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Oct 21, 2010 10:37 AM

Reverse Recommendation: Anyone have this friend?

I know this is a silly topic, but as CH'ers we all love to get a great recommendation from friends or from the boards, but I was wondering if anyone has this friend(s). Does anyone have that person who they wait for them to bash a place and then run out and eat there because you know it's going to be great? I have know people who if they praise a place, I steer clear and when they bash it, I go in knowing it's going to be great and it always is. ?

I just love when people tell me how good a (insert ethnic cuisine here - typically italian) restaurant is and when I ask them what they had they tell me " a house salad, fried calamari and a steak." Or they say there was nothing on the menu, then you go and the menu is five pages long. Or they say the food was perfectly seasons, which means it wasn't seasoned. Or it was overseasoned, which means it tastes the way it is supposed to, not the way they make it at home.

It used to drive me crazy, but now I use it as a guide. Anyone else? Any funny stories

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  1. If my Grandma says it's "interesting", it usually isn't.
    If my mom says it's "very ethnic", it definitely isn't.
    If my sister says, "it's good", it's probably not (good being defined as Applebee's)
    If my ex-husband says, "they have GREAT food", that means they do a lot of deep frying.
    If my brother says, "they have good seafood", watch out: Red Lobstah!!

    4 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      I'm actually LOL'ing. Red Lobstah!!!!

      1. re: mamachef

        I have all those people too! Plus one friend who routinely bashes any recommendation I make to her. Make that one friend and one coworker. I think Eric and I have polar opposite taste, only we like the same types of food.

        1. re: mamachef

          hahah this is the best! Thanks for the laugh :)

          1. I have one that will not eat at any place "fancy." We used to think that meant she ran if there were white tablecloths, but then she balked at returning to a DINER because it was too fancy.

            Turns out, if the place has more than pizza, burgers, steak, salad and fish, it's too fancy. Or if any of those foods contain "fancy" ingredients--non-cheddar cheese on burgers, non-iceberg lettuce in salads--basically, anything she didn't grow up with in her suburban circa 1960s kitchen.

            1. my parents - if they *rave* about the food, i can guarantee it'll be so salty that my legs & feet will begin to swell before we even leave the restaurant.

              my sister - anything that's too "exotic" or "ethnic" for her is usually spot-on, and if she loves it, there's about a 95% chance it's bland, bland, bland with nary an herb or spice in sight.

              24 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                The bland comment is funny, because I refuse to go out for Italian food, because I find it so bland. This is not to say, when done correctly, that Italian food is bland, but I feel Restaurants don't season enough.

                I also argue with these people about Mexican food. They love this place that serves a huge burrito that tastes like wallpaper paste. They love it. It's the only place I've ever sent food back.

                I think in general there are three types of palates. Those who like salt, those who like bland and those who actually know food. At least that's the three categories that the people I know fall into and I'd say it's about 20% salty, 70% bland and 10% knowing good food.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  Any crossover between the salty and good food types? I think that's where I am.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    Of course, I was generalizing. I'm a freak. I hate salt, but love potato chips (and they stopped making those unsalted Ruffles). I hate salt, but despise steak if it's not generously salted (pre-cooking). My "salt" label is for people who add salt before tasting their food. It's my greatest pet peeve!

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      Oh my dog, those people who LOVE some place because they serve a HUGE something! My brother asked me last week if I had heard about the giant burger, it's big enough to serve seven, he was so excited, we should go, we should try it, and I'm thinking No. Fricken. Way.

                      jhopp, love this thread!


                      1. re: hillsbilly

                        Your brother sounds like my boyfriend. He hasn't ever done one and he can't eat as much as he thinks he can but anytime he hears about a challenge or a biggest something he gets all excited and talks about trying it out.

                        1. re: hillsbilly

                          Well, there are about six programs on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel (was the Fine Living Network), about portions so huge that only a circus geek could possibly eat them. Guess that the US audience just loves gigantic portions of food, and that is why every local news broadcast has some sort of featurette on eating contests.


                          1. re: hillsbilly

                            I want to eat at the place that serves the biggest pizza in the country. Take about twenty friends, though. nobody gonna eat 100 pieces by their lonesome.

                          2. re: jhopp217

                            my husband always tastes my food. and always adds salt, even when i think it's perfect.

                            1. re: Chowrin

                              Hm-m, if I did that, my wife would slap my hand! [I'd deserve it too.]

                              Now, if I am doing the stew (or similar), and add a bit of this, or that, there is no quarrel.


                          3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            My brother in law thinks that garlic is "weird" spice. I on the other hand have been known to put it on my toast in the morning. My mother in law also thinks that any restaurant that has nachos or chips and salsa on the appetizer menu is a Mexican restaurant no matter the rest of the menu.

                            1. re: baseballfan

                              I am with you on garlic. We have it in so many forms, and use it so very often.

                              Got an offhand compliment from a well-known chef, who dined with us many years ago. [Hate cooking for a well-known chef... ] His comment was, "ah garlic - the ketchup of the intelligencia." So be it, but I love the "stinky rose," and I am everything BUT Italian.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Don't you love the backhanded compliment? Garlic is one of my favorites as matter of fact I've got a batch roasting in the oven. Smells like heaven to me!

                                1. re: baseballfan

                                  garlic, olive oil and green cruciferous vegetables are the few thin threads that keep me alive.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Garlic infused olive oil is the best of both worlds.

                                  2. re: baseballfan

                                    Yes, I have come to love them. When that one was offered, I started to speak, but then saw the look in my wife's eyes, which translated to "keep that thought to yourself... "

                                    I did.


                                2. re: baseballfan

                                  She'd be pretty confused at the place near me. Irish pub where everyone has a brogue, but they have some of the best chips and salsa, nachos (both with beef and corned beef) and delicious tacos!

                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                    Where do you live? It would be worth the field trip just to hear the commentary! :)

                                    1. re: baseballfan

                                      The Place is called Stephen's Green and is in Crestwood (actually Tuckahoe/Eastchester border) NY. It's so funny, I love a local Mexican place, but this place has better tacos!

                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                        Sounds like a great place! Not such a far trek from DC where said relatives reside. The Irish/Mexican combo would blow her away. Imagine nachos and chips and salsa in an Irish pub.....the horror!

                                        1. re: baseballfan

                                          There is a place in NJ that has taken this idea to the extreme. It's called Jose O'Reilly's. Never been, but heard it's a fun place.

                                          1. re: baseballfan

                                            I think I have been living in the land of culinary assimilation too long because I no longer find it too weird when one of the most Irish pubs in the state of Florida (they sponsor their own pipe band) not only has nachos but also po' boys on the menu.

                                3. If my mother says a restaurant is good, it means the view is fantastic, the entrees are $50, and the food is average. If she says a restaurant is expensive, it means it doesn't have view and the food is so good you end up ordering dessert even if you are stuffed.

                                  If my middle brother says it's good, it is, and I'm expected to pay.

                                  If anyone I know complains that the portions are too small at a restaurant they otherwise love, then I will adore the place.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Isolda

                                    Free food always seems to be seasoned perfectly, haha!

                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                      Not to my mother. The freer it was the worse she hated it. Not that she ever took anybody out to dinner and paid. She would call the restaurant the next day and complain that she couldn't eat the food and wangle a freebie out of them. Fine, as long as my name isn't associated with her little racket, but she would tell me (the payer) that the food was inedible and THEN post the gift certificate on the refrigerator where I'd be sure to see it.

                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                        tell your mom that people in the restaurant biz remember faces......complainers, especially those who we KNOW are complaing just to get a free meal, should beware. Shes also a prime example of why all the rest of us end up paying more for our dinners - those "free" gift certificates are paid for one way or another!

                                        1. re: joe777cool

                                          I know all of that to such an embarrassing degree- but she's dead. You know how people say they miss their mom? I feel horrible that I can't say that without lying, but it's a fact.

                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                            Very sorry to hear, that - no disrespect was intended. Mine died 4 years ago this month and I miss her everyday =(

                                    2. re: Isolda

                                      I agree, if someone says the portions are small, I generally like it. There was an Italian restaurant that we used to frequent but they started using inferior ingredients and raised the prices and the portions to the point where I can barely eat half of my meal. I wish I could give them some feedback: bring back the old ingredients and make your portions smaller and maybe drop the price a smidge and I'll be there every week :(

                                    3. Jhopp-- your friend is a restaurant critic in the msp area, isn't she? ;-P