fish-wrapper this AM, about Eastern crabs being on a major decline. Have not heard how the Gulf crabs are doing, after Katrina & Rita. I'd guess that there are few problems, though Lake Pontchartrain crabs might be in short order - or maybe not. Anyway, if it's spelled with a "K," it should be banned. Same for faux-lobster!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thank you for that one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i absolutely agree, "krab" has GOT to go. if you can't get the real thing, serve a different dish. sorry if that would mean the death of the california roll for those of you who eat them, but i've never thought the CR qualified as sushi anyway [basically because of the fake crab].

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i can't imagine fake crab being used in a crab cake, since it tastes nothing like crab. but i remember my grandmother used to put them in iceburg lettuce salads with cucumbers and lemon juice and olive oil. i liked that quite a lot. grm stopped buying them after she tried feeding it to the heron in her backyard and he spit it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fara

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Critters know. One of my best kittycats of all time, Latchkey, would give me the ole "straight -up tail" exit view when I tried to slough off hot dog chunks in her food dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Bill Hunt


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don’t shoot the messenger on this one, but about 10 years ago at a Food Festival we did a crab cake tasting with the public – about 70% of the consumers picked imitation Krabcakes as being better over the real thing. The only difference between the two was the use of imitation vs real crab, the seasonings, binders, and cooking methods were identical.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gross. I am Texan and exposed to more fake crb than fresh. I hate it. It's vile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      re: bill hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gulf crabs are still around but on the wests side of the spill. Went to pecan Island and caught some the other day :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: GastronautMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Crab cakes are EVERYWHERE! Used to be my favorite food, now I won't touch 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GastronautMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wish they would replace bruschetta with real pan con tomate. So fresh. I make it at home though. It's easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. great topic...and i love your screen name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ditto on many already mentioned:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      spinach artichoke dip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tuna tartare
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      fried calamari
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      caesar salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chicken fingers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      salad topped with fried chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      quesadillas in non-mexican or southwestern restaurants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the ubiquitous molten chocolate cake [only because it's NEVER good. if restaurants actually offered a decent one on occasion i might not have such an issue with it.]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "seasonal berries" served in the dead of winter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      inedible garnishes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      any "teriyaki" dish at japanese restaurant. if that's what you;re going to order, you shouldn't even bother going to a restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chinese/asian chicken salad. you know the one - cabbage, dried noodles or rice sticks, almonds, sesame seeds, mandarin oranges...ugh.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      truffle oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      shrimp cocktail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      spinach salad with candied nuts and cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      oh, and on breakfast/brunch menus, "homemade" granola.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i'm sorry, goodhealthgourmet, but good shrimp cocktail is in the pantheon of the food glories of the ages. i shall defend good shrimp cocktail, and protect her reputation for all time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (from a dedicated, born and bred, Gulf Coast shrimp lover....)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          had to add this foreign cinema san fran recent trip, awful shrimp cocktail. bits of shell stuck to the shrimp almost made me gag. but have had great shrimp cocktail too so i would leave that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i should have explained...i'm a shrimp-lover as well, which is precisely why i hate shrimp cocktail at restaurants. when was the last time you had a GOOD one? the shrimp is always flavorless, and usually rubbery/overcooked...and it's often served with an insipid, bland cocktail sauce that tastes too much like ketchup. i'd rather make it at home...i can do a much better job myself with both the shrimp and the sauce than anything i've had in a restaurant in years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It has been far too long. So long, in fact, that I failing to recall the last edible one. Had a "signature" Shrimp Cocktail at a Mid-west steakhouse, not too long ago. At ~ $18, it consisted of a cute server, with ice below the Martini-type glass funnel, but the shrimp were mealy and not even close to being fresh. I'd guess that they were placed into a freezer during the Truman administration, to be ressurected for our dish. "Signature?" I knew we were in for some poor dining and the restaurant did nothing to counter that feeling.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                last time I had a GOOD shrimp cocktail was about three weeks ago, in La Paz (Baja California)...but then, shrimp cocktails in Mexico are a whole different dish than here in the states.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yeah, that doesn't count :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  shrimp cocktail and ceviche are both always better south of the border.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Our coctel de camarones at La Guera in Patzcuaro is better than any that I've ever had. Chopped red onions and avocado with a sweet-spicy thin sauce with bite size shrimps. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you're ever in Tucson you need to go to a Mariscos Chihuahua (local chain) and get a coctel de camaron. You WILL change your mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The ones I've seen appear as though they use precooked shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: goodhealthgourmet


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the jfoods love chocolate and jfood tried makingthe choc molten same in ramekins. Very easy and much better than resto since you can control the chocoalte quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      agreed, which is exactly why they shouldn't serve it at restaurants anymore :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the restaurant chocolate molten cakes are too spongy, and the chocolate too runny. I need, deep dark GOOEY goodness to spend my calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I disagree with the teriyaki comment. I happen to love a good beef teriyaki from time to time. And I'll still bother going to a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to make a shoutout for non-sushi teriyaki eaters - teriyaki is a great option for me when all my friends want to go to a sushi restaurant, because that way, I can participate in the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a friend who does that as well. She'll get teriyaki and gyoza she hates everything else. lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. You have to remember though, that not everyone wants to make these things at home. I love calamari, but frankly, I'll take bad calamari over me having to clean squid and fry it. I'd rather pay you 10 dollars to make me a mediocre version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, creme brulee is tedious. And as a restaurant you're guaranteed that everyone will like it. I'd venture the same with most desserts. Will I in my own home bake a huge delicious chocolate cake whenever I feel like it? No. Will I go to a restaurant to buy a slice of delicious chocolate cake whenever I feel like it? Yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Its a waste of time and effort to make huge desserts that your family likely doesn't "need" to eat anyways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, anything that can be made at home, I refuse to defend. I agree with wraps or spinach and artichoke dip. Easily made at home. And unless you as a restaurant can take it above and beyond what I can make, then frankly I'm not impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Whoever said CRABCAKES is dead on. They are easily made at home, but what scares me is that restaurants don't place any crab in their crabcakes. Either add actual meat when you charge me, or stop making them. There has been several times where I've wanted to complain, but wasn't sure how to do it. Short of - yeah... you don't know how to make these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. jfood reads everyone's list and he has to be honest. Most of the items have appeal at some given time during the course of the year. But there are a few items that jfood agrees with and might add one or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Lavender flavored anything (especially creme brulee). Reminds jfood of visiting his grandma in the 60's. blech
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Overcooked hamburgers. if it passes medium doneness, the dog gets it. gotta have pink.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Pizza with froo-froo toppings. Pizza is made for traditional toppings, i.e. sausage, pepperoni, meatball, etc. What the heck is a Thai Pizza? Like ordering Moo Shu Pork Parmesan. Jfood has no problem calling it "flatbread" or some other name but please leave the term "pizza" alone
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Froo-Froo coffee. Can you see jfood's smile on the news that Starbucks is seeing a drop in consumer spending. Jfood's feet are raw from standing on the soapbox for so many years telling people that their money was better spent elsewhere and $4 for a coffee proves PT Barnum is alive and kicking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -The term "Seared" - everyone thinks it's raw inside, crispy outside. jfood sears beef before braising, its a method not a result.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - %organic - jfood is fairly binary. Either it is organic or it's not. 70% organic could mean the other 30% is stuff you want nothing to do with. What is this about, we're trying? Nike this idea.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Flavored coffees - When jfood walks into a coffee shop he wants to smell the rich smell of freshly brewed joe, not vanilla, hazlenut, peppermint...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          28 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with jfood, and an above poster, that a lot of what people are listing I quite like on occasion. I think that it comes down to quality, and not concept, in most instances. On the calamari issue, my complaint is that it's *always* battered and deepfried. It's no more labour to saute, throw in a bit of garlic, pepper, white wine, parsley, and plate it. Healthier and more latitude for the cook to express him-/herself, too. I also agree with jfood on the excessive froo-frooiness of conceptually simple things like pizza and coffee. I think that it comes down to being respectful of an authentic concept, and you will have good chow. Except that foams aren't food. Sorry, Senor Adria.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Okay - I'm in agreement with Lavender flavored food - it's silly actually; however, there's nothing more fresh, crisp & clean than Williams-Sonoma French Lavender Essential Oil Collection ! The hand soap and lotion are awesome. The dish soap contains soapbark extract, one of nature's best degreasers. The subtle scent of the smoke-free kitchen candle neutralizes cooking odors and lightly diffuses throughout my loft.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am so with you about the pizza toppings. When I order pizza, I want red sauce, onions, pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, olives, that kind of thing. I do NOT want Alfredo sauce, pesto, chicken, broccoli, artichoke hearts (truthfully, I don't want artichoke hearts anywhere, but that's just me), taco toppings, dill pickles (yes, really!), barbecue sauce, tuna fish, or anything else that doesn't belong on pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And while we're on the subject, I don't care if sandwiches remain on menus everywhere, but WHO THE #@$% DECIDED THEY NEEDED TO BE CALLED SAMMIES!!! Knock it off, already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kind of agree about the pizza but I do love a 4 cheese pizza on thin crust and I pile a bunch of salad greens, (at home with lemon garlic dressing) fold over and eat away.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OH the Sammie thing makes me crazy!!! (My name is Samantha and I see Sammie on a menu and I want to scream) Are we seriously too lazy or trying to be pseudo-hip by shorting the word sandwich??? Lame

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don’t see the term “sammie,” on many menus. But along those lines, any menu that is written is dialect, whether it’s Deep South, Texas or whatever, should be burned.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i can't see any self-respecting "Deep South" menu containing the term "sammie".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have never seen that term in a restaurant, but I do know that RR has coined the phrase and she is from NYC! Don't blame the south for every thing that sounds stupid. I am in Texas and I can just hear the barbs I would get if I walked into a place and asked for a "sammie". "Sammie? We don't have no stinkin' sammies!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course there is a local mexican restaurant here that their catch phrase is something like "Ees pretty good" spelled to read like you are speaking broken English. Pretty tacky and I don't know how they get away with it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually, my post should have read "don't see the word 'sammies' on ANY menus." That's what I get for doing a Zinfandel tasting, while posting to CH. No, I do not believe that the "sammie" thing is from the Deep South. Even with dialect on the menus, I've never seen it. Now, I've seen a bunch of other loathsome stuff, but not that. If I want dialect, I'll read Eudora Welty. I do not want it on my menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry for the mis-typing and the confusion. My "bad."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            no worries, mate! just defending the south.....we're fellow southerners, so we're copasetic!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ps, how was the zin? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just checking out my Turley and Biale allocations. All were big, fruit-forward ("jammy") and with higher-than-average alcohol. None was up to the Black Chicken (Biale), or the Hayne (Turley), but I had not expected them to be. Might do a Biale Aldo's Vineyard as the big red for Thanksgiving. Kind of depends on who shows up. I'd hate to waste it on folk, who might not care for this sort of Zin.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am pretty sure that RR is from MASS and lived upstate NY somewhere, not NYC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quizno's is advertising "sammies", on "artisan bread", no less. God help us all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On a thread, many months ago, I got flamed, as being a narrow-minded sod. My position was that for pizza ingredients, one should add only ingredients available in Italy. Articoke hearts? Possibly. Pineapple? Never.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can see that point. However, as one who has enjoyed many non-traditional items on my pizzas (always in the US), I will abstain from commenting. Much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I did do a check of what I get most often now, and most do have IT, as a point of origin, though might well be non-traditional to anything resembling a pizza there: cheeses (the more, the better), tomato sauce with seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoini, artichoke hearts, Gorgonzola (in addition to the more traditional cheeses), toasted garlic and green (not black/ripe) olives. Fortunately, we have a local shop, just over the hill, that will give me all, except for the green olives, but I always keep a jar of Progresso Olive Salad, or similar, in the 'fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Still, I've had great pineapple & Canadian bacon and do a mean BBQ brisket pizza with Boboli [SP?]. Non-traditional to the Nth degree, but oh, so tasty. Still, I see your point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, and it's fuel for another thread, where exactly did, what the US knows as pizza, actually start. I've heard arguments for Napoli, but some for Philly and some for NYC. Maybe a quick Wiki-trip is in order.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hungry_pangolin


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jfood has been carrying the torch for traditional toppings only to call it pizza. CPK should be renamed California Flatbread Kitchen or something else. Jfood will never call it pineapple you-know-what.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wholeheartedly support this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My feelings on pizza toppings can be summed up by "If it doesn't have a mother, don't put it on my pizza". Pepperoni, sausage, meatballs. Fruit and veggies need not apply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ESNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i have to defend mushrooms, onions and artichoke hearts here. oh, and what would a traditional margherita be without basil?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree on the basil, but remember, it is an herb not a veggie, thus is not subject to my scorn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ESNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :-(( jfood loves sausage and peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you cook the onions and the peppers with the sausage until they are drowned in browny sausagey goodness then they become honorary meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ESNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My dad is a meat-n-potatos man, so if we had pizza it was always Meat Lovers. My husband feels the same way about his pizza. I prefer spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms. Meat need not apply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the first person jfood heard call it a "sammie" was Rachel Ray. Enough said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not all of the above are traditional pizza toppings - "pepperoni" doesn't exist in Italy. Artichokes, on the other hand, may be found on pizzas there, as are various types of fish and seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My husband is SO against toppings on pizza, I think growing up in Brooklyn there was no such thing (many years ago). You just went to the bakery and got Sicilian type pie, according to him. It's such a big deal that I 'm afraid to admit I like mushrooms and eggplant on mine, and if it wasn't for him I'd probably be eating garbage pie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But you're right, in Italy we enjoyed Caprese (I think artichokes, olives, anchovies, etc) and also shellfish pie, piled high with clams, mussels and everything else still in the shell. That was in Sorrento though, what about the rest of Italy? In Rome it was just dough, sauce and cheese, just like Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    With you on th flavored coffee. BTW, I saw an article once that pointed out what the author thought was a Real Truth- The more foofoo and complicated your Starbuck's order is, the bigger an a-hole you are. It makes sense if you think aboout it or watched 'Frasier' back in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree on coffee. I just want a simple, well made cappuccino with froth that isn't the consistency of whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I object to pretty much everything that's been said. I agree that there are many dishes that are overdone, and many that are done poorly, especially at low-budget chain restos. But come on, do you really want to see them banished from the earth? Badly-cooked food is inexcusable, but those oh-too-common items are common because they are delicious and lots of people like them. If you see one of your pet peeve items on the menu, don't eat it! If you are finding that everything on the menu is unexciting to you or badly cooked, find another restaurant! But I know that every once in a while I have a craving for a pound of fried onion dipped in ranch dressing, and I like it to be around when I want it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mordacity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. Although I think what others are saying is that every once and awhile it would be nice to try something differently. Chains have test kitchens, and can find new ways to make old dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do agree that I wouldn't want them banished though. Every once and awhile every one wants these silly things. I love the fried onion and ranch... and I also love how every chain names it something different. Awesome Blossom. Bloomin' Onion. etc. Hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or perhaps a chain can drop the onion for awhile, and add in a test appetizer. For fun. Variety is good, I promise :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As annoying and over offered as many of these dishes are, I don't think I'd want to see anythng banished forever. Think: Passenger pigeon :-} I'd just like to see restaurants do a better job of preparing them, or, as many Posters suggested, drop them from their menu's, leaving them to the restaurants that know how to get them right. Sometimes,well prepared, common place treasures are to be found in the most unexpected places, EG: A perfect chocolate souffle at a local eatery or wondeful, fresh, crisp calamari at the neighborhood Pizzaria/restaurant 'joint' I'd just suggest avioding those menu items that make you cringe. That being said, if I were tossing something, I'd have to state that I wouldn't cry over the loss of what is usually passed off as "French Onion Soup." A salty cup of watery broth, covered by a rubbery, gluey slab of melted greasy low grade of mozzarella-like cheese food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Once again, REAL soupe à l'oignon is delicious though I make mine with St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (dark beer) and proper cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed. REAL Onion soup is delicious, and a rarity these days.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's just one of those menu items that is offered by pretty much everyone and tastes vile pretty much everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Tay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tay, I have a wonderful if not a bit dated recipe for Passenger Pigeon. "Squab a la Stowaway".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another reason to remain, (or become )the other, alternate kind of Veg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Awesome Blossoms are only Awesome if you buy one from the vendor at the county fair...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to admit, I have an affinity for Chili's molten lava cake. I eat it as my meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. I just wish restaurants would experiment a little with their veg options, instead of always serving a grilled veggie wrap/panino or a salad with goat cheese. Sometimes, there's the standard pasta primavera, maybe even a Caprese salad if they're really trying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And, of course, the hummus plate - which, as others have mentioned, can be fantastic at a Middle-Eastern restaurant, but dismal elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Come on, there's so much more you can do for vegetarians! (And obviously, so much cheese creates problems for vegans or the lactose-intolerant, though luckily that's not my issue.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What I wouldn't give for a restaurant to offer me a roasted squash and wild mushroom strudel, a chestnut pasta with fall vegetables or a crispy vegetable pancake with spicy dipping sauce...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. think it has died already...blackened anything.....can we say overcooked....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: robertjsweet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok by me...As far as I'm concerned, "blackened" should have been shut down at the gate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Is the objection to the dish itself or to the mediocrity and pretension of it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: WCchopper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hate pretense, but I hate monotonous mediocrity more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: WCchopper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wchopper, what is pretentious about "blackened"? i don't understand your comment.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Back in the early 80s I had the privilege of getting a table a K-Pauls and ordering blackened redfish when it was still "novel" and when Mr. Prudhomme himself was still over the stove, dripping sweat from his brow into the superheated pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There was an incredible amount of smoke with his method - something you can't really duplicate at home w/o a super-duper exhaust system. Unfortunately, it would appear 99% or so of the restaurants doing this dish can't replicate it either. But I wouldn't want to see it go away. Just limit it to folks who can pull it off. Pretentious? Hardly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What is it with the word "pretentious" around here anyway? Seems to be thrown around an awful lot. The forum is about great chow, not average grub. That's inevitably going to lead to differences of opinion on what floats one's boat, but doesn't mean it's "pretentious".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I once asked a chef how to achieve Blackened food in my home, and he said Do NOT even try, you could burn your house down. So I have to rely on restaurants if I want something blackened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course we have a joke around here about blackened food. Every time my DH cooks sausage on the grill he burns it. So we eat "Blackened Sausage".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had a chef show me a way to blacken tuna, first you put it in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes so it won't cook too fast (because I like my tuna rare), and then burn some butter in a cast iron pan to make the fish extra black (also coat it in spices of course). Probably not authentic, but it works for me. I also thought that if I used the stupid side burner on the BBQ there'd be no smoke problem, but unfortunately I traded up this summer before I ever tried that idea out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, a burnt weenie sandwich (no "sammie" here), can be a tasty thing. I always crisp the sausages a bit more than most of my neighbors do, but then I'm from the South, and Paul Prudhomme did "invent" blackened whatever.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You and my husband would get along well! He likes things "crispy." I always try not to burn things, and he protests loudly! So I take out my portion and burn away! Yea baby, blackened skillet potatoes, that's what he likes, and burnt weenies, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think you have a good point about the dishes should be relegated to those who do them well. Once a place depends on sysco, for their spinach-artichoke dip, buffalo wings, poppers, etc, chicken strips, then I stop eating them! And you can tell, but they don't seem to know this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is a restaurant in town that has this spinach, artichoke dip, that is obviously homemade, which has a southwestern spin on it. It's almost like a spicy queso type version with fresh, diced tomatoes sprinkled on top. It still tastes like the original, but with such a delicious spin on it! I wish I could find that recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I was horribly shocked, reading the afore mentioned trade pubs., in my client's office. They were filled with thousands of pre-processed items, and some would have passed (visually, at least) for house-made. I had no clue that that segment of the business had gotten so big. They had *everything* in commercial freezer packs. It opened my eyes, though did not do a lot for my stomach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure that many on this board, were already aware of how expansive this part of commercial cooking was. I did not, and was floored.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aren' t those burnt hot dogs called 'cremators' in Chi-Town. To be specific, the outside is burnt black but the inside still normal looking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We love 'em!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good point. I think that many of the dishes mentioned here, should be relegated to those, who do them well. The others should cease and desist. If a restaurant/chef/cook does it well, then they should get a pass, otherwise, ANCH! Go home!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My question was not in reference to "blackened" but to whether the objections listed in this thread were to the dishes themselves, or when the dishes were presented in a mediocre or pretentious way. It just seemed like most of the things being mentioned were not inherently "bad" dishes. They were just becoming ubiquitous and the quality was suffering. Or were being made "fancy" and losing the simple quality that people wanted in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would never refer to such an original and venerable technique as pretentious and am sorry that because of where it happened to fall in the thread that it appeared as such.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: WCchopper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thanks, wc! i should have tried to read better. "posting drift"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -- happens to me, too! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. If anything containing chicken tenders (I think that's what they're called) disappeared, I'd not notice: they were invented after I left the US. What are they, by the way?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They are like fish sticks, but made from poultry leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Think of sawmills, lumber, and then sawdust.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now think of chickens, skinless chicken breasts, and then chicken tenders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now you have the picture, Sam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In many cases, scary bits of chicken compressed into resembling an actual strip/chunk of chicken... You are so not missing anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Man, it really sucks when people go around sullying the name of things when they've no idea what they're talking about. Chicken nuggets (like the McDonalds white/dark/gray meat ilk) are more like extruded minced chicken mystery meats. The real "tenderloin" of the chicken meat is a small pull-away section underneath the breast and by the breastbone area and is absolutely delicious when fried and breaded. To have a personal preference is one thing, but who are "you" to go around banishing menu items just because one thinks they're passe. I'll enjoy my crepes suzette all alone, thank you very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Blueicus


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jfood thinks you need to go back and re-read. Sam was asking what they were and jfood described exactly what you did (the tenderloin but forgot the name) and agreed that when these are breaded and fried (hopefully that;s the order you do as well), it's called the chef's treat in casa jfood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jfood does not think the standard everyone should try to meet is served to kids in school. the food jfood ate in school is a memory he would like to forget.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Alright, I'm going to be evil and unpopular here. But, if you know the contents of chicken nuggets (random mystery parts of the chicken), I'm not sure why everyone hates them. They taste good to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I fail to see how this is any different than a hotdog, pepperoni, or really most processed meat. Sausage, yum. Most of these things are made with random pieces of the pig.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can someone explain? Or should we ban those things too?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Blueicus, I'm the one who doesn't/didn't know what a "chicken tender" is. People have responded regarding chicken tenders, chicken nuggets (Blueicus, in wonderment) , chicken fingers (jfood), stuff made out of compressed chicken sawdust (Veggo, Tay), and the very good part taken from next to the bone when removing the breast fillet (jfood, Blueicus, ItsStillMooing, DarkRose)...???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sam, I think my bias starts from the old maxim that "nature abhors a straight line".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken Nuggets - Random everything parts of a chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken Tengers - Usually white breast meat. My Tyson chicken tenders read "breast shaped patties... (small print) with rib meat" So specific parts of the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken Fingers - To me, this means less processed than the others, and more continuous breast meat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Compressed chicken sawdust - I think they made this up in good fun about the mystery meat in chicken nuggets. Correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And the last "Very good part taken from next to the breast.." - No idea. Haha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "And the last "Very good part taken from next to the breast.." - No idea. Haha."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I take a boneless skinless chicken breast out of the package, and want to pound it down to a thinner patty, there is a small strip of meat and that is the "tender". You put the breast down, with the meaty part up, on the cutting board, and on one side you have the fat part of the breast. On the opposite side there is a little flap that is much thinner, and it, if you take your hand across the meat, will fall off to the side. Cut that off and save it for a real tender. Or you can just buy the tenders cut at the market. Better than the Tyson knock off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are many different names for all of these chicken products - popcorn chicken, chicken crispers, chicken strips, and the ones already named. The most important thing to ask is "is this all white chicken meat?" If it isn't run, don't walk!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nuggets are "mystery meat", IMO. And have you seen those chicken "fries"? Who knows what the heck is in that! Maybe that is the "Compressed chicken sawdust" that you mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why limit yourself to all white meat? Most of what I see being sold as "chicken tenders" in the supermarket is boneless thigh meat and that's the best stuff on the entire chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I konw what you mean. I stopped eating McD's nuggets when they stopped frying them in beef fat and used 100% white meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No they had very little resemblance to actual chicken when I was a kid, but they tasted really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Crab Rangoon must have been a trend a long time ago. I don't know why it is still on restaurant menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When otherwise decent Asian restaurants serve potstickers out of obligation or afterthought, and don't make them right. I'm sick of charred/gummy/greasy gyoza etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Serving and refilling tortilla chips automatically at Cal-Mex and Tex-Mex places. If I'm in the mood for chips I will order them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Romanmk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            amazingly, i just saw a group of two couples with chinese granny (all chinese but for one anglo husband) order crab ranggon at a chinese restaurant here in northern virginia. odd, i thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wasn't it created by trader vic? i find them tasteless, personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crab Rangoon and the pu-pu platter are Trader Vic's inventions! As well as the bongo-bongo soup and the polynesian snowball are also Trader Vic concoctions. If a person is of a certain age, they will probably crave these from the era gone by when Trader Vic's was the rage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, the only place where these belong is at a Trader Vic's restaurant, and if I want to get my kitsch-tiki fix, I'll go to Trader Vic's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. ALL menu items that arent done well and taste bad should be retired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. If I were king the following get banned-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              deep fried cheese of any kind
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              boneless chicken breasts which BTW are just a cheaper form of white meat fish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              passionate -- This word would be banned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gafferx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ITA about "passionate". It's a corporate buzzword--when you're looking for a job, most of the job descriptions ask if you are "passionate" about whatever drone work they want you to do. How can you be passionate about dishwashing or data entry?? (and please, I don't want to hear something from one of the million motivational management books like "Fish", et al, I've read most of them)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But...the foods we all despise for their ubiquity and tepid preparations are the epitome of all that is not passionate. They are the product of Sysco or Gordon Food Services, of people that really don't care about what they serve and diners who don't much care about what they eat. I think that's why most of us Hounds avoid chain restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd ban "product" in all its forms--fish, "clam chowder" on the Friday menu, Italian wedding soup, the aforementioned onion, calamari, and chicken analogs (I'm not sure I'd call them real!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes. This. I want fresh, homemade food. I had given up on eggplant parm, because mine at home is far better. I went to a place that does it all from scratch, and it was amazing. I really never want to eat a a place serving mostly frozen food again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: gafferx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh king, please don't ban saganaki at a real Greek restaurant. It's the only kind of fried cheese that I like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gafferx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You would not be king of Minnesota where the fried cheese curds arguably and justfiably are the king of the State Fair food offerings. (The state fair is a huge deal in MN, 2nd largest in the country after TX).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When made correctly they are very good, in limited doses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now the french canadians have devised vile combination of cheese curds, french fires and gravy called poutine that should be banned for pure health reasons. Heart attack on a plate. My understanding as that they are sold in greatg volume at bar time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GastronautMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh dear, poutine is awesome. Really, really awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jnstarla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Although lesser versions of Poutine are served in anglophone areas of Canada, they are nonetheless very popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is always "disco fries" in the US, served at your local diner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jnstarla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed. *Good* poutine, with freshly fried frites and decent gravy, is like manna. It can be done badly (metallic-tasting canned gravy much?), but then, what can't?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: GastronautMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Correcting some of the misinformation in another post: the term French-Canadiian is neither old-fashioned nor offensive. While some nationalist francophone Quebecers take offence at being called a Canadian of any stripe, there are plenty of Canadian francophones outside Quebec for whom French Canadian is the preferred term. Franco-Ontarians and Acadians of my acquaintance find being called *québécois* -- not *français-canadien* -- offensive. There are also any number of Québécois who don't bridle at the FC moniker. Nor does anyone take offence at organizations with names like the French-Canadian Association of the Blind, Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture, French Canadian Cultural Association of Yellowknife, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vile is a perfectly good descriptor of poutine as far as I'm concerned, though gods know the dish has legions of fans. And it is indeed a favourite snack after a night of drinking. Healthwise, I'm not convinced it's any worse than a Big Mac with a milkshake and a large order of fries. That said, in the fat sweepstakes, the gourmet versions that come garnished with a slab of foie gras may well trump anything McDo can dish up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Most people of "pure-laine" Québécois descent I know here, in Québec, do find the FC term old fashioned, and SOMEWHAT offensive, not like the n- word of anything, but somewhat antiquated, referring to a very traditional and hidebound society. That is not misinformation. Indeed, the attitude outside Québec is quite different, but not here, whatever people's constitutional outlooks. It is not limited to extreme nationalists by any means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Vile is simply my opinion, nothing more nor less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I would also ban salmon mousse.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What an awful fate for a noble fish. This garbage is inedible. I almost cried when I saw at least $100 worth of salmon converted into this toxic sludge. This was at a wedding and the salmon mousse was garnished & gussied up and made a centerpiece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gafferx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just the thought of it makes my mouth water... In the bad way.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That reminds me: Add any form of aspic to the list... A hideous way to serve...Anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Same here. Ban gelatin salads (though I don't know I've ever seen them in a resturant) The mention of Salmon Mousse brought back memories of too many family dinners involving aspic or some other crazy jello salad concoction - lime jello with celery and cottage cheese comes to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thankfully I didn't inherit those particular cooking genes lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: gafferx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've never been able even to consider eating Salmon Mousse after watching The Meaning of Life...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha ha--but I didn't eat the salmon mousse...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gafferx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm with you on salmon mousse...I want salmon, not cat food...however this preparation may be one of those things a self-respecting cat would never touch!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Any of the chocolate desserts with names like Chocolate Overload, Chocolate Decadence, Chocolate Sin, and so on. I guess I like chocolate as much as the next person (sometimes I'm not even sure about that) but please, to me it should be a little more subtle and eaten in smaller quantities; not eaten from a Paul Bunyan size plate with a pitchfork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hooda_Guest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And not covered with loads of other crap, like marshmallows, maraschino cherries, whipped cream, sprinkles and crushed cookies all together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. first of all i must say i stopped reading about half way down so if i am redundant, excuse me. Gripe number one... anything with a pineapple/mango salsa. way over done. Gripe number two..."sushi grade whatever". the fda does not actually have that as a grading standard such as the usda has prime, choice, select etc. with beef. therefore sushi grade is whatever the chef decides to call sushi grade... including that loin of tuna he pulled from the freezer. its all a hoax people. my final gripe includes anything generalized as "californian" that includes avocados. their produce production does extend beyond one item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. What a funny post! Most of my thoughts have already been addressed here, but I will add my two cents in anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Chicken Fingers (with ranch, of course)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. French Onion Soup, topped with the ever delicious crusty bread and glob of flavorless cheese. Mmm....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. 30 Mix-in coffees. (Caramel and chocolate latte with skim milk, 4 shots of espresso, 2 squirts of hazelnut, 1 squirt of vanilla, 1 squirt of peppermint, served lukewarm with light whipped cream and chocolate caramel syrup.) Give it a rest people, just drink chocolate milk!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linz_e_moore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I DO wish I could share some real soupe à l'oignon with some of you! Made with LOTS of onions, slowly simmered. I make it with dark beer, and it is wonderful (cooks long enough that no significant amount of alcohol remains). Of course it is served with crusty bread - what else - but with good cheese, such as gruyère.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If properly made, it is a meal in itself on a cold night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, flavoured coffees are horrific. And full of sugar. People don't realise that they amount to a dessert.