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Too Much Food

  • m

I've been resisting the fries at Five Guys because there's always more than I can eat in a small (they insist on calling it Medium, but they don't have a smaller one) order. I sprung for them today and my burger was in the bottom of the bag and the rest of the bag was filled to the brim with fries. I was stuffed and still pitched about 2/3 of the batch. I've tried a couple of "things to do at home with left over French Fries" and haven't been impressed enough to take the leftovers home.

Yesterday I was in Vienna for lunch, so I treated myself to one scoop of Nielsen's frozen custard. That, for me was about two and a half portions (but it was soooooo good I finished it anyway). Three and a half bucks, too.

Is there anything we can do to get smaller portions for these "sides?" I've written to Five Guys more than once and the answer is always the same - "We want to give our customers good value." No wonder I see so many fat people there. <G>

At least I can get a kid's size ice at Rita's. Maybe they should offer a "senior" size?

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  1. I've just stopped ordering fries there. The one closest to me is near a whole foods, so I get a salad there if I didn't bring one from home.

    Thai Luang gives a ridiculous amount of food for lunch, but that gives me leftovers.

    Outside of the leftover option, or sharing with friends (which DOES work with 5 Guys fries), I can empathize. Best I can say is that I end up avoiding some dishes or places entirely b/c of this.

    1. The people @ Gifford's have pretty heavy hands when it comes to the scoops.

      Sheesh, now I know i'm old, when I'm turning down extra ice cream.

      2 Replies
      1. re: WestIndianArchie

        Yep, this is one big reason why I now go to Dolcezza instead of Gifford's - they have a tiny kiddie size portion.

        I should think you could use the leftover fries in something along the lines of lomo saltado?

        1. re: rarotonga

          Neither Dolcezza nor Gifford's are anywhere near where I have occasion to go, and no matter how good, I'm not going to travel that far for ice cream when I can get a pint of Sinplicity at Balducci's (close by) and eat as small a portion as I want. At the price and richness, I don't feel bad about rationing it. <g>

          Lomo saltado might work, and it doesn't appear to be difficult to make, but I'd have to try a restaurant version a couple of times to get a sense of the proportion of meat to potatoes. The one recipe that popped up just says "5 potatoes" for 2 pounds of meat, so it looks like the quantity of leftover fries (depending on how big the portion I got was, and how many I ate with my burger) might be appropriate for about 1/2 pound of meat, if it scales reasonably for a single portion. Thanks for the suggestion.

      2. MikeR - I'm with you ! Unfortunately too many people believe that unless they get a heaping plate, they didn't get a good value for their dollar. Hence the obesity issue we're dealing with now. I have no idea what we do to convince restaurants to scale back - or at least offer a smaller option for those of us who really DO NOT want to stuff ourselves silly at every meal. Really, I think if they'd go back to offering "smalls" they could accommodate everyone. I want a taste of fries, too, but don't want a couple pounds of them! I like your "senior size" idea!!

        1. Easy solution... just let me know when you're going out, come get me, and I'll take care of your leftovers.

          1. Tell them to give you half the order but pay the full price. Simple solution.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jacey

              It may sound simple, but one person takes the order, one puts the burger in the bag, and a third person fills up the bag with fries. I'm sure that the "half order" request would get lost.

              Once (this was at the Five Guys location at King & Beauregard streets, near Skyline) when the order taker asked if I wanted fries, I said I'd take some if there was a smaller order but that I couldn't eat a full order and I didn't want to waste them. It must have been a manager I was talking to, because when he handed me my bag, there was a cup (and just a cup, not a cup overflowing by another two cups) of fries in there. He said "I put a few in the bag for you."

              Maybe I'll try "If I give you a dollar, can you slip a handful of fries into the bag?" but I'll bet someone could get fired for doing it.

              I'm almost always by myself when I go to Five Guys so it's rare that I have someone with whom to share fries. On my visit yesterday, there was a couple with a small child who sat down at a table next to me. I offered them some of my fries while they were waiting for their order but they passed (they had some of their own). Maybe I looked too much like a child molester. <G>

              1. re: MikeR

                As crazy as it may sound, non-standard orders (like a few fries for a dollar) completely screw up the inventory control program at a large chain like 5 Guys. Portion sizes and subsequently raw materials orders are calculated based on tested formulas, and any deviation can cause all sorts of inventory and process problems.

                I, too, would like a "tasting" or "senior" portion of many foods. I hate the waste! One of the reasons I like White Castle is that you can get just one or two sliders without having to deal with a quarter pound or more of beef.

                1. re: dcandohio

                  The way Five Guys serves the fries, I can't imagine that they're very accurately portion-controlled. While it's always too much for one person, it varies between about 2-1/2 and 4 12 oz. Styrofoam cups worth.

                  Asking for half as many fries and paying full price only satisfies my desire not to throw food away. Why shouldn't I be able to get a smaller portion for less money? Not necessarily half price for a half portion, but at least a concession to the fact that price and serving size are relate.

                  Although I don't care much for Moe's, they have a Jr. size burrito that's just right for me, at less than the price of a full sized one. Sometimes I suffer for my principles and get one. <g>

            2. I just ask for less....but of course always expect to pay the normal price. For the fries you can say "Give me 1/2 the normal amount." That is probably around the serving (if not more) you are looking for.

              I went to get ice cream yesterday and really just wanted a cone with a small scoop so I told the guy I would pay for a regular cone but I just wanted a small scoop of vanilla. Most people are fine with that.

              1. Since I am originally from Western Maryland and therefore more of a Pittsburgian, I love fries in salads. If I have leftover fries I will often save them then put them on a baking sheet the next day and warm them till they are crunchy and put them in a steak salad with blue cheese... I don't think they are going to give you less. If you are somewhere that you could put them out for the homeless you could do that although their packaging makes that difficult.

                1 Reply
                1. At what age can seniors order off the children's menu? I remember my grandmother making a scene to do it and that was in the fifties. I thought it was embarassing but now I understand.

                  With the baby boomer generation getting older, will there be a profusion of senior meals ? Reduced portions with a complementary glass of wine would be ideal.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: ditsyquoin

                    I'm only mid to upper thirties and I've had the same thought - especially at Jackson's in Reston, where the kids menu trounces the main menu.

                    1. re: ditsyquoin

                      At Five Guys, the regular menu IS the children's menu. After all, you have to at least think like a kid in order to eat like that. <g>

                      I've never had a problem getting a kid-size cup of fruit ice at Rita's other than that last year they'd stamp my frequent purchase card with it and this year they won't, since the card gets you a free medium sized anything. And before Frozen Dairy Bar started calling their one-scoop serving "single scoop" rather than "Mini" I used to order a Mini with no hassles. But I haven't tried ordering off the kids' menu at a more conventional restaurant.

                      I don't see any reason why they wouldn't sell it to you, though. Often, however, the kids' menu has things like a PPJ sandwich or spaghetti, and that's not usually why I go to a restaurant. (well, occasionally for spaghetti, but then usually there's wine involved

                      I discovered that McDonald's has a Senior Drink, but it's the same size as a regular one (which is irrelevant unless you're carrying it out since refills are unlimited) and only the price is lower.

                      1. re: ditsyquoin

                        Am I the only pig who actually enjoys large portions!?

                        1. re: chicken kabob

                          I enjoy large portions too! If I'm going to throwdown then I want to do it right!

                          1. re: lrebetsky0423

                            Glad I am not the only one, Irebetsky!!

                          2. re: chicken kabob

                            Yeah. And really? Too much ice cream in one scoop?? I guess my Vermonster story wouldnt be appropriate here then. :D

                            1. re: Insidious Rex

                              HA! ! No, we'd love to hear your story. I don't mind larger portions of things if I am
                              indulging. Like at a really good ice cream place. But these days most of us eat
                              out quite often, not just for a treat. I'l like to see restaurants, even fast food places,
                              acknowledge that we aren't always indulging, sometimes it's "just a meal" and give us the option of a smaller portion.

                              So - to stay on the Chow topic - who do you like that does offer sensible portions?
                              Not those cutesy one-bite things, but a portion such that you could have an appetizer and entree if it was just your average weeknight dinner out?

                              1. re: ivysmom

                                I feel like I have been tooting the horn of Sonoma a lot lately, but I like that their pasta portions are small enough that you can have a first course and a pasta (even though it is probably really supposed to be a first course) and not to be way too full or leave a ton on the plate.

                                PS7 had that type of portion size too.

                                1. re: ivysmom

                                  I haven't been for quite a while, and it was serviceable but not inspired cooking then, but Rampart's in Fairlington/Bradlee area of Alexandria offered reduced-size entrees for about $3 less per. Bigger than an appetizer but portion size was about 2/3rd of regular.

                            2. re: ditsyquoin

                              ditsy - most places don't put an age restriction on the kid size anymore and I gladly take them up on it, although I'd rather it were worded differently and I feel less self conscious when accompanied by actual kids

                              'course if I'm in a place that's more serious, there's always the appetizer(s) and salad route .