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Which recipes (and ingredients) are, in your opinion, over hyped?

  • Jadore Apr 22, 2011 12:42 AM
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I love CHOW and I love cooking classic, popular recipes that take over my favorite blogs, forums, etc. A lot of the time, a well-reviewed recipe is very much appreciated, or even downright adored.

Sometimes, however, I cook something that receives raves, and it leaves me underwhelmed or disappointed. For example, it seems like everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is in passionately love with Marcella Hazan's butter, onion, and San Marzano tomato sauce. I've made it. I liked it enough to make it a few more times. But I was expecting this religious experience, they way everyone described it, and I was left thinking, "It's tasty, sure, but I've had much better." (I personally love a very chunky marinara with lots of fresh herbs and maybe a tiny bit of heat to play against the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes.)

I would also like to tack on that, for me personally, cilantro spoils nearly everything! Every time I see a recipe that demands tons of the stuff, I cringe.

What about you, fellow CHers?

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  1. Saffron

    I bought an expensive tin of it from a specialty store with the intent to make rice with it. I have know idea what it is supposed to taste like. But I could not detect any change in the flavor of the rice.

    9 Replies
    1. re: lilmomma

      I agree about both the Hazan tomato sauce and saffron. I tried the sauce and wasn't happy at all - it tasted very acidic to me, strangely, despite all the butter. Saffron has a very medicinal, tinny taste, like antiseptic liquid, when it's reconstituted. Yummy? But then you add it to a recipe and it doesn't taste of anything.

      1. re: limoen

        i used to find it harsh and medicinal. then i started using less. now i love it as a foil to seafood in soups and stews

      2. re: lilmomma

        A good way to use saffron and get maximum flavour from it is to put some strands in a hot pan and dry fry them until the strands are crispy. Once they're completely dried out remove them from the pan, let them cool a bit and crush them to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Add this powder to hot water and use this saffron liquid in cooking. It adds amazing flavour and colour.

        1. re: lilmomma

          Again, like I said about truffles, may be my olfactic senses are shot, but I don't taste or smell anything special about saffron.

          1. re: lamaranthe

            In the small quantities that most of us can afford, saffron provides color more than anything else.

            1. re: paulj

              When I was in college (30+ years ago) I went to a potluck. A guy brought saffron rice made with saffron oil his mother had just brought back from India. Fell in love with that rice but have never been able to recreate it. Asked three or four friends to pick some up while in India...all have returned empty handed. Saffron rice made with saffron strands never has measured up. Sorry for all that :)!more than you wanted to know, however...if anyone knows where to find saffron oil please let me know.

              1. re: Tripper

                if anyone knows where to find saffron oil please let me know.
                ~~~~~~~~~~~
                your best bet is to make it yourself.

                from one of my favorite cookbooks, "A New Way To Cook" by Sally Schneider...

                In a small jar, crush 2 large pinches of saffron threads with the back of a spoon (you should have about 1 teaspoon crushed saffron). Stir in 2 teaspoons hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes.

                In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup each grapeseed and extra-virgin olive oil over low heat until hot. Pour over the saffron, cover, and shake the jar. Set aside to infuse for at least 24 hours before using.

              2. re: paulj

                Come on, if you can afford a computer, you can afford saffron.

                1. re: foodperestroika

                  I dunno about that...saffron is probably more expensive per ounce than a computer. ;)

          2. That atrocious Hazan sauce leapt to mind before I even clicked onto the title of your post. Another one is the Nigella Lawson clementine cake. After tasting the former, I altered it beyond recognition to make it palatable, and the latter went to the dogs. As for ingredients, I have a low threshhold for lime and chile, so the countless recipes that call for chile, lime, and mango (they even permeate the recipes on the New Scandinavian Cooking shoe) leave me sighing with boredom.

            3 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              Agree with this post 100% except with the latter I'll be revisiting it with an entirely different method since I love almonds and oranges. One more is the milk braised meats, which not one in my family cooks or cares for at all.

              1. re: lilgi

                Do tell about the alternate method since this is a gigantic fail for me (the clementine cake).

                1. re: buttertart

                  np, hopefully soon.

            2. re: Cilantro

              It is my understanding that it may be genetic. That is, that some people get the unmistakable taste of Soap when they have Cilantro. Personally, I like it.

              16 Replies
              1. re: DougRisk

                Ah, yes, this is true! It probably is genetic; my father can't tolerate it at all. I can handle a teeny tiny bit, but more than that, especially if it's not doused in a tomato-rich salsa, just RUINS food for me. That dirty, weird, metallic flavor and odor... blech.

                1. re: Jadore

                  my sister says cilantro tastes like poison on her palate...to me, it is green and lovely and oh so wonderful-please give me more-especially with tomatoes-rice-cheese-beans-avocado, etc. ...some folks just really cannot stand the flavor of it!

                  1. re: Val

                    I could graze my way through a field of it. I love cilantro and thank God I don't have the genetic trait that makes it taste awful, by the way is dill one of those? The smell of it makes me sick.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      Oh, I'm with you on dill. However, I like the smell of the growing plant (and it's a lovely plant), but do not like the taste of fresh dill. But I love dill pickles. Does that make any sense?

                      1. re: pine time

                        yes, because dill pickles are made with dill seed, not the herb

                        1. re: thew

                          I'm down with dill pickles too. Thanks, thew!

                          1. re: thew

                            Beg to differ, thew, the only time we had dill in the house was when my mom was making dill pickles. One or more fresh flowering heads went into each jar. No dill seed.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              i could be wrong, but thats what i was taught

                              1. re: thew

                                In my experience, dill seed gives a much more satisfying (IMO) dill flavor than dill weed in pickles; the "leaves" are pretty but don't add much to the flavor, as far as I can tell. I do like fresh dill in other applications, though.

                    2. re: Jadore

                      might be of interest:
                      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/din...
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701310
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/717117
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603917

                      1. re: Jadore

                        I never got the cilantro hate until I grew it myself in my garden. The cilantro I get from the grocery store has a fresh, awesome herbal bright flavor. The stuff from my garden tastes dirty, metallic and weird! I wonder what the difference is between the two.

                        1. re: nafrate

                          Growing cilantro in my garden was it's death knell. Before, I just wasn't fond of it. When I grew it, the smell overpowered my entire herb garden. It was awful. I yanked out all the plants mid season and actually thought a bit before I threw it on the compost pile.

                          When people describe cilantro as fresh, bright and clean, I hae no idea what they are talking about.

                          1. re: NanH

                            That's interesting. I had the opposite experience when I grew it in a garden. I didn't mind cilantro, but I was never very impressed with it until I grew some. I absolutely loved it and from that time on, it's been my favorite herb.

                            1. re: NanH

                              Could be the type of cilantro you had in your garden.

                            2. re: nafrate

                              Cilantro is actually good at absorbing metals; perhaps you have some unpleasant elements in your soil that the cilantro is sucking out? Should make the soil better for your other plants, at least.

                          2. re: DougRisk

                            Yep, this is true. I like it in small quantities, but my husband hates it. I only use it in recipes where you can add your own at the end of cooking.

                          3. Risotto and Aioli.

                            My examples are a little dated, but, around 2007, I could swear that you could have renamed Top Chef and Iron Chef America (both of them) to:

                            Risotto and Aioli.

                            It was as if every other dish was either a Risotto or had Aioli. What was especially funny about this was that as far as I could remember, not a single chef that ever prepared the Aioli did so in the traditional manner (with a mortar and pestle). I am not implying that you MUST use a mortar and pestle, but, to never see anyone use it...even when they had hours (on Top Chef) to prepare the thing, well...

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: DougRisk

                              But when aioli is made on TV with mortar and pestle (and just garlic as the emulsifier) stress is placed on how temperamental it is. I'm thinking from example of No Reservations on Provence. It does not sound like something that would wise to make on a competition show, even if you had the time.

                              1. re: paulj

                                Traditional Aioli almost always uses an egg (yolk) as an emulsifier, along with the garlic. Allioli, on the other hand, only uses garlic.

                                However, since I an a Descriptivist, I do not adhere to these rules.

                                1. re: DougRisk

                                  I wasn't aware of the aioli/allioli distinction. The words come from different languages (dialects), allioli from Catalan. It appears that Catalans take more pride in a no-egg version, but it isn't hard to find a no-egg Provence version. I assume one with egg, even if made in a mortar and pestle, wouldn't be as temperamental.

                                  I don't think the No Reservations example contained egg, but I could be wrong on that.

                                  http://firstgarden.wordpress.com/2010...

                                  Another TV example of garlic only emulsion was a Bittman episode. Jose Andres tricks Mark into making the allioli at an Catalan outdoor function. Took something like 20 minutes.
                                  http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/feat...
                                  When you hear it pronounced on TV it is easy to miss the distinction between aioli and allioli.

                              2. re: DougRisk

                                I've gotta completely agree with you on the risotto thing. Every time I've had it, even at places whose risottos are deemed "the best" or something of the like, it's always come across to me as heavy, salty glue. Yuck yuck yuck.

                                1. re: popvulture

                                  If it's "heavy" and/or "salty," it's poorly prepared. Rich? Definitely.

                                2. re: DougRisk

                                  Totally with you on the risotto

                                3. Chocolate that is so bitter it defeats the whole purpose of candy.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: blue room

                                    That's because chocolate shouldn't really be considered candy, it's a seed.

                                    It can be made into a confection (i.e. Hershey's chocolates), but it also has terrific uses as flavor ingredient (i.e. for baking), as a drink, or even for it's medicinal uses.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Yeah, should have said *chocolate candy bars* that are so bitter they defeat the whole purpose of candy.

                                      1. re: blue room

                                        Since I eat low carb, I eat dark chocolate in moderation. I have learned to like it. It isn't quite sweet enough for me, but because it is the only chocolate I allow myself, and even then I eat it sparingly, I have learned to enjoy it.

                                        Some of the dark chocolate is not only bitter but waxy. This in not enjoyable chocolate, I agree.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        One tiny square of 90% pure dark chocolate will do miracles in a red wine sauce (like the one accompanying duck confit).

                                        1. re: lamaranthe

                                          I love high cocao dark chocolate. I can suck on 90% dark chocolate all day long while nursing some single malt scotch.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I agree with you, ipse. Not that I nurse single malt all day :)

                                    2. IMHO, Organic or Free Range are over-hyped marketing terms that people fall for.

                                      Free range chicken can mean a chicken coop has a door for the chickens.
                                      Also, I roll my eyes when people tout the higher nutritional value and better taste of organic brown eggs over white eggs.

                                      One thing I'm glad that's gone away (at least in the media) is all the variations of the Martini. Apple-tini, Choco-tini... etc. All I want is gin and vermouth. :-)

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: dave_c

                                        The product that people are actually looking for (i.e. real animals from real farms...if you know what I mean) is healthier.

                                        However, I hear what you are saying. And it is depressing.

                                        1. re: DougRisk

                                          Brown eggs just come from a different type of chicken than white eggs. Brown eggs come from Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rock, and New Hampshire. White and brown eggs are nutritionally the same.

                                          Free-range and pastured chickens I'm skeptical about. Pastured chickens are put out in the pasture in a cage, which the farmer moves a couple of times a day to force them to eat different greens. Free-range, in the US, applies only to chickens that are allowed to go outside. How long they go outside for or how much space they have to move around in is not defined.

                                          1. re: Euonymous

                                            Pastured chickens are not "forced" to eat anything. They spend the night in large mobile pens that are moved from field to field every day or so to provide access to fresh pasture and bugs. They happily enter the pens at night, for they know the danger of nocturnal predators. The taste of a pastured egg is far superior to a caged one.

                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                              Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. Regardless, the pastured chickens are penned and moved around by the farmer to different parts of the field in their pens. When they get hungry, they have no choice but to eat what is available to them in that new, fairly small area. This is probably a good thing, as a chicken left on the field on its own would likely stay in the same spot eating from that same spot day after day. After all, they are chickens, and not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed.

                                              The superior taste of an egg from a pastured chicken, which I didn't address in my original post, is mainly due to the bugs that the pastured chicken can eat.

                                              1. re: Euonymous

                                                I buy eggs from farmers and have heard "foodie" customers quiz them about whether the chickens are free range. One farmer's response is that if she had truly free range chickens, they'd be lunch for the local foxes, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, and possibly neighborhood dogs. Hence the use of the portable pens.

                                                1. re: Euonymous

                                                  A polite word in defense of chickens, Eu.
                                                  I've kept backyard chickens most of my life.
                                                  They are incredibly adept at finding food and can't be 'forced' to eat something. A proper free-range chicken forages widely in search of various tidbits, depending on their mood, the seasons and what's on offer. They are not at all dumb about finding food - it is their livelihood.
                                                  Chickens kept in mobile arks ('pastured') eat the greens and bugs they fancy and leave the rest, assuming other food is available.
                                                  If the ark is kept in one place too long, eventually everything will be destroyed beneath it, but this is mostly due to vigorous scratching rather than because 'everything' gets eaten.
                                                  Laying chickens always get a supplementary diet of grain or prepared food, in any case - the greens are not their only food source.

                                                  The yolk of an egg from a chicken that has access to green food is a much brighter yellow (unless the cage bird is being fed colorant, which the cage egg industry does do, to compensate) and tastes much better.

                                                  And Harrie - my chickens have always known enough to come into their coop on their own at night, leaving me to shut them safely in at dusk.

                                                  1. re: AnotherMother

                                                    Another +1- although my hens originally all tried to roost in the orange tree (I had green-egg-layers, with some jungle fowl in their background). They're easier to get hold of and put in the coop after they've already roosted.
                                                    And I once saw them all freeze- they simply stopped moving. I watched them for several minutes, not one of them so much as blinked. There must have been a hawk around. After a while they started to move around a bit, then back to normal.
                                                    I think I'm smarter than a chicken, but I never saw or felt any hawk.

                                          2. re: dave_c

                                            I remember as a kid we used to go visit relatives in Georgia for the summer. They had their own chicken coop. The eggs were brown, and still to this day, those were the best tasting eggs that I have ever had. Nothing in the stores come close, not even those labeled free-range or organic.

                                            Truth be told, I was deathly afraid that the chickens would peck me if I went in with my cousin to gather the eggs.

                                          3. First of all. I'm surprised the whole thread hasn't been deleted. These people don't like to hear that someone doesn't like their latest ingredient du jour.

                                            Here is my list:
                                            eggplant, hummus, chickpeas, curry, Indian cuisine in general, cilantro. Saffron is mediocre at best. I've never been a big fan of tomato based sauces. They are ok. I don't understand why anyone would pay the price for fennel. By the time you trim down to the edible part, you have $6 per pound in it. That's steak price for an obscure vegetable.

                                            30 Replies
                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                              "First of all. I'm surprised the whole thread hasn't been deleted. These people don't like to hear that someone doesn't like their latest ingredient du jour."
                                              Really? I've seen threads locked, or subthreads deleted, because they have gotten too heated or personal, but haven't seen any deleted because 'they' (Chow moderators?) are protecting some ingredient.

                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                I don't know what kind of fennel you're buying that you need to trim it so much. Are you thinking of artichokes instead?

                                                1. re: piccola

                                                  In my grocery store, fennel is $4 and change per pound. By the time you trim those enormous fronds that have little use, the price is close to $6 per pound.

                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                    I don't buy fennel at $4 a lb. It has to be under 2 for me to bite. At times this winter I was able to get it closer $1/lb. Sometimes though they are sold by the count. Last I bought was from Trader Joes, a 20oz clam shell box of 2 trimmed bulbs, for about $2.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      If I ever see it at that price($1 - $2/lb), I will certainly experiment with it.

                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                        Did you just write off an entire sub-continent of cuisine as being "over rated" (not to mention the cuisine of almost 1/6th of all living human beings)?

                                                        1. re: mateo21

                                                          yep....it's crap

                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                            Certain dishes, maybe, are overhyped, especially if your only experience with the food has been at lousy restaurants or buffets and all you know of Indian food is butter chicken, kormas drowning in oil and menus with a zillion types of beef curry that all taste basically the same.

                                                            It seems kind of, you know, ridiculous to designate a whole type of cuisine as overhyped though if you haven't had much experience with it or cooked it yourself from a decent guide.

                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                              Maybe you don't like certain dishes.

                                                              Perhaps I don't like certain French, or German, or Norwegian dishes. But I would never say that I found European food to be crap.

                                                      2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                        I only ever buy it by the unit and never for more than $2.50. Plus, you can eat the fronds.

                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                          I'm lucky, then. It's always bothered me that I don't really like fennel, which cuts out a lot of recipes in some of my Italian cookbooks.

                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                            Frankly, I have never eaten fennel. I would like to try it and see what all the hub bub is all about. And as i said, If I ever see it cheap enough (even $2 - $3 per pound), I will pick some up and have a bite.

                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                              Texture is bit like celery, but the flavor is a mild licorice. I use it most often in salads, sliced thin (across the grain). As with most salad ingredients, contrasting texture and color can be as important as flavor.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                I think salad is the best vehicle for fennel, especially if you combine it with acid and salt -- lemon juice and shaved pecorino, for example. Throw in some different texture (I like avocado) and you're golden. It's pretty monochromatic, but still delicious.

                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                  Sauté with good oil. Brown it a bit.
                                                                  Use in fried rice.
                                                                  Poached in stock, with or without the protein present.
                                                                  Etc.
                                                                  Best when done by itself while cooking (for me), other veggies/sides may be eaten with the entree alongside the fennel.

                                                                  Using it in a salad - very rare (if at all) for me.

                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                    slice it, toss with a little oil S&P, and roast until edges are lightly browned & crispy, and center is meltingly soft. dee-licious!

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      I always mean to cook it, but end up eating raw because it tastes so good that way. (Same with berries -- I almost never bake with berries because they never last that long in my house.)

                                                                  2. re: paulj

                                                                    I cook til tender in stock or water, quarter, sprinkle with cheeses and drizzle with butter and bake. I also maker a killer Batali salad with shaved fennel, blood oranges, pomegranite "seeds."

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      That's probably my problem. Hate licorice. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Hate it.

                                                                      1. re: jmckee

                                                                        I loathe licorice, but love fennel.

                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                          Same here. Fennel is licoricey but it's nothing like disgusting (to me) black licorice. Fennel has a bright clean flavor not cloying like it's candy equivalent.

                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                            I love both fennel AND licorice.
                                                                            Fennel in dried salami is exceptionally divine.
                                                                            And I love that funky, salty licorice with just a whiff of ammonia aroma.

                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                              I love them too, all the way up to mildly salty licorice candy sans ammonia whiff, including ouzo and pastis.

                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                Agree w/ pika and melo above. I do not like licorice. Ick.
                                                                                Licorice-flavored liqueurs are disgusting to me. My gag reflex kicks in when I try one.

                                                                                I like fennel bulb. I like fennel seed in certain things, good salami being one, certain kinds of curry being others.

                                                                              2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                I'm the opposite. I like licorice, but hate fennel. Weird, I know.

                                                                          2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                            If you expect it to blow your mind, it won't. It's just a nice green thing that you can eat, along with all the other thousand lovely green things out there. Fennel shouldn't be hyped any more than celery should be.

                                                                        2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                          Where do you live that fennel is $4/lb? Around my parts it ranges from something like $1.99 to $2.99 or so per head/bulb, including all fronds. The size of the bulb may vary from OK to pretty huge.

                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                            HEB grocery Austin, Texas

                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                              I love Fennel, I have a recipe with swiss chard and fennel that is so delicious...I have to find it....

                                                                              1. re: myst

                                                                                I love the Zuni fennel and pears recipe. I'd like to see your recipe as even with help from the deer, I have tons of chard.

                                                                    2. Sun dried tomatoes
                                                                      Banana peppers (little green pickled peppers)

                                                                      Neither of these ingredients makes food taste any better to me than fresh tomatoes or other kinds of peppers.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: RGC1982

                                                                        You can send then to me! I like both, but can't get them, so over hyping is not a problem.

                                                                        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                          I am generally not a huge fan of sun dried tomatoes, but I do mix them with little mozzarella balls, basil and olive oil. It is one of my favorite picnic dishes.

                                                                        2. re: RGC1982

                                                                          Right there with you on the SDT. Yuck. And I looove tomatoes.

                                                                        3. Arugala...my guinea pigs won't even eat it...but, I do love cilantro

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: saucyjohnny

                                                                            I've gotten VERY discriminating about arugula. WF has great stuff. I had a horse who would eat carrot tops but not beet tops.

                                                                            1. re: saucyjohnny

                                                                              Plus, Arugula will go bad while you wash your hands before making dinner.

                                                                              1. re: saucyjohnny

                                                                                I love wilted argula on prociutto pizza. Heaven! oops I'm supposed to complaining. ... I don't really care for Risotto either, but that is a dish...

                                                                                1. re: myst

                                                                                  my husband isn't into risotto either, no matter how I make it

                                                                              2. Balsamic Vinegar ~~~~~~~~

                                                                                Oh, and cilantro is the ingredient in soap that makes it taste like soap!!! :)

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                  Thank you, I was going to post balsamic vinegar. I think it's completely over hyped.

                                                                                  1. re: Euonymous

                                                                                    I think it has its place -- just not in everything. But that's true of all ingredients, isn't it?

                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                      I agree. I think people were putting it on too many things. I know I was. Now I have more types of vinegars and don't use the balsamic all that often.

                                                                                2. Truffles. *ducks*

                                                                                  Truly, though... I think truffles taste like the bottom of a woodsman's shoe, and not in a good way, just in a basement-y way. I feel a bit the same about saffron, which a couple others have mentioned. To me it tastes, if anything at all, like bleach. I'm absolutely willing to admit that it may just be a personal taste issue, but it seems that certain ingredients have such cachet that people cop to liking them even if they're not really all that thrilling. Just because something is labor-intensive, rare, difficult-to-produce or sold for a king's ransom doesn't make it worth eating.

                                                                                  I think the ABin5 and No-Knead techniques were massively over-hyped, as though they were going to single-handedly revolutionize home baking. I've made good and terrible bread with both methods, as well as with "ordinary" recipes, and each has its own merits -- realistically, IMO, they all take about the same amount of time, make the same amount of mess, and require the same amount of commitment to keep up with; it just depends on what you're looking for.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                    Agreed. I think truffles smell and taste like motor oil. A friend who has worked in a 'fine dining' restaurant almost bit my head off for saying this.

                                                                                    1. re: limoen

                                                                                      Pig shit. That's what they taste like, or rather, they taste like pig shit smells. Seriously, I come near truffles and my mind's at the county fair watching the prize winning sows.

                                                                                      1. re: Basiorana

                                                                                        That just means you don't like truffles, doesn't mean that truffles are necessarily overhyped.

                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          I think truffles are the *definition* of overhyped. When seemingly every chef, cooking-show host, and foodie writes in rapturous superlatives about the "experience" of tasting truffles for the first time, when people are pitied for never having tried them or mocked for having disliked them, when the word itself is practically the embodiment of fine cuisine, when they've been put in everything from roast chicken to chocolate whether the resulting dish is actually delicious or not... I call that overhyped.

                                                                                          Which is, of course, not to say that someone shouldn't like them! :D

                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                            That's fair.

                                                                                            But what Basiorana said in her post describing truffles as "Pig shit" seems to fall more on the side of "don't like" as opposed to "overhyped".

                                                                                            I mean for example I think pale ales taste like pig sweat, but I wouldn't categorize the suds as overhyped necessarily.

                                                                                    2. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                      A true truffle-lover would simply smile and think, "More truffles for me."

                                                                                      I ADORE truffles. To me, they are a unique and utterly delicious food experience. Yet I know many people who don't like them at all. No problem, that way I do not feel obliged to share my carefully guarded and very expensive Italian salsa di tarftufo!

                                                                                      1. re: visciole

                                                                                        Me, too. I am smitten by truffles, especially white. Love the flavour, aroma and texture. We go truffle hunting in Italy and Croatia and get them as fresh as they come.

                                                                                        1. re: visciole

                                                                                          I agree, an I haven't even had European truffles. I got a brown oregon truffle and it was captivating, sensuous and made me think of sex.. If I do get to taste a really good European one I'm almost afraid of what will happen.

                                                                                      2. Is this an 'over hyped' thread, or a 'things I don't like' thread?

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                          No kidding. I wish the mods fussed when threads derailed like this, instead of when they get uncomfortable with tension.

                                                                                          Oh, and to stay on topic? I am still waiting for truffle oil to die away. I like it well enough in small doses, but it's been such a cheesy restaurant tool to make people think they're getting something status-y. Oh, the glamor!

                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                            I think the noise of the 'I don't like' people gets rather louder than the 'hyped' people.

                                                                                          2. I wholeheartedly agree about the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce. I've had two different people who don't know each other tell me it was God's gift to pasta, and it's decidely "meh" to me. And I also don't care for smoked paprika. On the other hand, I could eat my weight in cilantro.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: redthong

                                                                                              I've made her tomato sauce on numerous occasions. My wife loves it, but I think it's just ok compared to some of the reviews I've seen. I usually try to "spice" it up with either basil, sauteed garlic, shredded carrot, and/or bay leaves.

                                                                                              I do however think it's easy and way better than the crap you buy at the store.

                                                                                            2. Hi Folks-

                                                                                              Since this thread seems to have focused more on ingredients rather than recipes, we have moved it from the Home Cooking board to the General Topics board. If you would like to discuss specific recipes then feel free to start another thread that focuses specifically on recipes back on the Home Cooking board.

                                                                                              1. Okay, I just thought of another recipe: Hazan's roasted chicken. Someone on Chow got all hot and bothered when I said the sound of it didn't appeal to me, so I went ahead and made it. I used a good quality chicken, some lovely, fragrant lemons from my tree, and freshly cracked pepper and salt.

                                                                                                It. Was. Blah.

                                                                                                Maybe Marcella Hazan and I are just not destined to be.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Jadore

                                                                                                  Yeah, she just tore up your invitation to Sunday dinner.

                                                                                                  1. re: Jadore

                                                                                                    It's a solid recipe, and I didn't consider it blah. However I can certainly see where you're coming from. I usually like to add some crunch to the skin and flavor by adding an herb butter to the skin and under the skin.

                                                                                                  2. Dill. It overpowers everything. Though maybe that's a "stuff I don't like distinction" so I will say as to overhyped:

                                                                                                    Pot Roast. I've tried almost every recipe in the book trying to make an ideal cold evening dinner, and it always tastes like, well, somebody's pot roast. I don't care who says the brown bits are divine or that the fat melts into the muscle...meh. It's just fatty brown meat.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: thursday

                                                                                                      "It's just fatty brown meat.'

                                                                                                      You say it like.... it's a bad thing. That is its most endearing quality.

                                                                                                    2. Right now, kale. I mean I enjoy kale but the whole kale chip crave was a bit over the top.
                                                                                                      All of a sudden big bags of kale greet shoppers entering the produce aisle.

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        Wow...really HillJ? I'm ready to get my bumpersticker for "Kale to the Chief" or better "Kale Yes!"... kale is top-notch and will do the American people a HELLUVA lotta good... WE NEED KALE chips!!! yes we do!! there....I feel better now...I do not feel that it's overhyped...Publix does not have it in the produce aisle...more people need to know about it!

                                                                                                        1. re: Val

                                                                                                          Sorry Val, don't let me (as if) step on your kale love I'm just not smitten by the kale chip hype. Do I saute fresh kale with garlic & oil, add it to soup-you bet. But the chip love is lost on me, completely.

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            Where you live and where I live, so totally different...I have made my own kale chips but was curious about a recent CH post raving about the store-bought kind...went to Whole Foods, and not very many salespeople even knew where they were located...so in YOUR world, they are over-hyped...in my world, nobody even knows WHAT they are and where to find them!!!! Just kind of funny....

                                                                                                            1. re: Val

                                                                                                              Valid point, Val. Exposure I understand. Is FL really that much diff food wise than NJ, tho.

                                                                                                              I've tried the pre packaged flavored (curry) kale chips from a NJ deli and at least they had some body to them...the batch a dear friend made from fresh kale were like a dry, rough on the tongue herby paper that I would never bother making again. It was a real dud.

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                I'm so with you on kale chips frenzy - and I'm super into kale, Val - you could call me a "kale zealot" - I have an "Eat More Kale" t-shirt and bumper sticker to boot! But kale chips? If I'm gonna have a chip, I'm gonna have some sorta starchy veg chip. And if I'm gonna have kale, I'm gonna have it sauteed with some garlic, in soup, whirled into a green smoothie, shredded in a salad, etc. etc. etc.

                                                                                                                GG
                                                                                                                http://www.semisweetonline.com

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  You do realize that kale along with other "greens" are big parts of Southern cooking, right? Florida, being in the South and NJ being definitely not in the South?

                                                                                                                  While I like fresh kale chips that I make, I especially love sauteed kale with bacon bits and sauteed garlic.

                                                                                                        2. Mac&cheese. OK grassroot American is making a resurgence, but it seems to be everywhere and hyped. I wanna say ITS KRAFT DINNER for crying out loud...
                                                                                                          "High end" vodka. OK, there are subleties and flavor profiles, but when you hear the the yuppie voice inflection when ordering a bloody mary with "GREY GOOSE", you'd think it was heaven sent.

                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                            If you make macaroni and cheese from scratch is NOTHING like Kraft Dinner.

                                                                                                            1. re: Euonymous

                                                                                                              Im not comparing one to another, im just saying its overhyped noodles and cheese...

                                                                                                            2. re: porker

                                                                                                              I've never understood calling for a top shelf vodka (etc.) in a drink like a bloody mary - can you really tell what kind of vodka is in a drink with tomato juice/hot sauce/horseradish/worcestershire? Same for any multi-ingredient cocktail. Would they order top shelf if they were alone, or buy it for their home bloody marys? Just sayin'.

                                                                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                Thats part of my point ;-)
                                                                                                                And yes, they order it when alone and buy it for home bloody marys. Why? Cause its overhyped...

                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                  I am a vodka drinker from way back, mainly bloodys and VT. In a bloody, it flat doesn't matter. In a VT, you need a smoother vodka. Smirnoff is my go to vodka. If some is pouring fancy one's, I don't turn it down.

                                                                                                                2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                  I can tell!

                                                                                                                  Come on.
                                                                                                                  Bloody Mary with Schmirnoff.
                                                                                                                  Bloody Mary with Grey Goose.

                                                                                                                  Tell me, which one you going to follow a hangover with?

                                                                                                                  Life, life is too short for cheap booze.

                                                                                                                  1. re: CalicoPaisley

                                                                                                                    I'm not calling you a liar, but I'd be shocked if you could tell which was which in a blind bloody mary tasting. I'm a sommelier (with a great palate, if I do say so myself) and I couldn't.

                                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                      I don't think it's palate-related, at least not for me. I used to drink bottom shelf vodka and grapefruit juice with abandon. The bitterness of the grapefruit juice masks the taste of the vodka, no matter how horrid the vodka might be if drunk straight. But these days my head and my gut can tell, even if my tastebuds can't.

                                                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                                                        Smirnoff isn't bottom shelf, though. It's a perfectly serviceable product.

                                                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                          Yep, as I said in my post, below.

                                                                                                                    2. re: CalicoPaisley

                                                                                                                      I can definitely tell. Give me a bloody mary made with Alexei or Georgi or some other rotgut vodka, and I'll have a headache before I've finished the celery. Time was I could drink cheap crap and not suffer. Those days are gone, unfortunately. But Smirnoff isn't really that bad, I don't think.

                                                                                                                      1. re: CalicoPaisley

                                                                                                                        Grey Goose is not a particularly good vodka. It has a good marketing dept., is all.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          Word.

                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                            Which by definition, makes it overhyped, no?

                                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                                              Sure does, but I believe CP was making the opposite point - as in, he/she can tell the "higher" quality vodka from the "swill". Which is funny, b/c neither one of them are either.

                                                                                                                          2. re: CalicoPaisley

                                                                                                                            Hangover? I gave up hangovers in college. As for cheap booze...

                                                                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/26/din...

                                                                                                                      2. Restos that dress up tilapia, a trash fish, with fancy sounding sauces and try to sell you half of one for 15 bucks.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                          In an area rich in fish resources (or even not) I never got tilapia - hated it from the first taste. Don't understand the popularity of it at all. And I'm not a fan of cilantro or fennel.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                            Aw, I LIKE tilapia, when it's super fresh and my mother pan fries it. How's it 'trash'? I'm genuinely curious.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Jadore

                                                                                                                              'trash' is just their way of showing disdain for low cost farmed fish.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jadore

                                                                                                                                Poor word choice on my part. I have no fault with the fish per se, just the typical fish farms in China, which are massive ponds of fecal soup and pesticides, and the fish are fed the lowest forms of organic matter which can affect their taste. I have tilapia in my little lake in Florida and I won't let anyone fish them, but I can't control the herons and ospreys.

                                                                                                                            2. No recipes, but ingredients. List includes OVERHYPED ingredients, not ingredients that are bad or ones that I do not like.

                                                                                                                              - Bacon
                                                                                                                              - EVOO
                                                                                                                              - Fresh pasta
                                                                                                                              - Quinoa
                                                                                                                              - Heirloom tomatoes
                                                                                                                              - Free-range [insert animal of choice]

                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                Bacon overhyped!? Never... :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                  ipse, you forgot butter!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                    Do you really think butter is overhyped?

                                                                                                                                    Personally, I'm not a fan of butter (except for baking), but that doesn't mean I think butter is overhyped.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                      i actually do think it's overhyped. many people seem to think that adding it *always* improves a dish, and that more is better...kinda like bacon :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        Roger that.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                    Fresh pasta? No, no, no, ipse :) When I make it or have it in restaurant, I think it deserves all the hype it gets.

                                                                                                                                    I just "discovered" quinoa a few months ago and adore it. A Chow-friend told me it's an old hippie food. But I guess it got rediscovered.

                                                                                                                                    Heirlooms tomatoes? Aw man, I'm going to be able to start growing tomatoes again this summer and Brandywines and Costoluto Genovese are definitely going to be my top two choices.

                                                                                                                                    Bacon I guess I agree. I love it but it's getting kinda silly out there.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                      My mouth is watering about the Brandywines, C. They were *always* in my mama's garden growing up, and I still think they're the best heirloom out there for flavor.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                      I absolutely agree about bacon. Some peoples' bacon obsessions are truly frightening. Yes, I agree bacon is the the tastiest meat on the planet. But I certainly have more self control than to cook up half a package every Sunday, yikes....

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                        Oh, bacon absolutely. Nothing against it, and I love a good BLT more than just about anything, but bacon in ice cream or chocolate? That's just being cultish, and yes, I've tried them both.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                          Ahhhh! I was wondering when someone was going to bring up quinoa! I haven't tried it yet, but I have bought some, almost against my instincts. I hate following a crowd. I bought it because as a recently diagnosed diabetic, I hear it's good for me because it is a protein not a carb. I'll give it a shot, but I truly am tired of hearing about it. Like ipsedixit I don't define over-hyped as not tasty. I would add panko and I'm begging all of you, can we please stop saying umami?

                                                                                                                                        2. Overhyped? Foie gras. I like foie. Nice texture, un-offending taste - if it were $7/pound I'd buy it. But nothing to write home about.

                                                                                                                                          Underhyped - chicken liver.

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                            +1 on chicken liver, to the third power. Which is still +1.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                              I'm just wondering who's hyping chicken liver, much less overhyping it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                I'm saying it's underhyped, that it should be hyped more, contrasted against foie gras. Because it's awesome and dirt cheap and few restaurants do anything with it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                  Oops. Sorry missed. Missed my Ritalin for the day.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                    But like chicken wings, osso bucco, short ribs, beef bones, etc., it won't be dirt cheap once someone makes a fashionable dish - you'll be telling your grandkids (in a surly tone) "I remember when chicken livers used to be 49 cents a pound for crissakes." hehe.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                      So true.

                                                                                                                                              2. I don't agree with a single thing anyone has said so far--except, maybe, truffles.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                  What about the overhype of sushi?

                                                                                                                                                  ...

                                                                                                                                                  hehe just joking!

                                                                                                                                                2. sous vide

                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                                                    Yes! Can't believe I didn't think of this!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                                                      Sous vide is neither a dish nor an ingredient. And my guess is most chefs would beg to differ, as this method gives them serious control over their cooking results.

                                                                                                                                                      What exactly is your problem with sous vide? Do you have a preference for other prep methods? Is poaching overhyped, too?

                                                                                                                                                      Just curious.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                        It's a method. I'd call it "overhyped" because it's a) super-trendy, b) outside the reach of most home cooks, and c) pitched as a revelation non pareil, as though a home cook or restaurant chef cannot possibly be really really good without adding it to their repertoire.

                                                                                                                                                        As ipse said above, this doesn't mean I (or anyone else) dislikes it, just that it's overhyped.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                          Judging from threads on Home Cooking, the people who talking about adding sous vide to their home repertoire are the geeks, who are trying to do it without spending an arm and leg. Who is saying that a home cook has to add it to their repertoire?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                            +1 to all of it

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                              Then may I please add to specifically "overhyped methods", the method of the tartare.

                                                                                                                                                              i.e. steak tartare.
                                                                                                                                                              Rare steak? Yeah, please. Gimme.
                                                                                                                                                              Tower of rare beef passingly dressed with sauce and garnish, ah, yeah that is a bit hard for me to swallow.

                                                                                                                                                              Anyone is welcome to disagree but I do not get this one.
                                                                                                                                                              P.S. I love sushi.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                              I know it is neither a dish or an ingredient, thanks.
                                                                                                                                                              LauraGrace's post captures my sense. I didn't say it was bad, I have had wonderful sous vide, I have had sous vide that was nothing special, but it is IMO overhyped.
                                                                                                                                                              Can't I have an opinion even if "most chefs" would disagree?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                                                                Sorry if my follow-up questions were perceived as dissing your opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                I think sous-vide would be less 'overhyped' if it weren't such a great way for chefs to control temps.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Cooks Illustrated Eye Round Roast.....

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                              Have to strongly disagree, but I'm using grass fed beef, so maybe that makes the difference.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Has anybody mentioned polenta, yet? It's corn meal mush for god's sake!

                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure it is or was a god send for poverty stricken people in corn country.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                can I add Anson Mills grits to that? Not that I've ever bought that brand.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                  When we're in Sonoma, CA, we go to a great place for breakfast. They have the best grits I've ever tasted and, being from the South, I can be harsh critic. The owner said they used to grind their own but it became such a popular item that he now orders two different Anson Mills ones and mixes them. Next time I need grits I'm going to call him and ask for specifics.

                                                                                                                                                                  My box of grits and bag of polenta look and taste and feel quite different from each other. Each has a place in my repertoire.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                  Polenta and grits both.

                                                                                                                                                                3. anything served minced and raw IE tartare, carpaccio, raw egg served on top of any dish

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                    Even the Ethiopian dish kitfo?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                      A discussion about making kifto has been moved to the Home Cooking board. You can find it here:

                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780589

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Definitely cooking with extra virgin olive oil is overhyped. And bacon, which I love, is getting treated to ridiculous abuse as candied bacon, bacon ice cream, bacon-infused vodka, bacon cupcakes, etc., etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                      Bacon beer... :-\

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                        Seriously curious about the oo comment. It has its place and for me a larger place than any of the other lipids. But I have peanut, vegetable, duck fat, butter, etc. And a few different oo's depending on usage.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                          Well I was referring to the trend of cooking with extra virgin olive oil as being overhyped. Anywho, I personally don't cook with evoo. I use it daily on vegetables, bread, in salad dressings, a tablespoon in my dog's dinner every night - but not to cook with. It is my understanding that heat actually damages the qualities that make it healthy and may, in fact, make it unhealthy. I prefer to use regular oo to cook at low temps, let's say for an omelet, and a vegetable, canola or peanut oil for high temp frying.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                            I can't resist the urge to point out that if you cook sous vide with EVOO, you can preserve the taste and healthful qualities of the oil.

                                                                                                                                                                            Overhyped ingredient + overhyped technique = perfect

                                                                                                                                                                            *runs away*

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, wait! Where you going???

                                                                                                                                                                              I'd hit that.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                v. good - don't run cowboy :-)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                I have 2 oils in the kitchen, canola for use when I don't want any flavor from the oil, and a moderately priced Spanish EVOO (Trader Joes) for dressings and Spanish/Italian inspired cooking. A regular oo would be redundant in that context. Occasionally I'll have a small bottle of specialty EVOO in the dinning room for dipping and such.

                                                                                                                                                                                But if I had to shop for my OO at a regular grocery I might buy a bottle of regular just to keep cost reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                Overhyped ingredient + overhyped store = perfect

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                Duck fat is so much more interesting and flavorful, but hard for me to come by.

                                                                                                                                                                              4. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree, it seems bacon is everywhere, but bacon ice cream is DELICIOUS.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                  Bacon cologne.... http://www.fargginay.com/shop-1.html

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                    Denny's offers now a maple bacon shake..... blech ;:-/

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I think Trader Joe's is over-hyped. But to be fair, it has been at least 20 years since I set foot in one.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the benefits of farmers markets to be over-hyped. I'm sure the produce is fresher but it is very expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I tried buying eggs directly from a local farmer. I couldn't find much difference except for the many colors of the shells and, of course that I was paying twice what my grocery store was charging.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Caviar .... really salty fish eggs umm good.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Smoked Salmon... I really like salmon but it transforms into something completely different after it is smoked and it isn't good.

                                                                                                                                                                                    36 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                      funny I shop at TJ weekly and don't think it is over-hyped. I was buying some sale items at a regular grocery today, and thought 'If I had to do all my shopping here, my grocery bill would double'. Thankfully I have some produce stands and places like Grocery Outlet for things that TJs isn't good at.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed re TJ. It's the ultimate low-key, non hoity toity kinda place. I'd have a hard time not having it available. A Chow-friend of mine just moved to Texas from Florida and has never been to TJs. I was so excited to tell him about the closest one, only to discover there are NONE in the whole state. Great state of Texas indeed :( J/K

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          Indeed. I grew up in new orleans and live in austin now. never even HEARD of trader joe's other than on food forums.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                        Amen on caviar.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                          i personally don't think TJ's is over-hyped, but i can see why someone who doesn't shop there or has had bad experiences with their products would think it is. i guess people could say the same thing about Whole Paycheck or Costco too!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm in Canada, so no TJ's. Reading about it here, I expected something very different than what I eventually found when visiting San Francisco. Now that I've been I realize that people go there for specific things, and nobody really does a full shop there. It's also very unglamorous of course. Although I'm definitely more a TJ's type than Whole Foods (I'm cheap!) WF is way more fun to browse and the first time I went it felt exciting. So perhaps 'overhyped' isn't quite the right word for it but I was definitely disappointed by my first visit to TJ's, it seemed bare, dull and unexciting.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                              I've described TJ's to Canadians as being like a President's Choice store -basically, budget gourmet type stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                With produce, meat, and frozen meat, fish, and prepared foods. PC is only packaged goods, I think?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, it isn't -- they've got all sorts of dairy, baked goods, frozen foods and packaged produce (ie, prepped veggies). As far as I know, there's no PC bulk produce, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I haven't been in a Canadian supermarket in entirely too long, apparently!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, to be fair, PC isn't in every supermarket, just Loblaws/Superstore and No Frills. And some random independent stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My brother (in Richmond Hill) is big on PC products. Some of the cookies at TJs are Dare who I bet also supply PC, no? "And the circle, it goes up and down..." as Joni has it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    PC is good but i would advise never ever ever buying produce from there.. anytime ive ever shopped there the produce is terrible.. goes bad in a day kinda bad. everything else is excellent tho. very very cheap place to shop for groceries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karli.s.6785

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Canadian PC, Presidents Choice, is a line of quality 'generic' products, not a store with produce etc. I forget which chain(s) carries it. Superstore? It may vary with province. For a few years a regional chain in Washington and Oregon carried PC products (Fred Myers).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      When I first encountered PC products I most impressed with their cookies, such as the double decadent chocolate. But on my last vacation trip in BC the only PC item that I bought was a Spanish style chorizo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We used to live in Southern Oregon and remember PC. Are they not there anymore? I remember them as good products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fredy's hasn't had PC products for while, though I don't recall when they dropped them. FM is now part of the Kroger chain. With a Trader Joes nearby, and Asian groceries and produce stands to fill in the gaps, I don't shop regular groceries like this very often now.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                              Trader Joe's is over-hyped. They sell produce that's just about to pass its prime. Then there's price. Those cute little bags of shallots are actually more per pound than any of the upscale grocery stores in the Twin Cities.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought the produce in a Trader Joe's was just there for decoration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Haven't you seen all the raves about their produce on the quarterly Yeas and nays thread? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I suspect Sarah has projected her own notion of what makes a great grocery onto other peoples' raves. That may be true of many of these over-hyping opinions. A place, product or recipe suits person A's tastes and he raves about. Person B, with different tastes and needs, tries it and is not impressed. B then labels the item over-hyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: SarahInMinneapolis

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My wife's second cousin loves the place and couldn't BELIEVE we'd never been. What a waste of an afternoon. Probably the most overly hyped place I've ever shopped for food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What were you expecting?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Something other than run of the mill store-branded prepared food. Something better in produce / meat than what I can get at my local supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use Traders mainly for its semi-prepared food and condiments, especially ones that they import under their own label. Ready to eat (or heat and serve) frozen items are hit and miss. The kind of meat and produce that you want require more space (front and back), local buyers and more frequent delivery. In a sense it is closer to an old fashioned grocery store than a modern supermarket. The butcher, baker, green grocer and deli are next door or around the block.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You spent an AFTERNOON at TJ's????? Wow. I'm not sure I've ever spent more than 30 minutes there. It's not a place for all one's shopping. But some of the things they do, they do quite well. I've been to WAY more over-hyped food places than that. Three I can think of off the top of my head are Macy's Cellar, Harrods Food Court and El Corte Ingles. And I love all three of them :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only grocery chain I have ever enjoyed lingering in is Wegman's. They have the most diverse and abundant product list of all the chains I shop. Plus I can grab a bite to eat, a cup of coffee and sit upstairs in the customer lounge with clients and no one minds. I adore their international food section and their unusual homewares selection. The time spent there would be enhanced ifl I could score a tire rotation and an oil change while I'm there. Is there too much hype surrounding Wegman"s?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nope. Wegmans rocks to the max.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've not been to Wegmans but obviously I need to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It has saved my culinary sanity in central PA, that's for sure. We have a Trader Joe's coming in the fall, but judging from my one and only visit to a TJ's in Boston recently, it's no competition

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like it. But not an option for me :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not even in the same ballpark, linguafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where in the US is Wegman's? I've not heard of one in Arizona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wegmans originated upstate NY (Rochester I think), and it's a North Atlantic 'chain' of supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOVE Wegmans!!! I consider it a major perk that we have one about 25 minutes away (and conveniently located on the same highway I take to and from work.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It takes time to get there and back. It's not in my neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I drive 100+ miles and 2 hours roundtrip. BUT I hit Costco and everything else when I do that. About once a week. We have few options nearby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  'It's not a place for all one's shopping.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, really?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Red velvet cake. It's not chocolate. It's just red. It's also way too sweeeet! And yet, every bakery is judged on how well they do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought most red velvet cake was just chocolate cake with a boatload of red food coloring in it. It should be as good as any other chocolate cake....shouldn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have seen a yellow cake with a bunch of blue food coloring in it... positively repulsive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Correct, it's most definitely chocolate. It was originally colored with beets instead of food coloring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That being said, I hate it too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the point is that while it's 'chocolate', it's not chocolatey enough to satisy a chocolate cake craving. The flavour is really nowhere. If you look at recipes the cocoa content is often very low.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The trend, in cupcake form, has even come to Canada (where we have no tradition of this cake AFAIK - it's definitely not something southern Grandma once made, it's a trendy bakery/coffee shop item) and I don't get it either. A vehicle for cream cheese icing perhaps? One day I'll make the 'authentic' version people I respect here rave about, with cooked butter frosting: but I'm scared that it will still just taste like not-really-chocolate, not-really-anything-else-either to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well. You taste with your eyes first. Maybe the color is so offputting that it just doesn't taste like chocolate to some people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't find the colour off-putting. I do find the flavour lacking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I fully agree about red velvet cake, but I've never had it too 'sweet'. I've tried it twice and both times, I was thinking it tasted of nothing. So weird. I don't get why people freak out over it, honestly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Red Velvet was going to be my answer. Don't get it at all, but everyone else goes apeshit for it. It's so bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm not one to insist that if you hate something, you haven't had a good version of it, because I don't believe that's true, but I did find that by roasting the onion first, then adding it to the Marcella Hazan sauce, the whole thing came out much better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'd have to agree--in my opinion--Bacon is over-hyped because people keep adding it to all things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also (and surely I'll acquire a boatload of haters--as per usual), but I think--in my opinion--that pie and doughnuts are over-hyped in the United States.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think cupcakes, for anyone over the age of six, is overhyped. But aren't they "out" now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who doesn't like a flavorful cupcake with a beautiful frosting? Think of it as portion control! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Glam Foodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't worry c oliver, despite my picture and past-experience with cupcake crawls: I am done with cupcakes as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              'atta girl ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Glam Foodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Me as well

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I think Fettucine Alfredo is overrated, in the sense that it's so ubiquitous. I've had it at a few upscale Italian restaurants, and I've ALWAYS regretted it and wished I'd ordered another dish. It lacks complexity and while the creaminess makes for a good comfort food, there are so many other flavor-rich Italian dishes to order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Glam Foodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I read an article in Saveur years ago about the supposed "original" Alfredo that was made tableside, and was the height of simplicity, evidently. I wouldn't call *that* overhyped -- and definitely not ubiquitous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh I agree with Alfredo too. (And spaghetti and lasagna too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (And burgers.) (Because any foods that America over-loves, I am sick of them all.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Ketchup -- too sweet, too tangy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sriracha -- see ketchup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Goat cheese -- usually crap, and even the good stuff doesn't belong in most recipes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheap sundried tomatoes -- tart, bitter, nasty; the good stuff comes in olive oil from Italy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Xiao long bao -- blah
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Granita/sorbet/whatever -- It doesn't matter how good this is, it will always be an unsatisfying diet option
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sea salt -- texture matters, but that's about it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Truffles -- There are plenty of cheap ingredients that are just as heady.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Xiao long bao is not an ingredient, neither is granita or sorbet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But the title also asks for recipes, and could extend to dishes as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nor are xiao long bao in any way, shape, or form "blah" if they're done right. Really excellent ones this Saturday at Old Shanghai on Bayard at Mott...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's funny to me re Sriracha. Seems like there was a thread along time ago that made it sound like the second coming of the Lord (no sacrilege intend this Easter morning). I've used it for decades but never knew til then its name. It's just something that I always have had on hand. But some people were acting like it was all brand new.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                XLB are something I dearly love and I actually have made them. Again it does seem like some people get carried away with them, behaving like there's nothing more to Asian food than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Please share with me truffle-equivalents. I bought one small one, one time and loved it. I'll be in your debt to have "plenty of cheap ingredients" to substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think there's any "substitute" for truffles, though porcini mushrooms come close. But I think that truffles are an ingredient on par with much less celebrated ingredients like fish sauce and gorgonzola. The hype about truffles stems from their price and rarity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Porcini are great, but truffles they ain't. It's OK if people don't like truffles or think they're over-hyped, but one thing they aren't is easy to substitute for. They taste like nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The hype is, I'm sure, related to the high price and rarity, but it's also related to the fact that, for those who love them, they are delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i don't like ketchup, but i don't think of it as "hyped," let alone over-hyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sriracha too sweet??
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But sriracha has no sugar or sweetener at all, and little acid. Do you mean sweet chili sauce, that syrupy condiment people use with spring rolls (and almost everything else)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AnotherMother

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha lists sugar as the second ingredient. I think you may be confusing Sriracha with chili garlic sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Agree on the truffles, cupcakes, and the best thing about red velvet cake is the cream cheese frosting- the cake not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Japalenos and chipotle- you can't go anywhere these without loads of these things in dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Since it still (much to my amazement) keeps popping up here, I nominate Chicken Marbella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Truffles. Unless my olfactic sense is shot, I don't understand why it is so much sought for and why there is so much fuss. Its price is astronomical : does it make them attractive?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lamaranthe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Incredibly fresh truffles are insanely delicious. As I mentioned above my husband and I go truffle hunting in Italy and Croatia and they are absolutely surreal. To me they are worth every penny. But then part of it also the fact that our house is in truffle territory so we have an interest in them many others would not. It is also about the experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            can I come visit you during truffle season? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Bacon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also any recipe/dish that uses either especially those whose proponents go into paroxysms of delight over the bacon-ness or the cheesy-ness of the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. This is such a strange thread. I've resisted posting until now because I'm not sure I want to have it pop up on my profile page for eternity - because it's exactly the kind of topic that attracts responses forever. But I could no longer contain myself. I'm finding this whole business kind of sad - the ingredients and recipes that people mention are, for the most part, not really over-hyped. Because we're enthusiastic about food, we do tend to have very high expectations about it. So when someone posts that Marcella's tomato sauce is mind-blowing or that pink Hawaiian sea salt is phenomenal or that chicken Marbella is the best thing ever - it's all just just hyperbole, isn't it? Most of the very best cooking is actually quite subtle rather than spectacular. Saffron should be an undertone, not a top note, and often you can't quite tell it's there when it's been properly used. So it's just not ever going to be a "religious experience" except in the context of being part of a perfectly prepared paella or bouillabaisse. Chicken Marbella is recommended so often because it's tasty and simple to prepare and fantastic to serve to a crowd. It's not the best chicken dish ever - it's just good. And if you don't happen to like that particular combination of flavours, you're just not going to like it anyway. Truffles taste like truffles; cilantro tastes like cilantro; sea salt tastes like salt. Nothing NOTHING is good if it's inappropriately used or overused. But like so many things in our culture, foods get blown out of proportion and become ubiquitous and then, ultimately, boring. I still like sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and, yes, sea salt and will occasionally pay serious money for a good free-range chicken. But no ingredient, no recipe is immune from individual taste, inept execution or inappropriate use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There. Now I'm stuck with this thread forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! The temptation to contribute to this thread is more common than the entries listed as overhyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While I see your point, I stand by my assertion that the taste/popularity/uniqueness of kale chips is way over the top...but hey, let the opinions play on!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We usually come to CH for the full experience and the full perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have never personally seen or eaten a kale chip. Nor, for that matter, have I heard it mentioned much. So over-hyped-ness might only be true if you happen to be aware of that particular hypery. I must lead a very sheltered existence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL, you said it; not me. http://www.google.com/#hl=en&suge...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Awesome post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I find your slightly melodramatic response to be far more strange than the original, fairly direct questions asked in this thread, to be honest. I just think you missed the point, or you're taking it a bit too seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jadore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Unintentional melodrama.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I wonder how many of these foods are over hyped in popular culture, or just over hyped on Chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good point, though I guess the thread is interesting either way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would have no idea what chicken Marbella or Hazan's tomato sauce were if it weren't for chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, while I've seen kale chips elsewhere, CH more than other places is where I really see people hyping the crap out of em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your average American still probably hasn't heard of sous vide cooking. I won't say that CH is the only place where it's getting buzz, but it does come up especially often here because of the willingness of chowhounds (myself included) to argue endlessly about its virtues or lack thereof.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Everything else seems (to me at least) to be addressing trends in the larger food culture. YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      By example, kale chips have been a www food subject for a time, just enter "it" into any search engine. CH's interest mirrors trends; global trends. I think it's easy to forget that this site echos the food loving world, but it doesn't create it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Plenty of sites, newspapers, magazines, blogs and so forth that discuss food, food culture and food buzz have been talking about the same interesting subjects. Media feeds the need. I'm not an average American and I learn something new about food interest daily just by reading what other people find fascinating/boring/etc. CH is a great slice of our people/food culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm saying it seems more prevalent on CH than it does elsewhere, not that CH pioneered the kale chip. I first had crispy baked kale over a decade ago, and a good while before I started reading CH - that's not the point. I'm saying it's especially popular on CH, not that it's especially popular because of CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Any subculture or group is going to have things that they especially focus on. Or do you really think that CH is a perfect microcosm for everything going on in the larger English-speaking food culture, with no trends of its own? If so, I disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll give you other examples where I think the hype is greater on CH than in popular culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No-knead bread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Greek yogurt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Peanut butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Again, just to clarify. Not saying I don't like these items, or that they are not good. Just that the hype surrounding them seems greater (to me) on CH than in popular culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Funny, I think we're pushing on the same wall instead of giving each other the benefit of the doubt. No food subject is more prevalent just for being discussed on CH. The kale chip was my example up thread in response to the OP which is why I used it in responding to you here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            CH is a global community; you said American. If you read what I wrote you'll realize we both agree that CH is not the only voice or the microcosm for everything food but the sheer size of membership is substantial enough to be a slice of insight and I enjoy the community for that reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fair enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, above where I wrote "American" when talking about sous vide, just substitute 'English-speaking foodie'... errr, whatever word is less annoying than 'foodie.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                while our exchange was going I stopped over to view your blog. So interesting. Any entries you're especially proud of I should read?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. We haven't updated that in a over a year now. We've had some of our most awesome battles since then and gotten some other people involved, but haven't written them up. To me the most interesting part of it is looking at the printed recipes from the first battle through the third(?) one, and seeing how the competitions really pushed us to become MUCH better cooks in a relatively short period of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The rant about trying to buy decent food in Waynesburg, PA was fun to write (and hopefully to read), even if it does come off as a little dumb to me now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I appreciate the add'l back story on earlier posts. I'm going to fav pg it and give it a better read thru.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or over-hyped in trendy Manhattan restaurants, but haven't even reached Peoria (unless they are Iron Chef fans).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Pork Belly. I enjoy eating pork belly, but Ive seen it described on more than one television show as being "the new foie-gras" . I don't find it anywhere near being as big a dining experience as foie is. If they insist on considering anything the new foie, it should clearly be uni anyway......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, pork belly. I think you may have hit on one. I love it and am glad it's around alot but, yeah, maybe a yes on that one. Finally :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Par cooked Risotto that is passed off in restaurants as true risotto.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Truffle Oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Penn Cove Mussels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Crème Brulee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Free Range or organic anything
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacon (weep, yes it's awesome but totally over hyper ditto Balsamic vinegar)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ancient grains
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fusion Egg-rolls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tiramisu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Grass-fed beef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And last but not least

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cupcakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, lordy, yes, re cupcakes!!!!! Silliness personified. Blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to single you out, retiredchef, but....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I keep on seeing organic/free range/pastured/grass fed/etc on these lists. In my mind, searching out those foods is an issue of one's personal politics - in some cases these products taste better than the alternatives, and in some cases they don't (and in some cases there's little difference).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So I'm wondering if people call these foods over-hyped because they were expecting organic/free range/pastured/etc to taste better across the board and then were disappointed when they didn't. Or because they disagree with the politics/ethics/whatever that would lead a person to seek out these foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I suspect molten lava cakes are a bit over-hyped. They are novel. Well they were 20 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wouldn't you have a far better product by making mini bundt cakes and pouring a very rich hot fudge sauce on it? I was thinking of a dark chocolate genache with some grand marnier on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't realize they were still hyped - I got the impression they were a bit passe in trendy dining scenes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think you ever see them in restaurants but people are always still talking about them including several threads and recipes on chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They're all over the dessert menus of one of the biggest NYC popularizers of the gateau fondant, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, along with many many others in the city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That would be why I didn't think they were in restaurants. Maybe I should have clarified what I meant. Restaurants I have been to which is mostly low to medium end restaurants around Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I have been to a few fancy restaurants in New Orleans and Las Vegas but I lead a pretty sheltered life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is interesting that fancy restaurants in New York are pushing something that was first developed by a homebody named Ella Helfrich from Houston, Texas. She won the Pillsbury bake-off in 1966 with her "tunnel of fudge" cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake bears virtually no resemblance to the Tunnel of Fudge Cake, and the two really are not similar at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          except that there is fudge or uncooked chocolate batter in the center of each of them?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I wanted to be perverse, I could make an argument for the similarity of Twinkies and eclairs. I suggest you bake a Tunnel of Fudge Cake and a Molten Chocolate Cake, then come back and join the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "mini bundt cakes and pouring a very rich hot fudge ..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The cake to chocolate ratio is too high. Molten lava cakes is just an excuse to mainline hot fudge. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    just an excuse to mainline hot fudge. lol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    truer words never spoken!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Seriously overhyped foods ( I know I'll catch flak for this):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Ethipian food- Just poorly done weird Indian food, IMO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Breadsticks- Absolutely horrid things that even mice and sea gulls avoid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Burritos- Never had one that deserved it's hype.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Cajun food- Everything tastes the same!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Portabello mushrooms: Taste like old cardboard box.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Fish tacos- Another faddish overhype of a very-moderately OK tasting concoction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Caesar salads: Mediocre, and NEVER made correctly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Tapenade- Nauseating, ugly-looking mix of things that should have never been mixed in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Canadian bacon- Just thinly sliced usually tasteless ham.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Rosemary: Essentially ruins anything it's cooked with. Should be left a landscape shrub and nothing more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Swordfish- Really, the most tasteless and over-watery fish out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Bánh mì sandwichs- I've had them from the best places and have even made them, they're allright, but are not deserving of their fanatical cult following.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Habanero chiles: OK, they'll burn your mouth, outside of that fact, what do they have to offer??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Chcago-style stuffed pizza; Just way too tomatoey, gooey and over-the-top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, everyone and their brother is gonna say "what about ___________ (insert any item from your list) made this way or eaten here" etc etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Notice your burrito gripe - whaddya think about the semi-overhyped tamale?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What type of tamales are you referring to?? Mexican, Cuban, Venezuelan 'hallacas', Salvadoran, among others??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sounds like a list of foods you *dislike* rather than things that are over-hyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Definitely a 'things I don't like' list

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you don't like it, one person saying they love it and encouraging others to try it is over-hyping it. 2 or 3 people saying they like it is unbearable.... or...so I've been told.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If that was the OP definition of over-hyped I'm confuzzled at this point. It was my understanding that over hyped is a food/ingredient that didn't live up to the hype.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My understanding of over-hyped is just talked about ad nauseam -- bacon, I think, is the best example of it in the last couple years. People just go on and on and on about bacon in all iterations and forms and applications. It's great; I love it and wish I could eat it twice a week, but the hype around it is completely ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Amen sister. I'm going to learn when to step off a topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So your criteria for an overhyped ingredient/dish is anything you don't like with the additional requirement that somebody, sometime, somewhere has recommended it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You and I think of hype differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A. I was trying to be humorous.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                B. Look at the posts. I will bet 80% of the posts where people are saying something is over-hyped are situations where that poster didn't like or at least thought it was mediocre. If you dislike something, every time you see it being extolled on chowhound you are going to think it is being over-hyped. I think that is quite natural.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Missed the humorous tone. No offense intended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                definition of "hype" from...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                our friends at Merriam-Webster:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Promote or publicize (a product or idea) intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Urban Dictionary:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "A fad. A clever marketing strategy which a product is advertized as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                note: the UD definition was what i had in mind when i posted my initial reply to this thread...and as much as it pains me, i still stand by it even though they misspelled "advertised" :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh, and Hank, this wasn't necessarily directed at you, it just seemed like a sensible place to address the definition debate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did not take it personal, ghg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's the British spelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i actually thought you were kidding until i looked it up. i *never* would have known that. thanks :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Really?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I used to catch a lot of flak for spelling my verbs with an 's' (English) rather than a 'z' (American).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would say that by definition "hype" involves more than one person. Over-hyped I think means that media -- whether mainstream or foodie -- and the food industry are kind of pushing it down our throats, as it were, as the Hot Big Thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. A solid half of that list consists of foods that I don't consider particularly hyped or trendy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Equal opportunity disliker more like it. Are you sure you don't want to add mac and cheese?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah, but like a few others here, you're listing mostly things you don't like rather than overhyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        burritos???? *gasp* sorry this California girl loves burritos...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          arktos^^^^^^^^^^oh you're funny, I needed that giggle^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought I'd already noted these two but can't find my post.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So again:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fennel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tarragon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Over hyped....YES..........
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Do I like them......NO.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Never heard of fennel or tarragon getting much hype. They're just ingredients, no?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Me too linguafood. I was surprised that iL Divo considered either of them that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe some folks still have the TCAS "French" mussels with fennel hoo-ha on their brains?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey, hui! You lost me on the TCAS but I definitely don't want any hoo-has on my brain :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Uh, that contretemps (both on the show, the forums and on CH) with Viviani insisting that Lofaso's winning dish of mussels with fennel (and butter) on that episode held at Rao's in NYC - was French, according to Viviani (and others including Isabella) rather than "Italian"? That this ingredient, FENNEL, generated so much hot air and heat in its being used as an ingredient? That there were arguments about whether FENNEL was an ingredient in Italian-Italian mussel dishes or in Italian-American mussel dishes?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :-) ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, TCAS = Top Chef All Stars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Mike Isabella's pepperoni sauce!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Homemade mayonnaise. I happen to think very highly of Kraft mayo and see no need in spending the time to make it myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodworthy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm going to have to respectfully disagree for our area. In Alberta restaurants we seem to be quite behind the trends so it is not over-hyped here. Of course every area is different. What may be dull and boring somewhere may be exciting, exotic and just catching on somewhere else (I'm not talking aioli here - just generalizing).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is quick and simple to make and there is absolutely no comparison in flavour to purchased (but I would not expect everyone to agree). I make nearly all my condiments from scratch because I plain old enjoy doing it! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodworthy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Funny, I would say I don't see the point of buying mayo when it's so easy to make at home and the store-bought one is so gross!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodperestroika

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Try Duke's. Gross is not the word that would come to my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mad love for Duke's right here. I used to think of mayo as totally utilitarian -- i.e., just to keep the break moist or just to hold the potato salad together. But Duke's is a horse of a different color. It actually tastes of something! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So what is different about Duke's?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://deusexculina.robsama.com/archi...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "In comparison, Dukes has a sharper taste, with more apparent vinegar then Hellmann’s. I can understand how Dukes may taste better in Deviled Eggs, but keep it away from my tomatoes please ! Kraft did not have the vinegar taste of Dukes and was slightly sweeter than Hellmann’s."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's another contender - Mexican mayo 'con limon' (with lime). Though of late I've been flipping between Hellmann's and Trader Joes (good taste, but not quite as stiff). Oh, and for some purposes Kewpie is a good option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funny. I don't find Duke's to be sharp at all. Rather eggy and round. The perfect mayo for a BLT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Having me a BLT with Duke's and fresh maters right now- yum yum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't find Duke's sharp either, quite the opposite. Very rich without being at all sweet like some mayo, *shudder*. A bacon and tomato sammich on white bread with Duke's has to be one of the best things ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: foodperestroika

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      you don't always have time to make homemade. you don't always have time to consume it before it goes bad. This is a typical chowhound "bad" post: "Well of course you ought to always make it homemade." I don't always have to do that. And Linguafood is right: Duke's Mayo is quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Foams were novel awhile ago and whilst they can still be fun and playful I believe they are over-hyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How do you eat or prepare a foam? I've seen them on TV, but never had one. Hard to think of that as over-hyped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use an N2O canister with a touch of lecithin. I've had them in many places but again, as I mentioned above, different areas/regions/countries have different trends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A few year's ago, I had something foamed in an otherwise excellent, excellent chef's tasting menu and absolutely did not get it, in taste, texture or visual appeal. It looked like a spitbug had nested on my plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To address the Zagat article linked below, the pork belly in the same meal was absolutely lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Pine nuts, does not matter where they come from: China or Italy, they all taste bad to me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: A_Dailey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Again not over-hyped; you just don't care for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. a timely little piece in the new Zagat e-newsletter...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.zagat.com/buzz/the-8-most-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yay, they agreed with me on pork belly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              as do i :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. quinoa. I actually do like the taste of it but I'm almost embarassed to buy it because of how tendy it'd gotten. I hate anything with the term 'low carb' in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Fusion tacos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not that there aren't some tasty ones out there, but it seems to be all I hear about these days

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I still have no idea what the term fusion has to do with food. Does anybody know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My only guess would be a "fusion" of 2 or more cuisines like blackened gefilte fish or Matzo Balls a la orange or maybe catfish sushi. Wait a minute... I'm on a roll. Quinoa souffle; ok last one... Chicken Marsala with sauerkraut. My wife insisted on one more crouquembouch with cheese whiz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OMG! (There is an overused phrase.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just looked it up. I was right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    psst...the term 'Fusion food' or, e.g., 'Asian Fusion' etc has been around for a while... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ETA: Oop, hit reply too soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was wondering if the French influence in Vietnam was an early type of fusion cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It seems to me there is a lot of grey area between what might be loosely thought of as "traditional" [rather than the heavily-disputed term "authentic"] cuisine and "fusion". Perhaps novelty/newness of an adaptation might be a big factor?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The use of the charred onion (and charred rather than un-charred ginger) in making Phở is usually attributed to French influences yet the dish is considered utterly "Vietnamese" since it has been completely merged into the cuisine... OTOH, I would call something like a Bánh mì type of sandwich using slices of Duck a l'Orange and drizzled with the sauce from same a Vietnamese-French fusion food item - even though Bánh mì itself is a product of French colonialism in Vietnam. Dancing on quicksand here. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Still, it seems to me that one can distinguish between absorption of influences into a cuisine (--> leading to the foreign influence becoming part of the cuisine) vs blending of two cuisines (-->leading to fusion cuisine, especially when the blending is recent or for novelty). Even with absorption of influences and adaptations into a cuisine there can emerge "cuisines" that can be distinguished from each other - e.g. Chinese-American food vs Traditional Chinese food; or Tex-Mex vs Mexican.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am not really qualified as a food historian so others may have more definite things to say here; I am just thinking out loud about my impressions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hey, you sound pretty qualified to me :) I was also thinking about Momofuki Ssam's "pork buns."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            @ c oliver: :-) <blush>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Those pork buns? How about "Mash-up of 'Siew Yook' * with 'Steamed Flour Buns' ** " ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            * http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauldub/...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754791

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ** example: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/dimsu...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Common item in Chinese/East Asian "snack food"/dim sum/accompaniment to some savory meat w/ sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That Siew Yook picture made my salivary glands do a little dance. My goodness, that looks good. Re Momofuku, it's certainly not your traditional char sui bao, which btw I don't particularly care for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We're in Rio right now where there is NO dim sum and those pix just killed me :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Y'know, that combination is really nothing new. I used to have some sort of roast pork (like Siew Yook or shredded braised pork etc) folded into a pancake/bun of sorts where you used short lengths of scallions/green onions (2-3 inch lengths, lightly "chopped in" at each end and dumped into water for a short while so the "chopped ends" acquired a 'puffed up' characteristic - which you used to pick up a hoisin sauce concoction and put onto that pork whatever nestled in that flour thingie then add the scallion bit in and some other fresh veggies (e.g. cucumbers) as well then folded the thing together and ate it. Been around since forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Been around forever where? In China or Manhattan or Flushing? Definitely not at Lake Tahoe :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh. SE Asia, for one. I used to eat variations of this while growing up, at several restaurants at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      @ c oliver: I also forgot about "kau yuk bao" [and various permutations of the transliteration - e.g. kow yuk bao, kow yook bao; and the meat part of this, "kau yuk", "kow yook", etc, which is also an old, old dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Google any of these terms, and you'll get various answers which include CH threads as well as some places where you can get this closer to LakeTahoe. :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those Momofuku pork buns are a derivation of these, as much as what I previously described.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In northern New Mexico there is a "fusion" of Mexican and American Indian cuisines. It explains why New Mexico Mexican food is unlike any other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I always wondered why my mom's enchiladas were unlike anyone elses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We were raised in Farmington, New Mexico before we moved to California.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One day as an adult, I stumbled into an American Indian restaurant. I'm not sure what I ordered but they served me my mom's enchiladas. I think it was in casserole form but it was unmistakable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mexican itself is a blending of Spanish and American Indian - various tribes living Mexico. But 'fusion' usually is refers to a recent, intentional blending of ideas, methods or ingredients from 2 or more cuisines. East-west is most common fusion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So the Spanish taught the Mexicans how to cook? How and what did they eat before the Conquistadors invaded? Sorry... I'm picking on you. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure the intentional blending of 2 cuisines is more what people are talking about when they say 'fusion cooking".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really hadn't thought about it until that little epiphany upthread. I had heard the term but had never investigated what fusion cooking was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While I probably wouldn't go to a fancy dancy restaurant that advertised fusion cooking, the technique is right up my alley. I'm always looking at techniques and flavors that I like and trying to apply them differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Baba Ghanouj risotto. Jambalaya sous vide. Green Eggrolls and Ham.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Green Eggrolls and Ham -- you know, that sounds quite familiar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Jumbo lump Asian crab meat. Yes, the lumps are beautiful and larger than domestic blue crab but the meat is flavorless. IMO domestic backfin is more flavorful and economical.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sweet tea! I don't understand the hype....it's just tea with sugar!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      30 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What is "jumbo lump Asian crab meat"? Where do you live?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sweet tea, IMO, isn't hyped at all. It just crawled out of the South a few years ago and into McDs. And actually the sugar is added while the tea is still hot. But I'm a Southerner and prefer mine with just lemon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No offense to you, but personally I find sweet tea sort of disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No offense to me, kiddo. I HATE IT!!!!! Just a tall glass of ice, tea and fresh lemon juice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I, too, prefer my tea unsweetened, but 99.99% of southerners would beg to differ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If it makes you feel better, with the influx of northerners to the south, there is probably a trend in the south toward unsweetened tea even though sweetened is still far more popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With the hotter climate, we drink a lot more tea than in the north. It is just easier to have it pre-sweetened. It is very difficult to dissolve sugar into ice cold tea. Not to mention the ice cubes sloshing all about. If the restaurants would provide simple syrup, nobody would care if they didn't serve sweet tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Without the simple syrup though, a restaurant in the south can't get by without selling sweet tea. The locals just won't stand for it. The national chains in Texas all have sweetened tea and chicken fried steak on the menu even though they don't have it in other states.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I even know Italian restaurants with chicken fried steak on the menu. That kind of makes me chuckle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken fried steak deserves its own place on the Food Pyramid, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the "real" South we ate 'country' fried steak which is pan (not deep) fried and has a brown not white gravy. I never heard of the other until I got to Texas which to me is either Texas or the West but not the South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well they didn't see it that way at the end of the civil war or as we call it "the war of northern aggression". :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I prefer the country fried as opposed to the deep fried but it has to have white gravy although mine is cooked with a tan roux so it really isn't bright white.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have had it with brown or even chicken gravy. It is still pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bless your southern heart, picca Ooops ... Pika

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicken fried steak originated in Milan (but came to Texas via Germans, or was the Mexicans with their Milanesa?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lots of Germans and Czechs settled in Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe that is how the accordion became a Mexican musical instrument. Fusion music?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NanH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            German roots of tajano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://spanish.about.com/cs/culture/f...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            According to the Wiki article, some of the Texas Germans and Czechs had initially settled in Mexico (even before Texas independence), but moved north during the Mexican Revolution in the early part of the 20th c.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NanH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oom pa pa oom pa pa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting theory and as good as any I have heard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess the Mexicans drew the line at Lederhosen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe so, but my dad answered the call of his parish when they said they said a church in Mexico was needing an accordion. Broke my heart, I wanted it, but he was a generous man and that's a good memory too!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I couldn't tell you about the lederhosen, pretty sure dad didn't have any, though he did have a few 'outfits'..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Never made the connection before. We're in Rio right now and two common dishes are frango (chicken) and bife (beef) Milanese. No gravy though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            With the hotter climate, we drink a lot more tea than in the north. It is just easier to have it pre-sweetened. It is very difficult to dissolve sugar into ice cold tea. Not to mention the ice cubes sloshing all about. If the restaurants would provide simple syrup, nobody would care if they didn't serve sweet tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            _____________________________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This makes it sound like southerners would drink tea unless it was sweetened. Is that true, or is that what you are implying?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If so, I find that kind of curious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sweet tea compensates for the sugar that is missing from their cornbread :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It means they don't tolerate restaurants that don't serve sweet tea. A restaurant chain called cheddars moved into the area. At first they didn't serve sweet tea and people complained. Then they started serving fruited teas and that helped but people still complained. Then the waiters and waitresses started sweetening the tea behind the counter before they brought it out to protect their tips. Finally, the restaurant started serving sweet tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Southerners wouldn't stop drinking tea, they would stay home and make it themselves if they had to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here IHOP serves sweet tea. So does Applebee's and Chili's. These chains probably don't serve sweet tea in California.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most national chains adjust their menu for local customs like adding chicken fried steak and sweet tea and some restaurants even add Limeade to the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah we don't put much if any sugar in cornbread but marie callandars hasn't had to change their recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting Hank,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Does that mean Southerners (and I don't mean to stereotype or overgeneralize) would not drink tea unless it was sweetened?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What would they do if they ever visited China or Japan for tea ceremony. Or even visited a Chinese restaurant that served hot tea gratis ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let's put it this way. The Chinese restaurants here serve sweetened Iced tea. Hot tea is available as is unsweetened iced tea but it is rarely requested. Our restaurants have unsweetened tea available. It just isn't as popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have visited Japan and China (well Taiwan anyway) and was honored to be the recipient of a tea ceremony in Japan. When it was offered, you drank it and you drank it black and you enjoyed it or at least pretended too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That being said sweet green tea served cold was very popular in the stores and vending machines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As far as generalizations and stereotypes, most southerners, Texans included and they are different, don't mind being stereotyped even if the stereotype is wrong, we don't usually mind. We think it is funny and play it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Heck, we even make fun of ourselves. I know a restaurant in hill country that is famous for it's chicken fried steak. They have billboards with the phrase "over 3 dozen served". That restaurant has been serving chicken fried steak for over 25 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We know there are a lot of millionaires in Texas that got that way because people thought they were stupid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
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