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Oct 20, 2011 09:51 AM

Ugh, why did I order that? Do you ever know better but do it anyway?

There are a few categories of food that I seem to have a hard time avoiding. If I thought it through or asked the server, I would know I don't want it, but somehow I manage to convince myself I'll like it, order it, don't like it, and get really annoyed at myself. Am I the only one?

I like sweets and desserts, but I really DO NOT enjoy sweetness in my savory food. Last week I went out for a fancy dinner and was trying to decide between the halibut with brandade and the scallops with bacon jam. I was thinking salty bacon, not sweet jam, so I ordered the scallops. The bacon was sweet, and while the scallops were lovely, the bacon was a huge proportion of the flavor on the plate and the sweetness ruined it for me. Should have had the halibut. This morning I decided to try a new diner that's been getting a lot of hype. The poutine looked good but I didn't want to start my day with a french fry gut bomb. Shrimp and grits looked good but I didn't want to spend $17 on breakfast. So ... pancake, egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich. How did I manage to convince myself I would enjoy that? The pancakes were really sweet and impossible to separate from the other components. Yuck. I feel like I need to start asking the servers which dishes have no discernable sweetness or added sugar.

The other category for me is fried food (excluding french fries). Every now and then fish & chips sounds like a good idea, but it isn't. Same with the appetizer sampler platter type thing where everything is fried.

What do you always end up regretting ordering?

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  1. I am always sorry when I order a seafood pasta dish in any restaurant that is neither near a sea nor steeped in a culture that does pasta really well (i.e. Italy). Invariably, I wind up with little erasers instead of scallops, rubbery squid, overcooked and low quality shrimp, mussels that should have been culled from the flock, if you know what I mean, and a sauce that is either bland and non-existent or gloopy and frightening.

    Another example is when I see gumbo or bouillabaisse on a menu when, again, it probably has no business being there.

    Even though the levelheaded me is of the opinion that if it seems out of place on a menu, I should steer clear of it, somehow the blithering idiot in me falls into the trap more often than I'd like.

    3 Replies
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      I'm with you on the seafood in places where it doesn't seem to belong. Which, sadly, in my neck of the woods, is almost everywhere. I love seafood and am drawn to it like a bug to the bug zapper, but I really need to remind myself when I place my orders that this dish is something I can probably dig up a recipe for and make better at home.

      1. re: 1sweetpea

        I have learned my lesson with both mixed seafood anything (tends to be the lowest quality, pre-cooked frozen seafood blend) AND just about any pasta, unless I am at a decent Italian place.
        But I have a problem ordering at fish and chip places. I want F&C about twice a year. My husband eats it weekly and will gladly eat it more often than that on vacation, where we typically have very limited options in Ontario Cottage Country. I am continually trying to order something OTHER than F&C. It is never good and I am left staring longingly at everyone else's plates - not just my table but the whole restaurant, because everyone else is smart enough to realize that you should *only* order the Fish 'n Chips at Fish 'n Chips restaurants!

        1. re: julesrules

          I don't know where cottage country is for you, but I have to say, the fish and chips are not bad in Coe Hill, at the Hideaway Primitive Grill. The serving is enormous, so two can dine on the f & c and have room for a much healthier salad on the side.

          I know all about limited options in cottage country. Between that neck of the woods and my own residence, which is in a small city with a very narrow range of decent restaurants (and a glut of absolute crap), I am convinced it's forced me to become a very versatile and resourceful home chef. For that, I am grateful. I source ingredients from near and far and we live out our culinary desires at home, while going out for the scant few items that my "city" does well.

      2. Cheese plate. They always seem to stingy and boring for the money. I just need to be more selective.
        Gnocchi. I swear I like it, but I've never had a gnocchi dish that I've liked. But by golly I'll keep ordering it until I do.

        3 Replies
        1. re: viperlush

          I've never thought about it, but I have to agree with you on the cheese plate, viperlush! Never enough cheese, generally too many crackers or fruit or other accompaniments.

          Problem is, I love cheese. A lot. I put together fabulous cheese plates whenever I have people over, and what I get at restaurants is always such a letdown by comparison.

          Still, if I am dining with just one other person, and they indicate they'd be interested in splitting a cheese plate for dessert instead of something sweet, I always go for the cheese.

          1. re: viperlush

            Why don't you try making the gnocchi yourself, Viper?

            1. re: pdxgastro

              No interest. I don't think that I've had bad gnocchi, just haven't liked it.

          2. I often used to order salmon in restaurants, figuring it was something that I never make at home and it was different than chicken, which I eat all the time.

            And then one day, I realized that I just hate salmon and I never ordered it again. And I didn't miss it one bit. Smoked salmon is a whole different story, however...I love it.

            1. Whenever my better half and me go abroad I have what is now termed a Francesinha moment, after I ordered one in Porto.
              It usually involves an excess of meat and cheese and in Croatia recently I had to have the pork chop stuffed with cheese, bacon and mushrooms, even though I knew I'd regret it.
              I try and get this over with as early on in the holiday as possible.

              1. I don't know that it's anything specific, but,it happens all the time!
                After having a little taste of whatever it is that my dining companion has ordered - I immediately regret whatever it is that is in front of me!
                Inevitably whatever they have ordered tastes better to me, than whatever I have ordered. :(

                6 Replies
                1. re: NellyNel

                  Same here. I'm almost to the point of just copycatting whatever my wife orders like a rookie, because her taste in food apparently mops the floor with mine.

                  1. re: MrBook


                    My ex always teases me that I should just order what he is having, because i am bound to like it better!

                    I refuse to do that because I like to have a little something different to taste! (...and taste again... and again!)

                    1. re: NellyNel

                      You're overcomplicating. Just steal it!!

                      And I am with you on the sweetness, Babette. I dislike sweet sweet potatoes or squash. I always think 'yum! I love sweet potatoes!' and then really wish they were savory. I also order steak in bars or not-nice restaurants and then am sad when it's way overcooked.

                  2. re: NellyNel

                    When I was younger I trained my parents to order my second choice. That way if I wasn't thrilled with whatever dish I ordered I had backup. I'm now working on training the BF.

                      1. re: NellyNel

                        this is a riot because it is me to a "T" every time we go out to a high end restaurant for dinner... happened again this past weekend, he had hangar steak, I had "slow poached cod" the cod was delicous, but cooked sous vide and the texture was... a little odd to me.
                        His hangar steak was, well amazing!
                        he had foie gras for an appetizer, I had sweet breads...his was PERFECT, my sweetbreads stil had connective tissue on them (turn off!)
                        Dessert - he ordered a cremeaux, I had a warm chocolate cake... oh wait... I had the better dessert!