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Words that Annoy You in Restaurant Reviews

Lately certain words have begun to annoy me, in reviews, articles etc. For instance, whenever I see the word "gem" in a restaurant review, such as in yelp, menupages, etc. I immediately think it's a planted phony review. I also cringe if someone writes yummi"ness", good"ness", gooey"ness" etc. Anyone else feel the same way or have other words they find bothersome in food writing? "Foodie", is also another annoying word, but we've covered that one here pretty thoroughly before.

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  1. Unctuous - I know it's a good descriptive word, but it's just overused.

    And if anyone uses "yummy" in a review, I just think they're an idiot.

    "Cooked to perfection" is a phrase that always makes me think "well, YEAH, I'm paying for it...it damn well better be cooked to perfection!"

    14 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Unctuous annoys me, too. And I don't know why, but I hate the word mouthfeel.

      1. re: dmjordan

        Yes, I have to force myself to continue any review with "mouthfeel." And if I read it a second time, I'm done.

        1. re: gaffk

          And what would you suggest as a substitute?

          1. re: Jase

            They could just describe the texture?

            1. re: gaffk

              texture and mouthfeel are not exactly the same ting

              1. re: thew

                I was thinking the same thing, texture doesn't cover creaminess or other factors that you do after all feel in your mouth.

                1. re: buttertart

                  For me, creaminess definitely describes texture. Mouthfeel is superfluous. It means texture. Besides, mouthfeel makes me think of fungus growing in a mouth--that's just me.

            2. re: Jase

              The title of the post is just asking for words that annoy you, not necessarily asking you for a substitute for the annoying word.

              1. re: dmjordan

                But if a reviewer wants to describe a particular sensory perception, s/he needs a word to do that. It's useful information to know whether a restaurant is well-lit; if you don't like that word, then "bright" or "lambent" might work, even though the connotations are different for each.

                It seems there are only two ways a reviewer can avoid annoying you by use of the word "mouthfeel" - to come up with synonyms, or to avoid all discussion about how food feels in the mouth. Given that mouthfeel is an important part of the dining experience, the latter seems like a bad idea. So if you can't suggest an alternative, what's the point of being annoyed?

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I don't think one can decide to be annoyed or not. A lot of words that people said annoyed them are perfectly good words, as is mouthfeel. But it just annoys me. And I don't think any reviewer out there is making an effort not to annoy me so I don't have to come up with an alternative.

                2. re: dmjordan

                  A local food reviewer used the word "pocked" when he tried to say something was studded with something (or other phrase). Really gross. Sounds like someone pocked with a bad complexion, or chicken pox.

              2. re: gaffk

                I use that word to describe more than the texture of the food.

            3. re: LindaWhit

              Lol - NYT Sam Sifton uses “unctuous” today in his review of the Dutch. Before you mentioning the word I never noticed it. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/din...

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Yes, (fill in the blank) "to perfection" is what I really am tired of reading & hearing.

              2. Years ago our local food writer used to always say the food was "piping hot". That got to be pretty boring.

                1. "Affordable prices": the reviewers must earn a lot more than I do.

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      I hadn't thought much about it until I read the thread about "What Does Authentic Mean?" and came to the conclusion that authentic really doesn't mean that much except in the eye of the beholder, or in very general terms, as in "enchiladas made with flour tortillas and canned condensed soup are not authentic".

                    2. Any dollar word where a dime word will do ("I perused the offerings" versus "the menu had"). Plus, I will go postal if they keep throwing out "eponymous" to show they know the word. Some of this stuff reads like the food equivalent of a Conquest Letter in a skin magazine.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        I completely agree. The dollar word that gets under my skin most is "redolent". Say "it had garlic in it" instead of "it was redolent of garlic."

                        1. re: agoodbite

                          If you're served a dish chock full of garlic that does not smell like garlic, then that dish is not redolent of garlic, although it has garlic in it. I'm not advocating the overuse of the word "redolent," but it does mean something other than "present."

                          My choice for please-stop-using-that-term-please-I'm-begging-you is "haute barnyard," which Adam Platt of New York Magazine invented (I think) and then used to extreme excess in an effort to make it a catch phrase, or something.

                          1. re: small h

                            "haute barnyard" - LOL! Is that like cows wearing dinner jackets?

                            1. re: small h

                              WTH does "hauté barnyard" even MEAN?

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Sometimes it refers to the food: "The duck breast (sliced and served with Brussels sprouts on a bed of wheat berries) and country chicken (drizzled with brown butter and lemons) are competent renditions of these standard haute-barnyard dishes."

                                Sometimes it refers to the decor: "The windowless dining space in the back is much bigger than that of the original restaurant, and decorated in a style that might be described as Haute Barnyard, with a long, communal farm table in the middle of the room, dimly lit booths in the back, and artsy depictions of painted sheep, oversize chicken bones, and giant, sculptural tangerine peels scattered over the brick walls."

                                It's the intersection of rustic and precious. Like micro-kale.

                                1. re: small h

                                  I hope you made the artsy depictions up, "oversize chicken bones" , very funny!

                                  1. re: michele cindy

                                    I wish I could take credit, but those are direct quotes from Platt's reviews. And I don't think he was trying to be funny.

                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                  @LindaWhit: Wow, and adding a nonexistent accent mark -- even better.

                          2. Organic, local, 100-mile, sustainable, locavore, artisanal....

                            Also can't stand code-words, like "minimalist" or "minuscule" when they mean they don't give you enough food for what you paid... or "serviceable" meaning normal people will like it but foodie snobs won't.

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: TexSquared

                              yeah, yummy, sammie, tummy...

                              but my biggest pet peeve when people review food is..."to die for"

                              1. re: Yaxpac

                                I loathe "tdf." It makes me wish they would.

                                Also, just generally bad writing and editing. I see better prose here and I doubt most 'hounds get paid or have someone reviewing their drafts. I'd put the "in my opinion" in this category. Can't someone run a red pen through it?

                                1. re: MGZ

                                  I'd put the "in my opinion" in this category.

                                  Agreed. Isn't that what the entire review is ANYWAY?

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    Agree, to die for, well go freeg'in die!

                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      Another vote for (against?) "to die for".

                                      I brought this up as a topic once and it got deleted. If you die for it how can you eat it? "To kill for" makes more sense.

                                    2. re: Yaxpac

                                      I am right there with you. Was just going to write: 'yummy' and "to die for".

                                      1. re: thegforceny

                                        I've been guilty of using yummy on a handful of comment... Thanks for enlightening me, I will switch my wording!

                                        1. re: michele cindy

                                          It's OK to use "yummy" if you are under ten years old.

                                          1. re: thegforceny

                                            Or talking to a ten year old. Which is why the world always feels patronizing to me when it comes from an adult.

                                            1. re: Terrieltr

                                              Actually now that you said this, it makes perfect sense. I have a 10 year old - so that explains it! I also say "cool" more then I ever did before.

                                      2. re: Yaxpac

                                        Yes "to die for" is quite over the top as is "the best hands down", a must have, no question the best ever. In my opinion does seem redundant in a review column, in my opinion!

                                      3. re: TexSquared

                                        >>"Organic, local, 100-mile, sustainable, locavore, artisanal...."<<

                                        Those are perfectly useful descriptive words. Maybe the definitions aren't completely clear-cut, but there really aren't many other words that will do in their place. Are you annoyed by the vocabulary, or just the concepts?

                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                          Both. To me those are not selling points to attract me to a restaurant, nor would they disqualify me from trying such a place. They're non-starters and just wasted bandwidth/column inches when used in a review.

                                          What sells to me are quality/taste, service, and value. Not those things above (which I dismiss as "yadda yadda").

                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                            That would be a valid point if you were the only person the restaurant reviewer were writing for. But the whole point of a restaurant review is to present one person's impressions of a place to a wide group of others.

                                            Some of those others - myself included - care about things you don't. Some of us find the descriptors you call "wasted bandwidth" to have some correlation with better taste. It's not absolute, but it's useful information. Just not to you.

                                            I can understand that there's information you may gloss over in a review because it's irrelevant from your point of view. But to be annoyed because a reviewer includes information that others want to know seems a little over-the-top.

                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                              My issue with those terms (organic, local, sustainable, artisinal, etc) is that they're imprecise. Define "organic." If you're going by Federal standards, that can include all sorts of compounds that many don't consider organic. How about "humanure?" How "local" is local? Whose definition of "sustainable" are we using? These are all points of departure, but not indicative of anything besides the purveyor's ability to effectively market their restaurant to a target demographic.

                                              As for "artisinal," once Subway started using that term to describe its bread, the party's over.

                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                Well, in the first place, "organic" is strictly defined, and it's pretty hard to fudge on "100-mile." Not saying that organic food is inherently different or better (IMO it's not), or that food from 99 miles away is better then the stuff from a couple of miles further down the road (ditto), but you can't claim that those usages are anything other than precise.

                                                As to the other words, you're absolutely right that they're points of departure, and people who are interested can always ask questions to get more info. ("So, where do you source your "sustainable" chicken? Foster Farms? Well, then...)

                                                Yes, there's certainly an element of hype and marketing involved with using buzzwords, but we're talking about restaurant reviews here, not USDA-approved labels. If a reviewer describes a steak as "juicy" or a piece of chicken as "overcooked" or a cup of soup as "too salty," it's really not a meaningful criticism to complain that those terms aren't precisely defined.

                                              2. re: alanbarnes

                                                Right. It would be one thing if the reviewer went on and on about "Ethical this" and "Stewards of the land that", but, if they are simply pointing out some basic facts, then it is either useful (for some) or not (again, for some).

                                                For instance, it is my understanding that reviewers are more likely to mention noise levels at some places relative to the past.

                                                Again, some people might appreciate this fact. For others, those facts are simply not a priority.

                                                Sustainable is often debatable, but things like Organic (if referring to the Federal regulations) and 100-mile are not. Useful to some, but not all.

                                        2. "You won't go away hungry !"
                                          Damned with faint praise I call it!

                                          1. Things that are overly or excessively sweet must always be described as "cloyingly sweet". One rarely sees a negative dessert review without these two words joined together, and it drives me nuts.

                                            1. Gutsy! I really, really, really hate that word when applied to food.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                Well, if the food they're referencing as "gutsy" is haggis or sweetbreads, I suppose it's appropriate. ;-)

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Now that you mention it, kishka/kishke too!

                                                1. What's with all the 'foodie' hate?

                                                  26 Replies
                                                  1. re: Glam Foodie

                                                    I love having any excuse to bring up the dearly beloved, original (and now defunct) Chowhound manifesto.

                                                    And sub-threads about the "foodie" problem:

                                                    Be sure to follow the links within the links!

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      Thanks for the links. You've brought up some very valid points and well-written discussion.

                                                      But my personal definition of foodie - I title I hold proudly - is not at all like yours. When I think of a foodie, I think of a person who has a love for quality ingredients, whether they're cheap or expensive. I think of an individual who, regardless of level of ability in the kitchen, relishes cooking, tasting, and feeding those around her. 'Foodie' should apply to anyone, of any gender, race, or age, who is adventurous and open-minded about new cuisine and trying new things on their plate or on the stove, if you will.

                                                      I don't 'eat what I am told'. I will take reviews of restaurants and dishes for what they are and use my own judgment. I don't think a foodie is a 'young, rich, snobby' person in a restaurant sneering at the foie gras and over-analyzing the way the beurre blanc turned in, in an effort to appear cool. Those people are just snobs, plain and simple. They've missed the point that food is supposed to about passion and fun, just as much as it is supposed to be about nutrition and/or indulgence.

                                                      When I taste food from different cultures, I learn more about the country and I feel excited to know a bit more about the world around me. When I try new techniques in the kitchen, I feel more eager to try new recipes and bestow my loved ones with something (hopefully!) delicious. Because I consider myself a 'foodie', I've told myself over the years to be brave and try new foods that I'd formerly been afraid of. And thank God I did, because I'd been missing the boat while living in fear of the unknown! That's what being a foodie means to me. I think that's at least part of the original definition, and I'd dare say that's what others who use the term are trying to say about themselves.

                                                      I'm on a quest now to take back the term 'foodie' and make people realize that it's not just another term to separate and discriminate! (That last sentence is meant to be light-hearted and only half-serious, just FYI.) <3

                                                      1. re: Glam Foodie

                                                        Glam Foodie I agree with you! Your meaning of the word "Foodie" is exactly as I use it and intend it: adventurous, explorer, keen to try new things and now developing a palate that can discern quality of ingredients. Gourmands and snobs are the critics who look down their long noses and (especially) snub simplicity. We're here and we're foodie!

                                                        1. re: FiveFtJen

                                                          Brilliantly put, FiveFtJen - 'gourmands and snobs' are what give us foodies a bad name!

                                                        2. re: Glam Foodie

                                                          "But my personal definition of foodie..."

                                                          And there is the crux. Many, many people have a fairly different definition of the word. And their definition often has the word "pretentious" in it.

                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                            I'm sure it does. But at the end of the day, I'm not going to stop using the word because someone else has attached nasty, negative connotations to it.

                                                            1. re: Glam Foodie

                                                              Thing is, you can't unilaterally decide on the definitions of words. English is a rather democratic language -- what the majority decides becomes the rule, and if usage becomes common enough it goes into the dictionary -- unlike French and others which have an "academy" to decide such matters.

                                                              So, that being said, if you asked 20 people on the street what their definition of "foodie" is, maybe 1 will answer with something approaching what you said. Most will say something along the lines of "pretentious arrogant snob with his/her nose in the air with more money than he/she knows what to do with", or more to the point, "someone I am not, and someone I don't wish to associate with". Not exactly a title to be proud of.

                                                              I suppose the word that more accurately describes you is "connoisseur", which stresses your knowledge, as opposed to "foodie" which stresses a perceived snobbery in the eyes of others.

                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                But couldn't you argue that the original term didn't have negative connotations, therefore it's acceptable to defer back to the original intent/definition?

                                                                1. re: Jadore

                                                                  Times change and languages evolve. To repeat what I said, if you asked 20 people on the street *TODAY* what their definition of "foodie" is, I'm sure 19 of them if not all 20 will say "snob". It doesn't matter that maybe in the 80's or 90's they'd have said "connoisseur" or "expert", today it means snob. If you want to call yourself a snob and be proud of it that's your prerogative.

                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                    Are you sure that 20 random people on the street would have a definite idea of what the term means? I could imagine many not really knowing or caring.

                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                      Although 20 randon people on the street probably don't have a definition for any word, I'd say "foodie" has become part of the basic American lexicon.

                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                        Dunno. I think many people would have a vague notion of what they think the word could mean. But not all would have definite opinions or care.

                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                          How's that different than any other word in common usage?

                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                            I was initially responding to Texsquared's comment that 19 of 20 random people would define foodie as meaning a snob. I'm saying I don't think 20 random people would all have a clear opinion or even care. I'm just questioning Texsquared's logic.
                                                                            Many of us grew up using the word "ignorant" to mean lacking civility didn't we?

                                                                    2. re: TexSquared

                                                                      i don't accept the assertion that 95% of people associate the word with snobbery.

                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        I agree. Someone (with balls) should perform this experiment. Maybe I'll ask on my radio show tomorrow altho I doubt 20 people would call in.

                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                          Me neither! Foodie does not hold any negative meaning for me.

                                                                        2. re: TexSquared

                                                                          I disagree with you. I always considered myself a foodie because I enjoy eating, cooking, and learning about food, and not being snobbish about it. It's about being able to exchange experiences and ideas for the fun of it and not say that my favorite meals were only the only the ones that cost upwards of $500. And, I admit, some of my best friends are foodies too.


                                                                      2. re: TexSquared

                                                                        There is a definition of "foodie" that pretty much applies across the board. The term refers to a person with an interest in things food related. It is pretty much a term reserved for amateurs and enthusiasts. It's a hobby.

                                                                        That it can be seen as a pejorative or carrying a negative connotation is what varies. Personally, I find it distasteful for reasons I have yet to fully unpack. I suppose there is the silliness of the word, which has an infantile mien courtesy of the "ie" and I think I may wonder what's involved with needing a label or an identity based on a hobby that comes from being so privileged as to have constant access to food. (I'm happy that not everyone is deprived, but...) In fact, it may come down to my wondering if there is a perversion inherent in all hobbies. At least "cinephilia" is a word that acknowledges its own perversion.

                                                                        (I'm not actually a fan of "chowhound" either-- or rather, as meaning anything but one who posts on this board. Funny that I'm resistant to labelling around the interest of food given that I enjoy learning about food myself. And I like to eat, cook, etc.)

                                                                        The perceived snobbism may not be a result of the word, but of the types of people likely to label themselves as such. (The sorts who refer to friend's home-cooked dinners as 'disappointing' or those who question how anyone can enjoy x, y, or z.) But now I'm just blethering.

                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                          being an ol' hippy has inoculated me against feeling bad about the diminutive

                                                                        2. re: TexSquared

                                                                          Okay, I didn't get 20 people to call in when I asked this OTA (http://wmbr.org, I'm on Thurs. 10AM EST) but I did get 6 answers and no one gave "foodie" a negative connotation. A few thought of it as preferring expensive food but most everyone agreed that it means you're just into food, some thought that source/organic etc. was important to a foodie but they all just thought it meant you take your food seriously. Which is what I think too. But I don't ever use the term myself. Here's one email I got:

                                                                          Foodie to me, means someone who likes food, who is a fan of food, more so than we all are, everybody needs to eat so it's hard to say that any living person doesn't like to eat or want to eat. but I guess a foodie cares more about the details and experiences of it, more so than your avg bear...I guess I don't really have a strong reaction to the term.

                                                                      3. re: Glam Foodie

                                                                        I have a couple very dear friends who lovingly refer to me as a foodie (one of them always asks me what Yelp discoveries I can share with them, and if you've seen my many prior posts about Yelp you'll know that I never, ever use their reviews for restaurant advice). But I don't waste precious social time clarifying my definition of the word because I know they meant no ill intent, and I get what they are saying.

                                                                        However, I still wince when I hear it, particularly when applied to me. I can't get the image of hip, trend following, 20-something urbanites in their tiny grandpa hats waxing on about a food they've never tried before as if they're experts on the subject. To clarify, this is NOT meant to dismiss anyone's right to express their personal opinion. That's absolutely fine. What irks me is people who are regarded instantly as experts when they really have no solid foundation or frame of reference for their opinions, other than other people's opinions. It's a foundation built on silt. Too often these days an uninformed opinion is regarded as expertise simply because it's published on a webpage (like a Yelp review or a blog), and that's the essence of foodieism to my mind. Enthusiastic but uninformed opinions regarded as expertise, which are then promulgated among other foodies and occasionally a major newspaper or TV program will instantly raise a novice enthusiast's opinion into an ever higher perceived realm of expertise.

                                                                        I'm not saying this is the case for every foodie, but it's my perception of the most distasteful aspect of the term. And I'm not saying this is the only definition for what a foodie is.

                                                                        Having said that, now I'll go in a totally different direction by way of illustration. LA Chowhounds will know what I'm talking about here. To put it in Los Angeles food critic terms, I'd say fancy restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila is a foodie whereas tiny ethnic dive eatery reviewer Jonathan Gold is not (though I'd say they're each snobs in their own ways). What's relevant is that as Jonathan Gold had gained fame (and a Pulitzer prize), he has inspired the trendy tiny-hat foodie crowd to seek out the type of intensely untrendy hole-in-the-wall, non-American restaurants that he has reviewed for 20+ years; in effect, he has (to some degree) foodie-ized places that never were the domain of foodies before.

                                                                        By my definition, those people who have been seeking these types places out for longer than they have been trendy are not foodies.

                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                          No one but us oldies remember that Manifesto Mr. T.

                                                                          Back to the OP. "Meltingly tender". Very annoying.

                                                                        2. re: Glam Foodie

                                                                          Count me on board with your definition, Glam Foodie. :) I use the term in the same way.

                                                                          1. re: Glam Foodie

                                                                            I really love how you put that.
                                                                            I've long thought that the word was unfairly vilified on this site due to people wanting to replace the name with chowhound or hound. That can have some really negative connotations if you'd ever watched my Irish Setter eat anything. She acted like she was afraid that every meal would be her last so she had to gobble it down wildly and as fast as possible.

                                                                      4. "I really want to like this place"


                                                                        "OMG" (good or bad way)

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: K K

                                                                          OMG, especially when people actually speak the letters emphatically, with gravitas.

                                                                          "O..... M...... G!!!!"

                                                                          This annoyance is compounded exponentially as the speakers age increases.

                                                                          Teen to 20-something, annoying but understandable.
                                                                          30-something, seriously? how old exactly do you think you are?
                                                                          40+, you're spending WAY too much time around your kids and their friends.

                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                          1. re: K K

                                                                            +1 on "I really want to like this place"

                                                                            I hate writers who use code and to me that's code for "it sucks". But it also shows a lack of judgment on the writer's part.

                                                                            Why would anybody say they want to like a place? To me that throws the entire review into question, because the writer is admitting he/she went in planning on writing a good review and had to backtrack; there was a bias before he/she stepped through the door.

                                                                            Reviewers should not be planning/expecting a good/bad review, but report their findings AFTER they've tried the food, judged the fairness of the pricing, and experienced the service.

                                                                            1. re: TexSquared

                                                                              it means that someone likes the concept of a place, but the place did not deliver. maybe you love cowboys, eg. a new place opens in your 'hood with a cowboy theme. You're excited - i mean what cowboy lover wouldn't be. Then you go in and find the food is lame. You're disappointed. WHy? because you really wanted to like the place.

                                                                              it conveys a very specific meaning.

                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                I hear you. I think it would be OK for a CH post to say that. I'd be thrilled if a Cajun restaurant opened near my house and before going in I might post that I'm looking forward to trying it, and if it disappointed I could use that line in my "findings" post.

                                                                                But if someone is paid to write a review, for a newspaper or magazine, such bias should be kept to themselves.

                                                                              2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                <Why would anybody say they want to like a place?>

                                                                                Perhaps because the place is donating 75% of their profits to a food bank, or otherwise contributing to the greater good. A prime example would be Colors, the restaurant cooperative started by former employees of Windows on the World.

                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                  I agree with this but I doubt charitable donations would be the case most of the time a reviewer uses that line. More often than not it's reflecting a bias going in.

                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                    It could also be expectations that were set and then not met during the actual dining experience. For example, a beautiful dining room, or a passionate owner, interesting menu, or great service... but then the food didn't deliver. Maybe I wanted to like it because I liked the feeling of being there, or because I liked the staff/service.

                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                      I challenge you, sir or madam, to go to any restaurant without some sort of bias going in. The minute you learn the name of a restaurant, or what it serves, or where it is, you become biased. Is it a stupid name? Do you typically hate that sort of food? Were you once mugged on that corner? Bias. And reviewers: they're just like us. But since I can usually keep my initial uninformed reaction from influencing my actual experience, I bet most critics can as well.

                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                        Bias is always present and it would be naive to think otherwise. Making it transparent is what a reviewer (who is paid to give an opinion-- this is not reportage) does. Meanwhile, I still question the "I wanted to like it" as somehow problematic or reflective of anything apart from the reviewer appreciating one promise of the restaurant and then being sorely disappointed by the execution.

                                                                                2. "Think" used as a segue to describe a taste sensation. As in...the cheese smelled very strong, think uncleansed feet released from old army boots after several days of marching through putrid swampland. I don't want to "think" metaphorically about the food being reviewed, I want to know how it's prepared, what the flavors are, what tasted good or bad to the reviewer and why.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Marge

                                                                                    Good one! Plus if it's used once, it'll likely be used repeatedly in the same publication. Once I've noticed this I'll make myself crazy because it's all I can see. Usually it's in parentheses (think: annoyingly unnecessary words).

                                                                                    But forgive me, I also really don't like "taste sensation." Others upthread mentioned "mouthfeel" which I can't even bring myself to say. There are many more but my fingers refuse to type them. I have issues.

                                                                                  2. I want to know in Chinese restaurant flyers which items have sauteed or crispy "battered" items. Is that too much to ask?

                                                                                    1. "fellows" to describe shrimp or clams or some such as in "the shrimp were six fine fellows..."

                                                                                      Oh, please, were they dressed in after 8 attire?

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          I just the post above referring to "haute barnyard", perhaps these were "haute ocean" shrimp.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            I remember seeing Martin Yan Can Cook on tv, arranging shrimp on a plate: "boy girl, boy girl, boy girl"

                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                              ROFLMAO! OK, now *that* I like! :-D

                                                                                            2. ambrosia (was unfortunately reminded of my distaste for this particular one in Sam Sifton's NY Times review yesterday.)

                                                                                              any variation of "sing" or "song" as an action or quality attributed to a food item.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                  makes me cringe every time. good to see your name appear, BTW - it's been a while!

                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  Any use of music or religion to describe food. Enough with the "symphony of flavors" or "died and gone to heaven" or "I have seen God and his name is foie gras"...

                                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                    agreed. and "I have seen God and his name is foie gras" is hilarious! sounds like something Restaurant Girl would write...though she'd probably misspell it ;)

                                                                                                3. Reviews, interviews, anything, the word "surreal" makes me want to stick skewers in my ears.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Bunson

                                                                                                    What if it is actually surreal? Like when I had some of the best, most professional servers I'd encountered in a long time bringing me the some of the most disgusting food of my life.

                                                                                                    To answer the OP - 'party in your mouth'

                                                                                                  2. Quite funny actually. I think most reviewers try to stretch their literary muscles a bit too much when they review. Keep it simple.What good is using words that aren't very common when the goal of the piece is to convey the restaurant's experience from food to ambiance and so on?

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: jzahz

                                                                                                      That's because....it's all about them, not the reader. Pompous and self-centered, the lot of them.

                                                                                                      (going off to drink some coffee to wash this cynicism down)

                                                                                                    2. "Inedible."

                                                                                                      I don't think I've seen proper use of the word.

                                                                                                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                                                          Yes! Much worse then solo "gem" which is sickening enough.,

                                                                                                        2. I think it's more from food PR than reviews, but the word Artisanal doesn't mean anything anymore. An artisanal sandwich? Artisanal pickles?? Really?!

                                                                                                          Also, Sam Sifton overuses the word "terrific." As did Bruni.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: egit

                                                                                                            re: "terrific" - I've caught this in my own writing - it's hard habit to break. Not a lot of other unpretentious sounding words that can convey the same amount of enthusiasm. Along with "excellent" and "delicious" , it's a word that's overused, but just try to find an adequate replacement that's not cringe-worthy.

                                                                                                            Delectable, for instance. Blech.

                                                                                                          2. Another vote for "unctuous" and "cloying" or any variation ("cloyingly ___"). Also "ubiquitous."

                                                                                                            I am sick and tired of "artisanal" and "sustainable."

                                                                                                            1. Sietsema's favorite, "annealed", for stuck to. On a postive note, my current favorite description from a review, Sifton's "firm slickness" (of fish). Almost erotic.

                                                                                                                1. re: The Librarian

                                                                                                                  +1 for engorged - food is NOT where my mind goes when i read that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    I've never read a review that used that phrasing about food. And I'm very glad I haven't. Oy.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Then I won't tell you about which food blog it's from. But the writer uses both words in every one of his restaurant reviews!

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Librarian

                                                                                                                        :::::thud::::: How does he even have a readership on his blog? Gah.

                                                                                                                  2. re: The Librarian

                                                                                                                    I'm ok with "piquant", especially after reading a few reviews from a local reviewer (who's recently been replaced, hallelujah). He repeatedly described arugula as "snarky"... after turning it over in my head a few times, the best replacement I could think of was "piquant".

                                                                                                                    I've seen one prolific blogger repeatedly use "saccharine" instead of sweet - I'd rather see overuse of an appropriate word than overuse of a thesaurus.

                                                                                                                    Please give a quote from the blog using "engorged".... please? Pretty please?

                                                                                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                                                                                      saccharine is a very specific word meaning , not just sweet, but overly sweet in a cloying overbearing manner. it is a totally legit use of the word. now the blogger you mention may be overusing it, but thats very different from it being an inappropriate word

                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                        Be careful, cloying is another word that has been dismissed in this thread. I think both cloying and saccharine are appropriate terms to describe unpleasantly sweet dishes.

                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                          Yes, I am familiar with the proper use of the word.

                                                                                                                          He used it to describe butter.

                                                                                                                    2. Agree "gem" is annoying. And as other posters have pointed out, "eponymous", "artisanal",
                                                                                                                      On the contrary, I don't mind "yummy". At least, it's not pretentious...
                                                                                                                      LOL @ "haute barnyard" and "engorged" !
                                                                                                                      I've actually used "to die for" to describe a meatball.

                                                                                                                          1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                            Ha! +1

                                                                                                                            HATE "underwhelming." I have to wonder whether people who use "underwhelming" would rather be "overwhelmed" by their meal. As in having to lug it home in a Radio Flyer wagon, or maybe fight it off with a truncheon and riot shield.

                                                                                                                            Most meals, I'm happy if I'm just "whelmed."

                                                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                              Well, 'underwhelmed' actually means that it hasn't even hit the level of 'whelmed'-- it's not working in relation to 'overwhelmed', a word that isn't all positive connotation either.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                My general problem with "underwhelmed" is that it's a little too inferrential. It's saying what the meal isn't instead of what it is. Same problem with "not uninspired." And when terms enter the realm of cliche, they lose their effectiveness and become "underwhelming."

                                                                                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                I usually see this used to refer to something that's expected to be excellent (because of the chef's past work or whatever), but turns out not to be. It's a synonym for 'disappointing'.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Buckethead

                                                                                                                                  Agreed. I'd wager the exponential use of "underwhelming" is related to the rise in chowish websites, where the perpetual question is: "where can I find the best [X]?" And of course when something is sold as the very best, inevitably, some people are going to be disappointed. But I'd much rather hear why the meal didn't meet their expectations than the blanket "underwhelming" which really doesn't say anything apart from they didn't like it. Was the seasoning lacking? Was preparation poor? Did it look ugly?

                                                                                                                            2. Wow, tough crowd. I don't mind any specific words as long as they're used appropriately and accurately. (I do get annoyed when reviews are overwritten, though -- keep it simple, please, and ease off on the metaphors.)

                                                                                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                  That reminds me of the place that was known for it's deconstructed bread. You get a plate of flour, yeast, salt, and warm water.

                                                                                                                                  I found it underwhelming.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                    sounds like the "raw food movement" taken to a ridiculous extreme....

                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            While I found this whimsical take on the classic bake good less than not uninspired, I was mostly whelmed by the sprawling selection of water: tap, still, bottled, steamed, cruelty-free, tartar control, holy, cursed, and artisinally puddled. Yummo!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                          Makes you want to deconstruct the chef's face, don't you? ;-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                            This is very funny. I'd add "post-modern." Any place that actually has food that is "aware" of its precursors is gonna send me to the taco truck instead.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: gregsamsa

                                                                                                                                              I agree-- the reality is that every dish is built upon many generational steps and changes, and it is often interesting to learn about the traditional history of a dish. But to self-consciously raise awareness of these steps for the sake of illustrating the chef's genius adds a drizzle of ego to the dish that tastes awfully bitter.

                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                            Again, "deconstructed" is a perfectly good word to describe a traditional dish that's taken apart and presented in a non-traditional manner. There's a difference between taking exception to a reviewer's vocabulary and taking exception to a restaurant's cuisine. Not to say that you have to be amused / engaged / intrigued by deconstructed dishes, but being annoyed by finding the word in a restaurant review is like a vegetarian being annoyed by the mention of meat.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I would actually prefer that a reviewer mention that some dish is deconstructed, because it might let me know to NOT go to the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                              I have no problem with others being impressed with those things, but often enough, it is not for me.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                I agree that it's a legit term but I think that it can be overused or misused at times generally. It's a "hip" term.

                                                                                                                                            2. "Toothsome"...one of those "word-a-day" treasures from Reader's Digest. Always hated it.

                                                                                                                                              Couldn't agree more about the desecration of "foodie". Sadly, the word and idea have been
                                                                                                                                              corrupted by status-seekers, who are intent on nothing more than crossing food or restaurants off their personal "bucket lists". No regard for quality or passion of the people producing the food and drink, just the latest, greatest du jour - based upon some reviewer's opinion.

                                                                                                                                              I live in Paris, and am constantly bombarded with questions from people wanting to cut to the chase and find "the best of". Fine, glad to offer my opinion. However, after dutifully cramming in all "the best" they can hold, for three meals a day over a period of several days - why is it that these same folks report back nothing more than laundry lists of menu items and poor service? "We had the terrine and escargots. She had lamb stew and I had the pigeonneau. The head and feet were still on. The waiter never brought more water. The dessert was OK - some kind of fruit tart. With wine, the bill was over 100 euros." Not one word about flavors, aromas, ambience...just onward to the next place on the list.

                                                                                                                                              It is sadder than sad...

                                                                                                                                              1. I have written some little personal kitchen recipe "reviews" for COTM -- the Cookbook of the Month, a very informal feature that happens over at the Home Cooking board. It's *very* hard to come up with synonyms for delicious, tasty, amazing, wonderful! But you want to, so your readers will be moved to share your experience...

                                                                                                                                                So I don't mind so much when someone tries -- I think what most people object to is the 16th, 47th, 100th time they hear the same "original" phrase or word.

                                                                                                                                                I noticed my (old!) Time-Life "The Good Cook-Candy" book tells how to apply a "lustrous coat" of fondant. It seems appropriate to say things like that when talking about food...!

                                                                                                                                                The words "artisanal" and "unctuous" (and others of course) have real, specific meanings. As long as they're used correctly it's OK with me.

                                                                                                                                                (I don't mind Alton Brown saying "good eats", so it's not fair to fault Rachael Ray's "yummo"!)

                                                                                                                                                When the diners & dives guy talks with his mouth full I don't care because that stuff he finds always looks so good!

                                                                                                                                                1. Historic - as in the 'chocolate souffle was historic'. Michael Winner of The (London) Times uses this frequently if not weekly in his restaurant reviews.

                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                    Good grief! What does that mean? It's a recipe from the Middle Ages?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                      that's bizarre, and would definitely bother me.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                        That's surprising, if only because it seems very slangy for such an upright publication.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                              British public i.e. private schoolboy slang.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                  Got it, thanks. Kind of elitist, no?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                    Historic, like epic, means great as in terrific. Much like brilliant is very cool as opposed to highly intelligent.

                                                                                                                                                        1. "Delicious." So generic, so vague. I hate it. It tells me nothing. Lots of foods are "delicious" for a variety of reasons. Is it tasty because it's been marinated overnight in heirloom tomato juice and imported olive oil? Does it taste good because it was paired with a great pinot noir to balance the flavor? Was the dish good to you because it was well-seasoned with fresh herbs? Explain, expand, educate me!

                                                                                                                                                          1. I would gladly live like a pauper to never have to read "My kingdom for a..." again in a G&M restaurant review.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Napped. The nihil sed bonum "reviewer" of advertising restaurants in the local pennysaver uses this for every item with a sauce.

                                                                                                                                                              Meat that "cuts with a fork" or "falls off the bones."

                                                                                                                                                              "Trio" for three.

                                                                                                                                                              And at least 1+ for killing "toothsome."

                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                I'd like restaurant reviews with "nihil sed bonum" and such in them, myself. Napped is indeed a very annoying word.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  I try to use Latin at least once a year, in honor of many wasted hours in high school. (For the non-classicists: De mortui nihil sed bonum = Of the dead [speak] nothing except good.)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                    Time spent learning languages is never wasted. 4 years of it in HS too.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      I've got to take exception to that, buttertart. Of all the languages I could have taken, I stupidly took French. I think I used that knowledge twice in the last 60 years when I was able to read a menu and order in French.
                                                                                                                                                                      All my friends and their families were Italian. They spoke the language fluently. Why didn't I take Italian? Had I known back then that I would be moving to CA I would have taken Spanish. (sigh)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                          pikawicca said it. That knowledge has still enriched your experience of other languages. It's always there thrumming in the background, as are Latin etc. for me. I regret not having had Spanish available in my high school (German instead) but with my French I can still read pretty much any everyday Spanish or Portuguese.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                        I used to have a few random Latin insults in my signature at a place I worked at. No one noticed it until one day a new person started, and they'd taken Latin in HS. She noticed, but was also terribly amused, so I kept them in!

                                                                                                                                                                        To the OP, "to die for" and "orgasmic"

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                                                                                                          Every time somebody uses "orgasmic" to describe a food, I'm transported back to 1989, envisioning Meg Ryan's schtick in "When Harry Met Sally."

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        Napped is annoying perhaps, but it has a specific meaning: sauce under the protein instead of of over it. A hallmark of nouvelle cuisine; perhaps a bit old-fashioned at the moment.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                          Not necessarily underneath, I should think, at least not as used now?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            Necessarily, I'm afraid. Although horrifyingly enough, I've just noticed that about 3/4 of the online dictionaries have it wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I love this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                      Here's one that's like nails on the chalkboard to me: revelatory. How in god's name does that help 99 percent of the readers decide if a restaurant is worth going to or not?

                                                                                                                                                                      For a hilarious novel about a restaurant reviewer, I encourage everyone to find a copy of Reservations Recommended, by Eric Kraft.

                                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                        Absolutely, that is a very fun book.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Bob W! I've learned that I better not use the word "yummy" again. Need to come up with something new, but not being a writer it might be a challenge.... I'm also going to seek out the book you recommended as well. .

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                            As bad as yummy is in reviews, how about derivatives like "yummo" or "yummers."

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                              Or yummilicious. ::::shudder::::

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                Hands off scrummy, I like that one. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't you mean "scrumptious"? Like the jingle in those Nestle Crunch commercials... "It's scrumptious when it crunches..."

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's from that, but British. I wouldn't use it in formal writing but it seems less childish than yummy or derivatives (especially the derivatives).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      Another word that gets overused is "decadent"....

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                        And its companion, orgasmic. I mean, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                          I hate that one - too many fluid connotations come to mind I prefer not to go with my food!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Scrummy" just makes me think of rugby players. Who are often dirty after a scrum but still often cute. So I will leave you scrummy. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                  I find I have a much higher tolerance for "annoying" words in food reports here on CH than I do when I am reading actual reviews by journalists elsewhere because as has been previously stated most here are not being paid to write about food.

                                                                                                                                                                                  What always bothers me is when someone is ostensibly writing about food and only describes the setting or the service. Tell me about what you ate please, not where or how, except in passing :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                    I started to agree that a different set of rules applies to posts here than those "published" by "professionals," but, I've got to admit, "to die for" is annoying anywhere, anytime, and by anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Sexy. Anthony Bordain seemed to think calling things sexy made him a racy reviewer. I can see it in some contexts but ... a sexy baba ghanoush?

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chinaplate

                                                                                                                                                                                For me it's the ubiquitous ennui that he narrates with. Dude, you're in Thailand/China/Singapore etc.....get a little excited!!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. "Crazy delicious" is extremely annoying, especially when I catch myself saying it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart


                                                                                                                                                                                  Everybody knows it's properly written "crazylicious." ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                2. You know, maybe words that we read "too often" in restaurant reviews aren't really about the words themselves. Maybe it's that we all read TOO MANY RESTAURANT REVIEWS! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Seriously, how many reviews do most people read? I know that I have a problem in that I read too much food-related media. But how many reviews per week are "too many?" What's normal? If we read "unctuous" (or whatever) too many times, maybe we should read fewer reviews...?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. IMHO, the most overused word is "awesome". Watch some of the shows and count how many times the word is uttered. Everything, including the most mundane dish, is 'awesome'.

                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                                      As one who has spent a fair amount of time traveling (in fact, right now I'm with my in-laws in Taiwan, having just finished wrapping some zongzi http://gothamist.com/2007/04/16/zongz...) and I think you've hit upon something but the real issue is really that as Americans we tend to exaggerate about everything (did you get that? If not, you're probably unaware of your own penchant to exaggerate :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      We tend to use absolutes such is "The best X EVER!" or "Oh my GOD, this is SO good!" (You're really invoking God over your braised rutabaga?) It's part of our over national penchant for unwarranted over confidence and excessive enthusiasm. I think that, more than anything, is why amateur reviews filled with their trite cliches and blunt metaphors rile us.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I really believe that unless we're discussing skilled, professional writers, simple and direct is best. Tell us honestly how you feel in uncomplicated, sincere, specific language without copying words and blurbs that you're internalized after reading other amateur, cliched reviews (or adopted from annoying or unqualified Food TV personalities).

                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a feeling that I am tacking this off-track, but...
                                                                                                                                                                                        "...braised rutabaga..."

                                                                                                                                                                                        Was it "braised" or boiled? Sometimes, that word, annoys me.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                          Seriously? "Braised" annoys you? That's rather ridiculous. Something that's braised is not boiled. Boiling uses only wet heat whereas braising cooks using a combination of wet and dry heat. One term is absolutely not a substitution for the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Being annoyed by "braised" is akin to being annoyed by "grape". There's only one word to describe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                            How 'bout "ragout," "fricassee," or "daube"? But those all annoy me, too...

                                                                                                                                                                                            And while we're at it, why would anybody call a vegetable a "rutabaga"?


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                              ::::Sniff, sniff:::::: Mr. Baga is going to be SO upset you don't like the vegetable he named after his dear departed wife, Ruta!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not annoyed by the term so much as its misuse. I was in a restaurant that was offering "braised scallops" which I'd never heard of. I asked about how it was prepared and the waiter went back to the kitchen, then came back and told me that it was "fried in a pan."

                                                                                                                                                                                              Why they didn't call it "pan fried scallops" is a mystery, unless they think that more people want "braised" instead of "fried" scallops.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                It strikes me that annoyance from misrepresentation or misuse is hardly the same thing as a prose-related sensitivity (something from which I do suffer, hence the violent shudders that overtake my body whenever someone refers to 'washing x down' in a review). At this point, monkeyrotica, it seems like the world of words upsets you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't help it. I'm an editor. It's my blessing and my curse.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                "Boiling uses only wet heat whereas braising cooks using a combination of wet and dry heat."

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster, you may not realize it, but you are agreeing with me. That is my exact point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Just to use the show Top Chef as an a example, the various chefs will refer to something that had simply been boiled, as being Braised, at least 5 times per season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Or, to put it another way (again, just using Top Chef as a point of reference), when was the last time you heard one of them refer to something as being boiled on one of their menus/descriptions?

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Some of these words and phrases also bother me but others I am guilty of using.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the only one that gives me an eye-twitch is "oh so", as in: 'The potatoes were oh so delicately seasoned.'

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Manybears

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes! I know one woman who uses "oh so...." all the time, and predictably she also commonly wears a sweater over her shoulders and tied in front.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. "bad boy" to describe an object

                                                                                                                                                                                            "awesome" (the "groovy" of contemporary speech)

                                                                                                                                                                                            another vote for "yummy" - and I also hate "tummy" when spoken by adults

                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                              "bad boy" was very slightly amusing in 1998 or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL the first time I heard "bad boy" was 1988!! Ocean City, MD. Still part of the vernacular, but only a clown would use it in a review. I'm guessing Guy Fieri uses it. 8>D

                                                                                                                                                                                                My son loves "awesome." He is 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't remember "bad boy" back that far. Who started it, I wonder? Has a military feel to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It may be tough to find the origin of this one, but check out this hilarious discussion - people trying to figure out whether French has an equivalent expression.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    The more I think about it, the more appropriate "bad boy" is when spoken (e.g.,, the server delivers a monster sub and someone says, "Man, you gonna eat that bad boy?") and the more ridiculous it would look in a review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is funny. I'll ask my fluent American-speaking French friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. "Tucking" into your food.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Unctuous is not a good thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Toothsome does not mean chewy.

                                                                                                                                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have no clue as to "tucking into your food" could even mean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  as in "I tucked into a bowl of soup"

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Really? In the UK it is a normal phrase. One says 'tuck in!' to tell people to start eating. It implies a certain gusto - and I don't think it is used in relation to soup, but I'm not sure why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not just the UK. It's pretty common in the US, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Tucking into" food has been perfectly respectable usage for a couple of hundred years. A "tucker" was originally a laborer's daily ration, but eventually came to mean food in general. A "full tuck-out" is a big meal. You can carry your lunch to work in a tucker-box. These usages may be rarer now than in the 19th century, but they're not unheard of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Unctuous means oily and somewhat rich, and can imply plasticity and/or stickiness. Not a good thing when you're describing a person, but they can be when describing food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed that toothsome is egregiously misused. It just means "tasty" with overtones of daintiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would like to see "sapid" used more. 8<D

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And don't forget the Jolly Swagman and his tucker bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought heirloom tomatoes at the co-op last week; have no idea how they were grown or where they came from, but they were great -- almost as good as what you'd pick off the vine in your backyard in August.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe it's used more in the UK than the US, where we tend to say "min course" or "entree." (That last opens a whole new kettle of worms.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But if you're talking about the category of food that includes meat, poultry, fish, and tofu, it's "protein."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It means greasy^^
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tucking is apparently used, but I got tucked into bed as a kid. I've never heard it said except for the food critic who takes a shine to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not quite. It means "unguent-like." A good chicken stock is unctuous - the collagen coats your mouth, giving an impression of richness - but is nearly fat-free and not greasy at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or ointment; oily; greasy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  : smooth and greasy in texture or appearance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  definitely means greasy, but I get why writers use it. If your chicken stock is greasy, you should have defatted it better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You need to bone up on how to read a dictionary. The first description of the word's meaning is the most common - and typically the most broadly accurate - definition. Thus, according to whatever source you're using, the primary meaning of "unctuous" is "ointment-like" or "unguent-like." Which is what I said. You can certainly disagree with that, but you're wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, the secondary definition is not inaccurate; "unctuous" can sometimes mean "oily" or "greasy." But it's also used to describe things that are abundant in organic materials, so they're soft and rich. The example I found was a reference to "unguent soil." In that context, the word doesn't have anything to do with greasiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gelatin - a key component of stocks and braises - isn't greasy, but it is universally and correctly referred to as being unctuous. (Seriously, a Google search for "unctuous gelatin" comes up with more than 40,000 results.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You are taking one of several meanings of a word - a meaning that isn't even the primary definition - and insisting that that's what's meant every time the word is used. That is simply incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  not greasy. it means the way a rich gravy, or well gelatined stock feels on your tongue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    omg....look it up!!! IT MEANS GREASY!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    GIVE ME ONE REFERENCE THAT SAYS YOUR DEFINITION, K?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One reference? Surely we can do better than that...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://thesaurisize.com/senectuous - "Rich, lush, intense, with layers of concentrated, soft, velvety flavor."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.wine-tastings-guide.com/wi... - having "a very rich, creamy texture in the mouth that coats the palate."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      www.encyclo.co.uk/define/unctuous - "smooth, soft and full on the palate"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://dictionary.reverso.net/english... - "If you describe food or drink as unctuous, you mean that it is creamy or oily."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.yourdictionary.com/unctuous - "soft and rich."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/unct... - "Having the quality or characteristics of oil or ointment; slippery."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/un... "soft and rich in texture."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Shouting doesn't make you any less wrong, K?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "The mouthfeel of the perfectly-ripened brie was unctuous".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As in unguent, creamy/sticky. The right word, not its second cousin.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Precisely, Mr. B.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Geez Louise - with alanbarnes' linked definitions, it's means BOTH - both rich on the tongue and in the mouth AND oily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why can't it just mean both and be done with it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. "Healthy."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                I believe the word to describe food is "healthful."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Besides, who wants food that is sick?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodMan88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He has gotten better since he started, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. "sinful" in reference to dessert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hmm...I like sinful..feels like that sometimes. Mortal or venial I wonder? Do I need to go to confession after?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Indulgent fits better, perhaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i havr a hard time with all those words that seem to have no meaning to me, like sinful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Certainly has no meaning where food is concerned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed, 'sinful' is a ludicrous commentary that perpetuates the idiotic structure of morality that many people have built around food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Munch. I hate it in a review and I hate it as a description of eating or chewing. I hate munch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: artychokeasana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Same here. Hate munch, slurp or any other kind of onomatopoeic description of eating noises-- none of which lends any insight into the food, only those eating it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Something else that just struck me, the term "Gastro" Pub It reminds me of a colonoscopy who wants to think about that in terms of food? "Gastro" usually more of an aliment when I think of the word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I blame the emerge of gastric-bypass and other stomach procedures. Not too sure about the leap to the colon, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do think that there's a thin line between a pub and a gastropub these days. That is, many will advertise as the latter when it's more of the former. Sort of like how some pizza joints advertise "brick oven" pizza when they don't have a genuine one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Very funny , I see what you mean. Well if you suffer from gastritis a doctor often recommends a colonoscopy, so that's where this is coming from (in my head of course)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd heard the term "gastropub" for a few years, and unconsciously gone "ewww" for the reasons cited above, before I bothered to ask what it meant. I finally ate at one this winter, and it was kind of a bore, foodwise. But I don't drink, so that might have had something to do with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  gastropubs sound like gastropods to me - molluscs including slugs and snails. bleh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I saw it up there somewhere, but I'll throw my hat into the "toothsome" ring. Just makes me think of going to the dentist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Paired vs. married.....not annoying, just fun to talk about while waiting for your food...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Thought of a new one. "House"made, just prefer "Home"made, or better yet, no reference to where it's made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "A house is not a home."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And, if you cooked like my mother, "home made" was not necessarily a compliment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, it's ridiculous. If you're paying top dollar for a meal one would assume the chef isn't using Sysco sauces..... you expect that at chains and cheap bars. But I guess this is the only sure way to highlight the fact it was made in-house from scratch and didn't arrive on a truck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even then, there's no guarantee. No guarantee that they're not lying about who/where the sauces were made. As alanbarnes said below - it's a marketing "tool".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, "home-made" tends to mean anything but. Things sold with that label are almost never made in a home, and rarely even in a restaurant. It's become a meaningless marketing term.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "House-made" still has some meaning. I like to know if a mid-range place is whipping up its own salad dressings or an Italian place is curing salume in the back. "House-made" is an effective way to communicate these things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then should we assume everything not labelled isn't house made? Like TexS. says, if you are going to a great restaurant, you don't need to state the obvious, it comes across as being pretentious. On the other hand I see what you mean about the curing salume, that's a good point. However, these days it seems a bit over used.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree completely that the word's overused. In the right context it's informative, but much of the time it's just noise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. was reading the Comments beneath today's NYT restaurant review, and i just had to share this one :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Oh, and next food reviewer to use the word "unctuous" when describing eel or sea urchin must stand in the middle of Times Square when it hits 114 degrees outside, with a begging cup and a sandwich board that says "Will Write for Thesaurus." Sea urchin and eel are creamy, funky, melty, smooth on the palette, etc etc etc. There, I just saved you."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            unfortunately the author definitely loses points for "palette."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, when you use uni as a pigment it's very smooth on the palette. Somewhere between sienna and cerulean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I completely hate that palette mistake, hate to say it but it's quite common on CH too. At least it's not "pallet" as in freight or make me one on the floor, I suppose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If something was "smooth and melty on the pallet", that Truck Driver would have a hell of a mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ship chocolates unrefrigerated in June, anybody?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Once had chocolates delivered to me in June, in Orlando, nicely packed in a dry ice pack. UPS guy chucked it on to my balcony. Fortunately I used my balcony to smoke. Chocolates were great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had great friends that very broke year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. For your convenience I have compiled an alphabetical list of words and terms that some find unacceptable for use in food reviews:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                100 mile
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                affordable prices
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                bad boy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cloyingly sweet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cooked to perfection
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                crazy delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cuts with a fork
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                died and gone to heaven
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                falls off the bone
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                haute barnyard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                hidden gem
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have seen god
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i really want to like this place
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                in my opinion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                meltingly tender
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                most unique
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                my kingdom for…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh so...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                party in your mouth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                piping hot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                symphony of flavors
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                taste sensation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to die for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tucking into
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you won't go away hungry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have been guilty of using a few of these terms in my Chow reviews, so I am pleased that some of you are more forgiving for non-pro reviewers. I have been trying to come up with adjectives that are more descriptive when I write. Perhaps I will go back to the basics. Wait,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DELICIOUS is also unacceptable to some! Now what?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The problem is that some of these words, when applied correctly, add valuable information to a review. I want to know if a restaurant is affordable, a dish is deconstructed or an ingredient is made in house. Just because someone doesn't like a word doesn't mean it's overused or inappropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      meh...... really needs to be on this list

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Nosh. I get that it used to be a new, hipster word, say 10 years ago. When a reviewer is still using it, I get that they think it conveys a certain feel at at restaurant or of the clientele. But the slang definition now is not so appetizing to use to freely about food. Even if that weren't the case, by the time people over 30 feel comfortable using a slang word it's usually not so cool anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        um, nosh is a yiddish word, that was not new 10 years ago. i've used it all my life, and i'm 50. my parents use it and they are in their 80's. im sure my grandparents, and their grandparents used it as well

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe comebacks for schmeck and fresser are in order! Apparently schmeck has some other connotations now too (none of them good).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            fresser has never left my family vocab either - but then, we ARE a family of fressers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ok, people who regularly use yiddish words are exempt. :) Slang comes from somewhere, and the original users can use it to their heart's content without judgment from me! But it just bugs me when the 20-35 year old hipsters use it ... it's not a cool, new word anymore, and if you're using it as that, the newer definition doesn't fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The newer definition is the same as the old one. The difference is that gentiles became aware of and started to use this traditional Yiddish word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The difference now is merely one of perception... the millions of gentile Americans who only know "nosh" within the trendy context make assumptions about the person using the word, even if that person grew up hearing and using it their entire lives (like me!) :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's actually a newer, crass definition ... in UK slang according to the internet, which we all know is true every time! Really, though I have a feeling if I ever ran into you or anyone who says nosh because it's a word they grew up with I wouldn't even blink. It would probably sound natural. It think it's more of a context issue for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The people I know who say it (mid-30 professionals without any cultural context in my pretty small city) also use the word "ghetto" as an adjective and "yo" as ... I don't know what. I don't see "nosh" often in reviews here. The few times I have read it have been in reviews of new restaurants the writer clearly wants to portray as trendy, and the word seems fake and out of place. I'd also roll my eyes if I read that I should "check out that ghetto bistro on Main, yo." The context would just be all wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But, clearly, I stand corrected overall on the use of the word nosh! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the thought of nosh implying something trendy cracks me up no end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    but im sure the owners of the long standing bagel-nosh are pleased by it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  how about 25 yr old hipsters from jewish families, that may not use yiddish regualary, but still have yiddishisms sprinkled through their vocabulary?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  how about 25 yr old new yorkers, jewish or otherwise, who have yiddishisms as a sizeable part of their everyday vocabulary, because it is part of the local usage of english?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Back to context ... I live in Idaho. While I'd loooove to spend even 5 minutes in New York and hear people use yiddishims of all sorts (apparently the only one I know is nosh), I don't really come into contact with anything like that here. While there are growing groups of people from all over the world here, and from all religions, most people I come into contact with are from here. If it's part of the local dialect, it makes sense to use it. And If I lived in a place like that I wouldn't think twice if I read it in a review, heck I'd probably use it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did she *really* say that? Oy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure you use many many more yiddish words than you know -


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        shlemiel / shlimazel ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        maybe putz, schmooze, and shlong too

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am 50+, originally from New York, black, and living in California, with a lot of Yiddish expressions in my vocab. An "ex" of mine used to say what sounded like

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "hock meh nish kum cupf" ( black people in the eighties might have said "get off my case!"). Must be "Hock a chinick (hock a chy nik) : To prattle, to go on about nothing at an inappropriate time."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry...Back to food....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            my father says that as hoch me nicht en kopf - literally don't kick me in the head

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If I had had children, they would likely be 20-35 year old hipsters, and they would have heard the word "nosh" from birth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good grief, you keep mentioning how old the word-users are. How in the world does that make a difference?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Another vote for "cloying/cloyingly," most often paired with the word "sweet." HATE IT!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm laughing at the idea of 'hipsters' using the word nosh. Is hipster just some catch-all dismissive descriptor now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Can't believe this hasn't shown up yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "XXX is like crack."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even our own esteemed Jonathan Gold is guilty of recently using it just last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      CTRL+F "crack"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. "Heirloom tomatoes". The only real meaning is that it isn't a hybrid. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of heirloom varieties. Lots of differences in flavor and appearance. Tart, sweet, mild, white, yellow, pink, brownish-red, all heirloom varieties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sort of like "purebred dog": could be a Shih-Tzu or an Irish wolfhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Akitist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some chain has a special on "Heirloom tomato Pizza" going; "Only as long as heirloom tomatoes are available."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was just looking at a local menu (Alexandria, VA in December) and they have an "Heirloom Tomato salad", which sounds nice but it just means they're getting the same picked-when-green and shipped-a-thousand-mile tomatoes that I can get at the local Safeway. It's not like these "heirlooms" were just picked off the vine and carried into the kitchen minutes later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Menus love to use "heirloom" as code for fresh and tasty, but really, unless you're talking about the genetics of the seed, it's a nearly meaningless expression.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Any word or turn of phrase from our local food "writer."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The opening here is so tortured I laughed out loud, featuring name dropping that is pretentious and cloyingly unctuous; http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          51 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: laststandchili

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, she gets paid for that? That opening paragraph could be a parody--pretentious and cloyingly unctuous indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I found the review underwhelming and less-than-not uninspired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The use of the word protein ... its not a chemistry class. Call it meat, fish, grain, whatever it is... Do you call potatoes complex carbohydrates?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As a corollary, I hate "app" and "main". Write the damn word, already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      oh thew...the apps were better than the mains at Bistro X...is it so hard to write the appetizers were better than the main courses? "Mains" is annoying shorthand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        it doesn't annoy me in the least. language tends to compress over time. I'm ok with that

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am glad you've reached a higher plane of universal comprehension, I haven't yet. Allow me my foibles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i wouldn't dream of doing otherwise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Would rather go against the grain of universal comprehension...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a slippery slope because eventually people will start referring to desserts as "zerts" and I'll have to go on a rampage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I'm NOT going back to jail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            language changes. english more than most, which is why it is such a powerful, large, descriptive language.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            like i always say, if you still say sunset while the earth spins, and don't mean you ran away in terror when you describe a meal as terrific, you have no problem with language and meaning shifting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We've referred to desserts as 'erts since I can remember in our family. Probably just as well it hasn't caught on -- would hate to trigger a monkeyrotic rampage :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Main in this context (not a water main) is an adjective. Used as shorthand for main dish or course. Buttertart just wants the whole phrase, noun included.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Akitist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i repeat. language evolves. main used to be solely an adjective modifying which course. it has since migrated to become a noun, meaning that course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But there needs to be some agreement that the shift has taken place. In general speech "main" may not have reached that level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Terrific" meal in the older sense makes me think of the toasted bats in the Three Amigos movie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Akitist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but every industry has its jargon, which is one of the engines that drives evolution of language.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        True as far as it goes, but until there's general acceptance it remains jargon. The staff may call it a "main" but until the diner does it hasn't arrived.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Like calling a meat dish "protein" while excluding other protein sources like tofu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Akitist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm a diner. i've used "main"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and it's nothing like the protein thing - 1st off most chefs would include tofu - the point of saying protein is about technique - i doesn't really matter which protein in many cases

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I vote we put "first off" on the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But I LOVE "wait...what?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh wait...wrong list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are *one* diner. You may use the term, but do you speak for a majority of diners? I suspect it's a term used "mainly" by food industry type or hardcore diners. Small circle of friends, as Ochs said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Akitist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i never speak for anyone but myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the term isn't yet common, but it isn't really unusual either,as far as i can see

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Akitist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Once it arrives will it not be annoying to those who are annoyed with it now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tommy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                akitists last post doesn't mention annoyance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The thread is about annoying words. The question stands to whomever would like to respond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, in restaurant kitchens, potatoes are referred to as the "starch" as is pasta, rice, etc. "Protein" is a generic term referring to the, well, protein part of the dish- meat, seafood, tofu, whatever. The fact you find it annoying doesn't mean it's not used in just about every commercial kitchen by chefs and cooks to generically describe that component of a plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, well, CH is more about the consumers than the producers. I'm more concerned with how the kitchen staff puts on the plate tastes, not what they call it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Speaking of commercial kitchen terminology, it's always bothered me to hear chefs talk about having cooked something *off*, as in "After I broiled those salmon filets off, I sauteed the spinach off." Why is the extra word needed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That annoys me too. I don't get it. English doesn't need particles of completion to show something is finished.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's just the way people talk. People in different lines of work have different ways of using language. I think it's funny, but "bothered?" I can't be bothered by differences in people. I embrace them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But the point is that it doesnt need to be. If it is meat call it meat.. fish fish etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: laststandchili

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really wanted to like that review...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: laststandchili

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow. What a car wreck! It sounds exactly like something Diane Chambers from Cheers would write.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for this, laststandchili. You have given me my new guilty pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          She drives me absolutely insane, but I never miss a review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've emailed the editor multiple times begging for mercy, but he clearly does not care. Or perhaps is banging her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: laststandchili

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's another Terra Walters masterpiece. I am enjoying this to no end...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "...cover it with yummy melted Muenster cheese."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "The cole slaw with it was a laudable side."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Sinful, but worth it. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "McGarvey's is definitely not the place to eschew dessert."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "One of the seasonal offerings is Pumpkin Cheesecake ($5.50), guaranteed to evoke the Meg Ryan restaurant scene from "When Harry Met Sally."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Eyes still glazed over from a busy holiday season, our party wanted nothing more than a quiet, leisurely evening and an opportunity to get caught up with each other's lives. How fortuitous to find that desired serenity set against a backdrop of exceptional service, lovely surroundings and exemplary food."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Consequently, we were able to enjoy the evening - as well as the food and wine - to the max."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "...the wine list...was filled with treats for the oenophile."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Kudos to the cucina!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Not one morsel was left!" (passive voice)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Finishing with some surprisingly authentic decaf espresso..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              <"Finishing with some surprisingly authentic decaf espresso...">

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank goddess the decaf espresso was authentic. Nothing I hate more than fake fake coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can only assume she's used to unsuprisingly inauthentic decaf espresso. If only there were a Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for restaurant reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was a Dark and Stormy, on the rocks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did I win?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, thanks. But upon reflection, I've decided that I would not win with that first try. However, *this* one might do it:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          After perusing the cocktail list, we decided to make it a Dark and Stormy night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even better. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I was laughing to see how many of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction winners were food-related: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/lyttony.htm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If I ever open a restaurant, it will be most definitely be named The Temperamental Souffle. There's just nothing not to like about that phrase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: laststandchili

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's been removed. Guess i'll try to look the name up on Google.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Excellent post. I live in Baltimore, so I would include the word quirky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Wad. Please don't refer to foods as a wad of whatever, or wadded-up, or other variant. Another Sietsema.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And now a Pete Wells trademark, too, twice in recent reviews. Please, Mr. Wells, you're a hell of a reviewer but knock it off with the wad already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Annapolis' own Terra Walters delivers another deluge of delish drivel.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: laststandchili

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Subclass of Bulwer-Lytton awards for resto reviews?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The words that make me stop reading review, most likely my problem, are 'sammie' and 'tasty'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hate the terms sammie or sammich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And "tasty" is only allowed to be said by Jules. "Mmmm. That is a tasty burger. Vincent, ever have a Big Kahuna Burger?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My personal least-loved descriptive word: mouthwatering. Bad visual with that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I'm with so many of you, "yummy" and derivatives top the list. It doesn't even describe anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sammy, sammie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unctuous, umami-rich

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rodzilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At the time I posted to this thread, I had not seen "nom" used. Subsequently, and regretfully, I have. Too often, I'm afraid. I second the notion that that onomatopoeia never be employed again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What is "nom"? I have no idea what it might mean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some time ago, I had to look it up to be sure I undferstood: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Rodzilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't even know what nanner means...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But what's wrong with unctuous or umami-rich? They're both fairly descriptive, if maybe a little overused.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: egit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Nanner" is baby talk for "banana".