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Would you send it back? [moved from General Topics]

Was out for dinner the other night and ordered a dish that the menu described as...

"Fiocchi pasta with house cured bacon, english peas and cambozola cheese."

It sounded amazing, the flavours all compliment each other.

When it arrived it was drenched in tomato sauce. I didn't know what to say. I have nothing against tomato sauce but it ruined the dish and, I felt, it should've been mentioned on the menu. Debated sending it back but didn't want to be the fussy diner in the group.

Would you have sent it back? Or is one to expect that a pasta always be served in a tomato sauce?

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  1. This is such a difficult dilemma. If you get an improperly-cooked steak, always send it back, IMO, because there's really not a lot of room for discretion where the term "medium-rare" is concerned. I think the menu or the server should've made clear that it was a tomato based dish. From reading the ingredients, my assumption would've been identical to yours; that it was a white pasta dish that the cambazola would sauce. But therein lies the rub; the word "assumption." I do tend to ask a lot of questions when I'm going over a menu if I feel the service is under-informed or unenthusiastic to avoid situations like this, because I don't like to be the fussy one either. Since you said you had nothing against tomato sauce, if you're not allergic, if it tasted good despite your missed expectations, I think I'd have just let it go. And on a passive-aggressive moody kinda night, I might just sit there ostentatiously eating bread only, hoping that the server would ask me if something was wrong. : ) In which case I would be really happy to tell them.

    1. Absolutely send it back. It reads like a white pasta sauce dish. You didn't assume, rather, they mislead. That difference would lead me to send it back. Now if you're perfectly groovy with the red sauce, then mangia.
      You would have been well within your rights to re-order.

      12 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        Don't see how the description was misleading or how you could assume it could be a white sauce.

        1. re: monku

          Really? It totally reads like an Alfredo sauce. Peas? Gorgonzola? It does not read like a red sauce pasta dish.
          I'll agree to disagree, but I'd still send it back.

          1. re: monavano

            Nothing surprises me.
            I guess my disagreement is your statement "they mislead".

            1. re: monku

              Misled-correcting my misspelling. But yes, they misled by leaving out a key ingredient. It comes across as a white sauce dish. No way, no how would I be expecting tomato sauce.

              1. re: monavano

                If the restaurant did mislead, one has to wonder why would the restaurant want to mislead.

                Does it have extra red sauce laying around, but fears that people actually prefer white sauce?

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I doubt it was intentional. The restaurant needs to do a better job with describing the dish. I wonder if anyone else sent back the dish for the reason the OP describes. That may have prompted a more accurate re-write.

                  1. re: monavano

                    Agree, it wasn't intentional. More information was necessary.

                2. re: monavano

                  it's not misleading. all you have to do is ask. just as if you had a food allergy it is *YOUR* responsibility to tell someone. you can't order something, ask no questions, and then complain when something is in it that you didn't expect. customers in restaurants have gotten out of control with their nonsense. expecting the restaurant to eat the food cost for this person's mistake is craziness.

                  1. re: gatorhistory

                    So we cannot rely on menus to give us an idea of what the food is we are ordering, even when they offer descriptions that would seem to do precisely that?

                    1. re: gatorhistory

                      Oh, please. It's a red sauce pasta dish that is not described as such. Big oversight and they need to rethink how they describe their dishes. Look at the responses here! I'm not the only one who would read it as the OP did. So, don't go there with me and spare me a sanctimonious lecture from whatever pedestal you're on. I'm not asking for minutiae, or a thesis, or being particularly needy, I just want the basics m'am.
                      In that, they failed.

                      1. re: gatorhistory

                        It is misleading, and it's ridiculous to put on the diner the onus to ask about every possible sauce a dish might have that isn't mentioned in in the menu description. Now, if the OP actually had a medical condition of course it would be the sensible thing to ask, but if a dish is described as having bacon, peas and Cambazola cheese, then I would not expect it also to have to have a tomato sauce.

              2. re: monavano

                When I read the description, I thought the ingredients were the sauce... maybe with olive oil.

                I personally would have sent it back if I was dining with friends or family. But if it was a business dinner, I prob would have just picked at it, unless others returned their food.

              3. I'm afraid that years of dining out and enjoying great food coupled with a general passion for all the tastiest of food and drink have thoroughly developed my inner food prick. Sure, sometimes my outer Dr. Jekyll prevails, but I have a feeling, in your situation it may not have turned out that way.

                You see, a food prick never sends food back. Instead, anything below par sits uneaten on the plate to be cleared by the server in as close to the state in which it was served as possible. It is to be a testament to the kitchen's inadequacy. Refusing to send a plate back is simply his way of saying, "You f*cked up once, I have no intention of encouraging you do so twice."

                Similarly, a food prick does not devote much time to discussing the inadequacies of an unacceptable dish. He simply notes the basic problem, gently pushes the plate away, and waits patiently while his companions finish their food (assuming they want to do so). If asked by the server, a matter-of-fact explanation of the flaw(s) is provided.

                22 Replies
                1. re: MGZ

                  Oh, goodness. I'm a food prick. Completely different situation, but same emotional scenario: I got a sandwich with a few hairs in it and when I sent it back the server asked me if I wanted another one.
                  Seriously? Ah...no; what with the two bites I had and the HAIR IN MY THROAT, I couldn't eat another bite. thanks anyway.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    I can't afford to be a "prick." Paying for something that I don't use is a waste of my fixed income. Sending the food back sends a message to the kitchen and wait staff that an order is unacceptable. Of course, it makes it hard on you because your dining companions will have finished maybe, before you even start. However, asking to have the whole table sent back so everyone's food can be eaten at the same time -- that's being a prick. Or asking the manager to comp to unacceptable order and then go hungry, that's cutting off your nose to spite your face.
                    Send it back.

                    1. re: MessyVirgo

                      Ha! you took the words right out of my typing hands!
                      When a foodie cuts of their nose to spite their face, doe they eat it?
                      C'mon folks, who wins when one behaves in such a manner? Maybe I just don't have money to burn like that.

                      1. re: MessyVirgo

                        there's that, and then there's the fact that the kitchen won't ever find out that you didn't touch your meal -- the bus staff will dump it in the garbage, the server will count his/her tip and total table sales, and the manager and the kitchen will go on, completely unaware that you were unhappy with the meal that you ordered but didn't eat. And even if they *do* get the message, that "Hey, the guy at table 6 didn't touch his pasta marvelosa" -- they have no idea why. Did you get an attack of indigestion? Decided you weren't hungry after all? They're wait staff and kitchen staff...not mindreaders.

                        They can't know there's something wrong unless you open your mouth and say so.

                        They can't make it right if they don't know there's something wrong.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Servers, bring your crystal ball to work with you, and your powers in divination.

                      2. re: MGZ

                        Does it occur to you that your behavior might make your table mates uncomfortable? It just seems self-indulgent and pointless.

                        1. re: MGZ


                          How does being passive-agressive in your example get you anything in the long-run?

                          Sure, you've made your point, but you've left the restaurant hungry and out the $$ you paid for the dish.

                          Maybe there is some satisfaction in shaming the restaurant (assuming the waiter even cares and relays your concerns to the kitchen and/or management), but when I go out to dine, my primary goal isn't to "make a point" but to ... (you know) ... eat!

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            A food prick subscribes to the notion that life is too short, and tasty morsels too available, to eat lousy food. Similarly, he believes that the cost of an entree is typically below that of his convictions. And, keep in mind, food pricks rarely have much money, that's what makes them so unforgiving.

                            Unmet is the server who is not intrigued by an almost untouched plate and thus compelled to inquire. As noted, a simple, matter-of-fact explanation is always shared, ā€œIā€™m afraid these scallops are quite cold and significantly overcooked.ā€ No complaints, no bitching. Tales of such aberrational behavior are quickly shared by staff and kitchens seem to always learn of the presence of a food prick.

                            Remarkably, it may seem to some, a food prick is rewarded. The price of the offending dish is never on the check, nor is that of the apologetic drink sometimes sent from the back of the house. Tales are even told of one food prick who was given a tour of the kitchen, in addition to a digestif, for his frankness. Moreover, because he does not clamor or whine he is never punished by adulterated substitutes or hard feelings from a server.

                            As for payment, a food prick leaves a tip equal to his usual percentage of the total. One has a habit where he supplements the base tip with the cost of the rejected item.

                            Recall that a food prick breaks bread with those he knows and who know him. An offensive dish is taken in stride as he values cool and stays light of heart. In fact, a food prick (like his outer Dr. Jekyll) never pouts and continues to entertain his guests - "It's just food," he comforts. Those who know him and his standards are not uncomfortable. People generally are not when confronted with affability and graciousness, particularly from a man born with his tongue partially implanted in his cheek.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              and the food prick wears his martyrdom like a cross so that all may know his suffering and patience with the unwashed cretins who dare appear in his presence.

                              1. re: MGZ


                                What does a food prick do when he goes and buys a lottery ticket but the counter person does not provide him the numbers he requested, but he eventually wins the lottery with the incorrect ticket?

                                Does the food prick then sit at home and just let the lottery ticket lay there in waste as a sign of protest for incompetent counter person service?

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Et tu, Ipse. (You're taking the fun out of this.)

                                  As to your analogy. When a food prick orders Osetra, but is served Beluga, he says "Bring on the Mother-of-Pearl."

                                  1. re: MGZ


                                    I'm glad we can all take this in good spirits. (After I posted, I was worried you might take it the wrong way)

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      For six months a year this skin tolerates the Atlantic without a wetsuit.

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        now that's a thick skin.

                                        if "foodie" is to be used as a pejorative, I think I prefer "food prick"

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Indeed. Hence the inherent humor in using the term for self-reference (or so I thought).

                                          A food prick certainly views the term "foodie" as a pejorative. To him, it's like being 15 and having someone say he's "a cute little boy."

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            "who's grown up so big? who has? I bet you'll have the girls throwing themselves at you! won't you? won't you?

                                            yeah talk to me like I'm your dog.

                                            although I did sort of like (despite its inherent pretension) the term used on the WashPo food chat "gastronaut" at least it implies a level of adventurousness.

                                            I'll stick with "food prick" I appreciate the self-deprecation.

                                2. re: MGZ

                                  You, my friend, get it.
                                  All hail the gracious food prick .....

                              2. re: MGZ

                                I'm curious how you tip in this situation. Do you tip?

                                1. re: monavano

                                  Why wouldn't you? Surely not the server's fault.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Oh, I know. I would tip, but then again, I would not sit there like a pouty child and let my food go untouched.I'd speak up and GIVE THE RESTAURANT THE OPPORTUNITY to make things right.

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      On a tour of the NY CIA the tour guide, a recent graduate told us that a restaurant would gladly replace a substandard meal rather than have an unhappy guest. It is much more expensive in bad will than the cost of a meal. She used the example of a hair care commercial. You will tell two friends, who will tell two friends...etc.. If you just sit there and pout, hoping someone will notice, you are the one who suffers. Its like carrying a handful of crap in your pocket waiting to throw it at whoever you think is responsible. That way its your pocket that stinks all day, and maybe theirs for a second or two.

                              3. I would've sent it back, simply because I don't think tomato lends itself well to the other ingredients mentioned.

                                1. The description of the dish should have mentioned the sauce's most basic component, the tomato. Failure to do so justifies sending it back.

                                  I had a similar, although less egregious experience a while back. I ordered a slice of NY cheesecake and it arrived with a strawberry sauce atop it. The description made no mention nof a strawberry topping, nor did the waitress mention it when I placed the order. And I'm not a strawberry fan. Nevertheless, I scraped the sauce aside and ate the cheesecake dutifully rather than send it back. The difference between my situation and yours is that the cheesecake was not completely compromised. If it had been, I would have sent it back.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                    The first sentence of Perilagu Khan's describes the situation and remedy perfectly.

                                  2. I know you're going to think this is crazy, but I think this was a mistake. While I am not that familiar with Cambozola cheese ( i know what it is, but don't think I've tasted it), I've seen pasta with pancetta and peas on many menus. Almost never is their mention of a sauce unless it is a vodka sauce. The addition of anything other than Parmesan would have led me to believe it was a sauce-less dish. I would have been appalled had I ordered this and it came out with a tomato sauce.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                      I would completely expect this to be a "white sauce" dish. In my experience as soon as you put peas + pasta you're out of the "red sauce" territory - it's primavera. I make a dolce gorgonzola (& cambozola's a mild blue - gorgonzola + camembert) , spinach and pancetta penne quite regularly - I would have expected the dish as described by the OP to be similar. No tomatoes. Send it back!

                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                        I agree. I think my reaction would have been to say, "Excuse me, is this what I ordered?" I don't think your expectations were off at all. It's not like me having to pick off tomatoes that weren't listed on a sandwich or salad description...this changed the entire character of the dish.

                                        1. re: Jeri L

                                          This is the answer. If it is how the chef intended, you should mention it's not what you expected. If it's decent, eat it, if not, you could send it back and get something else, but not expect it to be comped. I'd go out of my way to say that I don't expect it comped. At a good restaurant, they will comp it anyway.

                                      2. I can't believe tomato sauce would be dumped on that otherwise lovely combination (cambozola- yum) and would have been pissed too. As for sending it back, I can understand why you didn't.
                                        I would have spoken to the manager though about better menu descriptions, if you had a discrete chance or emailed later. That's assuming you plan on going back.

                                        1. I think we can all agree that drenching the dish in tomato sauce was a heinous act. Seriously, what kind of chef would go through the trouble of curing her own bacon and then treat with such disrespect? Vile stuff indeed.

                                          1. I think it was a mistake by the kitchen. It doesn't hurt to confirm an order when it's placed in front of you.... "is this the XYZ dish?". If it was a mistake, the waiter should have noticed it also.

                                            1. I know at least 2 people who are allergic to tomatoes, so it should be mentioned for those who are allergic to be able to avoid it. Also tomatoes change a dish completely, it seems like a pretty important addition to the menu description imo. If I really didn't like the dish, I would probably send it back(since you didn't get what you thought you ordered that did sound good), otherwise I'd probably just eat it.

                                              1. I would also not have expected it to have tomatoes or tomato sauce with this dish. I also don't think Cambazola goes with cooked tomatoes although that would be a personal preference. I would have sent it back too. The restaurant should have written the ingredients list with tomatoes on it.

                                                1. Been there, had that happen and try like mad to avoid having it happen again! When I'm not familiar with a dish but it sounds fantastic on the menu (rarely as good as the descriptions) then I ask the waiter for more info. Or if I order something I am familiar with, then it damned well better live up to its name. I don't want anything deconstructed or resurrected or that's not going to measure up in some way. I guess for now you're best plan is to chalk it up to experience, but a phone call and a chat with someone at the highest level telling them about it couldn't hurt. Worth a try.

                                                  1. A Google search for this combination of ingredients and red sauce yields this post, if that gives you any idea... Truthfully, if you are very unhappy with a dish for any reason, most chefs would rather have you send back the dish.

                                                    Sending a dish back is not fussy. You can always explain to your table mates that it is the right thing to do, and your right as a diner to enjoy the meal you are paying for. I would think any reasonable person could understand not wanting the wrong sauce, especially if it's the kitchen's error, and I think it is.

                                                    1. I would have tasted it, and if I didn't like it, sent it back. Never in a million years would I have expected tomato sauce on top of bacon, peas, and double- or triple-creme gorgonzola. From the description, I pictured an aglio olio sauce.

                                                      1. Thanks for the suggestions. I think in the future (hopefully I'll never be in a similar situation) I'll pause and say "That's not what I ordered" and point out the menu gaffe to the waiter. Depending on who I'm with I'll keep it or order something else.

                                                        I'm glad most agree with me though, ... bacon, peas, cambozola.... mmm... tomato sauce? Huh?

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: piano boy

                                                          Not defending them in any way, Piano Boy -- but could it have been a genuine screw-up in the kitchen? As they're ladling out tomato sauce, somebody wasn't paying attention and ladled on yours in the confusion?

                                                          It almost sounds as though it was possible, though it's not clear from the details...because yeah, I'm with everybody else that it doesn't make sense to put tomato sauce on that particular combination of flavors.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            Sorry, I should have clarified earlier. There are only 2 pasta dishes on the menu. The other one was a ravioli tossed in oil. So the tomato sauce was specifically for this dish.

                                                            1. re: piano boy

                                                              then that's WEIRD and more than a little misleading...shame on them.

                                                        2. No, mostly because of the slippery slope. It's rather impractical to list every ingredient that's in a dish on the menu and, while tomato sauce is a major component, I'm not too sure where to stop. That's not to say that I agree with the dish, since I don't see why the chef would mix peas with a tomato sauce when pasta + peas is already excellent.

                                                          As for pasta and tomato sauce, it depends on what else is in the dish. In this case, with the presence of peas, it was overdoing it and I seriously question the chef enough that I wouldn't return to the restaurant.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: ediblover

                                                            You've got a point questioning the talent in the kitchen what with that combo. But really, 2 words "red sauce" would have gone a long way. If the restaurant can go out of their way to ensure that you know that the bacon is house-cured, why not mention red sauce? Now I can see not getting down to the salt, pepper and evoo, but, they screwed up.

                                                          2. send it back, and ask why tomato was never mentioned in the description. Don't know who you were dining with, but if it was among friends who were foodies they wouldn't mind.

                                                            I used to go to a restaurant in San Diego that really understated the menu items and after the first visit I knew I'd love the dish if the main ingredients were attractive to me.

                                                            1. Hold on - I take offense to "the fact that" kitchen or wait staff would be completely unaware that you were unhappy, or " assuming the waiter even cares" ....etc.

                                                              Let's just start with, I agree with food prick (no offense) and I would have done the same. However, when your server comes around to do a service check, be honest and ask your questions! TALK to your server, please no silent pouting or whiny complaints. At a joint where they deserve your cash, your server would notice - or rather ask at the beginning AND the end of the meal (esp if you didn't finish) if everything was alright. And if you did not enjoy your meal, this joint shouldn't be making you pay. No place I have every worked at would make you pay for a meal you genuinely did not enjoy, without even being asked by the patron.

                                                              On that note tho, if we can't really confirm whether you disliked it or not, then we can't really help you. In the least, dessert would be on the house, as a gesture to you for trying, and hope that you would come back and try again. No foolin' - we seriously just want you to enjoy your time and food, and if an entree didn't quite do it for you, there's something we can always try and do, if you give us the chance.

                                                              Help us help YOU!!

                                                              If, though, your server didn't notice or do anything, then that's the server's fault (or management - in fact, they should've noticed and asked about a full plate of food going back to the dish). So despite an unclear menu, or unclear interpretation - the real shame is that the experience wasn't everything you expected (not the dish).

                                                              And judging from your previous posts, I'm really surprised this restaurant wouldn't have done anything to help you out (being as reputABLE as they are), and wouldn't be surprised if they would have taken the item off your bill. That's IF you had politely spoken up and simply said - it wasn't what I expected and really wasn't in the mood for a tomato based pasta.

                                                              It's a two way street guys - we can't read minds, but we do a pretty good job of reading body language ...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: morefuuud

                                                                I wish it weren't true, morefuuud, but you are the exception to my experiences in a lot of years at eating at a lot of restaurants up and down the quality spectrum. If the restaurant is getting their money, and the server is getting their tip, then their primary obligation has been satisfied, and the fact that the plate has gone untouched will overwhelming go either unnoticed or unremarked..

                                                                But the basic fact still holds true -- that just sitting there leaving your plate untouched doesn't punish anyone but you...You simply have to speak up and tell them WHY you're not eating, or there is an absolutely zero chance that they will take the opportunity to fix it.

                                                              2. I'm not sure. Maybe. I am reluctant to send things back in case they might spit in my new food... But if it really didn't taste well, yes, I would. If I kept it I would have informed someone afterward that while it was alright it really was a misleading description and disappointing. Maybe they would have made it up to you by taking something off the bill or treating you to something on your next visit. Some places simply don't have their act together and don't know how to write a menu to save their lives.

                                                                BTW from the description I would have assumed to NOT expect tomato sauce either.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. Sending stuff back when you're in a group (or, even, anytime you're not on your own) is a pain. It is ALWAYS going to spoil the flow of the meal. I have only done it twice in 40 years.

                                                                  That said, I think if a menu is going to be as descriptive as the OP quotes, then there's an obligation to be accurate. And not mentioning tomato sauce is not being accurate. For example, we have afamily member who cannot stand tomatoes. At an Italian restaurant, this is just the sort of menu description that he'd have ordered - fully expecting to be just pasta,bacon, cheese & peas.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                    What are the two things you've sent back?

                                                                    1. re: barryg

                                                                      A steak that was so underdone that I couldnt eat it (October 1980, Miami - first trip to America)

                                                                      And corn on the cob which was cold (I can date that precisely to 12 August 1972 as it was our wedding night, Manchester)

                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                        I have sent back underdone steak. I'm sorry, but anything that leaves a pool of blood on your plate before you've even poked it with a fork (let alone cut into it) is NOT well done.

                                                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                          30 years on, I'd probably enjoy the steak now. But not the corn :-)

                                                                  2. You could send it back, but you should be prepared to pay for it. This was not a kitchen error, but one of your own making. If you don't understand a menu item, then you should ask your server for clarification. Ordering something and then simply sending it back because it wasn't what you wanted is not on the restaurant, and they should not be forced to eat the food cost because of your ignorance.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: gatorhistory

                                                                      Nope, once you add bacon and peas, a red sauce would never enter my mind.

                                                                      1. re: gatorhistory

                                                                        Seriously? Tomatoes sound like a major compoment in this dish. If I ordered fish and they decided to top it with steak that would be my fault for not asking?

                                                                        1. re: donovt

                                                                          Exactly. The customer shouldn't have to run through a whole list of things that might be on the dish but aren't -- why stop at tomato sauce? Are there carrots? Anchovies? Peanut butter? Strawberry jam? There's a whole universe of ingredients that someone *might* put on a dish but that no one would reasonably expect to be there.

                                                                      2. I honestly can't imagine tomato sauce with cambozola. It sounds like you didn't like it, not surprising. I would have sent it back, it's a pasta after all, they could produce a replacement within 5 minutes if they care to.

                                                                        I agree with the others here - the description makes it sound like the cambozola is the major taste of the sauce, so maybe cream or olio, definitely not tomato sauce.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: hsk

                                                                          my thought as well, a good tomato sauce is fine in most pasta, but would just get into a slappy-fight with the cheese and bacon and peas.

                                                                        2. It's a weird combination that should have been mentioned. I would have sent it back.

                                                                          I once ordered spanakopita in a restaurant that was supposed to specialize in Greek and Italian food (probably should have been my first clue).

                                                                          It came drenched in tomato sauce.


                                                                          I did not send it back but wish I had to this day.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                            Spanakopita drenched in tomato sauce? That is just wrong on so many levels. Sounds like the chef was playing a practical joke on you! Echhhhh...

                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                              I honestly don't think they knew any better, and I'm willing to bet it was frozen spanakopita to start with. It was in a small MO town that styled itself the cultural center of the area (not hard in rural Ozarks). The kind of place that made deep fried Cashew Chicken a horrible horrible reality.

                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                Eww! Lol I know little MO towns like that! I lived at Lake of the Ozarks for 5 years. Some of the Mexican restaurants are the WORST I have ever had, but many people think it's just great. YUCK! Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of the people down there, but many of them have barely been outside of the area and wouldn't know authentic ANYTHING if it hit them in the face. A lot of people act like it's the Caribbean down there or the tropics or hawaii... I never got that either! Luau parties, Hawaiian shirts, and lots of Jimmy Buffet.

                                                                                And the hotel I worked for served frozen spanakopita as well and MANY frozen things. I loved when some of the cooks would be bored and would make me something to eat from scratch. It would probably hamper your creative soul to be forced to just reheat frozen stuff all the time.

                                                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                  gimme two guesses ZS: Springfield or Branson? downright exotic by where I am right now.

                                                                                  I have yet to try the Springfield Cashew Chicken... it may remain that way. (MrsJTW, I'm about 30 miles or so East of the Lake and actually found some decent pizza tonight, STL crust, no Provel)

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    Springfield and Branson actually ARE "cultural centers" for the area, LOL!

                                                                                    This place was further SE of Springfield, along the I-60 corridor. I won't specifically name it for fear of insulting someone who lives there. It's one of those biggest-city-in-100-miles-but-still-really-just-a-small-town kind of places. WISHES it was Springfield, or better yet, Branson. (Branson is the Entertainment Mecca of Missouri, btw).

                                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                      oh yeah! in HS in STL it took a few minutes or weeks to convince the organizer of our month long exchange program that maybe our small town German students might appreciate Chicago more for their 'special' weekend trip than a trip to Branson (this was well before Frankfurt or Berlin got built up with tons of skyscrapers). yeah Silver Dollar City, as if funnel cake is the best the Midwest has to offer, right?

                                                                              2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                some Greek does incorporate tomato, but Spanakopita? that is weird.

                                                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                  Can't say i've ever encountered that one. I am reminded however, of a fritter dish I ordered recently in an Indian restaurant that made no mention of a sauce in the description. I was expecting little balls with something along side however. What I received was literally a big bowl of yogurt with chopped up lentil fritters smothered somewhere in it. Not what I was expecting, and not particularly appetizing (everything pretty much dissolved in the yogurt and almost indistinguishable). Server said that was what it was supposed to be.