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Aug 3, 2009 09:35 AM

challenging guest coming. Help! (SEA)


I have a guest coming in to town soon and going to eat with them anywhere is a challenge. If we go for Mexican this person wants beans and cheese and that is it. For Asian, just rice with some teriyaki like sauce on top. Italian - spaghetti (not al dente)or plain pizza. Chicken fingers are fine. Mac and cheese is okay. Burgers are requested plain with just ketchup.

Sounds kind of like a kid right? However, here is the thing. This person is very picky about these items. I would almost go as far as to say a connoiseur of these plain foods. So, where do you know of that has the best (insert ordinary food item)? I guess I'm looking for places that don't simply do a lobster and truffle mac and cheese to make the clients happy but a place that does a traditional mac and cheese but done really well. Or where have you had some chicken fingers and thought, "these are the best"? Thank you so much. I have been having trouble with this one and she's coming soon.

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  1. that is hysterical. The connosiuer of blandness!! Well, lets start you off w/ the "worlds best" mac-n-cheese/ - beechers. Can be found in the freezer at uspcale local gorceries, but would be a fun stop at the market, where you can see the cheese made.

    See the multiple burger threads for the varying opinions on that. I won't offer an opinion on that - don't want to disturb the hornets nest.

    I'd say somewhere in the ID for the rice option. How about Swingside Cafe (freemont) for itialian? Pretty straight up but more chow-worthy than say Bucca di Beppo or Spagetti Facotry. (or maybe that is what she is looking for -reliable chain?)

    good luck - curious to see what other will add - interesting challenge!

    1. The Icon Grill downtown does traditional foods like Mac n' Cheese and meatloaf that are very good, but even they might spruce these dishes up a bit more than your guest might enjoy. Worth considering however.

      1. The problem with this is that things chowhounds might really like yet consider “plain”, I am guessing, are going to be more then what you guest is looking for. The Beecher’s Mac & Cheese for instance while rather plain (no lobster or truffle) has a complex flavor profile due to the Beecher’s cheese itself.

        I would stick to places like, Dick’s, Red Mill (good burger nothing special ordered however it is wanted) But really I would cook at home for this person, you will avoid the hassle of finding someplace they are happy, and can spice up your own meal with whatever condiments you choose .Plus why spend the money at places that your friend is probably not going to enjoy that much anyway.

        Plain rice is CHEAP and you can buy a bottle of Teriyaki Sauce, or make your own, grill some chicken and vegetables (go to the farmers market nearest you everything is in season right now) and Voila for a tiny amount of $$$ everyone is happy. Plus you can have the shared experience of cooking together. With all the money you save you can buy a super nice bottle of Sake to go with your meal.
        Make some pasta, you cook yours al dente and leave his/hers in for an extra minute.

        Again a quick sauce made from fresh farmer’s market tomatoes is going to beat the pants off anything you have out and be soooo much cheaper. And splurge on a nice bottle of wine (put some in the sauce).

        People like this seem not to enjoy the restaurant experience where the emphasis is often on making the food exciting and complex. So save everyone time, money and hassle cook at home splurge on booze and have some quality experiences with your friend.

        1. My condolences. Really.

          1. Thank you very much for the feedback and sympathy everyone. We will be making some meals at home for sure but the guest's husband is a normal eater and would like to try some places here out.

            One thought, she is more adventurous when it comes to deserts. So perhaps a place to stop in to just for desert? I really liked the desert thali at Poppy but it is probably too wild for her. Where to go for deserts? And any other ideas about food are still welcome - we'll be doing one day at the market and so we can let her try some Beecher's mac and cheese. She might just have a Wonderfreeze corn dog though.

            3 Replies
            1. re:

              B&O Espresso has a selection of desserts. Are they the greatest? With the possible exception of my favorite, the lemon sour cream pie, probably not. But at least there would be a large selection of both European and American desserts. Simply Desserts in Fremont might also work, but that's more of a take out place. Great berry pie.

              1. re:

                What about dessert in the bar at Canlis?