HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Most Overrated Dishes

  • s
  • Steve Sep 8, 2009 07:41 AM

My nomination is ropa vieja. Commonly found in Cuban restaurants. I always see this listed as a house specialty and I often see this highlighted when people talk about Cuban or Spanish food.

Oh if I only had a dollar for every wet, overly chewy, jaw-numbing, tasteless piece of meat found in your average ropa vieja. RV means "old clothes' in Spanish, and, although I agree this could be a great dish, it is almost always awful. Truly closer to eating old clothes than most restaurants would like to admit.

Instead of serving RV, I wish more places would serve vaca frita or 'fried cow.' Fried beef and onions is usually transcendent, and I am surprised it doesn't make it's way onto menus more often and finally knock RV off its pedestal.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. ANY thing with chipotle

    9 Replies
    1. re: laliz

      Got that right! Overpowers everything.

      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

        Use less, or use it on more powerful stuff.

        I put it on eggs. In the right quantity, it's a nice balance.

        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          I make a wonderful soup with carrots, roasted red peppers, celery, onions, and a bit of chipotle. It is fabulous, and not at all overpowered, though it could easily be.

        2. re: laliz

          Do you mean the chile? Or like BBQ sauce?

          1. re: laliz

            amen, sistah laliz, on the chipotle "phenom"!

            1. re: alkapal

              I'm sorry, but chipotle is awesome stuff!

              1. re: joonjoon

                uh, no need to apologize if you like chipotle.

                1. re: alkapal

                  What is chipotle?? Lol.. I am new here

                  1. re: jamesneo05

                    chipotle is smoked jalapeño pepper -- usually sold in a can with "adobo sauce" of tomato , vinegar & spices.

          2. Actually, I've been pretty lucky with RV in the few Cuban restaurants I've had them in New York.

            I was going to nominate authentic Chicken Scarpariello. Scarpariello translates to "shoemaker" in Italian, and the dish is supposed to have been created by a poor working peasant who cobbled shoes. It is nothing but the most horrid pieces of a chicken -- not your usual parts. Just because it is very garlicky and has a lot of lemon, it still does not mask the fact that what you are eating is normally tossed or saved for stock in most American kitchens. I was stunned to have been served this rather than typical chicken parts at a restaurant.

            6 Replies
            1. re: RGC1982

              I have had good luck with ropa vieja in south Florida, but the cuban food here is way better than in Cuba. RV is not commonly offered in Cuba: beef is not their long suit and it is scarce, save for a few paladares.
              As for cuban bread, it sucks. Stale, tasteless, too crumbly. Only useful for mopping up tasty liquids, or for a pressed sandwich.

              1. re: Veggo

                I agrre with you about Cuban bread. At most places, it is a bit like styrofoam.

                1. re: Veggo

                  I think you have never had real cuban bread then.

                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                    I've had real Cuban bread, and I'm with those guys. I'd take a fresh baguette over a fresh loaf of Cuban bread any day, but I realize this whole thread is about taste, which is largely subjective.

                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                      Cuban bread is only good when it it toasted--that's when the lard in it (and it should have lard in it...) makes it deliciously crispy. Cuban toast--the kind you have with coffee--has the added benefit of also being drenched in butter and then toasted. You can't get that kind of effect with regular baguettes.

                2. re: RGC1982

                  Isn't Ropa Vieja more of a Puerto Rican/Dominican dish? In any case, I've had good versions out and I make a pretty mean one myself, imho.

                3. Macaroni & Cheese. It just doesn't do it for me.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: lynnlato

                    same here -- even the "gourmet" home-made kind.
                    (but ya know, bacon-girlfriend, that we might give it another shot if it had some (read: "LOTS") of crumbled bacon in the mac & cheese).

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Gourmet is the worst kind. Gourmeting up a traditionally homecooked type dish always ruins it. This is the one time I will use Velvetta in my cooking. I hate the stuff, but it has a place in a cheese sauce (along with sour cream, heavy cream, cream cheese, and sharp cheddar) for mac and cheese topped with bacon and Ritz cracker crumbs mixed with butter. I hang my head in shame at using Velvetta, but I have experimented for years and this was my very best combo.

                      1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                        I have never heard of any M&C, no matter how "tarted up" it became, not having as its base a bechamel sauce with cheese(s) of choice. And always bread crumbs on top. Interesting thing you do there.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          The only M&C I've had with bread crumbs was just terrible: the crumbs ended up burnt AND greasy. This was some "tarted up" gruyere and lobster atrocity masquerading as mac and cheese. All the decent M&C I've had was a blend of Velveeta with some other cheese (swiss, cheddar, or American) with no topping at all except more cheese. For me, M&C must have that crispy, slightly burnt cheese topping on top, like a good pizza or French onion soup gratinee.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            If the bread crumbs wound up burnt and greasy then it was "operator error" not the ingredients. And gruyere is actually a quite traditional cheese for M&C. I think we all have different tastes in things and yours is obviously different from mine. If I got served pizza or French onion soup with burned cheese on top, I'd send it back and ask them to redo it correctly. Different strokes.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              gruyere is "traditional" for mac and cheese? am i wrong in thinking m&c is an american phenom (qua the gooey stuff we know as m&c)? if so, i just don't picture gruyere as "traditional" in american foods.

                              what are the best/closest italian equivalents? do they do an gruyere and egg noodle type dish in alsace? just curious about mac and cheese versions there in europe.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                I recall seeing a "pasta gratin" dishes in Larousse Gastronomique, where you build a mornay sauce with Gruyere and nutmeg and fold in cooked pasta. But you also supposed to add something else like mushrooms or shredded meat. Top with more Gruyere and breadcrumbs.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I gather M&C has been around since Thomas Jefferson days and has crossed and recrossed many oceans along the way. I actually see a fair number of recipes that use both gruyere and cheddar. I'm not familiar with an Italian equivalent but that would work for me, for sure :) But can we agree that, regardless of the cheese(s), M&C begins with a bechamel sauce (white sauce)? This isn't something I fix often but it has always started that way for me.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I grew up on bechamel-based M&C, but as I travelled around the south, I've had many tasty M&Cs in diners and bbq stands and soul food joints that didn't start with a bechamel. Most have been a blend of cheeses (Velveeta, swiss, jack, cheddar, American) mixed with milk and eggs, with more cheese on top. Sometimes topped with breadcrumbs or crushed crackers or even smashed potato chips. Some have been gooey, some have been firmer, almost quiche like. But whatever works.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I remember the Thomas Jefferson "reciept" - macaroni cheese is a British dish, and as befits Jefferson, with French flourishes. But a very homestyle dish.

                                      Please remember that not all posters here live in the US. One of the treasures of this board is its international reach.

                                      Bad Nono, without going for such things as velveeta, or overly gooey variations, incorporating some béchamel into the cheese is not a bad idea; it is also a thrifty one.

                                      I don't think of Velveeta as food, except in cases of dire need. My family was far from affluent, but we never ate that stuff.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        No we can not agree that m&c starts with a bechamel. As monkeyrotica mentioned, many m&c recipes are custard based, not cheese sauce based.

                                        You can say that "many" m&c recipes start with a bechamel...that would be true.

                                      2. re: alkapal

                                        Kase Spaetzle in Germany is a kissing cousin to American M&C. It's spaetzle noodles with lots of melted mild cheese. Very tasty.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          In France you do "coquillettes au gruyère" using very small elbow pasta. The cheese part is grated gruyère or emmenthal (I use comté or beaufort, better taste) that you melt on the stovetop with the just cooked pasta, some butter and a dash of nutmeg. I add diced ham to mine (jambon à l'os, bone-in ham).
                                          Gooey melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
                                          No crunchy bits. I cannot abide American mac & cheese, as I didn't grow up on the stuff. (anybody attempting to do the recipe must be warned that the pot is very hard to clean after)

                                          1. re: bad nono

                                            I use my Berndes saucepan for this sort of preparation, so cleanup's a snap.

                                      3. re: monkeyrotica

                                        you're SO right about the crumbs vs cheese...

                                      4. re: c oliver

                                        I absolutely use white sauce as a base, that would be the cheese sauce I referred to. Cheese sauce is bechamel with cheese melted into it. After I add the cheeses (including Velvetta) I add cream cheese, sour cream, and heavy cream if it needs thinning out. I also add Worchestershire and Tabasco. Bacon and buttered bread crumbs go on top. It is fabu and took me years to perfect. I had to do some out of the box thinking on it, but it rocks. We don't have it often b/c it is so bad for us.

                                  2. re: lynnlato

                                    I just saw this post today and Mac & Cheese was my initial thought.

                                    +1

                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                      I agree...something about pasta without any real pasta sauce seems a little odd

                                      1. re: observor

                                        I think cheese sauce is sauce. Although not a fave of mine, think fettucine Alfredo. Or spaghetti carbonara.

                                      2. re: lynnlato

                                        Too true. I really just don't like it, whether it be Kraft/Velveeta/other cheap types or gussied up with a feather in its cap. The only kind I can eat is Annies brand, and even that leaves me feeling vaguely ick-ish.

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          I used to say that until I met my wife and ate her mac and cheese. Simple and excellent. The trick is to use extra sharp cheddar cheese, canned condensed milk, and the right ratios. Most of the overrrated stuff uses very plain American cheese.

                                        2. Chicken Marbella from he Silver Palate. I don't get it -- people seem to love it -- and I find the combination of brown sugar and prunes more suited to a dessert than an entree. My husband attributes it to people haveing infintile tastes -- liking anything that is sweet. Save me from another dinner party where that is served as the entree!!

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            You're not alone. I also find it a bit too sweet for my taste as well.

                                            DH's answer would be roasted bone marrow. It's good, but he doesn't find it life altering as how some people make it out to be.

                                            My answer about half a year to a year ago would have been toro. Every place (including some very notable Japanese sushi restaurants) I've had it served some sinews in it. So I didn't really get toro as the sinews got in the way of really appreciating the velvety texture. But I then had the most wonderful pieces of toro at Ushiwakamaru in NYC and totally understood what all the fuss was about.

                                            Honestly, I don't know what my answer to this question would be. I can name off specific dishes at certain restaurants that I feel are overrated. But to say an entire dish is overrated everywhere? This, to me, sounds more like personal preference. There can be so many versions of a dish and there can be a huge variety in ingredient quality. And the skill of the cook definitely comes into play as well.

                                            For example, I kind of understood where DH was coming from with the bone marrow until I had it at Prune in NYC. I've had bone marrow at some very well known places (eg. Blue Ribbon in NYC, St. John in London). I thought it was good (in fact, sometimes very good), but I didn't understand why people went ga ga over it. What was so great about it? I didn't find it transcendental. I guess the cynical side of me was wondering whether so many people raved about bone marrow because it was trendy and Bourdain proclaimed that he wanted it to be his last meal. But after having it at Prune, I understood it more. Prune's bone marrow was a lot more flavorful than the other examples I've had in the past. The other roasted bone marrows I've had in the past were well prepared, but I think the quality of the marrow at Prune really outshone the other examples. Must have come from one happy cow. However, roasted bone marrow (even Prune's) wouldn't even make it into my top 100 considerations for my last meal. But I do get other people's love for it more.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              I wanted to try bone marrow when I was in the city earlier this year. We went firt to Landmarc and had there's and I too didn't get what all the hub bub was about. Then we went to Blue Ribbon Brasserie another night and I had there's, with the oxtail marmalade and I then I understood. I was a happy, happy girl. 'Course the few adult beverages I had preceding it could have contributed to my good mood too. :)

                                            2. re: roxlet

                                              While I'm a huge fan of the Silver Palate cookbooks, I never got Chicken Marbella. I'm in complete agreement. But then I just don't think chicken and sweet go together.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                But I once had a wonderful chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and apricots. Fabulous!

                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                  Please tell me where!

                                              2. re: roxlet

                                                Yeh, I do not get prunes and capers. Someone always wants to bring it to a potluck. The only thing I can imagine is that they hate the attendees. Bleck.

                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                  Excellent, cooking as passive aggression.

                                              3. Caviar. There is nothing wrong with it, but it just isn't all that.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  I think you are too young to remember the Iranian Caspian Sea beluga in the chilled tins, which is no longer imported. It was the real deal, although one could argue whether is was worth the price. My college girlfriend simply didn't care about the price.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    In '69, I was " back in the USSR", ate so much Beluga and deep fried sturgeon, never considering that I would seldomly ever have it again.

                                                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    I'm with you, KaimukiMan! And the next-worst is a very well-aged feta cheese. I know when something doesn't taste good.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      I'd had tastes of caviar here and there over the years but never really appreciated it either until the evening several years ago that my husband and I went to this wonderful Russian restaurant in West Hollywood (which unfortunately is no longer there), Diaghelev. We started with a tasting sampler of 5 or 6 different caviars, starting with a relatively inexpensive one up to the most expensive, finest caviar. I don't remember all of them except I know it included osetra, sevruga and beluga. We intentionally started with the least expensive and worked our way up to the beluga and I have to say that it was an eye-opening and mind expanding experience! OMG! I finally understood what all the hubbub was about! It was served with the appropriate accoutrements (toast points, creme fraiche, etc.). We always talked about going back to try it again but never did, one of the reasons being that it was incredibly expensive. (We had splurged that night for our anniversary.). You want to know the ironic thing about all this? Growing up we had several Iranian family friends who would from time to time bring over giant tins of caviar that they had brought back with them from visits home (this was in the 70s) and I can still see my dad and those friends enjoying those giant tins of caviar.... I tried them of course but i was probably about 14 or 15 and I just didn't appreciate it. What I would give to experience having a giant tin of that Iranian caviar sitting in front of me to dig in to!! Okay, so my mouth is watering now... :o)

                                                      1. re: schmoopy

                                                        How incredible that sounds. I'm eating some great homemade fried fish and onion rings but salivating for caviar :)

                                                    2. Braised pork belly.
                                                      Kobe sliders (seems nobody knows what Kobe beef really is, and Kobe-style just ain't all that).
                                                      Bloomin'-onion.
                                                      Sweet potato fries.
                                                      Penne alla puttanesca.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                        Pasta puttanesca is wonderful, if done right. I only eat it at home :-)

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          +1

                                                        2. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                          Sliders of any kind-they're always dry and tasteless

                                                          1. re: jcattles

                                                            Sliders can be underwhelming, for sure, but the concept is pretty solid if you're at the right place. We have one in Hackensack, NJ (White Manna) that would make you a convert. I can't even think about going to White Castle anymore, there's such a huge quality gap between the two.

                                                            1. re: TongoRad

                                                              For Sliders, stick to White Castle and accept the consequences!

                                                              1. re: dcdavis

                                                                Um, no. I like WC, please don't misunderstand? But White Manna's the Shizz!

                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                  Agreed.
                                                                  White Rose System too. More meat, but still an authentic slider.

                                                          2. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                            Oh Raisins, you've driven two stakes into my heart - namely, braised pork belly and sweet potato fries.

                                                            I'm just sort of confused on the pork, really. Granted it can be given too much credit just for being so fatty and "indulgent," but the flavor is absolutely incredible. I'll also give you that shoulder can also be wonderful when braised, but I feel that the belly has even more flavor.

                                                            Sweet potato fries can be dull and even gross when done wrong; they easily become soggy and nondescript. But if you'd ever had my brother's sweet potato fries, you might become a believer. He fries them in a pan with a couple inches of oil (I forget what kind but likely vegetable), then shakes them in a paper bag with cayenne pepper and brown sugar. I miss them dearly.

                                                            1. re: khoops

                                                              You'll possibly convert me into a believer in those two. But I guess anything homemade is going to be special, especially your bro's fries. Just the whole trend of seeing these two items on too many menus these days has put me off them. As for pork belly, I think I may have started dislike the flavor based on less than good renditions- there is often a barnyard/sulfurous undertone that can gross me out even though I like strong flavored meats such as mutton, lamb and liverish beef fillet.

                                                          3. chicken marsala (with the wine) only the thin runny one - I love it with a creamy sauce otherwise it's meh.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                              I have to agree. I put dash of cream in mine and it makes all the difference. I like it fine with just the wine, but the cream takes it to a new level.

                                                              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                I love Carraba's chicken marsala. Rich and creamy.

                                                            2. Anything involving panko.
                                                              Anything involving eel/squid/octopus.
                                                              Smoothies.
                                                              Organic anything (maybe I'm a hick, but I can never taste much difference).

                                                              22 Replies
                                                              1. re: almond3xtract

                                                                Eel/squid/octopus, really? Is it the squeamish factor, or could it be you have not had the "good stuff"?

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  Squid is getting a bad rap from all that pre-breaded bait quality sysco suff that gets deep fried.
                                                                  We have been getting the most wonderful fresh squid this summer.

                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                    I think it's funny that the word "Sysco" drives tremors into the heart of Chowhounds everywhere. As it should.

                                                                    Squid, eel, and octopus (mmm baby octopus) delightful. Panko, and necessity in life.

                                                                  2. re: Veggo

                                                                    I have had the good stuff. It is not for me.

                                                                    1. re: almond3xtract

                                                                      It's okay. More for me. :)

                                                                  3. re: almond3xtract

                                                                    For me organic is not about taste but rather about not wanting pesticides in my food. I think anyone who claims that organic actually tastes better or different is being silly...IMHO.

                                                                    1. re: HungryRubia

                                                                      you obviously missed -- or did you -- the organic milk thread fight last year.

                                                                      1. re: HungryRubia

                                                                        Have you never had organic, heirloom tomatoes in season? They taste like a tomato should taste--never spongy or mealy.

                                                                        1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                          Why would a non-organic in-season tomato taste "spongy or mealy"?

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Well, "organic" may not be the keyword, although the best I've had were organic or near-organic by default, grown by old small farmers who didn't use any chemicals and tended their plants by hand. They taste wonderful and are rarely spongy or mealy, though adverse weather conditions can always deter peak flavour and texture.

                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                              It was sisterfunkhaus' keyword which is why I questioned it. I personally don't believe that non-organic taste any different. As you say, weather conditions seem the culprit usually.

                                                                          2. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                            Poor quality has to do with the variety and how early they pick it. Better tomatoes don't "truck" well. This used to be the case anyway. Now there are many hybrids. I still think what you are objecting to is from it not ripening on the vine.

                                                                            1. re: All Dente

                                                                              I agree with you completely. Regardless of the season I've never had a grocery store tomato that was anything special. And I think those hybrids are bred for thick skins and other "trucking" qualities. Like most florist roses have little to no aroma.

                                                                        2. re: almond3xtract

                                                                          No panko? You have got to be kidding me! Panko is delish! Non greasy, tasty, crunchy as can be (even the next day, cold). What is not to like? IMO...overrated would have to be fresh mozeralla cheese......it tastes like....well....nothing.........

                                                                          1. re: Lindseyup67

                                                                            I'm with you...I don't get the big deal with mozeralla cheese. It does taste like nothing. Cheese, in general, I think is way overrated. I know that comment will exert some comments. :)

                                                                            1. re: Lindseyup67

                                                                              REAL, fresh buffalo mozzarella actually tastes wonderful. Whenever I'm in Germany for the summer I make sure to eat tons of it, since it is soooo much cheaper than in the U.S.

                                                                              I refuse to pay $8.99 for one ball of mozzarella from Gustosella or whatever the hell it's called here, compared to 1.29 € back home.

                                                                              It is nothing like what is sold as "fresh mozzarella" -- if you're eating that, you might as well be eating white play-do.

                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                Doesn't Play-Doh have more flavor and smell?

                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  Ha. Most definitely more smell. Never tasted it, tho, so I have to defer to more knowledgeable hounds '-D

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    You've never tasted Play-Do? Showoff.

                                                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                    Way more salt. Way, way, way.

                                                                                  3. re: linguafood

                                                                                    Me three linguafood - the real fresh buffala mozzerella is heavenly. You have to go to a place that makes it on the premises . It doesn't package or travel well.

                                                                                    1. re: catspercapita

                                                                                      Don't tell that to the gourmet margherita places. Their customers don't like hearing they paid $30 for real mozzarella di buffala that doesn't travel well.

                                                                              2. Burrata. No one loves cheese more than I do, but I just don't see the attraction in this weird, runny, off-tasting stuff. It looks awfully pretty, though, with the leaves and all.

                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                  Have to agree. We went to a mozzarella bar in Florence and ordered some. It was just too rich.

                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                    "Too rich"? Is that a valid category??

                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      It is for me. I find super-fatted cheese (like St. Andre) kind of gaggy.

                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                        Burrata is hardly super fatted. It's a whole milk cheese. Not a triple cream! And leaves? I wonder if you mean something else.

                                                                                        1. re: Vetter

                                                                                          I didn't mean that burrata was super-fatted - it ain't. I was responding to Will Owen's query about "too rich" as a category. As to the leaves, yep, I mean burrata:

                                                                                          http://www.seriouseats.com/required_e...
                                                                                          http://asweetpea.files.wordpress.com/...
                                                                                          http://www.mangiabenepasta.com/burrat...

                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                            Glad you clarified the "leaves" thing... I've had burrata in a dish too but didn't remember any leaves. I see that that's sometimes how it is presented. Thanks for the pictures. And I agree, very over-rated!

                                                                                            1. re: schmoopy

                                                                                              I adore a good burrata. We have a cheese factory in Dallas that makes an unusual version (I believe it is made differently to extend the usual short shelf life), link below. What is especially nice is a caprese using burrata. What a flavor diffrence, and the texture is dynamite. So fresh and creamy. If your burrat isn't up to par, you do not have a fresh burrata. The shelf live is essentially a day.

                                                                                              http://www.mozzco.com/

                                                                                              1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                                Mmmm. I wonder if Whole Foods or Central market carry it locally, or do you have to go there to get it? I could eat it in a day no problem.

                                                                                                1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                                  The key to Burrata or fresh Mozzarella is you have to lightly salt and pepper it to bring out the subtle flavor. Much like tomatoes or avacados.

                                                                                                  I had a killer BLT from a local place here and it was basicly Applewood bacon, mixed green, Heirloom Tomatoes and melted Burrata on toasted Sourdough. Mayo of course.

                                                                                                  1. re: kjonyou

                                                                                                    i just saw a posting on another forum with a picture of burrata from the roman restaurant "rosciolo." it was served with fresh roasted tomatoes on the side. man oh man, did that look fabulous! <by the way, on FB and on this blog from "parla," you'll find some AWESOME italian -- specifically roman -- food : http://www.parlafood.com/a-guide-to-r... >

                                                                                                    i've never even tasted burrata, and don't know where i could get any fresh here in d.c.?
                                                                                                    maybe i'll ask at the place here ("arrowine") that often hosts local and national salumerias and dairies for tastings....

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      You MUST taste it, it's a gorgeous cheese. Sexy (for a cheese, that is).

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        our local pizza joint (makes both roman and neapolitan style) has a pizza with burrata on it (that and mortadella). it's amazing.

                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                          Crikey, I bet it is. Love mortadella too.

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            crikey seconded. can i say that?

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              You can say whatever the hey you want, girlfriend.

                                                                                                      2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        here in NYC i see it at gourmet markets and italian cheese shops often (citarella, agata & valentina, murray's cheese, etc) - so i would check the DC isomorphs

                                                                                          2. re: Will Owen

                                                                                            Hey, I like triple creme cheeses as much as the next person, but there was just something about this burrata that was really nauseating. But I'm not sure what you mean by "valid category." What is that in reference to?

                                                                                      2. I've not had ropa vieja, but I'd wager that it is one of the dishes that falls into the "better when done at home" category.

                                                                                        I think fleamarket-carnival BBQ turkey legs are over rated. They looks so juicy and like they would taste wondeful. But I have never had one that wasn't flavorless and dry.

                                                                                        Actually, generally speaking I find turkey to be overrated.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                          you know? you're right.
                                                                                          I always order with anticipation and it is always disappointing at carnivals.

                                                                                        2. Anything that calls itself "A playful re-imagining of the classic dish."
                                                                                          Any slider that doesn't come from Krystal/White Castle.
                                                                                          Tapas.

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                            White Castle is overrated!! Just smelling the outside of a WC makes me feel ill... So much grease!

                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                              I'm just tired of calling small hamburgers and other similarly-shaped sandwiches "sliders." The name is grody (we all know where it comes from: http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/n...), but I don't mind the concept. They can be done really well. This thread is good:

                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598348

                                                                                              1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                the word 'grody' is just that.....

                                                                                                1. re: robt5265

                                                                                                  funny -- i hadn't heard "grody" in a long time! LOL!
                                                                                                  i mean, like, to the max!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valspeak

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    I stand by my "grody" as a child of the '80s with tongue firmly in cheek and a mastery of snark and by-now passe cynicism.

                                                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                Tapas?! In general? Or do you mean the overuse of the word by people who just mean appetizers?

                                                                                                Because some of my fave dishes of all time have been tapas: deep-fried marinated shark, patatas arrugadas, boquerones, pan con tamate, croquetas, albondigas de bacalao, pulpo a la gallega, sizzling baby eels, butifarra...

                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                  ""sizzling baby eels""

                                                                                                  ...cool band name. ;-).

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    +1 for that ,sound punk.

                                                                                                  2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                    I'm with you, I'm curious what you mean by that. Is it possible you just got a rotten tomato of a restaurant? Or is it the trend-buzz around it that you're hung up on?

                                                                                                2. Thanksgiving dinner is mine....the work/reward ratio is off the charts and it's a meal based on tradition with few shining stars.

                                                                                                  87 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                    YES! My family has no interest in it at all and everyone else I talk to thinks it's a tragedy. There's no one dish there that I feel I must have, nor is there anything I feel I really miss if I don't have it for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                      I agree.Luckily for me -as the cook- we really do not have any family around to warrent doing the whole Thanksgiving meal (and you really do need to have all the fixin's). So we go out. I get to spend the day relaxing with my husband and kid, the kitchen stays clean, and wherever we go to eat, they usually offer something else besides just the traditional turkey (I'd rather have chicken piccata or salmon or prime rib over turkey any day, myself).
                                                                                                      It'd be different if we had a whole bunch of people- one brings the salad, one brings the potatoes, one brings dessert, etc.- and after the meal, everything gets divided up and given away so we don't have to eat turkey until Christmas, but that's not our case.
                                                                                                      And I like any day where I don't have to cook.

                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                        I totally agree. Boring, bland food for the most part (turkey? Come on!) and everything is kept separate and "equal" and nothing has any real pizazz. Dishes up the wazoo, too.

                                                                                                        The only redeeming grace is the pumpkin pie, which I prefer to eat for breakfast.

                                                                                                        1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                          I do the same with pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                          1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                            The saving grace of Turkey is Turkey Gravy. No gravy in the world better. ANd Turkey gumbo is a rare and special treat. I make T-Day with onion pie, greens, baked sweet potatoes (never any butter,sugar,or marshmallows) and fresh cranberry sauce with only about 3/4 the sugar so it has a nice bitter flavor. Nothing boring about it at all.

                                                                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                                                                              Gravy is probably my least favorite part of Thanksgiving since it seems to be the most revered. The flavor isn't something I really enjoy, and turkey by itself is usually fairly dry. I just don't think the food is up my alley, even though most enjoy it.

                                                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                That's how I feel and it's a tremendous amount of work.

                                                                                                                At Christmas we have beef tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, salad and veggie and it's a MUCH better meal and much less work.

                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                  Why would anyone have Turkey on Thanksgiving if they didn't like it?
                                                                                                                  We have Turkey, but usually smoked ribs, and a roast beef as well.
                                                                                                                  P.s. If anyone's turkey is dry, something is not being prepared correctly.

                                                                                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                    Dh loves the meal (it's his favorite day of the year) and daughter loves turkey and they get all hopped up about it. It's the worse day of the year for me. And there are people who think the world will come to an end if they don't get a traditional Thanksgiving and unfortunately I married one of those people.

                                                                                                                    It's not so much that the turkey is bad, but the entire meal is not worth the work. And the roaster....cleaning the %$#@!* roaster. I sit through the entire meal knowing what clean up I will be facing doesn't make it any better either.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                      Why not assign clean up duties?
                                                                                                                      I think I have to have bird day at my house this year for the first time since we did the kitchen remodel and well, we got some pretty nice stuff. I'll be doing most of the cooking, and I will NOT be cleaning up anything. And you can bet yer sweet patoot that it's gonna be cleaner than when I started.
                                                                                                                      I'm talking cabinets getting wiped down, floors cleaned, oven cleaned - the whole kit-n-kaboodle. I don't mind cooking - actually, I love it. but I will NOT be cleaning up afterwards.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                        Assigning duties just doesn't work out. Since Dh is the only one who knows the kitchen and makes a bigger mess cleaning up, is a poor dishwasher loader and gets the all of the counters, wet, etc. He also does his share of the cooking and is the king of dirtying every pot/pan/dish in the process.

                                                                                                                        It's one meal a year. My point from the beginning is that it is vastly overrated and I stand by that.

                                                                                                                        And look forward to a lovely, easy, tasty Christmas dinner. And lamb at Easter. And lobster on NYE.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                          I think other issues arise with assigning duties as well. I have some friends who put absolutely everything into the dishwasher, but I've had people try to "help" me clean up who put everything into the dishwasher and don't get that a drying rack is for clean pots, pans, and knives, not dirty ones. So I just end up doing MORE cleaning than I would otherwise if I cleaned myself.

                                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                            Exactly.

                                                                                                                    2. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                      I think there are some people who do it because it's tradition. Personally, I'm not too fond of roast turkey and the fixins myself. My family has had turkey for some Thanksgivings. But most of the time, we just had some roast chicken or roast beef. In the last few years, we've been having Chinese food.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                        I think what we're seeing in all the turkey hate is the fact that a lot of people don't know how to cook turkey. There's plenty of ways of making turkey that doesn't take all day and doesn't result in some shoeleather breast meat. I've brined them, smoked them, and did Julia Child's "doconstructed turkey" where you separate breast/wing from leg/thigh/back, stuff the latter, roast, then re-assemble. Done in well under two hours.

                                                                                                                        I have to wonder how much of the turkey hate is actually poorly cooked turkey and how much involves just being trapped with irritating relatives during the holidays? If the latter's the case, you need to up your bourbon intake.

                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                          The turkey is prepared fine. I have had a plethora of what are considered "good turkeys" during my life. My issue (which it seems I am not making clear) is how much work it takes to have and clean up in order to have "good turkey" and that it's not that great of a dish. It's fine. It's harmelss. It's a hell of a lot of work. And the trimmings are no big deal either.

                                                                                                                          It's not the worst meal on the planet, but for the work it takes, there is nowhere near the reward they should be for that amount of work.

                                                                                                                          As a comparison....lets look at our friend the standing rib roast. Little work, lots of reward. Same with lamb chops, pork roast or even a roasted chicken. And that is before we venture into seafood.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                            When I do a turkey - for any reason - it's butterflied, sprinkled with oregano and lime juice, put on indirect heat on a Weber kettle and is done in two hours. No mess, no fuss.

                                                                                                                            I don't fix meals that give me angst, no matter how much someone whines. If they want it that badly, they can do it themselves. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                              Janet, I am so with you on this and I totally get what you're saying about the reward vs. the amount of work involved. About 6 years ago, my mother decided to invite all the family out for Thanksgiving (there are about 18 of us) to give everyone a break from all the hullaballoo. Previously, we all took turns having it at our houses and even with everyone bringing something it was still so much work. Well, i have to tell you that that was the MOST enjoyable Thanksgiving we had ever experienced. Our family loves to get together, we all love to eat and drink good wine, we enjoy each other's company, and that's exactly what we did. Now every Thanksgiving we choose a nice place, we all split the cost, and we enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with everything prepared for us, and everyone goes home happy and not overworked. It's so worth it. The thing I love about Thanksgiving is that its the only holiday that we're all in town and so everyone is together and there's no stress involved. We still do Christmas dinners and Easter dinners at each other's homes, depending on who's in town, but Thanksgiving is the holiday where we just enjoy each other's company, and enjoy the tradition of Thanksgiving. We're very thankful! And it's wonderful!

                                                                                                                              1. re: schmoopy

                                                                                                                                We tried going out last year and it was a disaster. And we ended up cooking at home as well as Dh had to have a turkey with leftovers and then he had to have mashed potatoes and stuffing, etc. And we ended up paying the entire meal for the family (which always happens with our family dinners). It was the worst of both worlds.

                                                                                                                            2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                              I've had well-cooked turkey, but it still didn't do much for me. The last time I had Thanksgiving dinner 2 years ago, the turkey was cooked well. Nonetheless, there was nothing to do to make me really love that meal. To me, it's just going to be okay even on the best of days, and awful on the worst. I haven't been to a family Thanksgiving in years because my family doesn't care for it, so that's definitely not the issue.

                                                                                                                        2. re: queencru

                                                                                                                          If your turkey is dry, you're not cooking it properly. I've probably cooked a hundred turkeys in my life, and after the first few experiments, and some coaching from Mom, I have it perfect now. The breast is moist and juicy, and the dark meat is rich and succulent. I do my stuffing two ways - one in the bird, and another cooked outside in a casserole. This gives you two different types - one quite wet, and one dry and crunchy. I like to mix the two. Add parsnips, broccoli, and either sweet potatoes or mashed turnips, (plus cranberry of course), and you have a beautiful, colourful, delicious plate. Note: no green bean casserole, no sweet potatoes with marshmallow, etc. Everyone in the family loves Thanksgiving dinner, maybe because we stay away from the last two dishes mentioned...

                                                                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                            I never said the turkey was dry- I just said if a turkey is cooked properly, I'm still underwhelmed. It's just not a meal I enjoy or go out of my way to have, regardless of the preparation. No one in my family likes it either, and I went to a friend's place a few years ago where they weren't into it much more than I was.

                                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                              You wrote: ". The flavor isn't something I really enjoy, and turkey by itself is usually fairly dry."

                                                                                                                              Pardon me for misinterpreting this as meaning your turkey is usually dry.

                                                                                                                              1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                The yearly Turkey discussions are always so amusing - the Turkey enthusiasts just can't believe that some people just aren't that in to Turkey and the Turkey non-enthusiasts end up having to go on the defensive.

                                                                                                                                I actually double checked dates just make sure this somehow wasn't an old thread.

                                                                                                                                My house:
                                                                                                                                Extended Family visiting - Turkey
                                                                                                                                No one visiting: Standing rib roast.

                                                                                                                                And I really can't understand why ANYONE would choose Turkey over a roast. Case closed.

                                                                                                                                1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                  I didn't realize you were replying to something farther up the thread--- sometimes it's hard to tell. I do find that turkey is usually dry, but I've had moist turkey and still don't care for it unless it's in a sandwich with something else.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                    Midnight turkey sandwich with Hellman's and salt is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. And I *like* the meal! :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                      Yeah. somehow the turkey flavor improves as it gets older. I spoon a little bit of the refrigerated gravy into my Hellman's.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                        I'll take an hot open-face turkey sandwich with gravy or a turkey club with extra bacon and mayo over Thanksgiving roast any day. For me, turkey is one of those meals that is better the next day.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                          Hot open-faced with mashed and gravy is wonderful. I do love some of the leftovers, including soup, pot-pie with lots of crust, sandwiches. Still, I love that T-day meal, too! Love the crispy skin and the side dishes on THE DAY, enjoy the turkey transformed into sandwiches etc after that.
                                                                                                                                          It's hard to believe it will be here before we know it!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                            I agree. I cook T'giving every year and I love to do it even if no one appreciates it. And if your work/reward ratio is based on other people enjoying and appreciating your hard work, well, that's never going to happen especially in a family of non-cooks. (Actually my MIL does appreciate it).

                                                                                                                                            But what no one knows is that my reward is dinner the next day complete with mashed potato pancakes, hot turkey and gravy and whatever else wasn't finished he next day. It has, for my whole life, been my favorite dinner of the year. You can't get a great leftovers without the work of making the meal

                                                                                                                                    2. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                      A real turkey gravy made with the fond (not made with cream of chicken soup and boiled eggs) white wine, herbes de Provence and a touch of cream helps the turkey in wonderful ways. I do think turkey is very bland overall, even when well prepared, but a good gravy changes it all.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                    I make my gravy with bourbon and it is good. I got the idea from the picture on the bottle.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                Oh, oh, oh, but all those stars can and should shine. I love me some crispy-skinned brined turkey. How to go wrong with mashed potatoes? Moroccan spiced roasted veggies? Cranberry sauce with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange. Divine pumpkin pie I look forward to all year. No need for bland or boring, People. Maybe some of you are making it more difficult than it needs to be? True, the bird is awkward. What about turducken, haha?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                  We have mashed potatoes throughout the year. Roasted turkey....yawn. Leftover turkey even bigger yawn. I make my own cranberry sauce and it's good, but the whole day of staring in the am and the 12 hour event for some turkey and fixings just isn't worth it IMO.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                    That's my main issue. It just takes a lot of preparation for something that just doesn't turn out to be something that isn't all that spectacular. I know a lot of people start with various dishes the night before (for the 1-2pm Thanksgiving dinner) and I just don't feel like it is worth it. You can cook a wonderful Thanksgiving meal in a few hours if you aren't stuck on using all the traditional ingredients.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                      And I hate facing the leftovers and having to wrap them up, divvy them out, wash the roaster and hand was numerous serving dishes because it's great-grandmother's special dish...blah, blah, blah. That's before I tackle wine glasses and the dishes that will go into the dishwasher (which there will be 2-3 loads of).

                                                                                                                                      And then we get to have that same meal for the next 3 or so days (or until I have the post Thanksgiving meltdown and throw them all out in one fell swoop).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                        I remember I came home for Christmas one year after living in Japan for about 5 months. I was home for about 9 days and wanted to eat as much as possible that wasn't available in Japan, but instead I got stuck with turkey leftovers for 3-4 days. I was crushed beyond belief.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                          But surely all the serving dishes and wine glasses have nothing to do with it being a turkey that you served... It seems that all that, which you've associated with turkey, would be required for any family celebration dinner.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                            The issue is that there are sooooooo many more dishes for Thanksgiving than for Christmas or Easter or other celebratory dinners. And, no, Thanksgiving is the only one with "grandma's turkey platter, grandma's mashed potato bowl, etc." And it's also the only occassion with a frightful amount of leftovers to deal with.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                              its also one of the few that is inclusive of all american's, not just members of the majority culture/creed

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                Hahahaha, Janet from Richmond, methinks you just don't like turkey....

                                                                                                                                                There is no need for huge quantities of leftovers, if you buy the right size bird. They come in a vast range of sizes. There is nothing inherent to turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing that necessitates all these problems. Use a different platter... use a different bowl... If you just don't like turkey, that's one thing. I mean, if you cook 20 pounds of beef tenderloin, you'll have to serve it on something, serve it with something, and have lots of leftovers, too.

                                                                                                                                                You don't want turkey, that's fine. But, the bird's not the problem.

                                                                                                                                                Edit: I do concede picking the meat off the bones is annoying: Hubby looks after that, though, so I almost forgot about it. Great stock comes from those bones, though.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                  Dh is so afraid of not having enough leftovers that we always get a huge bird. Turkey is "okay". For that much work I want to be wowed and turkey does not wow me.

                                                                                                                                                  And I chuck the carcass or send it home with my brother to make stock.

                                                                                                                                                  And trust me, there is ALWAYS more leftover turkey than there is beef. Always.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                    Um . . . Maybe your DH think you guys never have enough leftovers and buys such a big bird because you "have the post Thanksgiving meltdown and throw them all out in one fell swoop"?

                                                                                                                                                    Honestly, the excessive leftovers are totally avoidable.

                                                                                                                                                    In fact, since having so much left-over is an issue, maybe if you had a small bird, a small number of sides and no leftovers you would enjoy it enough that you could then do it again at some other times of the year and please everyone.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                                                                                                      We could have an entire extra Thanksgiving dinner and he would not think it's enough. He's one of those people who adores Thanksgiving and for me it falls under the "or worse" category of "for better or for worse" in our vows. Changes, adjustments, compromise, etc. do not work out. It's either divorce (BTDT) or tolerate Thanksgiving and I love Dh enough to tolerate it. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                        Maybe if your husband had to cook Thanksgiving dinner he would change his tune. :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Divamac

                                                                                                                                                          He shares in the cooking (does the turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                            Well, shit, make a salad and let 'er rip. Stop being an enabler if you want some unsolicited advice :)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                            Depends on what you consider "traditional ingredients". If that includes that horrible green bean soup casserole I would agree. And just hate sweet potatoes with marshmallows (gag). But stick them in the oven for a nice baked sweet, no work and good. I brine my turkey which always turns out lovely and moist. Besides, where are you going to get the makings for turkey soup? I love having a bunch of container of turkey soup in the freezer for a quick meal on a nasty winter's day.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                            Oh, I see. Well, I guess I'm different. We just don't eat mashed potatoes at all throughout the year. It's mostly brown rice, healthy stuff. So, I do look forward to the turkey dinner; I also like turkey, however, which it doesn't seem you're that fond of. I even enjoy leftover turkey, turkey casserole, creamed turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, etc., I like having food for a whole week afterwards and hardly having to do a bit of work to pull meals together. And the stuffing I forgot to mention... Stuffing is great, and it just doesn't go with filet mignon...

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                          For the past several years, the stars of my family's Thanksgiving have been a ham and a huge stockpot full of homemade chicken and noodles. Thigh and leg meat cooked in the pressure cooker and picked off the bone the night before by me with the gelatin and cooking liquid saved for the gravy, hand-made noodles, all over mashed potatoes. I look forward to it every year.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: spellweaver16

                                                                                                                                            Ham, yum. Come to think of it, I made ham at Easter this year. A huge one. It was delicious. And lots of leftovers, too. Needed to be served on a platter, with scalloped potatoes, homemade apple sauce and a bunch of other dishes. No less work than serving turkey (aside, perhaps, from the brining of the turkey, if you do that -- I do.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                              We generally have a ham in the frig at all times (after all, I am in Virginia). For Easter we typically have lamb chops or leg of lamb and a couple of sides. Nothing like the plethora of dishes at Thanksgiving: Turkey, two kinds of dressing, cranberry sauce, oystew stew, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, corn and fresh green beans.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                We had ham weekly when I was growing up. I wasn't aware that it was considered a holiday treat to some until I was much older.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                            Idem many Christmas dinners. (I am from Québec and while Thanksgiving is celebrated in Canada, as a traditionally Protestant holiday it is not generally big here - yes, of course there are exceptions). Nowhere is it as important up here as in the US. I can't abide bland servings of big hunks of meat and overcooked veg as "holiday" food.

                                                                                                                                            I don't find turkey uninteresting but as it is very, very lean, it is not the best thing to roast. It can work very well in other dishes.

                                                                                                                                            But since Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, you can make any nice local foods you like. In the Americas, I would include Indigenous foods (turkey is one, of course, but there are other meats), and corn, beans, squash.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                              lagatta, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and my favorite day of the year, but then I'm pretty much a New England Puritan, through and through. :-) I love my home region and anything that celebrates and preserves our traditions.

                                                                                                                                              But I'm interested in hearing a little bit about Thanksgiving in Canada. Am I confusing it with another holiday, or isn't your Thanksgiving observed in the beginning of October? What are some of the traditional T-Day dishes that would be served in the diverse regions of beautiful Canada?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                                Same day as US Columbus day.

                                                                                                                                                The traditional foods in Ontario seem to be:

                                                                                                                                                Roast turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, simple bread and herb stuffing (I have never encountered the range of stuffings you find in the states), pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                                                                There's nothing else that seems to be particularly traditional around here. Maybe in other parts of the country?

                                                                                                                                                Christmas is definitely the bastion of the traditional family gathering here, though. Thanksgiving passes with much less attention.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, same as your Columbus Day. Same foods as Atalhualpa said, if people make them. I know nobody, French, English or other speaking here who makes Thanksgiving Dinner, but some people do. (And if there is a day off, there will definitely be food involved, and it will of course be harvest-related now).

                                                                                                                                                  Here in Québec, traditionally the culmination of family gatherings is New Year's Day, an important celebration among both French and Scots.

                                                                                                                                                  There will be turkey and other foods not very different from those of New England, in New France, but there will definitely also be tourtière, which is also eaten among the large Franco-American communities in Lowell and other New England mill towns.

                                                                                                                                                  Do hope that promised fast train (TGV) between Montréal and Boston, stopping off in Vermont and New Hampshire, actually becomes reality!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                Egad! I can't believe how many haters of Thanksgiving there are. I feel hugely in the minority fostering my deep love of turkey and the carbohydrate binge that accompanies it. I look forward to jamming my face full of apple-onion-celery bread stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and copious quantities of turkey gravy every year.

                                                                                                                                                Then again, Thanksgiving dinner is quite an "exotic" meal for me: I usually eat some type of Asian food about 95% of the time, so having a traditional English / North American meal always feels like a real treat to me.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                  Finally- somebody who feels the same way I do about Thanksgiving. Thank you, Vorpal!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                    My pleasure! It's good to know that I'm not alone on this!

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                    I totally hear you on the "Thanksgiving is exotic" thing. I grew up on Korean food, so for me, mashed potatoes was the bee's knees! Yay! Western food! Awesome! I am sick of kimchi!

                                                                                                                                                    Of course, now that I am out of the house, and eat much more Western style food, I have become more and more nostalgic about Homestyle Korean food.....

                                                                                                                                                    I am not the biggest fan of turkey, I actually prefer duck and a well-roasted chicken. But I do love gravy, mashed potato, stuffing, cranberry jelly, all the traditional fixings that accompany turkey, it makes you feel so warm on a cold fall evening.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                      It took me a while to be able to come up with this post.

                                                                                                                                                      I would sit through a Thanksgiving dinner from a Swanson's frozen food tray if I could have one more Thanksgiving celebration the way it was when my father was alive.

                                                                                                                                                      Although we do enjoy a somewhat "gourmet" Thanksgiving, I feel it's so much more about the company - the family - than about the food (one day a year!)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                                                        shaogo, your post is very touching. you're right -- its about the people ( mainly ;-). let's put the "thanks" back in thanksgiving! (i'm guilty of calling it turkey day, i must confess!).

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                      I so agree. Overrated doesn't begin to describe it. The traditional feast has not a single redeeming feature: roast turkey (Saharan dry or pickled-tasting, i.e. brined), stuffing (goop or sawdust), cranberry sauce (an abomination, especially the canned version), sweet potato casserole (miniature marshmallows, WTF?), green bean casserole (Depression food) and, adding insult to injury, pumpkin pie (a crime against perfectly good pie crusts). What's not to hate? I've dreaded the holiday since I was a little kid and consider myself fortunate that I've spent nearly all my adult life in a place where it's not celebrated.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                        Julia Childs said to Pepin that she loved the marshmallow version of the sweet potato. I was floored to see that.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                                                                                          good for her. the perfect pin to pop the foodista elitist bubble

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                          i'm not the hugest fan of turkey, in general - but there are other options than sand and pickle, when cooked right. and it is possible to cook it right.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                            I've eaten hundreds of turkeys over the years, some of which I've had a hand in making and some others of which were prepared by expert chefs and home cooks. Only one was an experience I would care to revisit: a bird small enough to put on the rotisserie of a backyard grill and repeatedly basted with butter. But roasted turkeys at the traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner? Losers all.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                            I sense from your post that you are neither deciding the menu for your Thanksgiving nor doing the cooking. All stuffing is bad, all cranberry sauce is bad, you can't bake sweet potatoes or have lost the recipe, and you are stuck with only one dessert.

                                                                                                                                                            I say dump the breadfruit trees overboard.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                              Oh gosh, a properly brined bird is not pickled-tasting, hahaha. Does adding salt to something instantly render it pickled? Maybe you left your bird in bath for a wee bit too long???

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                esp. since pickling involves...um....vinegar!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                  Not necessarily. From www.merriam-webster.com (shouting emphasis mine):

                                                                                                                                                                  Main Entry: pick·le
                                                                                                                                                                  Pronunciation: \ˈpi-kəl\
                                                                                                                                                                  Function: noun
                                                                                                                                                                  Etymology: Middle English pykyl, pekill sauce, gravy, from or akin to Middle Dutch peeckel brine
                                                                                                                                                                  Date: 15th century

                                                                                                                                                                  1 : a solution or bath for preserving or cleaning: as a : a BRINE or vinegar solution in which foods are preserved b : any of various baths used in industrial cleaning or processing

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                    brining is understood generally not to include vinegar, or acid. we ain't talkin middle dutch, my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                      No, but pickling can involve brine (i.e. a salt solution) and not vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                  No, when the brining fad first started, I was intrigued, especially since I'm not a fan of dry, white meat. I've tried it many times over the years, following instructions from reputable sources like Judy Rodgers (Zuni Cafe) and Alice Waters (Chez Panisse), on a variety of meats and seafood. While it does mitigate the dryness, it also leaves everything tasting corned or pickled or brined (take your choice), unfresh and ultimately untasty.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                    brining, i disagree, does not render the results that you say are typical, by any means.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                      YMMV. I've never had a brined meat I've found to be an improvement, and that includes corned beef. And I can always tell when something's been brined.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                        There is a big difference in flavour change between a brisket brined for seven plus days, in a salty solution with pickling spices, and a turkey that's been brined for four hours in salt water. There is no way any turkey I've brined tastes like it's been pickled. It's more tender, yes, it's saltier, yes, marginally so, but I have never had a single person suggest it tastes pickled. I mean, come on, a chicken boiled in salt water will taste different than one boiled in unsalted water...

                                                                                                                                                                        What is different about the brining of the turkey and other pickling is that the process the turkey undergoes has nothing to do with preservation, and so I don't think it would fall under the pickling definition.

                                                                                                                                                                        According to Wikipedia:

                                                                                                                                                                        "Pickling, also known as brining or corning, is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine (a solution of salt in water) to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar (acetic acid)"

                                                                                                                                                                        This has nothing to do with what happens to my Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't say brined turkey was actually pickled but that it tastes pickled (or corned or brined, if you will). The brining as a preservative line of argument is a red herring; no one is claiming that the purpose of brining a turkey is anything other than making the meat less dry and, in some cases, to give it more flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                          I find brining changes the flavour of the meat and does so in ways I don't find appetizing. Yes, saltier. But also less fresh, less natural, a little like many cold cuts don't taste fresh or natural. It's obvious a lot of people don't mind -- may even appreciate -- the change. I'm not one of them. And as a technique for redeeming a virtually irredeemable meat, it fails. In my opinion, of course. Feel free to feel otherwise. The original poster's question is, after all, about our opinions. You're entitled to yours, just as I'm entitled to mine.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                            You've obviously never had a well-raised bird, well-prepared, despite your claims to the contrary. I roast a heritage breed every year for Thanksgiving (unbrined), and it's always succulent, with a deep, satisfying flavor. I think you simply don't like turkey. That's fine, but it's not fine to call it "irredeemable."

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                              What kind of bird do you get? I wonder if I might be able to find it in my area (Ontario).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry but there's nothing obvious about it whatsoever. I don't stint when it comes to meat; almost never buy it in a grocery store; almost always deal with butchers who source from local producers (and Quebec producers are some of the best in North America); buy free-range/organic whenever I can afford it, including the last couple of turkeys I bought. And, as an experienced and conscientious cook, I always treat meat with appropriate respect and care. But you're right, I don't like turkey. The blandest, milquetoastiest of meats. The FAIL of fowl. And, to return to the topic of this thread, way overrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, hey, we don't all have to like the same thing. Like you, I have generally disliked turkey. Unlike you, I discovered I liked turkey when I started brining my birds. Before that discovery, I had banished turkey from my table and replaced it with a nice capon each holiday dinner. This past Thanksgiving I ate a non-brined bird at someone else's house one night, then my own brined bird the next and was reminded of why I used to hate turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                    You are bonkers. You have not had a properly brined turkey then because it is amazing...tender, flavorful, and far from dry. It takes a little effort, but the turkey will be amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                                                                      A freshly baked sweet potato topped with pecans, cinnamon, and a sauce of brown sugar and butter is a delightful substitute for the canned marshmallow casserole.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                      Absolutely! I'd be perfectly happy with sausage stuffing and a spinach/apple/cranberry/almond salad, but that's not going to cut it with the family. Hours of preparation, hours of clean-up, three people cooking full tilt at the end and it should be the best meal EVER. But the traditional foods are just so not worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                        COMPLETELY AGREE, janet.
                                                                                                                                                                        thanksgiving = a bland grease-bomb of a meal the preparation of which leaves every pot and pan in the kitchen dirty and crusted.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Chicken parmesan. The idea sounds good until you get a plate of naked chicken with its mushy breading floating in underseasoned sauce and rubbery mozzarella stretching out like a Teamster. The same goes for chicken francese, eggplant parm... and come to think of it, you can add penne alla vodka and much Italian-American food to that list.

                                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                                          All of the dishes you mentioned have the potential of being awesome with the right amount of time, effort, and good ingredients. Lots of ppl make these dishes and they are mediocre, but when you have the right touch and know whet the f*** your doing in the kitchen, those meals are classic. Had some penna alla vodka a couple weeks ago...nasty...but the host and his wife thought it was the best stuff they had ever eaten...THATS why those dishes fail.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cookieluvntasha

                                                                                                                                                                            Can I assume you weren't referring to JungMann when you commented on people who don't know what the *** they're doing? I'd pay to live next door to him ANY time.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cookieluvntasha

                                                                                                                                                                              You're quite right, Tasha, these dishes can be a decadent riot of richness and crisp breading, yet more often than not, "Wait til you taste my Mamma's cooking" means floppy meat and string cheese. Either there are a lot of folks who don't know what they're doing in the kitchen or there are some pretty faulty recipes being passed down the line!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cookieluvntasha

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree -
                                                                                                                                                                                All of those dishes do have great potential to be disatrous!!
                                                                                                                                                                                And for a while there - you certainly would know better than to ever order them in a restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                However - when done well they are all absolutely sublime!
                                                                                                                                                                                I am very sorry Jung if you have never had the pleasure of experiencing them done correctly....really it is a great shame

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cookieluvntasha

                                                                                                                                                                                  My pet peeve is too much breading on eggplant. When I eat it out, it's all breading and no eggplant. It is absolutely delicious when roasted in the oven with olive oil, topped with a light sauce and a bit of fresh cheese and baked. I know breading free isn't traditional, but it is devine.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, Mann.. talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. Just because some people over cook roast beef until it's shoe leather (my grandmother, for instance), do you stop eating roast beef? Just because you've had a steak that's been grilled to a crisp, you don't eat steak anymore?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Are there lots of crummy versions of chicken/veal/eggplant parmigiana out there? Absolutely. There's lots of crummy "everything" out there in the world. Does that mean a good chicken parmigiana is terrible? Absolutely not. I've had some wonderful ones where the sauce is fantastic, the breading is light and crisp, and the mozzarella is fresh and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that's the first time someone has told me, "Oh Mann," good one! When the majority of iterations of a particular dish turn out contrary to the hype, then I call it overrated. Perhaps I need to be educated in the ways of good chicken parmigiana, but living in what some would consider the capital of Italian-American cuisine, I have yet to encounter a chicken parm that compares to a decent chicken katsu, schnitzel or chicken fried chicken in terms of flavor and texture. Still, I have an open mind if you have any suggestions.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                                                      Damn mann! Let me cook you some!!
                                                                                                                                                                                      (I must admit my chicken parm is amazing)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                                                    Veal parm gets my vote...It's a waste of good veal & can't hide bad veal.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Everything on the menu at "El Charro" in Tucson, AZ.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                                                                                                                                                      OMG, sacrilege- and you're so damn right. I've had good meals at the original downtown, the rest, meh to bad. And I'm not THAT big of a Mexican food snob. These people have not only overreached, they've partnered with Bob McMahon, for crying out loud, and no good can come from that, except into McMahon's pockets. Same with Nimbus- the new one on Tanque Verde has McMahon food.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Go ahead- cry into your beer. I wish that man would retire and put himself out of our misery.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                                                                                                                                                        Even the Carne Seca????? And I agree about McMahon

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Looks to me like y'all are pretty much picking the one thing that everyone else seems to like but you hate, which is ... reasonable. Gotta have a place to vent. So allow me to say that a lovely well-browned fluffy omelet is something I don't want to even be in the same room with. To me that egg is burnt, and burnt egg = burnt hair in my books. My perfect omelet is non-fluffy, cooked in butter, and at the most very faintly tanned in spots.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also simply do not get soufflés. Or meringue, or sweet custard; Isle Flottant is one of the most dismal desserts I can imagine. I love eggs, I adore eggs, but PLEASE only with onions, bacon, cheese, stuff like that. Okay, so I like eggnog, but that comes with booze...

                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ile Flottant also mystifies me. Calorie soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                            Calories I don't mind. I just find meringue annoyingly vacant and sweet custard a bit nauseating, though I'll admit it's getting less so, I'm sure because my tasting abilities are waning with age; I remember my 80+ YO grandpa, the family's best cook and a real gourmand, telling me that instant mashed potatoes had now gotten so good they tasted just like fresh. Poor man; we gagged them down and faked our compliments.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                                                                              I've only ever had iles flottantes twice, and concur that both times, held in the context of dessert, they felt "vacant"; however, by shifting my mindset and not thinking of them as dessert per se, I ended up enjoying them and found them to be rather a refreshing, light palate cleanser at the end of a rich meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                              Calorie soup! Ha! that's great! And so spot on!

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                                                                              Soufflés are great when properly executed.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's Lava Cake that I wish would go the way of the Jell-o mold.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I wonder if Vongerichten gets a royalty for every one Domino's sells...

                                                                                                                                                                                            4. BBQ ribs that have been "bbq'd" by putting bbq sauce on them and.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hot dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Anything that highlights the fact that it has been made with boneless, skinless, chicken breast. <eyeroll>

                                                                                                                                                                                              Anything made with "deli style" lunchmeat. Who in the WORLD marketed that garbage, and how is it even accepted as food?

                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                "BBQ ribs that have been "bbq'd" by putting bbq sauce on them"

                                                                                                                                                                                                Pay the Man.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Pay the Man."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh Gordeaux, not my beloved hot dog! I LOVE hot dogs. Oh, but I'm with you on the ribs which have been grilled then had BBQ sauce added to them. No thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I just don't get sun dried tomatoes . They just over power everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Have you tried them in chipotle?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blair_houghton

                                                                                                                                                                                                      har de har har

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And some Sriracha:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                          laliz, you get my belly-laugh-of-the-day-appreciation award.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          you cracked me up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          <i'm just thinking of the sun-dried tomatoes in chipotle and sriracha. that must be *some* chowhounds' dream condiment!>

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, alkapal, you're not dissin' sriracha, are you? It's so good mixed in mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It makes one rockin' BLT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You got that right! Add some arugula (the greatest trend that never died!)--sublime. My lunch yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: blair_houghton

                                                                                                                                                                                                          BAH HAHAHAHAHAHAH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                          ooh I agree, nasty things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think sun-dried tomatoes make any dish taste divine! So let's agree to disagree

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Shark's fin soup. This is absurdly expensive (one Toronto spot charges $68 per bowl), and I can't for the life of me understand the excitement. The shark fin is usually rubbery, and the flavours are so, er, subtle, they're hard to detect. Give me a decent bowl of hot and sour any day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dude, it's a mystique, not a flavor. I'd never try it in a million years for a variety of reasons, but c'mon -- there's nothing in that poor fish's fin that could flavor a soup to equal its billing. Snake oil in food form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would argue that is not so much mystique as real appeal, when properly made (like any dish). Sharksfin soup appeal lies in both the texture of the fin (slightly crunchy) as well as the flavour from being cooked in a stock. The fins are very expensive as an ingredient, but the stuff that goes into the stock can also rival the fin in price. It may consist of various meat stocks and a panel of dried seafood (various with cuisine, style). Sharksfin is just as absurdly expensive as caviar I guess, although there tends to be a lot more labour involved in preparing the dish properly. A proper sharkfins may need to be braised or double boiled for a serious amount of time. Of course the quality of a dish can vary from place to place, as can the fins. There are lot of good reasons not to eat sharksfin, but when properly made, the flavour and texture are not part of those reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The thing is, the flavor is mostly due to the non-fin items that get added to the stock (I LOVE the salty ham that gets cooked in the broth) and you would think that modern food science would be able to come up with a glass-noodle-like product that replicates the texture of shark's fin. I grew up eating shark's fin every year but I no longer partake because the environmental cost just isn't worth the benefits. I think even shark's fin fans are into it more for the aura and mystique surrounding it rather than the taste or texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes -- the flavour comes from the stock, as mentioned above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Modern science has indeed come out with a sharksfin-like product -- I vaguely remember reading about fake sharksfin being a lucrative business. But those versions then to fall apart easily and won't handle a couple of days of slow cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, I had a steamed skate wing in a Japanese place many years ago -- the chef suggested that I eat the bones -- it's not a horrible substitute and has a similar tetural appeal. Afterall they're both cartilaginous fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also grew up eating sharksfin, and were fortunate to have had a few that were exceptional (whole intact fin rather than loose silvers, with just the right crunchy texture) -- it's these that I speak of, not of the run of the mill renditions. But it's great to agree to disagree, we need more diverse opinions here, not less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      as a side note - the sickest i ever got from food was from a shark's fin/ bird nest soup in thailand near the malaysian border. unfairly to the soup - i'm never going to have it again....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Every Asian market I have been to has a frozen imitation sharks fun product. Not interested, but it is there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just for clarification, you meant "frozen imitation shark's fin", right? Or are they really selling frozen imitation surfers out there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          slip of the 'i'

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Brunch. Take two good meals and make one lousy one, except with a slice of cantelope and a noisy crowd. What's the point of 497 different ways of doing eggs if you can't get "scrambled" right? $24.95.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Come to Chicago, we'll do brunch at one of my go to spots. you'll eat every word you just wrote. But I have been to lousy brunch services and do know what you're talking about. You gotta learn how to keep focused on the seafood, chocolate covered strawberries, fresh squeezed juices and made to order waffles for dessert. And if you see a new tray of ANYTHING being brought out, go investigate. 24.95 is a bit of a stretch, but I can make it worthwhile in the 18 dollar range.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A few months ago, I went to what is supposed to be the best brunch spot in Chicago. Can't remember what the name of the place is, but it's gaudily Grandma-decorated and a bit pricey. Everything is a la carte. I had challa French toast which was okay, but I can make better food at home, get better service, and deal with less pretension.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: almond3xtract

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      who voted something like that the "best brunch spot in the city?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe it was in the back of an airline magazine. Top 10 Brunch Spots in America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Reignking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          IMO - Those top ten lists are part of the reason sites like Chowhound exist.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So ppl can get the information they need from ppl near the source who have similar interests. I read things like that all the time and when I see the Best Pizza in Chicago, or best steakhouse in chicago, or best BBQ in Chicago, It's a joke. Quick example: I have lived in Chicago most of my life. I only get Deep Dish or Stuffed pizza when I am entertaining guests from outta town. I personally do not have any friends in the Chicago area that PREFER deep dish / stuffed piza over the Chicago thin crust pizza. But of course, every Chicago "best pizza" list in some out of town based ragazine is gonna list spots for deep dish piza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of our family jokes is when you go to Las Vegas and every place claims to be "Voted the Best _______ in Las Vegas"! We always have a good laugh about that. Not surprisingly, Las Vegas seems to be the king of that sort of thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree with Monkeyerotica about Brunch. Aside from the bloody mary aspect anyway. Deep dish/pan is the pizza of choice for this Chicagoan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Alan N

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We love brunch when we have it at home. Sadly, (it might just be dumb luck) brunches had at restaurants four stars (and none) have been 80% poor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brunch's redeeming factor for us: Booze!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  See you at your place, 10:30? Probably should drag monkeyrotica along too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After reading Tony B's brunch expose in Kitchen Confidential, I am fine with never going to a brunch again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LMAO - Great post

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Lobster. Nothing special about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Reignking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Other than the fact that it looks like a cockroach?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Pesto = Irish Spring soap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              now, I wasn't going to add my two cents, because I figured that with some many foods there is so much room for error and for the possibility that the eater didn't get a good version (I used to hate feta cheese also, just to give one example, until I tasted a very high quality, well made version)...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              until I read this. Pesto YES! and compared to a soap I can't stand to boot! Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OMG Are you trying to ruin it for all us pesto lovers? In a weird way I see what you're saying, but it's also so wrong, so wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you referring to cilantro pesto and that whole supertaster thing? Because if you mean classic basil pesto, I don't get it. What in the world is soaplike about it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it is soaplike, or at least Irish Springlike....in the sense that it just tastes overpowering and totally one note to me (similar to the one note smell of Irish Spring)...though cilantro pesto, otoh, is something I would probably adore!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      susan, i understand what you mean. i used to adore basil, but some time a while back, my taste just changed. now too much basil is simply overwhelming -- and not in a good way -- sort of like the situation with too much rosemary. the volatile oils are very strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would suggest that if it’s overpowering you have used too much, pesto can be used as both a seasoning and a flavoring so it’s up to use it how you wish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As far as it being one note, I’ve never noticed that, at least when I make it, you can taste, garlic, olive oil, the cheese (pecorino, parm, etc.) pine-nuts (or other nuts if I want a change) and then there is the different basils that I use so each pesto can have a very unique taste. Much like wine, I can make you 6 different basil pestos that have six different flavors to them so I don’t really understand that one-note comparison at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actually find pesto to be a very versatile sauce that with the addition of other ingredients opens up whole new areas. It’s almost like pesto is another mother sauce for me and ironically Italian food is one of my least like cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree (except that Italian is one of my favorite sauces)—to me it's one of the most harmonious, versatile sauces ever...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          RC, yes, it is like a mother sauce! Good way to think of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pesto: "Manly, yes. But I like it, too!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You have to have the freshest ingredients, as with most food. I grow my own basil and parsley (I like to combine the two for a balanced flavor). Use the freshest (organic is possible) garlic, good quality virgin olive oil,lightly toasted pine nuts (done yourself), good quality parmesan or romano cheese. As with most Italian food, it's the quality and freshness of the ingredients prepared simply. That combination with a good wine and good olives is awesome!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just made my own pesto for the first time this week, and while it was tasty, it still is nothing special to me either! Why have pesto sauce when there are so many other interesting ways to dress your pasta, sandwich, bruschetta, etc?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: daydream

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hmm, well, because taste is subjective, and pesto is indeed special/interesting to some of us?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: daydream

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. I've never heard anyone dis pesto before. I divide my life into the times BP and AP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What, exactly, did you put in it, daydream?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm wondering that, too. The first time I made pesto and tasted it I thought I heard angels singing and nearly cried it was so good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That was before the Chinese pignole fiasco, in fact i"m not sure we were able to get pignole in the mid-'70s so I may not even have used it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They were available in the Bay Area but they were fiendishly expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh - no I get it! I never order pesto out...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bad pesto is just horrible - it tastes of nothing but oil and garlic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good pesto is amazing!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                AMAZING...but I struggle to eat an entire bowl of it, the taste becomes repetitive. I prefer starter portions, or even just some good pesto spread on a bit of bread...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most pesto has WAY too much garlic. Mine just has a garlic grace note.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Any deconstructed meal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I want a Niceoise salad, I want the real deal, i don't want a half empty plate with a piece of tuna, 2 haricots, half an hard boiled egg and a swirl of vinaigrette on top (with no lettuce in sight) like some trendy restaurants love to do

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: westaust

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              B-b-but that's a playful homage to the classic nicoise!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I bet you'd just hate their deconstructed bread, where what you get is a small cup of warm water, a cake of yeast, some flour, and salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westaust

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i make a "deconstructed pesto" on pasta sometimes. very tasty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. braised short ribs - I don't get why everyone goes gaga over it. I'd venture to say that any similar cut of meat braised in any liquid with some kind of seasoning tastes damn good - beef, pork, chicken, any part of the animal that can withstand long cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                also, lobster bisque

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gonna disagree here. That piece of meat brings a ton of flavor and has to be cooked that way to be tender; and done right it's nearly spoonable. Have you tried the one at Roaring Fork? I had it last weekend. I want to do it again this weekend, but that'd be too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blair_houghton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, I agree it's good. yeah, it's damn good, but I don't understand people going on and on about how tender the meat is, it melts in your mouth, etc etc... of course it's tender, it's been braised for 3 hours! And anyway, some restaurants overdo it with the braising, IMO. I still want something to chew on and don't want it completely falling apart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is my problem with ribs that are "fall apart tender." I prefer mine with a little bite to them, not a spongy mass of disintegrating flesh. I'll save that for when I turn into a zombie, thank you very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Amen to that, fellow chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If I pick up a piece of rib and the bone comes clean off the meat it makes me SO angry that somebody boiled the suckers to kingdom come. And I do steam my ribs over a big fat wad of herbs from the garden (thyme/marjoram/savory/oregano) but so help me God I don't overdo it and water never touches those ribs. Except as steam. Only until they start to get tender and yummily herb-infused. Then I finish them on the grill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The OP was talking about short ribs, not spare ribs (or beef ribs). I've never seen anyone eat short ribs by hand. Agree with you on spare ribs, but agree with the OP on short ribs - they need a lot of braising to break down the connective tissue, but that collagen makes the sauce thick and unctuous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oops- thanks for the correction. I was reading from the bottom up, and clearly decided to shoot my mouth off before I read the first ribs post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're right about the short ribs needing something besides your hands. I've overcooked those, too and been very sorry I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made Short Ribs last night for the first time (actually I started on Sunday). I and my guests went totally GaGa. Damn, I'm good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I LOVE lobster; I have NEVER had a good lobster bisque. The last time I had it was at a very grand restaurant. My friend insisted I order it, insisted; I ordered a cup. It arrived, looking like a very thin caramel sauce--no lobster in sight, as is always the case. But the worst was--it tasted like caramel. Really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Once I mentioned to a dining companion that lobster bisque never has lobster in it. "Of course," he said, "lobster bisque is not supposed to have lobster meat in it. It's meant to be the essence of lobster. If you want lobster meat," he sniffed, "order chowder."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Your friend has it almost right. Lobster bisque is pureed. So there's meat in it, but not chunks. But it should taste like lobster, not caramel. Lobster soup or stock is made with the shells only, no meat. And lobster stew or chowder, should have big chunks of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LobsterQueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, he was usually right about such things--and eager to rid me of my wrongheadedness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After this thread, I looked up a recipe for bisque in Jasper White's Lobster at Home. While it looked like it might be very good, I probably won't make it myself as I'd much rather have the lobster meat (in chunks or whole) in so many other preparations. I love lobster chowders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        However, I'd try bisque in a restaurant again, I guess, if someone gave me a good tip. Chances are I've just never had a good one, not that they don't exist. Funny thing is, I've almost never seen it on a menu in Maine, where we vacation every couple of years, and I've always wondered about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        for lobster bisque, you gotta talk to our fellow chowhound, hae young, who must be the lobster bisque champ by now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have. The process sounds so angst-ridden! Or angst-creating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            seriously! LOLOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made it last night for the first time (actually I started on Sunday). I and my guests went totally GaGa. Damn, I'm good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. American bacon. Shut the &%$*#@! up about bacon all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Soooo tired of its elevation to the pinnacle of man's ability to create foodstuffs. I liked it a lot when I was a kid, and I can still eat a piece or two, sliced thin and fried shatteringly crisp, served alongside a couple of eggs and toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But this chewy, over-cured, over-salted, over-peppered, over-billed "artisan" crap showing up tough, stringy and just plain unappetizing on a salmon sandwich that costs $12? Or ordering a $8 bowl of New England clam chowder that tastes like smoked-pork cream sauce? Keep it, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bacon makes everything better? You need to develop a palate that extends beyond salt and smoke, my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          People use bacon in clam chowder? WTF? You're supposed to use unsmoked, uncured salt pork or lard. Otherwise you end up with smokeporkcreamsauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had in RI last month -- loved it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Reignking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Please, my Mom must be rolling in her grave. Bacon in clam chowder?? IN RI?? Something must have put the earth off its axis. Only salt pork and only the kind that is mostly fat. Now I live in the midwest and they seem to think that all you have to do is drag a clam through some cream base and voila! you have clam chowder! YUCK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: miriamjo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                +1 for Maine too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +2 for Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mmmmmmmmmmmm....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              smokeporkcreamsauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had a long correspondence about this - OK, argument, then - via snail mail (this was ca. '79, you see) with the food writer John Thorne, who had said in his Simple Cooking newsletter that bacon was all wrong for beans. I don't remember if the subject of chowder came up, but I'll imagine it did because I love it there too. What we agreed on was that to the Yankee taste bacon is all wrong because it makes the dish taste smoky, while to the Southern taste bacon is essential because... it makes the dish taste smoky! I do love salt pork, and will happily suck up chowder or pea soup or baked beans made with it, but I think smoky is just a bit better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gordeaux, you crack me up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Braveaux, Gordeaux.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My mother's clam chowder had bacon in it, but not a lot, and it was the perfect accent for the clams and corn and everything. Little pieces, fried and drained. No smokeporkcreamsauce, it was CLAM chowder. And damn good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She didn't use the "artisanal" bacon because in the '60s there wasn't any.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My wife still makes it that way - a nice creamy chowder with lots of clams, and as a finishing garnish, she crumbles a piece of crispy bacon over each bowl. And, because she doesn't add any salt during cooking, the finished product doesn't come out over-salted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    """""Bacon makes everything better? You need to develop a palate that extends beyond salt and smoke, my friend.""""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lynnlato, did you see this? did you SEE THIS HERESY??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. For me it's pad thai. I always thought of it as the standard choice for people who weren't familiar with Thai food, but then realized even my most adventurous friends in dining often order it and love it. So I am starting to think it's just me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll second the macaroni and cheese nomination and also throw in prosciutto and melon (together).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Olallieberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's ubiquitous in thailand, and not just for the falangs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thew, do you mean the "ferengs" http://www.scopa.ca/travelogue/vegas/... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi ? tee hee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "never pay for bolognese when you're eating pad thai"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          127th rule of acquisition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            good one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            here are a few more: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Rules...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Olallieberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Prosciutto and melon is not right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love proscuiutto -I love melon....but I never got the combo thing - ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I nominate creamed spinach. I am still trying to decide if it is a waste of cream or a waste of spinach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Creamed spinach? With salt and loads of Tabasco, it and lobster bisque (trashed elsewhere above), would be parts of my last meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Creamed spinach is a gift from God.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              invinotheresverde, that is hilarious. You are right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Crab legs and lobster. Yes, I am serious. Good fresh Gulf shrimp beat them both any day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The brownie sundae

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ever had Dungeness crab that came out of the water that morning? Or New England lobster, not the pallid-Florida imitator? And I love Gulf shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well thats just like, your opinion man.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  /thedude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bwah! Now you've got me in the mood for a White Russian (which may indeed be an overrated beverage- I couldn't say since I probably haven't had one since 1982- but it does sound good at this moment, for whatever reason.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lobster claws rule, btw!!! (I could do without the tails, myself)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to agree with you on lobster, I just don't get it. I much prefer crawfish or any seafood to lobster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to agree. Gulf shrimp makes everything in the world right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Opinion, as stated above. You obviously have never had fresh caught, sweet little Maine shrimp! Soo sweet, fresh caught lobster and crab too. Gulf shrimp, eah. Meaty but not sweet meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          gulf shrimp are wonderful! maybe you didn't get the right ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Safeway here had beautiful Texas Gulf shrimp on special today. But until my allergy tests come back, none for me. Ah, the pain of it. I'm craving some of Veggo's world famous shrimp, corn and poblano soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh! i hope you are not allergic. that would be very sad!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fingers crossed xxxxx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just saw this. Gulf shrimp: NOLA, Mobile and Corpus. The question is, have you ever had fresh north Atlantic very small, but oh so sweet shrimp? No comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You said a mouthful, mister. Absolutely. Either side of the Atlantic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  gulf shrimp come in all sizes. my mom always liked the medium for her shrimp creole, saying they were sweeter -- and it is true. and yes, i've had shrimp from maine and the cold north atlantic, too. and yes, they are wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BUT, AHHH tiny North Atlantic shrimp, soooo, sweet, makes gulf shrimp taste like Wonder Bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I disagree with every overrated dish in this thread except Westaust's deconstructed stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My nomination is cedar planked salmon. I spent the better part of a summer searching for a cedar plank. Prepared it by soaking it and had my salmon with fresh dill rubbed with olive oil, grilled it and it tasted like -- salmon that had been kept in a cedar chest, like salmon combined with summer lake house. I'm not sure what I was expecting. I love wood-smoked food in general, but cedar reminds me of moth repellents, which it's used for.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for chicken marbella, I never used the brown sugar called for in the chicken marbella recipe b/c I tend to avoid sugar except when it's necessary (like in baking), and it's not so bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Chocolate anything. I like a nice Hershey's Kiss once in a while, or a nice chocolate cake. But some people just seem to soil themselves in ecstasy at the though of chocolate. These same people tend to talk about their love of chocolate in sexual terms. I respectfully submit that they've been doing it wrong, if they think chocolate is better than sex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm with you, but this is obviously a taste/taste buds thing. Like you, I know people who just go crazy for chocolate, but I can never take more than a bite of any chocolate dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think they go together pretty well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not a chocolate fan but that combo has always been a winner for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If a Hershey's Kiss represents your idea of chocolate, it's quite understandable that you'd think it's overrated. It's still definitely not better than sex if you're doing it correctly like you said tho. If you were to say Hershey's Chocolate is overrrated, I think you'd get 100% agreement. It's brown wax with a bit of sweetness. If you've ever had some of the European stuff, wow. Smooth as sillk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was just using the Hershey's as a point of reference. I've had some excellent Belgian chocolates, the kind with the obscene amounts of butter fat. Rich. Tasty. Still doesn't do it for me. But then again, I have a meat-tooth not a sweet-tooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Meat tooth...sweet tooth. I love that and am stealing it. I think 99.9% (this is an approximation, people) of ANYTHING sweet is overrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          not better than - better with

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You mean it's not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. crabcakes. it is very rare that i meet a crabcake that is any good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            now, a good one is great, but the ones everyone else orders and devours off of hors d'oeuvres trays are bleh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crabcakes that are mostly bread crumbs, mustard and red bell pepper -- what on Earth is red bell pepper doing paired with something as delicate as crab?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even worse is when they cheap out further with green bell pepper. Gack. Just throw the whole thing in the trash, because it's ruined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though just last night at a wedding they had some rather fishy ones made with all special and claw meat. Though they had a pretty high starch ratio, it balanced the heavier flavor of the claw and turned out rather nicely. Decent compromise, I thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think "compromise" will be an operative word, for the next century or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, crabcakes when done poorly are an abomination. The best crab cake I ever had was about a half pound of lump crabmeat, no filler AT ALL, held together with a little mayo binder and dusted with Old Bay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Being from the DC area we have a lot of good crab cakes around here. On the flipside, we also have a lot of menus that just throw them on because it's the region. When they are good, they are amazing, when they are pretty bad with lots of filler, they're worthless to get. I think price on this dish often does determine quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I grew up in Maryland, so to me crabcakes are comfort food (as are steamed crabs with Old Bay). Having said that, I rarely order them off menus because they are usually so bad and disappointing. It does amaze me how often people swear a restaurant has "great crab cakes", and they are a horrible imitation of the real thing. I tend to just make these at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I agree with creamed spinach....Yuck!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I will add cilantro to the list. Can't stand the stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Finally, I nominate chicken-fried steak. I know I'll get flamed for this, but before you tell me, "But you haven't had 'good' cfs," yes I have, several times (allegedly) when I lived "down south", and I still don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A really tender CFS with mashed potatoes and green beans would be my last meal no doubt. I love gourmet food, but there is nothing better than a god CFS. So comforting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Beef borgenwhatever
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Duck a'l'orange
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      stew that's too thick
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      anything that tries too hard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      takeaway pizza when I remember real pizza
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      goulash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tagliatelli and carbonara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Coc au vin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hate the duck because I hate sweet and savoury, but all of these dishes are usually go-tos for people who don't seem to really like food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've seen many of them done well and properly on TV (and it's usually completely different). Chicken Chasseur avoids the list because I've had a great example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Man, I'm going to make a separate topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Soop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now that I make Hazan's tagliatelli with carbonara, I also won't order it.. But don't you think that's probably true of a lot of dishes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, just created a hefty topic about food done wrong :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You got a link for your recipe? I'd like to compare it to the rick stien one

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Soop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here ya go with the carbonara (I use bacon cause I don't have an affordable source for pancetta and I don't think it suffers):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/reci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's the taglitelle - scroll down but don't miss the Bolognese (I last made a quintuple recipe of it!):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah! That's fantastic! I feel like I have such an affinity with that chef, I'm definitely going to seek her out! Just small things, like insisting on chuck steak rather than mincemeat, cooking the ragu for 4 hours, no water added to the pasta, making the pasta on the work surface... All of these things I enjoy doing (I feel like I'm doing it "properly" or at least to my taste).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never understood why water need be added to fresh pasta, and although I've picked up some great tips already, I tend to crack the eggs right into a pile of flour, and kind of beat them in with my fingers quite quickly. I don't think it suffers from not being pre-beaten. But I didn't know about divinding into 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What I tended to do is pass the whole thing through, and when it becomes so long as to be unmanageable, I divide it into half, or 3 depending. I like that because it straightens the ends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But thanks loads for the second link! *edit* Good lord, I think I have a new favorite chef O__O

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Soop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am the opposite but I really like food. I like some meats with fruits because it cuts the overwhelming meatyness or grease that makes me nauseous. I can't quite describe it accurately, but there is certain something in meat that sometimes is just too much for me without some distraction. It has a certain heavyness, it's that something in chicken thigh that is not in chicken breast that makes it so much more flavorful but at the same time needs something herbal or acid to balance. I do love meat and rarely have a meal without it. I eat strong beefy cuts such as hanger and skirt steak all the time so I would not consider myself as a vegetarian in closet at all. I do agree that too much sweetness in a savory dish is bad, it's more the fruity fragrance and acid I am after, not cloying syrupy sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mimolette

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you ever make cuban pork with sour orange?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://ediblearia.com/2009/10/30/lech...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            so savory, but not heavy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal