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New 'Menu Items That Need to Be Retired", 2012 edition...

gingershelley Feb 19, 2012 04:56 PM

I think we should start a new '2012' edition of 'Menu items that need to be retired"!

Mods? Can you lock the oldone and let us start another since the old one is sooooo long?

Well worth looking at for a hoot n a 1/2 that goes back to 2007, if you haven't read it.

It is SO entertaining - and I can hardly believe in reading through it today how long some of these awful trends have stuck around so long...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461231

But surely, we can get on with a more current list, such as the bacon-bashing above from It's still mooing, and stuffed crust pizza by dianne0712.

Pretty much, if it is on Applebee's menu, or chili's, or Outback, it probably is not on a CH'ers radar; chicken ceasar salad, 'spring greens' commercial salad dressings, pizza with ranch and chicken on it, etc.

What IS on our 'so over it" lists these days?

I still wonder why cupcakes JUST WONT DIE?

Sliders? Really? Still?

Bad crabcakes have not left the arena either... sigh.

What items do you keep seeing on menu's that should just. stop. already?

  1. b
    beachmouse Oct 8, 2012 07:26 PM

    I suspect it's a regional thing, but alligator bites seem to be showing up in far too many casual/seafood dive places around here. Every time I've tried gator, it's been oddly spongy, so I want to write the whole critter off as purely a novelty meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: beachmouse
      Sandwich_Sister Oct 9, 2012 05:09 AM

      The gator bites I see are always fried adding to the reason.

      I've had gator tail that was grilled. As I've found with all of the reptiles I've eaten it taste mostly like chicken with a buttery taste to it. The grilled gator tail was good.

      The bites are one note and don't taste like very much.

    2. s
      SparklingSugar Jul 16, 2012 11:32 PM

      - Cake pops need to go away. They were fun for a while, but they're really garbage-y and the novelty has worn off.

      - Truffle oil ANYTHING. Truffle oil macaroni and cheese, truffle oil fries, truffle oil risotto, pizza, burgers, eggs, salads, ETC ETC ETC! I'm so tired of it. It's really not that special, save for the price! I'm weary of this, "Let's take a boring junk food item and wave a drop of truffle oil over it and act like it's a new phenomenon" mentality. It's just laziness at this point.

      - While we're on the subject, let's lay off bastardized macaroni and cheese items that cost an arm and a leg. I feel like restaurants keep shoving a million ingredients into mac and cheese and it's sort of killed the creamy, homey simplicity of the recipe for me. A little mustard, fresh herbs, good cheese, and toasted breadcrumbs are all you need! Please spare me the applewood smoked bacon, seared scallops, caramelized shallots, and yeah, that darned truffle oil.

      - Loaded mashed potatoes. See mac and cheese rant!

      - Tilapia, salmon, and mahi mahi are nice, but can we please, PLEASE get other fish on the menu once in a while? The aforementioned seared scallops are also deserving of an honorary mention here.

      - Flourless chocolate cake. It's yummy, for sure, but not exactly original. Unless it's SPECTACULAR, I'm sick of it!

      1. n
        nadineindelaware Apr 9, 2012 07:47 PM

        Watermelon salad with feta cheese. Enough already. Love both ingredients, hate them together.

        Oh also, and even though it's not really a menu item, if a restaurant is going to serve real food, it should provide real pepper grinders to its diners- not those lame shakers filled with that old tastless dust. Sorry for the rant. I guess that last part is kinda asking a lot.

        5 Replies
        1. re: nadineindelaware
          cookmyassoff Apr 9, 2012 07:56 PM

          agree on the salt and pepper thing and i dont think its asking a lot. at home i cook with fresh ground pepper and both coarse kosher and sea salt. why cant restaurants do that? cost prohibitive i guess.

          1. re: cookmyassoff
            paulj Apr 9, 2012 10:07 PM

            While waiters sometimes carry pepper grinders, I don't think I've ever seen a table stocked with one. Anything nicer than non-refillable plastic grinder, is going to walk (unless it is a really classy restaurant).

            1. re: paulj
              hotoynoodle Apr 10, 2012 06:07 AM

              i have worked in fine dining all my life. everything gets stolen -- faucet handles, artwork, teapots, flatware, furniture... everything. so, yeah, pepper grinders too.

          2. re: nadineindelaware
            s
            sandylc Apr 9, 2012 07:57 PM

            I agree.

            As a child I called pre-ground pepper gun powder.

            1. re: nadineindelaware
              melpy Apr 11, 2012 11:38 AM

              Aw I like watermelon and feta. Truth be told I'm not a huge melon fan so I like it with savory things un general. Don't need it at a restaurant though because I can do that at home.

            2. n
              Nachoraver Apr 8, 2012 09:28 PM

              Basically if we followed the rules of these replies, the ENTIRE menu at The Cheesecake Factory would be gone.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Nachoraver
                ttoommyy Apr 9, 2012 08:12 AM

                Which could be a good thing. :)

                1. re: Nachoraver
                  hotoynoodle Apr 9, 2012 07:34 PM

                  with their portion sizes, there would still be left-overs. yes, even with no menu. :P

                  1. re: Nachoraver
                    chicgail Jul 17, 2012 04:21 AM

                    That would be ok with me.

                  2. b
                    beachmouse Apr 7, 2012 01:43 PM

                    The fish taco at restaurants that are neither Mexican nor seafood-oriented. Elsewhere, it seems like they appear on the menu using the logic of: "We've got some of that tilapia stuff in the walk-in freezer, and it sounds easy to make, so let's do it."

                    I think that the new urban hipster burger place is doing tater tot poutine. I'm not sure how that reached the Florida panhandle, and I'm not sure it's a good idea either.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: beachmouse
                      cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 01:48 PM

                      when u go to the west coast of mexico, there are lots of seafood dishes like fish tacos and shrimp burritos, but they are nothing like the batter fried crap fish tacos ur talking about. tater tot poutine....wow. just......wow.

                      1. re: beachmouse
                        cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 01:49 PM

                        sorry but im still trippin on tater tot poutine

                        1. re: beachmouse
                          paulj Apr 7, 2012 03:15 PM

                          Years ago I liked the fish tacos at Carlos Murphy's California Grill (sports bar). I believe it is, or was, a California based chain, though we knew in Chicago. Mostly they had CalMex fare (plus a blue Smurf drink for kids). But it was so long ago that I don't recall whether the fish was batter fried or grilled.

                          1. re: paulj
                            cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 03:43 PM

                            aaahhh i remember carlos murphys. i grew up in northern california. mexican food and irish booze.

                          2. re: beachmouse
                            Sandwich_Sister Apr 8, 2012 08:20 AM

                            Are you talking about Oblivion in Orlando? If so yes they were offering poutine on the specials menu, but it is made with French Fries not tater tots. There was a yelp thread somewhere were people were suggesting certain types of menu items. Poutine was a popular suggestion so they decided to go ahead and make it.

                            I have not tried it there so I can't speak for how it taste but it is made traditional with the french fries cheese curds and gravy.

                            1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                              b
                              beachmouse Apr 8, 2012 05:30 PM

                              Nope. This was Tucker Duke's in Valparaiso near Ft. Walton Beach. Looking back over their 'street food' menu, it appears that they do make their poutine with fries, even though they were otherwise pushing tater tots.

                              1. re: beachmouse
                                paulj Apr 8, 2012 08:52 PM

                                Serving tots poutine style sounds pretty good, what ever it is called. I prefer the smaller disk shaped 'tots', which get crisper in the home oven than frozen fries or regular tots. My main problem is getting fresh curds or something like that.

                                But judging from this web site,
                                http://www.montrealpoutine.com/
                                there's nothing wrong with experimenting with alternate cheeses and even sauces.

                          3. cookmyassoff Apr 6, 2012 02:58 PM

                            my biggest pet peeve on menus is the "topped steak"....i mean some grilled onions or sauteed shrooms is one thing. but all these steak places topping the meat with lobster, bleu cheese, parmasan crust, etc.....just give me a good steak! since when did a steak need a whole other meal on top of it? and agree with the poster who said putting lobster in everything. its usually cheap, frozen claw meat anyway. not exactly good quality lobster tail. if i want lobster i want it with drawn butter and maybe a wedge of lemon, not in mac and cheese.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: cookmyassoff
                              paulj Apr 6, 2012 11:11 PM

                              I'd suggest you stay away from bistec montado

                              https://www.google.com/search?q=biste...&

                              Do these steak places force you to accept a steak with all these toppings, or just offer them?

                              1. re: paulj
                                cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 08:05 AM

                                its not that they force u or anything. thats not what im talking about. no one is "forced" to eat any of the things on this list. its a trend that seems to be at every "mid priced" steak place u see on commercials. (places i usually dont eat at so whatev) places like longhorn steak house, applebees, tgifridays, etc. every time i see a commercial for one of those places, its "steak topped with prawns and bleu cheese"....like i said, people have been throwin some onions or some shrooms on steak for a while now, but steak topped with a friggin pizza is just above and beyond. this is not steak topped with a couple simple fried eggs. its steak topped with practically a whole other meal. and i mean, if u order steak and scampi, why does the scampi have to be on top of the steak? some of them are "stuffed" with these items. i saw one, literally, was steak stuffed with ham and cheese, like a chicken cordon bleu (im suprised there wasnt also the chicken) just a trend ive been noticing that seems weird.

                                1. re: cookmyassoff
                                  Emme Apr 7, 2012 10:16 AM

                                  this kind of reminds me of my view on music on the radio... a song will start out on the hip-hop, or pop, or "trendiest" station, then progress backwards to a more smooth station, then finally end up on an easy listening channel, by which time, it's so passe and no longer "cool." i call it the "Trickle Down and Dissipation of Cool."

                                  there's a restaurant and food equivalent... the avant garde begins at the trend-setting or high end or more innovative kitchens/restaurants/food places. then as the concept/dish/ingredient becomes more mainstream, middle-of-the-road places start featuring it. when the market/collective palate is finally saturated with it, the chains pick it up and put it EVERYWHERE. by this time, i think the foodie mentality is, "um yeah... we've had it before... a year ago... we're over it."

                                  just my ten cents.

                                2. re: paulj
                                  cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 08:13 AM

                                  heres an example....i just went on applebees menu online and theres a couple of them...one called "shrimp N'parmesan sirloin". theres even a picture. its a friggin monstrosity.

                                3. re: cookmyassoff
                                  Sandwich_Sister Apr 7, 2012 04:57 AM

                                  Totally agree

                                4. p
                                  piebird Mar 29, 2012 08:21 PM

                                  And whoopie pies.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: piebird
                                    cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 08:14 AM

                                    whoopie pies are awesome if done right. but then im a big sweets fan so......no cake pops tho

                                  2. p
                                    piebird Mar 29, 2012 08:17 PM

                                    1. Bowls of olive oil for dipping bread; bowls of tapenade and white bean dip; and while you're at it, get rid of the practice of serving bread before a meal.
                                    2. Caesar salad. I love it, but it is always disappointing, and horrible when served obviously pre-made and arranged earlier in the day. Tableside assembly only or drop it.
                                    3. Arugula/pear/goat cheese/walnut salad.
                                    4. Tzatziki used on odd menu items, like it's ketchup.

                                    4. Goat cheese.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: piebird
                                      ttoommyy Apr 2, 2012 07:49 AM

                                      Goat cheese is a new menu item?

                                      1. re: piebird
                                        hotoynoodle Apr 2, 2012 12:43 PM

                                        2. tableside caesar is a show i don't want. i don't need servers spending a lot of time at my table and i really don't like them prepping food in the dining room. boning fish is another story.

                                        i have had many delightful caesar salads and enjoy them. then again i don't eat at applebee's and such.

                                        goat cheese? it's 1000s of years old and has been in restaurants for decades. i have no problem with it. at least in my neck of the woods (boston) it's not ubiquitous. is it a problem elsewhere?

                                        1. re: piebird
                                          s
                                          SparklingSugar Jul 16, 2012 11:36 PM

                                          Number 1 and 3 on your list make me cry!

                                        2. Sandwich_Sister Mar 26, 2012 09:20 AM

                                          Broccoli and Cheese Soup - Most of them are not even made in house and are frozen.

                                          I've noticed Tuna Poke on menu's all over the place now. If done correctly in the correct type of restaurant it's wonderful but it doesn't really belong on all restaurant menu's.

                                          90 percent of app menus being fried items. - I hate it when I open the menu and the starters and apps menu is (Onion Rings, Tator Tots, French fries, Fried Pickles, Fritters, beer batter shrimp etc)

                                          Hummus when it doesn't belong.

                                          Nachos and chips and salsa at sit down restaurants where it doesn't belong.

                                          Jazzing up any dish with lobster just because it makes people go "ooohhh" Stop it with the Lobster Mac and Cheese, Lobster Pizza, Lobster Flatbread

                                          Anything with the title "black and bleu"

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                                            d
                                            d8200 Mar 26, 2012 10:38 AM

                                            The "black and bleu" comment inspired me to add "blackened" anything to this list. I know that the large metro areas of the country probably left this behind long ago, but it's still ubiquitous out here in flyover country. That technique is the perfect cover-up for poor cooking skills and non-fresh product. Burnt low-grade spices...mmmmm!

                                            1. re: d8200
                                              cookmyassoff Apr 6, 2012 02:43 PM

                                              ya blackened sucks....and death to the cake pop. either have a piece of cake or have a lollipop. theres really no need to combine the two.

                                              1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                ttoommyy Apr 7, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                Lollipops??? Just hard candy on a stick. Who on earth would eat a lollipop??? Just have a hard candy for gosh sake.

                                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                                  cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 09:03 PM

                                                  yea well who the hell would have a piece of cake on a stick? why have anything on a stick for that matter? my point was, why do u have to combine cake and lollipop? i have no problem with the concept of the lollipop, cuz u might not want to keep that giant piece of hard candy in ur mouth for ever, need a break, gotta answer the phone, whatever. but a cake pop is like two bites, if that. why do u need THAT on a stick?

                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                    hotoynoodle Apr 8, 2012 06:35 AM

                                                    lots of food goes well on a stick, like satay, kabobs and all sorts of cocktail party bites. it makes for easy, no-mess, one-handed eating.

                                                    agree most recipes an the web are crap since they are box cake mix and canned frosting, but from scratch they can be quite tasty.

                                                    honestly, the only places i ever see them are starbucks and the interwebs, so i am not quite sure why they raise such intense ire.

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                      ttoommyy Apr 9, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                      What hotoynoodle said.

                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                        cookmyassoff Apr 9, 2012 03:47 PM

                                                        i dont have any problem with food on a stick, per se, as yes it can be quite handy. i was responding to the "who the hell would eat a lollipop" comment. i love tootsie pops and they dont come in any form except on a stick so there u go. in fact, i would rather they be on a stick than the same sized big ol ball of candy just in a wrapper. kabobs, satay etc is great on a stick, cake pops not so much. but its not really a problem because as hotoynoodle said, i dont really see them everywhere so whatever.

                                                        1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                          hotoynoodle Apr 9, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                          so, lol, if you never see them why are you so worked up about them?

                                                          1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                            ttoommyy Apr 10, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                            First, I never said "who the hell would eat a lollipop." I said "Who on earth would eat a lollipop???" Second, it was meant to be sarcastic.

                                                2. re: Sandwich_Sister
                                                  melpy Mar 27, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                  There is a restaurant here with that exact name. I've only been once but last time we tried to give it a shot the wait was two hours and we left after an hour of nobody being seated.

                                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                                                    s
                                                    SparklingSugar Jul 16, 2012 11:35 PM

                                                    Totally agree about the fried menu items! It gets really boring.

                                                  2. k
                                                    keepquiet Mar 10, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                    Paleo. Science behind Paleo dieting is flawed.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: keepquiet
                                                      hotoynoodle Mar 10, 2012 11:53 AM

                                                      is this really an overdone restaurant issue?

                                                      and not eating processed foods, grains, sugar and dairy isn't flawed thinking.

                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                        k
                                                        keepquiet Mar 11, 2012 05:50 AM

                                                        It's flawed in that Paleo men did eat grains.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15...). Pro paleo authorities seem to only select datas that support their beliefs ( which mostly are flawed as well, at least those that I have come across
                                                        )Trying to eat more whole foods is good, But no need to exclude healthy foods like grains, fruits and legumes ( unless u are allergic) which have been researched upon and shown to be beneficial to human health.

                                                        1. re: keepquiet
                                                          hotoynoodle Mar 11, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                          again, is this a restaurant issue? i don't think paleo is remotely mainstream, nor a big dining trend.

                                                          that being said, i eliminated grains and sugar a little over 2 years ago and have never been healthier. the food pyramid is all about farm subsidies and lobbying. it has little to do with actual good health.

                                                          the wild wheat consumed in moderation in the levant has little to do with what's in your cereal box.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                            gingershelley Mar 12, 2012 06:52 PM

                                                            Hoty, +1. I don't think this is a restaurant issue, but it is a food-chain issue, and could be construed as a food-fad issue, privately.

                                                            I am sure no resto, cafe, ad nauseum is making there menu to support paleo-dieters, but it is reasonable as a careful CH, to think about where your food comes from, and what issues are raised you must think and decide choices about related to what you purchase and consume that come from big-agra, vs. locavore, etc.

                                                            And I will go on record that I hope local farm, chef-to-table, natural and organic NEVER go out of style. It may get irritating on menus, and prices can get up there, but all of that hopefully will be a bottom-up, thoughtful way to get us back to eating real food, cooked by thinking creative people, and pay producers a living wage.

                                                            And feed us all well. Amen.

                                                    2. g
                                                      Georgia Strait Mar 1, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                      it's not that the food result is bad, it's just the tired terminology

                                                      "deconstructed" anything - starter, main, dessert etc

                                                      "grill" -- seems the common name on lots of mediocre places - does it mean something in
                                                      particular?

                                                      bistro and cafe also seem common names still - not sure exactly what those mean

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: Georgia Strait
                                                        paulj Mar 1, 2012 02:02 PM

                                                        grill, bistro, cafe all just mean restaurant.

                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait
                                                          RetiredChef Mar 1, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                          Actually the names should mean something

                                                          A Bistro is a small moderately priced restaurant that usually has a menu that changes quite frequently. They almost always serve wine and are smaller than a full blown restaurant

                                                          A Cafe is similar to a small diner/family style restaurant that serves inexpensive meals and focuses on coffee as the drink of choice.

                                                          A Grill is a restaurant that should have most of its entrees cooked on grills or broilers.

                                                          I find that many places try to follow these definitions but there is no requirement to do so.

                                                          1. re: RetiredChef
                                                            monkeyrotica Mar 2, 2012 05:03 AM

                                                            I'd add "brasserie" to that list. Apparently, American "brasseries" are just bistros but with more plastic ferns and they charge for tap water.

                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                              paulj Mar 3, 2012 10:10 AM

                                                              At the bookstore I glanced at "The Bistros, Brasseries, and Wine Bars of Paris: Everyday Recipes from the Real Paris". The author has a table with some 20 items, attempting to differentiate among these three 'Bs'. Besides finding conflicting definitions, he finds that expectations have changed. For older Parisians, these were places to get a drink, not a meal.

                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Bistros-Brasser...
                                                              ""A bistro, for example, makes tiny tables, rickety chairs, zero elbow room, mismatching stainless-steel cutlery, and waiters who editorialize on your food selections appear trendy. Only at a brasserie can clamor, brusque table service, precooked main courses, and unrelenting radidite be linked, and rightly so, with high style and glamour. Having a glass of wine poured from a previously opened bottle is a privilege, not a sacriliege, at a wine bar." (Kindle sample)
                                                              Are there any American places that even approximate these descriptions?

                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                Tripeler Mar 4, 2012 05:50 PM

                                                                I may be wrong, but doesn't "brasserie" mean brewery? In that sense, thousands of brewpubs would qualify.

                                                                1. re: Tripeler
                                                                  monkeyrotica Mar 5, 2012 03:57 AM

                                                                  In the original French sense of "brassierie," yes, but I think "brewpub" and "gastropub" are the commonly accepted terms for bar/restaurant where they brew beer, although not always in-house. I'm inclined to think that "brasserie" might have too many negative connotations for an aspiring brewpub to cling to that term (see above).

                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                    Tripeler Mar 5, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                    My take is that "Gastropub" is a place where beer and food are served, but beer isn't brewed there. For brewpubs, there is no need to call them a brassierie in English speaking countries, where "brewpub" works just fine. Unless French food is served, but that is largely unlikely.

                                                                    1. re: Tripeler
                                                                      d
                                                                      d8200 Mar 5, 2012 08:49 AM

                                                                      Not to split hairs, but I've always heard Gastropubs referred to as places that serve beer, but put extra emphasis on the food. Things like housemade Kobe Beef Sliders (hehe, see above posts) instead of Sysco's prebreaded chicken wings that you would normally find at a bar.

                                                                      1. re: d8200
                                                                        Tripeler Mar 5, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                                        Sounds right to me.

                                                                        1. re: d8200
                                                                          kubasd Mar 11, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                          That's pretty much what I think of a gastropub as. They serve great beer, but also put equal emphasis on their food. Both are great.

                                                                2. re: RetiredChef
                                                                  gingershelley Mar 12, 2012 06:47 PM

                                                                  Well, in some places in France at least, these definitions might mean something. Also range of menu and hours of operations; I.E. do they serve coffee and 'betweens', or only open for meal times proper.

                                                                  In the US, I don't think they mean anything beyond label, marketing angle, etc. You could call a place a restaurant, a grill or a cafe, and it doesn't tell you anything about what to expect.

                                                                  Grill should, but doesn't always. The melting pot at it's worst, in this case. I do wish those names meant something - it would be helpful!

                                                              2. s
                                                                secondbecky Feb 29, 2012 08:51 AM

                                                                Everything in Brooklyn these days is "Gluten Free." C'mon I want my carby-sugar fix!!

                                                                12 Replies
                                                                1. re: secondbecky
                                                                  ttoommyy Feb 29, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                  I went to a hockey game at a major sports arena last week and there was a gluten-free food stand! I never saw one person on line. The person working it looked awfully bored.

                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                    hotoynoodle Feb 29, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                                    gluten is the new lactose. where i work we usually have several guests per day claiming gluten issues.

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                      Kris in Beijing Feb 29, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                      +1

                                                                  2. re: secondbecky
                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Feb 29, 2012 02:12 PM

                                                                    most packaged GF items are even higher in carbs & sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                      s
                                                                      sandylc Feb 29, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                                      Typical for manipulated food. Remove the fat? Increase the sugar!!! Food has to be made from something other than air!

                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 29, 2012 03:06 PM

                                                                        my point was that secondbecky's post made it sound as though you can't get your "carby-sugar fix" from GF products...but that's precisely what you get from most of them.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                          s
                                                                          sandylc Feb 29, 2012 04:22 PM

                                                                          Sad!

                                                                    2. re: secondbecky
                                                                      gingershelley Feb 29, 2012 05:53 PM

                                                                      Yes, and LOTS of people paying for that thinking it is 'better for them", when less than 10% of people in the general population have any gluten issues. It's a fad, which bakery's etc. can charge a lot for. Or, even worse, label 'gluten free' when the food never was part of that kind of food group to begin with, so OF COURSE it's gluten free!

                                                                      Glad for those that DO have the issue, as they now have lots of products to choose from to help with it, but enough already for the average person.

                                                                      1. re: gingershelley
                                                                        hotoynoodle Feb 29, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                        my bag of brown sugar says "gluten-free." seriously. lol.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                          paulj Feb 29, 2012 08:05 PM

                                                                          My local healthfood store sells gluten-free oats for a premium. Presumably their suppliers have taken extra precautions to ensure that no wheat gets processed along with the oats. If a farmer had planted wheat close to an oat field, or in a previous year, there could easily be some wheat plants mingled with the oats. Like wise if oats and wheat were processed in the same mill.

                                                                          In the case of sugar the gluten-free claim may be superfluous - though someone with a serious gluten allergy might dispute that.

                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                            Emme Mar 1, 2012 02:56 PM

                                                                            the thing with gluten-free oats is they're not all processed or milled in facilities that are certified gluten-free, so there may very well be cross-contamination. as a side note, some celiacs cannot tolerate oats anyways.

                                                                            but sugar... i've never had an issue with sugar out of the 50 lb bag.

                                                                          2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                            gingershelley Mar 12, 2012 06:44 PM

                                                                            sinister laugh... hahaha. So sad, so true!

                                                                      2. a
                                                                        Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                                        I'm surprised no one has said red velvet cake. We have red velvet cakes, cupcakes, pancakes, waffles, brownies, cheesecake...

                                                                        What the big deal? It's minimally flavored cake with a lot of food coloring. There are a hundred better flavors of cake out there.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                          Bob W Feb 29, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                                          There are entire red velvet-bashing threads on here. 8<D

                                                                          1. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                            n
                                                                            nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                            Isn't it just a chocolate cake? I made a red velvet cake (by request) and my main objective was making a truly decadent chocolate cake. It turned out well, but I'm not a huge fan of choc cakes - others liked it.

                                                                            What I really likes was the cream cheese frosting. I could not stop eating it.

                                                                            1. re: nikkib99
                                                                              a
                                                                              Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 12:43 PM

                                                                              I like chocolate cake and I find that red velvet cake isn't typically very chocolately. I'd rather a good devil's food orthe like.

                                                                              1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                s
                                                                                sandylc Feb 29, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                                Red Velvet Cake has at most a Tablespoon or two of cocoa in it - not nearly enough to be called "chocolate"!

                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                  n
                                                                                  nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                  When I realized what an RV cake really was, I decided to make it a true chocolate cake and add enough red food coloring to accomplish the red part.

                                                                                  I have black cocoa from KAF - maybe I should make black velvet cake and use some boozy extract for the filling.

                                                                              2. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                                Kris in Beijing Feb 29, 2012 01:36 PM

                                                                                +1

                                                                              3. u
                                                                                UptownKevin Feb 28, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                                Pork Belly - Can't figure out why eating a chunk of fat is good. Not good to me.

                                                                                "Gourmet" Burger Joints serving $20 burgers. It's been mentioned above and I +1

                                                                                "Locavore" cuisine. If eating local was so great, then why do we always want things that are "foreign" or not available locally?

                                                                                And anything from a damn food truck. What is with the food truck fad? I get it. Food trucks are a somewhat inexpensive way for a lesser known chef to showcase his or her talents and own a business. Now, the food trucks are such a fad that a shiny new truck (or a fleet) along with a marketing budget and website costs way more than opening a small restaurant. It's now a corporate and foodie fad...

                                                                                -Kevin

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: UptownKevin
                                                                                  monkeyrotica Feb 29, 2012 03:56 AM

                                                                                  Speaking for myself, the locavore appeal lies in unique regional foodstuffs. Reading Dorothy Hartley's "Food in England," there are a whole range of regional foods that are slowly going extinct because people prefer something foreign and not available locally. Dorset Blue Vinny cheese pretty much died off in the 1960s; there's only one cheesemaker that's trying to revive the brand. Same with Maryland halfsmokes; only two companies still produce the coarse grind sausage that was popular as a breakfast item. Ironically, it's because of tourism that English cheeses became popular in the 17th century. Prior to refrigeration, milk was used immediately and any surplus turned into cheese for storage. The unique breeds of cows, their diets, and even the local molds made each region's cheese unique. Stagecoach travelers would sample the cheese at inns and take them back to London which spurred more demand. I have to say that in some cases, the local equivalent doesn't taste as good as the import. I've had some excellent local Virginia oysters. I've also had some lousy, small, iodiney ones; poor compared to the plump briny bluepoints or flown in Whitstables. Although, I think that's more a case of a poor harvest that year than Virginia oysters not being good.

                                                                                  As for the gourmet burgers, I have yet to understand kobe burgers. What's the point of raising a cow on a special diet using special techniques that make the fat marbled into the beef only to grind that beef into hamburger? It's like raising a rare breed of exotic heirloom chicken and shooting it through a McNugget machine, bones and all, reducing it to ammonia soaked pink paste, and selling it as a gourmet McNugget.

                                                                                2. m
                                                                                  Mastrovenice Feb 28, 2012 12:20 PM

                                                                                  Pork Bellies. Over it.
                                                                                  $12 Chocolate Bars.

                                                                                  1. i
                                                                                    INDIANRIVERFL Feb 28, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                                                    And how about the regional staples that are elevated to heights of absurdity. In the tourist and snow bird areas of Florida, it is all things Key Lime. There are shops that sell almost nothing else! Candles, soap, cupcakes, chocolat, cookies, cheesecake, shortbread, and pie on a stick. I love the preserved key limes that are larger than a golfball and green in color. As opposed to the real deal that is yellow when ripe and about the size of a ping pong ball. And very, very sour.

                                                                                    Does this happen to maple syrup in New England, or possibly pork in Iowa?

                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                                                      ttoommyy Feb 28, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                                      "Does this happen to maple syrup in New England..."

                                                                                      I do't live in NE but I have been on the receiving end of people who have brought back cloyingly sweet: maple candies shaped like maple leaves, maple cookies, maple fudge, etc. Yuck.

                                                                                      Maple syrup used in moderation on pancakes and in recipes is lovely, though.

                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                        monkeyrotica Feb 28, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                                                        "Maple syrup in everything" is my new pet peeve. I like it fine on pancakes, but now it's baked IN pancakes. There's maple flavored bacon, maple flavored breakfast sausage, maple flavored links. I accidentally picked up a package and tried it. It had this nasty, chemical, diet soda aftertaste. Just dreadful and it makes no sense. Are there people too lazy to pour maple syrup that they need the stuff processed into the food? Why don't they just make sausage flavored maple syrup? Or bacon and eggs and sausage flavored maple syrup? You can just pour yourself a nice cup of breakfast!

                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                          ttoommyy Feb 28, 2012 11:48 AM

                                                                                          "There's maple flavored bacon, maple flavored breakfast sausage, maple flavored links."

                                                                                          I'm 51 years old and can remember these items from my childhood.

                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                            monkeyrotica Feb 28, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                                                            They really had sausage with maple syrup blended into it in the 1960s? I'm sorry to hear that.

                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                              c
                                                                                              CanadaGirl Feb 28, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                                                              I think the problem is that a lot of it is "maple flavoured" and there is no actual maple anywhere near the product. Real maple syrup has so much flavour to accompany the sweetness.

                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                p
                                                                                                PenskeFan Mar 1, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                                                                Bingo. Most maple flavored stuff is corn syrupy swill, not true mapley goodness.

                                                                                            2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                              fracklefoodie Feb 28, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                                                              Maple syrup with breakfast meat started for me when I was a little girl and swirled my sausage in the dribbles left on my place. Delicious. Now, I swirl my sausage in small batch Grade B and pour a lovely Dark Amber A in my coffee, where it accentuates the earthiness of my beans like no other sweetener.

                                                                                              As for regional, Seattle is well-known for all seafood, and salmon in particular, but I have no interest seeing its popularity wane. Same for coffee (though we local foodies do like to stick our noses up at the idea of Starbucks).

                                                                                              1. re: fracklefoodie
                                                                                                gingershelley Feb 28, 2012 02:16 PM

                                                                                                Fracklefoodie;

                                                                                                +1 on the seafood & Salmon here in SEA; keep it coming! That's no food trend - it's our local birthright. Same for Dungeness crab:)

                                                                                                Also +1 on being a Starbuck's avoider. So much good local coffee; fonte, Vivace, Uptown. Rather patronize those than a SBucks anyday!

                                                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                ttoommyy Feb 28, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                                Just came across this thread:

                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/835835

                                                                                              3. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                hotoynoodle Feb 28, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                                                i live in new england and i swear, except for syrup, only tourists buy that maple stuff. i have never seen any of it at anybody's house. ever.

                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                  ttoommyy Feb 28, 2012 01:01 PM

                                                                                                  "i live in new england and i swear, except for syrup, only tourists buy that maple stuff."

                                                                                                  I'm positive you speak the truth hotoynoodle!

                                                                                            3. s
                                                                                              sandylc Feb 27, 2012 04:07 PM

                                                                                              Reading through this thread it strikes me once again that the types of foods that people (including me) are railing about are perfectly good when they are done well. It is when they are poorly done that they become annoying. I am, of course, excluding cake pops and molten cakes from this - ;-{

                                                                                              Basically I come from the thought camp that most anything can be good if done right (and yes, there are usually multiple ways to do things right).

                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                gingershelley Feb 27, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                                                Sandylc, YOU are so correct! Most any food (aside from cake pops, natch), can be done right if done in an authentic way, within it's ethnic tradition by those who know how to make it....

                                                                                                I think the point of this thread is all of those foods who have been grabbed by various 'faddist's, and marginal resto's who think - "Ooh! wouldn't this be good on our menu? It's so popular!" and then make a version canned, frozen, cobbled together, or 12 degrees of Kevin Bacon away from it's taste and source.

                                                                                                That is what the rail is against. And believe, me, I like to travel by rail. Just not on a greasy, phantom-food-train that bears no resemblance to the original dish or idea.

                                                                                                I can get DOWN with artichoke-spinach dip! made at home, with great ingredients.

                                                                                                I can LOVE me some fried chicken and a good yeasty waffle, with real maple syrup; but served at the local greasy spoon where both mains come from the freezer and the syrup is Mapleine? No.

                                                                                                To the authentic, the actual, the tasty, and the real... I vote for those, not the dumbing down of wonderful dishes for Olive Garden, Applebees, and my neighborhood generic cafe. Fortunately, here in Seattle, I have tons of great authentic options that don't require me to eat that way.. but it is interesting to hear what others have experienced 'out there' in eating-land.

                                                                                                That is the point of the thread. :)

                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  sandylc Feb 27, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                  VERY nicely put. I couldn't agree more.

                                                                                                  Every time a new suburban restaurant opens around here, I just cringe, waiting to see their online menu, which will invariably be several pages long and include every trendy food word from 5-15 years ago (nothing remotely new). Using this impressive menu (sarcasm), the kitchen proceeds to order the processed components which fit the taste profile provided by the market research team and also fulfill the sales margin requirements, not to mention the shelf life requirements. These ingredients are variously opened, thawed, fried, nuked, and assembled......for McServer to deliver with a smile and a giant drink with an umbrella - !

                                                                                                2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                  DiningDiva Feb 28, 2012 08:49 AM

                                                                                                  And for me, it's not some much whether they're done well - because many iterations *are* done well - it's that they've been done to death, are on menus everywhere, and have lost their charm and appeal. It's called menu fatigue.

                                                                                                  Two good examples are braised short ribs and mac & cheese. In my local area, these 2 items are made well by the places that serve them, but EVERYONE serves them. Certainly some do it better than others, but they're tired war horses that need to be retired for a while. In other words, they're items that have jumped the shark.

                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    masha Feb 28, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                                                                    DD, I am with you that the ubiquity of food trends is off-putting, even in restaurants where the food quality is high. Here in Chicago, so many of the new restaurants seem to focus on "small plates," pork/offal-centric cuisine. Small plates are fine, and so is pork, but I'd really like more variety among the "cutting" edge restauranteurs.

                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                      cgarner Mar 1, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                                                      what about mac & cheese that has braised short ribs baked right in? (don't shoot me, I just had to!)

                                                                                                      1. re: cgarner
                                                                                                        DiningDiva Mar 3, 2012 10:20 AM

                                                                                                        Yeah, I've seen that too in my neck of the woods. We actually had a place that served nothing but mac & cheese 12 different ways...daily. With short ribs was one of them.

                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                          gingershelley Mar 12, 2012 06:43 PM

                                                                                                          That is just gross excess - eeewww. Short ribs are fatty glory, melting tender when done well. Should be served with polenta, pasta, or such to soak up the goodness. Perhaps a sharp salad after to cut the richness.

                                                                                                          Only in a bad resto in America would you add mac n cheese. Sigh.

                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                            cookmyassoff Apr 8, 2012 09:05 PM

                                                                                                            totally agree. braised short ribs with polenta and a nice salad with an acidic balsamic/olive oil dressing is one of my go-to dinners in the winter. but short ribs and mac and cheese is just fat with a side of fat. a little much.

                                                                                                            1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                              paulj Apr 8, 2012 09:14 PM

                                                                                                              But isn't mac-n-cheese a common side with bbq?

                                                                                                              Some polenta, or grits, can be pretty high in the dairy, including cheese (though I try not to take that too far).

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                cookmyassoff Apr 8, 2012 09:21 PM

                                                                                                                ya but i do like a chile lime polenta or something not so rich as cheese polenta if im doing it with short ribs. and yes mac and cheese is a common side with bbq, just as fries are a common side dish with a greasy cheeseburger. i just think fat with a side of fat is too much. i love most foods, but certain common combinations still kind of gross me out. i try to eat fairly balanced, so if i made mac and cheese i would serve it with a nice salad, maybe some fruit. just personal taste and health concerns.

                                                                                                                1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 8, 2012 09:36 PM

                                                                                                                  I'm with you on the fruit or salad with the mac and cheese. It sounds so indulgent to eat the mac and cheese with a rich meat dish, but in reality it's just a gut bomb.

                                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                                    CookieLee Feb 27, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                                    Can we get rid of the dry hummus spread served with bread? How about we go back to butter? Or some good evoo?

                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: CookieLee
                                                                                                      gingershelley Feb 27, 2012 05:47 PM

                                                                                                      CL! I am with you! BACK TO BUTTER.

                                                                                                      If I am never offered EVOO (which may not even be that, actually) wih my bread again, I will be ok, unless I am in Italy. Especially if it comes with a side of non- real balsamic vinegar, or worse, served to me in a dish where they are swirled together with some herby sprinkles.

                                                                                                      Bring back the creamy, wonderful, depth of butter for my bread!

                                                                                                      Oh, and hummus should only be served at home, on your own whims, or at a legitimate Middle Eastern taverna/resto that serves it with house-made pita. Really.

                                                                                                      1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                        a
                                                                                                        Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                                        Something we definitely need to get rid of: The term EVOO!

                                                                                                        1. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                          nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                                                                          You can thank Rachael Ray for that.

                                                                                                          1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                            ttoommyy Feb 29, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                                                            People called it EVOO long before Rachel Ray was famous. She just brought it to the masses.

                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                              nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                                                                              That's who I first heard it from. It's funny how ppl overdo olive oil. At the cafeteria at work, the cook probably uses about 2 tablespoons of oil when making individual omelettes and I ask him to pour it out of the skillet. A coating is fine, but I don't want my eggs drowning in oil.

                                                                                                              His reason is it's fine - olive oil is good for you. True, but I don't want to drink it.

                                                                                                              1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                d8200 Feb 29, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                It's good for you in the sense that if that's your only source of fat, you'll still have a healthy heart but it doesn't mean you can chug the stuff...you'll still put on pounds. I've had to explain this to many a dieting friend who couldn't figure out why their olive oil + diet soda regime wasn't working out for them.

                                                                                                                1. re: d8200
                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                  nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                  It's weird how little we know about good food. My friend's trying to shed some pounds and is not eating close to enough. I have to convince the poor girl to eat a little more to sustain her body.

                                                                                                                  A coworker thinks her salads salads healthy despite the scoops of ranch dressing, bacon bits, tortilla chips. For some reason, she's got it in her head that an ounce of red peppers cancels out 4 ounces of american cheese.

                                                                                                              2. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                a
                                                                                                                Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                Really, I never heard anyone say it before Rachael Ray became famous.

                                                                                                                I will also thank her for nothing! That'sextravirginoliveoilkids!

                                                                                                            2. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                                                              Firegoat Feb 29, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                                                              +1

                                                                                                              1. re: Avalondaughter
                                                                                                                melpy Feb 29, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                +1

                                                                                                            3. re: CookieLee
                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                              Jambie Mar 11, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                                              As much as it pains me, I have to say hummus as well. I love hummus and have had some that was outstandingly good. However, I know it is a bad sign when I see it as an appetizer on the menu squeezed between chicken wings and jalapeno poppers. I only have a couple of words for those restaurants: Please don't.

                                                                                                              1. re: Jambie
                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                sandylc Mar 11, 2012 09:11 PM

                                                                                                                If you can't do something well, don't do it. Message to TGIF and friends.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jambie
                                                                                                                  melpy Mar 12, 2012 03:28 PM

                                                                                                                  Hummus at a middle eastern or similar restaurant when done well is fabulous. But what you describe is to be avoided like the plague!

                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                    gingershelley Mar 12, 2012 06:39 PM

                                                                                                                    Melpy, and probably made with either dry hummus mix, or spooned out of a 5 gallon industro-resto-supply-Sysco vat. Sad. Wrong. Enough.

                                                                                                                    Take me to Syriah, and sit me down in a mezze resto in Damasscus, and let me dine in glory.... oh. wait, not such a good idea right now. Cry a little death, and hope for peace and hope:)

                                                                                                                    Lemons, olives, lamb, olive oil, eggplants, herbs, more.... oh, my heart hurts with the glory of that food!

                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                      juliachancey Mar 23, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                      Real hummus is awesome. But what about restaurants that have "black bean hummus" or "edamame hummus"? In my mind that is just a bean dip. No need to charge an extra $3 for that...

                                                                                                                      1. re: juliachancey
                                                                                                                        monkeyrotica Apr 2, 2012 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                        People aren't going to pay an extra $3 for "bean dip." Hummus, however, is foreign, exotic, yet not threatening. Like Salma Hayek.

                                                                                                                2. p
                                                                                                                  PenskeFan Feb 27, 2012 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                  I agree get rid of the dang cupcake places. Can't find a decent pie or bakery with donuts within 50 miles of my house, but there are 6 cupcake places, oh, and a gluten free bakery. I can make cupcakes easily. I can make delicious cupcakes easily. Pie is a different matter, and different still is donuts, since I don't have a deep fryer.

                                                                                                                  Hate these cupcake places, I hate them I hate them I hate them. Three bucks for a cupcake? Not going to happen. I feel bad enough when I spent like 1.50 for them at Whole Foods (which unfortunately doesn't have decent pie - the crust is always mushy with the pies at our Whole Foods)

                                                                                                                  I love Sliders though because so many burgers have just gotten way to freaking big. Burgerworks here in Richmond for example, the Kid's sliders are a perfect meal for me. Not that I don't love eating their full sized burgers if I am really hungry and saved room all day.

                                                                                                                  Meanwhile, bacon should never be bashed, only encouraged, unless it is making an appearance in inopportune places like Kosher or Halal foods, vegetarian foods, etc What should be bashed is what the Canadians have so callously done to bacon. That crime against Baconhood should not be allowed to stand.

                                                                                                                  However let me add one thing to the list that must be banished - Shrimp with Lobster Sauce. Bad, even at Peter Chang's I discovered this last week at a group lunch as dishes were passed around.

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: PenskeFan
                                                                                                                    paulj Feb 27, 2012 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                    What have Canadians done to bacon?

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                                      CanadaGirl Feb 27, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                                                      Canadians don't call it "Canadian Bacon". We call it either back bacon or peameal bacon. The Canadian moniker is an American idea. Don't blame us :)

                                                                                                                      If you order bacon in Canada you will receive strips of streaky smoked pork, just like what is served in the US.

                                                                                                                      Edit: I meant to respond to PenskeFan :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                        paulj Feb 27, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                        Even if PenskeFan was thinking about 'Canadian bacon' (which is likely), I wonder why he/she views it as a fad that needs to removed. Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza has been around far too long to be fad.

                                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                          jeanmarieok Mar 5, 2012 02:35 AM

                                                                                                                          Peameal on a bun is a thing of beauty - just give me a hit of HP sauce with it. One of the first things I look for when I work in Toronto....

                                                                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                                                            cookmyassoff Apr 8, 2012 08:51 PM

                                                                                                                            so this stuff called canadian bacon in the US isnt called that in canada? ur bacon is the same as our bacon? go figure. and to me, call me crazy, but isnt "canadian bacon" just basically.....ham? i mean, when u buy a package of so-called canadian bacon here, to me it just looks like a piece of ham cut in a circle. ???? im so confused.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                                              The Professor Apr 11, 2012 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                              Canadian (peameal) bacon (and Irish bacon for that matter) is cured loin of pork.

                                                                                                                              Buckboard bacon is also quite good, made from the shoulder (butt). That one's probably my favorite.

                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                sandylc Apr 11, 2012 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                                shoulder bacon is called cottage bacon around here

                                                                                                                                yum

                                                                                                                      2. re: PenskeFan
                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                        RelishPDX Feb 28, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                        A couple of weeks ago the cashiers at my local Walgreens were pushing cellophane-wrapped cupcakes to every customer, all neatly set up in a display rack on the check-out counter as some sort of special. $1.99 each or something. At Walgreens! Ridiculous.

                                                                                                                        1. re: RelishPDX
                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                          nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                          $2 for a cupcake!?!

                                                                                                                          Then again, I would have been one of those people years ago. It's amazing the things u can do with a bag of flour.

                                                                                                                      3. c
                                                                                                                        Cliocooks Feb 25, 2012 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                        Arugula. Surely it's time to move on to some other green.

                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Cliocooks
                                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                                          CanadaGirl Feb 25, 2012 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                          Nooooooooooo!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Cliocooks
                                                                                                                            paulj Feb 25, 2012 06:11 PM

                                                                                                                            Why should a green be treated as a fad?

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                              Halcyonwing Feb 25, 2012 07:45 PM

                                                                                                                              Agreed. I love arugula.

                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica Feb 26, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                Arugula seems to be the new wedge salad or grilled chicken caesar. I keep expecting to see it on the McDonalds menu. It's gotten to the point that the trendier restaurants are calling the stuff "rocket" so they can charge an extra couple bucks. I don't mind the stuff myself, but my wife hates it. If a mixed green salad comes with arugula, she'll pick it out.

                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                                  CanadaGirl Feb 26, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                  I never order mixed green salads because so many places use the premixed stuff (shall we asd mesclun sald to the "gotta go" list?) and there's something in there the past year or two that I can't tolerate. And I can't figure out what it is; everything I think I've got it I get an unfortunate surprise of a bite. Grrrrr!

                                                                                                                                  When it says arugula, I know I'm good to go.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Feb 26, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                    i've been over mesclun for a long time...but if these places that list "mescaline" greens on their menu actually served what they claimed, i wouldn't be opposed ;)

                                                                                                                                    BTW, 9 times out of ten when i get a bad bite of mesclun mix, radicchio is to blame.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                    ttoommyy Feb 26, 2012 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                                    Arugula a fad? It's been around for quite a while now and i think it is here to stay. To me it's a go-to green, as is romaine.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                                                      Cliocooks Feb 26, 2012 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                      I'm sure it's here to stay,but it would be nice to see some variety. It seems to be every restaurant's "go-to-green," and has been for some time now. Time to offer some other choices!

                                                                                                                              2. RetiredChef Feb 24, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                Tea smoked items everywhere

                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                  gingershelley Feb 24, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                  Retired Chef, that sounds like a great NEW trend to me? Where do you live that you are finding tea-smoked anything on common menus? I want to visit and eat there!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica Feb 25, 2012 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                    I'm in DC and I'm starting to notice a few upscale places offering tea smoked items (usually duck or fish). I'm inclined to believe this is yet another LA/NYC trend that's taking its time migrating out into the provinces, like appletinis and violent street crime.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                      sandylc Feb 25, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                      Oh, dear. I am getting old. The tea smoking is going around again already? I have seen too many trends go around twice. I guess if it turns into 3 times I will really worry.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                        gingershelley Feb 25, 2012 11:21 AM

                                                                                                                                        Sandylc, I agree... kind of the 'it's so old it's new again?". Sigh.

                                                                                                                                        Kind of like fashion trying to bring back neon bright colors this spring (big in mid-80's!). Do I really want to buy a pair of lime green skinny jeans?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                          sandylc Feb 25, 2012 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                                          Lime green skinny jeans!!! Go for it! Who's stopping you???

                                                                                                                                          ha

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                            lisaress Apr 11, 2012 06:29 AM

                                                                                                                                            My daughter loves her lime green skinny jeans. She loves lime green anything... but she is 11. Yikes her birthday is in 2 weeks. I must now go on a lime green rampage.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                      RetiredChef Feb 26, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                                      The nearest metro area to me is Spokane, it's a culinary wasteland but three of the best restaurants in Spokane/CDA all have tea-smoked items on it. I also saw it in San Diego, Los Angeles and Hawaii, all at non-Asian restaurants in the past 90 days. One of my sons lives in Pittsburgh and says their local Mediterranean restaurant has added a tea-smoked entree after featuring many tea smoked appetizers.

                                                                                                                                      I am not putting down the technique but just like my comment before this about street tacos, it seems all sorts of non-Asian restaurants are beginning to do it because it's a 'new / in' trend.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                        gingershelley Feb 27, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                        Wow, RC, I am so close to you; in SEA, and haven't come across one tea-smoked anything on menus here, from upscale resto's to gastropub to neighborhood joint.

                                                                                                                                        Interesting....

                                                                                                                                  2. mucho gordo Feb 24, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                    Creamed spinach

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                                      therealdoctorlew Oct 9, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                      1+ Either a waste of cream or a waste of spinach.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: therealdoctorlew
                                                                                                                                        jmckee Oct 10, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                        I'll respectfully disagree. When done right, it's delightful.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmckee
                                                                                                                                          The Professor Oct 10, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                          I agree. It's one of my favorite ways to eat spinach.
                                                                                                                                          But it _can_ be pretty dreadful if not made properly.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                            jmckee Oct 11, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                            This may be dreadful but -- with the Philly garlic cooking cream it's really quite trashily amazing. And makes a good sauce base for a pizza.

                                                                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                                                                      jeff3545 Feb 23, 2012 08:12 PM

                                                                                                                                      foam

                                                                                                                                      1. i
                                                                                                                                        Isolda Feb 23, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                        Dulce de leche! Never liked it--too sweet--now it's in desserts everywhere.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                          Bob W Feb 26, 2012 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                          Good call! Way too sweet.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                            CookieLee Feb 27, 2012 02:41 PM

                                                                                                                                            Oh, no! I love that stuff. I would mainline it, if I could. But, it has to be the really good stuff. I have it at Argentinian steakhouses.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: CookieLee
                                                                                                                                              gingershelley Feb 27, 2012 05:43 PM

                                                                                                                                              CL, just go to any good well stocked Latin market, and you can buy jars of it for your own house. All it is is properly reduced sweetened condensed milk.

                                                                                                                                              But, that said, I like it SO MUCH! Prefer usually carmel sauces - as they have that deeper, toasty, melted sugar thing going on. But Dulche has it's place, for sure.

                                                                                                                                          2. Halcyonwing Feb 22, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                            "Artisanal interpretations of junk/fast food" served as cutting-edge restaurant fare. I've had enough of various burgers, fries, buffalo wings and the like made of local organic ingredients. I don't care if they are. Some of them are solid entrees, but far from inventive, delicious - or healthy (for people who seem to think they are eating better).

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                              jhopp217 Feb 22, 2012 11:21 PM

                                                                                                                                              I agree completely with the fries and most places have a hard enough time making good buffalo wings, let alone other flavors, but I will say that a friend's place used to have a burger on his menu that was stuffed with chorizo. It was amazing.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica Feb 23, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                Kobe beef sliders have given way to Kobe beef sloppy joes. Still holding out on Kobe beef Hamburger Helper and Seared Ahi Tuna Helper.

                                                                                                                                                http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/a...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                                  tcamp Feb 23, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Good one. I had an appetizer at an upscale joint that was essentially 3 large tater tots on a plate. They were good but when I considered the cost was equal to about 3 bags of Ore Ida, I had a hard time enjoying.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                    cgarner Feb 23, 2012 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                    that's just wrong on so many levels...
                                                                                                                                                    (it's an afront to tater tots is what it is!)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                      fracklefoodie Feb 25, 2012 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Tater tots is exactly what I was going to post. I actually love the little guys, but the quality of the ones I get frozen from TJ's is as good as the ones I get in my local gastropub. The endless variety of both good and . . . interesting . . . dipping sauces is fun, but I'll keep my nostalgic taters in ketchup or ranch sauce, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fracklefoodie
                                                                                                                                                        p
                                                                                                                                                        PenskeFan Feb 27, 2012 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I might have said that until I had the Loaded tater tots at Hogshead Cafe in Richmond. So good. And even us as a hungry family of 4 (ok, 3 eaters and one observer, lol) have at best managed to finish half the order, they are plentiful, and they taste good the next day as well.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PenskeFan
                                                                                                                                                          fracklefoodie Feb 28, 2012 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                          A decent next day tater tot, is indeed, something to write home about. Properly next-day good or hangover food good? :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. Halcyonwing Feb 22, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I don't feel it should be retired, but what's the deal with every single restaurant in the Bay Area serving chocolate pot de creme for dessert?

                                                                                                                                                    1. n
                                                                                                                                                      nationalbar Feb 22, 2012 05:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Baked potatoes with 684 toppings piled in. Yuck! Ban it! Ban it now!
                                                                                                                                                      Congress, are you listening??

                                                                                                                                                      1. d
                                                                                                                                                        d8200 Feb 22, 2012 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I scrolled through and didn't see anyone mention the Beet & Goat Cheese salad yet? I admit, it's a tasty combo but the mega-chain restaurants are gonna get a hold of, and ruin, that item any day now.

                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                                                                          CanadaGirl Feb 22, 2012 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Oh no! That is one of my favourite meals ever - I want it to always be "in".

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                            i
                                                                                                                                                            Isolda Feb 23, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I still adore that salad and make it at home quite a lot, especially in the summer when our CSA share includes tiny golden beets that you barely need to cook, BUT I would never order it in a chain restaurant. Bottled vinaigrette and canned beets, blech!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                              cookmyassoff Apr 8, 2012 08:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                              yea i always thought i HATED beets purely because of nasty, canned beets. then i had them roasted in the salad u guys are talking about, and they are pretty dang good. like not even the same vegetable. canned beets make me want to huck.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                magiesmom Apr 9, 2012 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                well, no worse than canned peas or green beans.
                                                                                                                                                                It is not fair to think an item should not be made when the problem is it is being made badly. By that standard you could never eat hamburgers or steaks or fruit salad.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: magiesmom
                                                                                                                                                                  cookmyassoff Apr 9, 2012 03:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  ??? not sure ur point. except that yes, canned peas and green beans are nasty. but not getting the "you could never eat hamburgers or steaks or fruit salad." ive never seen canned hamburgers.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Apr 9, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Her point is that anything can be prepared poorly, and you shouldn't blame the ingredient for the results of poor preparation. You can take a great piece of steak and make shoe leather out of it, but that doesn't mean you should conclude that steak is bad food.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                      cookmyassoff Apr 9, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      yea, that was kind of the point of my reply. duh. i wasnt "blaming the ingredient"....i never concluded that beets were "bad food". i was a child when i had them canned and only had them fresh maybe, 10 years ago. I JUST SAID they are good when they arent in a can. i didnt really need what i wrote explained back to me. thanks though.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                              gingershelley Feb 23, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Was waiting for the Beet salad to appear here... Hee haa, d8200 you are right!

                                                                                                                                                              Although I think the beet is a wonderful, underloved veggie - and I do like me a good beet salad, crappy canned beets + meh salad is not a wonderful thing, and it SURE is overdone.

                                                                                                                                                              Rule of thumb; if it is on Ruby Tuesdays, TGIFdy's, or Applebee's menu, it's time has come that it is OVER.
                                                                                                                                                              Tho viva a home roasted beet. luvluvluv u!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                paulj Feb 23, 2012 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                So you are surfing the food trends! It's exciting (and status enhancing?) when you catch the trend as it is rising, but once it reaches the masses it is time to seek out the next big wave. :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                  gingershelley Feb 23, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think Paulj, that I would ever find it status-enhancing to be 'on-trend', but since I do alot of research about food, resto's (menu's), etc. for writing and teaching, you kind of get up on what people are doing across the country.

                                                                                                                                                                  I am mostly tired of when the lower-common-denominator jumps on a bandwagon just because it is 'in', and then turns out a mediocre item just because some guest at an establisment heard about it on the Food Network, or some such thing. Bleh! to that....

                                                                                                                                                                  All will be lost when pork belly is on the menu at Applebee's....

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                                                    nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    That will be scary - fatty, rubbery pieces of mystery meat in some sickeningly-sweet sauce served with cornbread. But no worries, if it's ordered on valentine's day, you get a free lava cake to share with her sweetie.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Feb 28, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      yum...Can I get a pile of wet iceberg lettuce with a glop of hydrogenated msg-laced goo with that?

                                                                                                                                                            3. kpaumer Feb 22, 2012 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Sick of sweet potatoes fries, sp mashed, sp chips, etc.
                                                                                                                                                              bad tiramisu
                                                                                                                                                              A "nugget" anything
                                                                                                                                                              Lamb "pop" chops
                                                                                                                                                              ....and just because bacon is good! IT SHOULD NOT BE IN donuts, cakes, or ice cream!
                                                                                                                                                              Pork Belly, (my southern grandmother used to call it "streak-o-lean, streak-o-fat") and it was damned cheap!
                                                                                                                                                              Lastly, flavored corn-on-the-cob, ! No rolling in the herbs, chiles, lime, whatever just
                                                                                                                                                              S&P, butter, please

                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kpaumer
                                                                                                                                                                hotoynoodle Feb 22, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                it would never occur to me to eat corn on the cob in a restaurant. lol. just like whole artichokes. so messy and impolite.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kpaumer
                                                                                                                                                                  vorpal Feb 27, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Corn on the cob flavoured with chillies and lime is hardly a trend, though: there are many places in the world where that's how it's typically eaten.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm curious: what qualifies as a bad tiramisu? I've only ever had homemade (by an Italian friend's mother, and it's great), so I genuinely want to know how people / restaurants screw it up.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: vorpal
                                                                                                                                                                    biondanonima Jul 17, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    TIramisu is shockingly easy to screw up. Too sweet, too soupy, too dry, no discernible espresso flavor, served half frozen, swimming in chocolate syrup, made with fake whipped cream instead of mascarpone/egg yolks, etc. The variations are endless!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima
                                                                                                                                                                      Bob W Oct 9, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      This is the ultimate in a screwed-up tiramisu. The author is a former colleague of mine who is a real chowhound, and a great writer too.

                                                                                                                                                                      http://fourcourses.blogspot.com/2010/...

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: kpaumer
                                                                                                                                                                    Halcyonwing Feb 28, 2012 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Bacon everything is so overdone. Yet it won't die, because of the whole geeking over "bacon is god" mentality that everyone sees fit to perpetuate. Why??? It's just a strip of fatty pork. Give me some salmon or beef liver over bacon any day.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                                                                                      nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      HAHA @ "bacon is god". We get it, it's fatty and salty and, in most cases, tastes good. But I agree with you... this 'let's bow down to King Bacon' mentality has to stop.

                                                                                                                                                                      My latest dessert - a cupcake topped with some ganache (that's another one) frosting sprinkled with bits of salty crispy bacon with the oh-so-intricate application of gold dust with a salted caramel on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                      But that won't work... no truffle oil.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                                                        paulj Feb 28, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.mcphee.com/shop/products/B...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                                                          hotoynoodle Feb 28, 2012 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          i've been served terrible salmon far more often than terrible bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                            The Professor Apr 8, 2012 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Amen to that. Ad a lot of that terrible salmon (generally artificially colored and tasteless farm raised) winds up on dinner plates on the east coast.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                                              cookmyassoff Apr 8, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              oh heck yes the bad , farm raised salmon, where even after they add color its still really pale and not even close to the color of wild salmon. makes u wonder what it looked like BEFORE they added the colored.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                                                                                                hotoynoodle Apr 9, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                it looked just like farm-raised tilapia.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                  cookmyassoff Apr 9, 2012 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  so just kind of gray/white? cuz when u look at good, wild caught salmon, the color is just so amazing! and that sad, pastel peach color added stuff doesnt even have that much color naturally! weak.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff
                                                                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Apr 9, 2012 08:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.edwardtufte.com/files/salm...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. j
                                                                                                                                                                        jhopp217 Feb 22, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Thought of some others:
                                                                                                                                                                        Kobe Beef Burgers that aren't Kobe Beef - it's beef
                                                                                                                                                                        Anything from anyplace not named TGIF that comes with a Jack Daniel's Sauce - copy a chain?
                                                                                                                                                                        Wraps in a restaurant - why not just go to a deli
                                                                                                                                                                        Whatever those Dunkin Donuts flatbreads are supposed to be - inedible
                                                                                                                                                                        Starbucks coffee - yum burnt coffee, blech

                                                                                                                                                                        1. monkeyrotica Feb 22, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Cooking with "lime air." It's the new "foam." Still sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                          I predict a lot of repeats from the 2007 thread: beef short ribs, cupcakes, tapas, aoli on everything, "sliders" that aren't burgers (chicken breast, kung pao shrimp, seared ahi tuna). Five years later and this stuff still won't die. See you in 2017!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. c
                                                                                                                                                                            cgarner Feb 22, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Not so much a specific ITEM but a Menu Philosophy: Farm to Table

                                                                                                                                                                            I want a “farm to table” restaurant to REALLY be a farm to table restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                            You’re not Farm to Table if you’re serving tomatoes and mozzarella in February and you have sushi on the menu… (I’m looking at YOU Chris Scarduzio)!

                                                                                                                                                                            28 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cgarner
                                                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica Feb 22, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I want my farm-to-table to be a table in the middle of a farm. I want to be read my meal's pedigree before it's stunned, slaughtered, and prepared before my eyes. I want its steaming entrails wrested from it's still twitching cavity, cleaned, rinsed, and stuffed full of forcemeat. I want to see it grilled over artisinal charcoal made in-house by the Keebler Elves. And I want it washed down with ale, wine, and mead brewed in back by a team of brewmasters who only use yeasts grown in the nextdoor neighbor's yard. Is that too much to ask?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                ttoommyy Feb 22, 2012 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm with you, monkey!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                  kubasd Feb 22, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: cgarner
                                                                                                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                                                                                                  tardigrade Feb 22, 2012 08:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Tomatoes in February? I picked some today off the vines lingering from last year, but I'm in California (also found 6 strawberries hiding under some weeds - we've had a weird winter!), so depending on where the farm is it is possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                  However, if you want me to believe you're doing farm-to-table meats I want to see some non-standard cuts and other items.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As for sushi - well, I've had catfish and hushpuppies at a place in Alabama where they caught the fish off the back porch, so I suppose locally-harvested sushi is possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Now what I want to see less of is Meyer lemon anything. They got big because Alice Waters used them - because they're the citrus that grows in the Bay Area and produces like there's no tomorrow, but I'll take a good Lisbon lemon any day.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tardigrade
                                                                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                                                                                    beachmouse Feb 22, 2012 08:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tomatoes are in season down here right now. (and Florida largely keeps the good stuff, just like they do the winter strawberries) It's the tomatoes in summer down here that are out of season, overpriced, and terrible.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that locally we're starting to see way too much gumbo on the menus. Okay, I get that Cajun/Creole is one of the three big influences on the local food scene, but so many places do it so badly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beachmouse
                                                                                                                                                                                      gingershelley Feb 23, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      beachmouse and tartidgrade; you cali and FL residents make the rest of us CH'ers jealous! Wish I had tomatoes in February from my yard, and that we had a Meyer Lemon craze going on. Not possible up North.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Consider yourselves an exception, and those exeptions I would not complain about! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                                        cgarner Feb 23, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm with you gingershelley especially about the Meyer Lemons... I covet them, and order when I can from a small orchard out in California

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cgarner
                                                                                                                                                                                          gingershelley Feb 23, 2012 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          While I do like regular lemons, I have been lucky enough for the last year to have found bags of 7-8 meyer lemons on sale at a local Albertsons for $3.99 a bag. I have been using them almost exclusively as they are thinner skinned, juicy and just lovely to work with.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Hope they don't discontinue them anytime soon. Have only seen them at my closest store, and not in others in the area. Lucky I guess!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                                            pine time Feb 24, 2012 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Ok, CA-complainer here: I have 2 stuffed-full grocery store bags of homegrown Meyer lemons, and I can't think what to do with 'em all.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                              tcamp Feb 24, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Color me green with envy. I'd make lots of jars of preserved lemons. I love them and they make nice gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                gingershelley Feb 24, 2012 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, Pine time... would that I was you! Beg or borrow a juicer, for starters for 1/2 a bag. Zest before juicing. You can freeze both juice and zest in snack ziplocks and/or some juice in ice cube trays. All kinds of uses. Lemon curd comes up first; ginger-rum-lemonade cocktails second in my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                For another 1/2 a bag, or more; make preserved lemons. If you have not made or used, they will be a revelation! For tagines, chicken sautees, stir frys with asperagus and pork (really!). Use search for morrocan recipes and you can find my simple recipe. Takes about 20 minutes plus waiting time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Another 1/2 bag would go into a 3-4-5 fruit marmelade if I was you. Orange, Meyer lemon, Tangerine, Grapefruit all cooked into a magical winter potion for english muffins with cream cheese, a dabbing sauce for a roasted chicken breast, or a topping for warm crepes with a little Grand Marnier!

                                                                                                                                                                                                The rest, probably can get rid of fresh. Wish I was you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                                                                                                                  pine time Feb 26, 2012 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the ideas, gingershelley. Had planned to do a marathon zesting/juicing/freezing this afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Received a recipe just yesterday for preserved lemons, so will give those a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  About lemon curd: can it be frozen? Not sure what the consistency would be, given the egg yolks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  About marmelade: last year, I combined bunches of the lemons with my hot peppers for a delicious jam. May go that route with a slew of these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Feb 26, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    have read on here that curds can be frozen successfully. mine never lasts long enough to worry about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                      gingershelley Feb 26, 2012 11:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Glad to help:) That marmelade with hot peppers sounds delish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                                                        cgarner Mar 1, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        make yourself some meyer lemon limoncello... take JUST the zest, plunk it in a jar with a bottle of vodka, let it sit for two weeks, agitate it every day.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        pour it off and cut it with simple syrup to your liking. bottle it and allow that to age for another week. it's pure heaven!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                                                                                                      tardigrade Mar 2, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We did a major pruning on our old unimproved Meyer lemon tree last winter (which just scares it into producing more, I think), and after making lemoncello, Indian lemon pickles, preserved lemons and freezing juice for summer lemonade we ended up putting about two bushels of lemons out on the sidewalk with a bunch of plastic bags and a sign reading "free lemons". All except one lone lemon were gone by the next day. We do live in a neighborhood with several apartment buildings, so there are at least some people who don't have their own trees!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tardigrade
                                                                                                                                                                                                        kubasd Mar 2, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wish I lived in your neighborhood!! haha Nobody does that in my neighborhood, even though the house next door has a huuuuge garden! Booo

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cgarner
                                                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                                                            Kitsune_SD Feb 25, 2012 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. There is a brewpub near me that uses the "farm to table" label to jack up the prices on their food - $8 for a small cheese panini and some house made potato chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Really got a laugh the day they were doing coffee and stout drinks made with coffee from a local roaster and one of the employees shows up with a tray of Starbucks drinks for the staff. BTW, the Starbucks is further from the brewpub than the local coffee roaster...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cgarner
                                                                                                                                                                                              tcamp Feb 27, 2012 06:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              And while we're at it, a related concept, "nose to tail." At no time, in a restaurant that uses that term, have I seen noses or tails on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                                                                                d8200 Feb 27, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Not even oxtail? Everyone seems to be doing that these days, it's the new shortribs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                                                                  tcamp Feb 27, 2012 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, perhaps I was too hasty. Yes to the oxtail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                    gingershelley Feb 27, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes to oxtail, I think it is stil 'an up and comer' on the, ahem, nose-to-tail list... forgive me all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Can we find another term? Whole Hog? Porcine Completeness? Beefy Everything? Endless Lamb?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                      paulj Feb 27, 2012 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fergus Henderson's book 'The Whole Beat, Nose to tail eating' 2004 does not list the nose in the index. But it does have crispy pig's tails and pig's cheek and tongue. And earlier book is Unmentionable Cuisine that has recipes on nearly every part that people have, for one reason or other, turned their nose up at.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                        gingershelley Mar 12, 2012 06:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fergus is indeed an expert and a chef to look to for those 'little bits and parts' that most western home cooks with a few generations between their imigrant roots and today tend to overlook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just today, I was at the 'Hung Long' asian store near me and found pig intestines, tripe, pigs ears, snouts and tail. And fabulous piles of cut beef marrow bones for .79 cents a pound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I at least see a great beef stock for Pho in my future, and perhaps, some stewed tripe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Working backward on the time machine to family roots is very rewarding, delicious, and inexpensive!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                                                                                    nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 07:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's so funny about oxtail. I'm African and oxtail is nothing new. It used to be so hard to find except if you go to African/Asian markets. Now a lot more grocery stores carry it and sometimes the prices are ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the ultimate cheat meals - make a pot of delicious soup with as many oxtail as you can fit in the pot - add other meats, of course. Stockfish - oh yea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Spend all afternoon having an oxtail feast - beer is a good accompaniment. Don't cry when your skinny jeans don't fit the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Feb 28, 2012 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oxtail has a long history in the states. It did fall out of popularity in recent decades, but has been slowly coming back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Feb 27, 2012 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    pig tail is on a cambridge, ma menu and plenty of places make head cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ttoommyy Feb 27, 2012 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "And while we're at it, a related concept, "nose to tail." At no time, in a restaurant that uses that term, have I seen noses or tails on the menu."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Did they offer a headcheese, brawn or some such item? That would include a pig's snout, no doubt. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. tcamp Feb 22, 2012 05:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Macaroni and cheese. Yawn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                      hotoynoodle Feb 22, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ugh. lobster mac and cheese. travesty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                                                        jhopp217 Feb 22, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This somewhat blew up when Top Chef came on the air. I remember someone made a truffle mac and cheese and the next thing you know it's on every menu around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                          RetiredChef Feb 24, 2012 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Forgot that one since I have been complaining about it for years

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                                                                                            secondbecky Feb 28, 2012 02:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            disagree. I'll eat any type of mac and cheese at any time. my fave is with bacon and brussel sprouts. I usually make it myself, but the lobster mac and cheese at Capital Grille is TO DIE FOR.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: secondbecky
                                                                                                                                                                                                              paulj Feb 28, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              M Symon did a mac-n-cheese ad for a Wisconsin cheese coop. The recipe calls for a quart of cream reduced, and a half pound of bacon (for 1 lb of mac),
                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://eatwisconsincheese.com/recipes...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                CanadaGirl Feb 28, 2012 05:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Does it include directions to the nearest defibrillator?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. w
                                                                                                                                                                                                            westaust Feb 21, 2012 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sweet potato fries, in the past 5 months they appeared in all the restaurants accross montreal, and most seem to come from the same frozen food supplier! All of this for an extra charge on top of the regular side dish options

                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: westaust
                                                                                                                                                                                                              gingershelley Feb 21, 2012 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good Call, tho I do love me sweet potato fries... hmmm. I think this is one more of those if done badly, get it in the can. If done well, homemade, someone is enlightened by the taste and makes them well. Well, then, they should get to serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              However:), not with garlic, and not as a poutine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westaust
                                                                                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                bamagirl30 Feb 21, 2012 08:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                +1 on the sweet potato fries. For some reason, I just can't stand them and they are on EVERY menu in town. I mean every menu from the chains to the higher end establishments. I would much rather have sweet potato casserole with pecan topping for a side...mmmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westaust
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sandwich_Sister Mar 26, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hate sweet potato fries and what is worse is sweet potato tator tots. the sweet potato consistency and texture doesn't lend well to tots. The out side gets crispy but the inside is just mush.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica Apr 2, 2012 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've always hated sweet potatoes, yet people can't seem to get enough of this stuff. Back in the 1990s, sweet potato chips were served at the trendier sandwich shops. Now with the fries, it's so much worse. Maybe if they knew how to fry regular potatoes in the first place, it wouldn't be so bad. Now, you just get a pile of sickly sweet grease. Hate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. brancron Feb 21, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is disappointing. When I saw the post title I thought it was going to be about specific dishes at specific restaurants that people think need to be ditched. Instead, it's about generalities. Yes, "pickles" are overdone, and yes, braised short ribs are overdone, and most places that serve these things do them terribly, but that says nothing about the things themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: brancron
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DiningDiva Feb 21, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, the restaurants doing braised short ribs in my area do them well. The problem is that EVERYONE is doing them and there is not longer anything special or noteworthy about them. They're now a very pedestrian entree around town. When something becomes that boring, it's time for them to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      gingershelley Feb 21, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dining Diva, that is why we are saying to toss them on this thread, unless they are exceptional:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DiningDiva Feb 21, 2012 10:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think if you go back up thread you'll see my first post in which I listed braised short ribs as a menu item that needs to go away. In fact, I may have been the first one to suggest it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please reread Brancron's post in which he said "braised short ribs are over done...and most places do them badly". Most places in my geographical area do them, but they don't do them badly, they do them well. They are extremely tired and trite and need to be retired from the menu...which is what I said yesterday...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: brancron
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hotoynoodle Feb 21, 2012 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      with peeps posting from all over the world, i think such specificity would be a difficult feat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i've yet to have bad braised short ribs. perhaps my experience as a boston diner is different than that of somebody from topeka or manila? just sayin'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        paulj Feb 21, 2012 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It doesn't even have to be people posting from around the world; just around the USA and Canada is enough. What has now become passe in Manhattan NY may just be reaching Manhattan KS. And what is boring and over done in trendy big city restaurants might never appear on the menus of suburban stripmall 'ethnic' shops.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mattkn Feb 21, 2012 11:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's true. Here in Oklahoma City truffle fries have just begun to make an appearance with some regularity. And they still aren't overdone by any stretch of the imagination. Sweet potato fries have been around for awhile though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            phoophie Feb 24, 2012 10:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So true! I live in a small college town in the south. The "food writer" in our local paper published a piece about 2 weeks ago. The title was - "Cupcakes are making a comeback." I'm not making this up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/Commu...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: phoophie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              kubasd Feb 24, 2012 10:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yikes. I'm sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kubasd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                phoophie Feb 24, 2012 11:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's okay, I guess that's why my co-workers think I'm some kind of sophisticated Yankee culinary genius and have to taste whatever I bring from home for lunch! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: phoophie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  speakhandsforme Feb 25, 2012 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just read that article you posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "No paper liners? Use flat-bottomed ice cream cones."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ???? How on earth is that remotely equivalent? Disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: speakhandsforme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    drongo Feb 26, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't understand the comment in the article about paper liners... because paper liners are in every supermarket and probably easier to find than flat-bottomed ice cream cones! Even in Watauga, NC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: drongo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      phoophie Feb 27, 2012 03:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Weird, huh? The author runs a catering business down here - or used to, anyway. Last week's recipe was "heart-healthy mac and cheese." Using boxed macaroni and cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: speakhandsforme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ttoommyy Feb 27, 2012 06:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm 51 years old and I can remember ice cream cone cupcakes since I was a kid. This is nothing new. Why all the outrage?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. RetiredChef Feb 21, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kimchi in non-Korean restaurants - it's firkin everywhere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Panini's - They went away and starting in fall of 2011 everyone was doing them again. Even the greasy spoon diner finally bought a Panini press.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Street tacos - done well at a taqueria fine - but when everyone else is doing them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheese plates that have ordinary cheese and stale crackers - really people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Herb Ice creams (Basil, lemon thyme, rosemary, etc)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Homemade ketchup that is served with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soapbox - not food related

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lax or nonexistent dress codes for restaurant workers. High end restaurant - manager wearing torn jeans with grass stains, a wrinkled shirt and dirty sneakers, in another restaurant servers could wear whatever they wanted and some looked like they dressed for their second job working the street corner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW to the OP bad crab cakes have been around for decades and will, unfortunately always be around (sigh)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          +1 for:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Braised Short Ribs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Truffle fries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Really fancy burgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pickled everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hotoynoodle Feb 21, 2012 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Cheese plates that have ordinary cheese and stale crackers - really people "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the cheeses coming out icebox cold. if you can't/won't temper it for service don't even bother.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bob W Feb 21, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My firm's holiday office party had a cheese and wine room that was the stuff of dreams. The first cheese I saw was Humboldt Fog, and it only got better from there. All room temp. It was cheese-gasmic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                gingershelley Feb 21, 2012 02:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bobw, tho that's not a fad - that's proper cheese, properly served!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bob W Feb 21, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL I know! I just wanted to let everyone know about that fabulous cheese room. We also had Brillat-Savarin, among others... oh boy, was that fun. I think I was the only person there who had actually heard of most of those cheeses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I never order cheese plates in restos. They almost always look so dull.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                RichardBreadcrumb Feb 22, 2012 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Regarding cold cheese being served. Unfortunately that is health code. Some places risk getting caught and as such serve it properly. But many don't want to risk being featured on some local news shows "dirty dining" eposide because they lost 10 points off their score- not to mention having to throw away all the cheese. While I commend places that are willing to risk it I can't blame restaurants that don't. Generally if I want a cheese course I'll order it about 20 minutes before I want it and let it come up to temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RichardBreadcrumb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hotoynoodle Feb 22, 2012 05:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i have worked in fine dining all my adult life and so am well aware of health codes. in boston we have no shortage of places that do proper cheese service and we have some of the best cheese shops in the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it's just outside the city where cheese and charcuterie show up icebox cold. awful. don't waste the labor or the money. 20 minutes isn't enough for this stuff to become remotely edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RetiredChef Feb 24, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  excellant point- that too, along with 34 degree white wine (shudder)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mattkn Feb 21, 2012 11:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RC,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah even the fast food restaurants are starting to do street tacos. I saw a commercial for Taco Bueno and maybe even Taco Bell, but don't quote me. Such a frickin shame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tastesgoodwhatisit Feb 22, 2012 06:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Panini in Italy was a revelation to me - I wouldn't have recognized it as in the same food category as the squashed sandwiches that get served in other countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      RetiredChef Feb 24, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL - I agree - "Panini is one of the most abused words in the food world. It has come to mean a generic sandwich that’s been squashed together and burned to a crisp."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 08:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not to mention the word is abused.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Panini is the plural in Italian. Panino is the singular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You know what I hate more than people saying "paninis"? People who say "panini's". How exactly are the sandwiches in question possessive?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. pitagirl Feb 21, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lamb, sorry just done with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pitagirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ocshooter Feb 21, 2012 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How can you be done with lamb? It is such a glorious meat, and it hardly qualifies as a new menu fad that needs to be retired. Boring, overpriced and thinly cur rack of lamb, perhaps, but not when done correctly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ocshooter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        jhopp217 Feb 22, 2012 12:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actually wish places had lamb burgers. My mother used to make them as an alternative to regular burgers almost once a month when I was a kid. Used to love them. Lamb is by far my favorite food and I rarely see it on menus other than in steakhouses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mucho gordo Feb 24, 2012 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm with you on the lamburgers. Some Chinese restaurants do lamb quite well. The place I go to makes a fabulous Basil lamb with chunks of roasted garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jhopp217 Feb 25, 2012 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ocshooter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Halcyonwing Feb 22, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree. Lamb is also the best red meat in my opinion. Not sure why it's considered a trend, but I've always had lamb in restaurants/hotels since I was a child.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: pitagirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          monkeyrotica Feb 23, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How about instead of New Zealand spring lamb that has almost no flavor, they let the lamb actually age and become mutton? Almost impossible to find mutton except in butcher shops that can order it special. An aged mutton chop grilled to perfection is truly a revelation that more people need to experience. Even the mutton chops in most steakhouses is nothing but a baby lambchop. Totally different beast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tcamp Feb 23, 2012 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Is that really because mutton just isn't sold or has it been rebranded into vintage lamb or something? I am going to start paying better attention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica Feb 23, 2012 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Technically, if it's younger than 1 year, it's lamb. It needs to be at least 2 years old to be called mutton. It's more costly to keep your sheep alive for two years than it is to slaughter it at 1. I'm thinking this is why the only lamb you see in the store is spring lamb. Some specialty butchers can order it, but it's really expensive. Not Kobe beef expensive, but still. But to me, it's like comparing veal to a well-aged steak. The flavor is totally different. And aging muttion intensifies that flavor further. It's gotten so bad, the Prince of Wales is trying to get people to eat more mutton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.muttonrenaissance.org.uk/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                hotoynoodle Feb 23, 2012 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                people can't eat mutton if it isn't in the shops. i live in boston and don't recall ever seeing it, even in halal butchers' who go through acres of lamb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tcamp Feb 23, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was monkey's point, right? But it does make me wonder about sheep used for wool production. Do they age out at some point and make good mutton candidates?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Feb 23, 2012 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i'm wondering if sheep used for wool production maximization are different than those bred for food? do the former just wind up in the glue factory or in dog food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DunkTheBiscuit Apr 29, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, wool breeds are different and put more of their energy into forming a thick fleece than a heavy body. Meat breeds of sheep tend to have a coarse and brittle fleece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In the UK, the flocks of breeding ewes still need shearing, but the fleece is so worthless it's often burned or buried as it's unsaleable. More recently there have been attempts to find a use for it - it makes a nitrogen rich compost and good insulation for houses. The organic veg-box company I use has begun using wool insulation in their coolboxes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some of the older UK breeds of sheep are dual purpose but are not often eaten any more - except possibly by smallholders who can spend time experimenting - though they're still farmed in small quantities for Heritage breed wool for hobby knitters and spinners. They still tend to be small animals compared to modern meat breeds and - since I've never had the chance to taste any of them - I cannot tell you if the taste is better like it is with some heritage breeds of pig. I would be interested to know the answer there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know enough about US or European breeds of sheep to comment, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica Feb 23, 2012 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And the shops won't carry mutton if people don't ask for it. Sort of a vicious circle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MGZ Feb 23, 2012 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I couldn't agree more about the disappearance of mutton from the American culinary landscape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bob W Feb 23, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seinfeld put the final nail in the mutton coffin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do think mutton BBQ is still big in the Owensboro, KY, area. But that doesn't help if you're not in the Owensboro, KY, area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Feb 24, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    True. I went on a quest to find a mutton leg to barbecue some time ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/696069

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jhopp217 Feb 24, 2012 02:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will preface this with "I Love Mutton." I disagree though. I think most lamb lovers would prefer lamb over mutton. Mutton is definitely an acquired taste. The only lamb, not sure if it was NZ that had no flavor was overcooked. When simply seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary and cooked rare/medium I've rarely had a bad chop. Home or out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. hotoynoodle Feb 21, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chocolate lava cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chocolate lava cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chocolate lava cake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                kobe beef hot dogs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chocolate lava cake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chocolate lava cake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                28 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  KaimukiMan Feb 21, 2012 09:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Isolda Feb 23, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +1. Anyone can make a chocolate lava cake, and almost everyone does, using a mix. Blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      pine time Feb 23, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Double shudder: yesterday I saw a recipe for white chocolate lava cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        gingershelley Feb 26, 2012 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is chocolate lava cake in the freezer dessert section of the local Kroger; 'nuf said... bleh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mixes again. I wonder if the reason people use a mix is they think baking a cake from scratch is too difficult. Either that or they don't stock ingredients like baking powder, extracts, cocoa, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lava cake does look good, but I doubt I'll pay for it anytime soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          paulj Feb 28, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One advantage of a mix is that the manufacturer can fine tune the flour consistency, the leavening, and other conditioners and emulsifiers, so the baked cake is close to a 'cake method' cake, but with a 'muffin method' ease of mixing. In other words, to get fine crumb from scratch you need to cream the butter and sugar, etc, while with a mix you just add liquid to dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In another thread a poster in Spain complained that her chocolate chip cookies, made from scratch spread out too much, while ones made with a mix (and using the same butter and eggs) turned out fine. Various posters suggested changing the flour brand, to one with more gluten (or was it the other way around, with less?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In sum a cook who has patience, experience, and the right ingredients can make a great cake (or cookies, biscuits, pie crust) from scratch. But many don't have all those of those requirements, and find that they get better, more consistent results, with a mix. The same thing applies to many of fads that this thread complains about. A skilled cook can make sweet potato fries, and tater tots from scratch, but if a chain wants consistent results, regardless of shift or location, they have to centralize the most of the preparation. Even a small independent restaurant can get more consistent results with mixes - bought or made a head of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The same could be said for writing this post. I do not need to be a skilled programmer to write this. Chow engineering has done most of the work for me. I'm just doing the final assembly of some words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As much as I'm no longer a fan of cake mixes, I understand cake mixes have a huge advantage. Besides consistency, it's convenience and price. If someone were to bake from scratch, they'll have to spend about $20 buying items they don't normally stock at home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And let's face it, most people are sugar fiends and just don't care as long as it's cake and it's sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just like cake mixes, I can't go for microwave popcorn anymore - they taste like chemicals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Some may call me a food snob, but I don't think that's the case. My preferences are different than some people's and that's just it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DiningDiva Feb 28, 2012 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              NB99, I think it's okay to be a food snob as long as you recognize it :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for the boxed mixes, some of it is simply because half the population lacks the appropriate cooking skills and knowledge to bake a cake from scratch and the other half lacks the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most packaged mixes, prepared foods, etc are convenience items...heavy emphasis on the convenience part. And we pay for that convenience dearly, monetarily, culturally, socially and with our health.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                hotoynoodle Feb 28, 2012 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "If someone were to bake from scratch, they'll have to spend about $20 buying items they don't normally stock at home. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                eggs, butter and flour? even a complicated cake can be made from scratch for under $5.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I knew that $20 question would come up. Of course, the actual cost of a cake is well under $20, but a lot of people don't have staple ingredients at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, most have butter but not unsalted butter. A lot of time, it's some low-fat substitute. $5/lb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Vanilla extract - $6-8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Flour - we don't always have this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not everyone has unexpired staple baking ingredients. Some people will buy these when they move to a new home and it just sits in the back of the pantry gathering dust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Feb 28, 2012 09:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lol. i rarely have unsalted butter and nobody has died from my cakes. nor have i caused a flavor catastrophe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    flour???? i guess people don't have this... if they never ever bake or bread anything. ever.. ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      paulj Feb 28, 2012 10:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or they may have AP flour, but not cake flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll go out on a limb and assert that if a baker is happy using AP flour in their cakes, they might as well use mixes. One exception - if mixes are too sweet for their taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ttoommyy Feb 29, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use AP flour in most cakes. Nothing wrong with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I use AP flour in almost all cakes I make, too. The only time I've used cake flour is when making coconut layer cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If I need to make other cakes that call for cake flour, I just do a blend of cornstarch and AP flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Savour Feb 29, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I use AP flour and salted butter in most of my cakes. I'll spring for cake flour for a special occasion, but for a weekend layer cake? No way. And my cakes are moist and fluffy and flavorful. And they don't have that weird chemical flavor or mouthfeel of a mix cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sandylc Feb 29, 2012 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            paulj, nothing wrong with AP flour in cakes. Oh, and there's a LOT more to object to in mixes besides the sweetness!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Mar 12, 2012 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or, paulj, if they object to chemical crap in their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        paulj Feb 28, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How about the $100 stand mixer? Yes, a wacky cake can be made without a power mixer or strong right arm, but what about something approximating an angle food or genoise?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As long as it does not involve a gross box mix, mixing by foot is acceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ttoommyy Feb 28, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "How about the $100 stand mixer?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where can you buy a good stand mixer for $100? Please tell me!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nikkib99 Feb 28, 2012 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was going to ask that, too. But maybe only snobs pay over $100 for a good stand mixer. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sandylc Feb 28, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It does usually pay to be a "snob" - I paid more than 3 times that for my mixer. BTW, I use it almost daily and it is now more than 20 years old!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think the term "discriminating" or "value-oriented" might be better1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  gingershelley Feb 28, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sandylc, I am with you. Something like a good KA stand mixer has nothing to do with food snob (unless you bought it just to have it sit there), but is an essential tool in a good cooks arsenal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At the "cost per use" and the length of time of service of a good piece of kitchen equipment like that, it is really pennies or less per use to have such an item. Not a splurge or an extravagance. Just a workhorse tool in your arsenal to make really GREAT FOOD, at home, for those you love:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nikkib99 Feb 29, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The 'snob' comment was a joke from earlier. I also have a KA stand mixer and love it! That was really what started my baking obsession. I initially had a food processor that I thought would be good to mix dough, but I did not really like the sound of the dough slapping around in food processor. I know it's funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I saw a couple of youtube videos and decided the perfect stand mixer for me was the Pro 6. A little too big when I make smaller doughs, but perfect for all other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've not had mine as long as you (just a couple years), but would have a hard time parting with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ttoommyy Feb 29, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've had my KA for almost 18 years and I wouldn't bake without it. It still works just as well as it did the day I bought it...or so I like to think; it may be a little noisier these days but then so am I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  paulj Feb 28, 2012 04:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was just guessing. I have neither the budget or space for such a beast. The closest I come is a Braun Multimixer, of which I use the immersion blender more than the beaters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Any one tried a $15 cake mix?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/ad-hoc-cake-mix/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is there a difference between cake pops and cake balls? This Wiki article implies there is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cake_balls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The ball being the crumbs and frosting mushed together, the pop being baked in that shape. Or is someone just picking nits?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    beachmouse Feb 28, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll pick up the Williams-Sonoma cakes and quick breads when they go on clearance for $5 or less. They're way better than the grocery store mixes, but IMO, still not worth $15 when I've still got to add eggs and such.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cosmogrrl Mar 10, 2012 03:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Personally, I just buy my cakes. I fail at cake making, except for angel food cake. I can make a great pie, I can make soufflés, but not cakes. I'm a pretty good cook aside from cakes. I have no idea why I can't, but I've accepted this and moved on. I've screwed up cake so many times I think even making one from a mix would cause some trepidation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. jmcarthur8 Feb 21, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Much as I love a good Caesar salad, or a fresh spring greens/feta/strawberry/walnut salad, or even the traditional Greek salad, I would love love love to see some new and interesting salads on the menus.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's a dish that is limitless in the possibilities, and rarely does a restaurant step beyond the latest trend. At home, I throw in anything that looks interesting, and discover new flavor combinations all the time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I go out for lunch, sometimes all I want is a salad. But I don't want the same salad I can get anywhere else. Please, chefs, give us memorable food. It doesn't need to be expensive, or rare, or precious. Just make it delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          laliz Feb 21, 2012 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the ubiquitous bruschetta. done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: laliz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            gingershelley Feb 21, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            +1 on bruschetta..... SO over it... tho, I will confess to being hopelessly in love with pan con tomate, but that's just when in Spain, so I think forgiven then:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: laliz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mattkn Feb 21, 2012 11:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ahhh laliz,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can live with it being taken off restaurant menus but I must keep it in the rotation at home during the summer! I love making tomato basil bruschetta when my tomatoes and basil are outta control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mattkn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bob W Feb 21, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly. Bruschetta is another dish I see no point in ordering when we can make it at home with tomatoes fresh from the vine. No resto version is going to touch that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: laliz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                RelishPDX Feb 22, 2012 07:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bruschetta has survived a stunningly long time, hasn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember someone bringing it to a gathering in 1993 or 94 when the L.A. Times Food section ran a recipe for this then-new foodie item ahead of the curve. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't bruschetta become popular around the time that heirloom tomatoes were beginning to come into fashion as well?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RelishPDX
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  coney with everything Feb 23, 2012 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exit bruschetta, enter flatbread...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mattkn Feb 23, 2012 05:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh I feel the reverse! I could live w/o flatbread! Same for cracker crust pizza...ick! I'm all for a nice thin crispy crust, but cracker crust is no bueno for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. southernitalian Feb 21, 2012 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm kind of surprised that no one said sushi. I'm about done for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ttoommyy Feb 21, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sushi served at a non-sushi restaurant, sure. But to close all sushi restaurants? I don't think that will or should happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jhopp217 Feb 21, 2012 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sushi that's not sushi - I agree. But good sushi and sashimi - don't ever take it away

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      jhopp217 Feb 21, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And it's funny, I was going to write something and then saw your name. I'll refrain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        southernitalian Feb 21, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't refrain on my account. I've got thick skin. I'll agree that real sushi from real sushi restaurants is always going to be good. But sushi at every Chinese place in town, at every supermarket and every bar mitzvah, "fusion" sushi joints, Enough!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jhopp217 Feb 21, 2012 07:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree....every new place seems to be a "fusion" joint with sushi on the menu. One of the things I can't handle is that I live in an area with literally seven 10 Italian places and 12 pizzerias and for the most part they are all awful. It's depressing. In fact the best Italian food I've had in the last year was at a Spanish deli. I joke all the time with my friends, but I always ask, "why don't Italians know Italian food?" Just kidding of course, but around here it seems to be true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jhopp217
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            d8200 Feb 22, 2012 01:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That sounds just like my area, but with Mexican food. We have a huge Mexican population but EVERY "Mexican" restaurant here is Tex Mex- everything covered in sour cream, iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, and served in fried tortillas. I'm not dissing Tex-Mex as a style, but when done with poor quality ingredients and called "authentic Mexican" it's nothing short of a travesty. What's funny is that locals will rave about them and say things like "oh, you know it's good because real Mexicans work here!" Um, got news for you, in this country there are Mexicans working in about 95% of all restaurants...doesn't make the food any more authentic. The only place I'll frequent is deep in the Hispanic section of town that makes their own tortillas and does a killer version of Birria on the weekends, but you never see me at "La Casa de Fiestas Grandes!" (or whatever).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bottom line, IMO, is money. They have a product that people will pay for...who cares if it's authentic or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jhopp217 Feb 22, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Funny...I always say "if you want good Italian food, make sure the cooks are Mexican." Pretty much backed up by every chef and restaurant owner I know too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I never care who works at a place when it comes to authentic. I laugh when people say "american chinese" or "authentic mexican." It's whether or not the clientele is that nationality. I have a Chinese restaurant near me that is flooded with Chinese patrons. The food is great...americans...hate the place. I know a Mexican place where I see Mexicans eating and they tell me...minus the lettuce as a filler, it's just like home...Americans tell me it's not authentic. I never walk into a place with a preconceived notion...I think too many people expect something and therefore they get it. I've seen more good reviews of places that I know are awful....lots of reasons why people like places and it's rarely the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                melpy Feb 29, 2012 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My boyfriend says the same thing. All the pizza joints have Mexican cooks around here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  monkeyrotica Feb 29, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd be suprised to find any restaurant that doesn't have Latino cooks. They're pretty much a mainstay in the food service industry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  southernitalian Feb 29, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you want good Italian food, make sure the cooks aren't Greek. Because they'll put nutmeg in everything. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: southernitalian
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    fara Mar 5, 2012 07:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    there was a pizza place near us growing up that was owned by Greeks, the pizza often tasted of cologne. i kid you not. no offense to other Greeks out there, but it has turned me off to Greeks cooking Italian food. Greek food however is amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: d8200
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  paulj Feb 22, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you are talking about the Seattle area, the problem is that you are looking at 'restaurants', not taquerias or taco trucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    d8200 Feb 23, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I live in Eastern WA, actually. And believe me, I know every taco truck and hole-in-the-wall taqueria around here. For a long time I was the only white guy to venture into "that" part of town, but I think word is slowly getting out about these places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  serafinadellarosa Feb 25, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Americans don't know real "Italian" food. For God's sake there are 20 provinces in Italy and each one has it's own cuisine! Which raises the question what IS real Italian food?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By the time it's translated to the American plate lots has been lost in translation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: serafinadellarosa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Feb 25, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, and pardon if someone else has already said it, but Italian-American cuisine is in its own category; it has a life of its own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: serafinadellarosa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      jhopp217 Feb 25, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then please explain why every Italian grandmother makes food from their home country and its worse than the generic Italian-American restaurant slop? I would truly love to go to Italy one day and see what the hype is about...I know people who have gone and said you wouldn't even call it Italian food...which is funny

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        serafinadellarosa Feb 25, 2012 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jhopp217 that certainly hasn't been my experience. I lived in Italy from 2005 until just this past July. What we call Italian in the USA is Italian-American. which as another poster said is a category of its own these days as being popularized by Lidia and Mario. The Italian cucina baffles people because it is a paradox of apparent simplicity of ingredients and techniques yet mysterious subtleties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: serafinadellarosa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jhopp217 Feb 28, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That was kind of my point. A friend of mine spent time in Italy recently basically living on a farm. Said the dishes were so ridiculously simple that it was hard to call it Italian food. Said they didn't have pasta once in the time they were there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ttoommyy Feb 28, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It IS Italian food because it is food eaten by Italians in Italy. To compare it to what we Italian-Americans eat here in the US is like apples and oranges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's odd that there was not one pasta dish in the whole week. I've been north to south in Italy and there is always pasta. Yes, risotto more often than not in the north, but there is still always pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hotoynoodle Feb 28, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              maybe they ate a low-carb diet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I stayed on a farm in Italy back in October. While the food was a bit simpler than Italian food in the US, there were certainly similarities. I ate pasta with tomato sauce, escarole, risotto, chicken saltimbocca, and even a parmigiana type dish made with zucchini (far less cheesy though).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ipsedixit Feb 21, 2012 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The OP asked for "new" menu items.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not sure sushi -- either traditional or fusion -- qualifies as "new".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FoodPopulist Feb 21, 2012 09:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, OP is asking for a new thread about menu items that need to be retired as a replacement for a previous thread on the same subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      southernitalian Feb 22, 2012 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Is lamb new?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Firegoat Feb 22, 2012 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They pop out new every year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ttoommyy Feb 22, 2012 09:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Is lamb new?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No. It's in the Old testament. Someone was always barbecuing one on an altar somewhere to please God. Guess he/she is a lamb fan. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hotoynoodle Feb 22, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lmao! i LOVE lamb and don't see it on menus all that often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              KaimukiMan Feb 22, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lamb is extremely scarce as a menu item here. Outside of a couple of middle east/medeterranean restaurants I don't know where I would go if I wanted to be sure they served lamb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mucho gordo Feb 24, 2012 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are some excellent Chinese lamb dishes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              southernitalian Feb 29, 2012 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My point exactly. It was in response to someone's post upthread from a few days ago suggesting lamb needed to be retired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: southernitalian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tastesgoodwhatisit Feb 29, 2012 06:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There's an excellent Chinese lamb restaurant near my office. Lamb hot-pot, stir fried lamb, grilled lamb skewers with cumin, lamb meat ball soup. Mmmm....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. MGZ Feb 21, 2012 06:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fried Calamari. Why? I love fried food, but for the love of god, won't someone try cooking the squid another way! It's even worse when the menu simply states "Calamari" - as if it's understood or mandatory that it is fried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bob W Feb 21, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And, worse yet, when it's served with some marinara sauce straight from the bottle. I love fried squid, like all good Rhode Islanders should, but when I see it's served with marinara sauce I usually pass -- when it's served with marinara it's also likely to be all rings (no tentacles), straight from the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If places could take the two minutes to buy some (still cheap) fresh squid, and whip up a remoulade, you'd have a much better dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ttoommyy Feb 21, 2012 08:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fresh, fried calamari has been served with a homemade marinara sauce in good Italian-American restaurants for as long as I can remember (and I'm 51 years old) here in the NY metro area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What's a remoulade? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bob W Feb 21, 2012 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sure, same in RI. I'm 51 too. But when you get dragged to a chain, you think you're getting (1) fresh squid or (2) homemade sauce? I know you know the answer to that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for remoulade, I believe it might be the best condiment on the face of the earth. When were in NO last year, I consented to ordering fried squid at our first meal in town (at Harbor Seafood in Kenner, a real gem) because I knew it would be served with a homemade remoulade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tastesgoodwhatisit Feb 22, 2012 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd actually prefer frozen if we aren't in a squid fishing area, as it can be better than 'fresh' that's travelled half way around the world. (I've gotten used to *really* fresh squid).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But when it comes to remoulade or marinara, out of a jar just won't cut it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jhopp217 Feb 21, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are so right. I never use the marinara sauce anywhere. I went to a place in Ithaca that served it with a remoulade and it was great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                secondbecky Feb 28, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maxie's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JenJeninCT Feb 22, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After having the best fried calamari I had ever had served with a mae ploy sauce about 10 years ago, that's the only way I like it- but I've never liked it with marinara, so maybe I'm not the best judge. And it pretty much ruined me for fried calamari any place else, so I almost never eat it, other than when I make one of several yearly pilgrimages to the Surf Club in P-town or make it at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fara Mar 5, 2012 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mm, RI style calamari with hot peppers. I miss that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FoodPopulist Feb 21, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A few months ago, I ate at a restaurant which had a different take on fried calimari by serving just the tentacles. Maybe it's been done that way in a lot of other places, but it was the first time I'd seen it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Abraksith Feb 28, 2012 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I see it a lot in Japanese izakayas, fried squid legs with kewpie mayo and hot mustard. I think they might actually be cuttlefish legs, but very very tasty nonetheless

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      kubasd Feb 28, 2012 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The tentacles are my favorite part! I first had fried calamari the summer after my freshman year in HS (I'm from a small town in SE CT.... and my parents are NOT seafood fans), and the plate was half tentacles, half rings. I think I ate ALL the tentacles on the plate. I have since been disappointed with almost all calamari I've had because of the lack of tentacles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MGZ Feb 25, 2012 02:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      At least the Times gets it . . . . Here's another approach to squid, restauranteurs, please take notice: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. boogiebaby Feb 20, 2012 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Short ribs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ras el hanout
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      anything with the word "veloute" or "foam"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. drongo Feb 20, 2012 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm getting tired of grilled salad (i.e. with grilled lettuce). It was interesting when it first became trendy.... but I'm done with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: drongo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Firegoat Feb 21, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There was a recent Kitchen Nightmares (US) version where Gordon was served grilled lettuce. He was horrified.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Abraksith Feb 28, 2012 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gordon is always horrified and disgusted

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Abraksith
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Feb 28, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's what makes him such a fun guy!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                kubasd Feb 28, 2012 06:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was bored and started an episode of Kitchen Nightmares from the beginning of season 3 on Hulu... I'm now halfway through season 4. Did I mention I started two days ago?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kubasd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Feb 28, 2012 06:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ha ha. Have you undergone any negative personality changes from this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kubasd Feb 28, 2012 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, when my roommate was cooking, I found myself spontaneously throwing out his food and telling him it was garbage. I think I called him a donkey a couple times, and said "Wow wow wow" at the results... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kubasd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Feb 28, 2012 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ouch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        kubasd Feb 28, 2012 08:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        joking, obviously, haha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kubasd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Feb 28, 2012 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O.K.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ouch, haha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (I did pick up on that : - })

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kubasd Feb 29, 2012 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            just had to make sure :P I may be an ass sometimes, but not thaaaaaat much of one! haha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Firegoat Feb 20, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pickled everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            gingershelley Feb 20, 2012 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Aahhh... Portlandia, here you are you devil. http://www.ifc.com/shows/portlandia/b...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Firegoat, do you know of the fun that has been had allready with the picke thing ;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I don't think this is so old, actually just kind of late 2010, and catching on...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. ipsedixit Feb 20, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tapas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              gingershelley Feb 20, 2012 06:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              +1, especially when they are NOT in a Spanish resto!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And please, no one does them the fun way, where they are all on toothpicks on a buffet like in many Barcelona places, where you collect your toothpics for payment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Enough borrowing the concept already. Just call it an 'apetizer-sized menu concept.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bob W Feb 21, 2012 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think many places just now call everything before the main course "small plates," and honestly, I will often put together a meal of 2-3 small plates instead of getting an entree. But for a non-Spanish/Mediterranean place to use the term tapas is ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Halcyonwing Feb 21, 2012 04:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Never really saw the appeal in tapas (apart from the ones in Barcelona, yes) myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Halcyonwing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    melpy Feb 29, 2012 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The appeal is variety. I can order or share several small plates and taste more thing or I can order an entree. If more restaurants designed their courses and portion sizes appropriately then I would be so drawn to tapas. I personally enjoy a four course meal ( that includes dessert but three is sufficient because I don't have a sweet tooth.) and don't want one plate of the same taste for a couple hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gingershelley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Emme Feb 21, 2012 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    why can't they just say "small plates?!" this exasperates me to no end. reminds me of another thread where a poster was whining about not wanting to follow recipes, and wonder why she had to adhere to convention... all replies were basically - you don't have to do anything - or - sometimes it's good to learn fundamentals. my thought, however, is you can do whatever you like... take my brownies, swap out caramels for the chocolate, hazelnut flour for the cocoa powder, honey for the sugar, cream cheese for part of the butter, freeze, form into balls, coat in a cinnamon espresso batter and deep fry em... just don't don't call them brownies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    or maybe they should replace tapas with... "the portions are really small, so you're gonna have to order a lot more, especially if you're dining with any or multiple greedy bastards" concept.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FoodPopulist Feb 21, 2012 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why can't they just say "small plates"? For the same reason they have to say farfalle instead of bowtie pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        paulj Feb 21, 2012 07:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        'pasta' itself is an overused foreign word. We should go back to using noodles and macaroni.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hotoynoodle Feb 22, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          than mesclun, pizza and pommes frites must drive you round the bend, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          beachmouse Feb 22, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I see small plates listed on menus down here all the time. Seems like it's used as a replacement for appetizer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beachmouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tastesgoodwhatisit Feb 22, 2012 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There are any number of cuisines that have the concept of small shared plates as an appetizer, a meal, or with drinks, too, so I'm not sure why 'tapas' got picked as the generic name. You've got antipasto in Italy, xiao cai in China, dim sum in Hong Kong, tapas in Spain, I know there are others I can't remember right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              paulj Feb 22, 2012 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In Venice bar food is called cicchetti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Tapas-Meze-Smal...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "tapas from Spain, hors d'oeuvres and entrees from France, Italy's antipasti and primi piatti, mezethes from Greece, and the meze of the Levant and North Africa"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PotatoHouse Apr 11, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pupu Platter in Japan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 11, 2012 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Japan? Really? I always associated puupuu with Hawaii? Was I wrong all along???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Apr 11, 2012 05:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    american polynesian joints, like trader vic's, sort of invented the pu pu platter as we know it. that has nothing to do with japan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    japanese "small plates', or bar food,are referred to as izakaya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 11, 2012 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just wiki'd it. Hawaiian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        hotoynoodle Apr 12, 2012 08:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the word is hawaiian, but the platter is an american concoction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicgail Jul 17, 2012 04:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought Hawaii was American. It's a state, right? The POTUS was born there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Professor Apr 12, 2012 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PuPu platters were all the rage in most Chinese restaurants in NJ in the 60's & 70's. Unfortunately, most were so badly named that the best compliment most people could muster was to congratulate whoever came up with the name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 12, 2012 07:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rumaki. Yum. Little ribs with salty-sticky sauce. Crunchy eggrolls. Shrimp toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Professor Apr 13, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        a typo, caught too late to change.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What I meant to say was that 'most were so badly _made_ that the best complimnt ost people could muster was to congratulate whoever came up with the name'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      therealdoctorlew Oct 9, 2012 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And small bite desserts are cake pops. Ooops! Petits fours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Isolda Feb 23, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love real tapas, as in Spanish small plates. What I hate is crappy bar food downsized and called tapas. That's a trend I'm really tired of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bamagirl30 Feb 20, 2012 11:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am a little ambivalent about this one, because I actually like some wedge salads, but I am so tired of seeing wedge salads on every freaking menu from Outback to the country club.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, really fancy burgers. The beauty of a burger is that it isn't fancy. If I am going to pay 20+ dollars for beef, it will not be on a bun, it will be seared and served with a fork and knife.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The "-tini" drink craze. I am really liking that most places are going a little retro with the cocktails again. Some the the frazzletini's, sparkletini's, and flirtini's just got out of hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure I will think of a few more..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bamagirl30
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ttoommyy Feb 20, 2012 11:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "The "-tini" drink craze."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh please let this die a quick and harsh death. To even breath the suffix "tini" with any other word than "mar" should be a crime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sr44 Feb 20, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope you mean that a martini is confined to gin (or vodka) and dry vermouth in some combination. If you want a chocolate-raspberry cocktail, please don't call it a martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sr44
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ttoommyy Feb 20, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I hope you mean that a martini is confined to gin (or vodka) and dry vermouth in some combination."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That is EXACTLY what i mean sr44. Anything else is NOT a martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hotoynoodle Feb 21, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the shape of the glass does not make it so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sr44 Feb 21, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ttoommyy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        HDinCentralME Feb 23, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A subject discussed on the booze board, I would submit that the use of vodka also makes it something other than a martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HDinCentralME
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sr44 Feb 23, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was trying to be open-minded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HDinCentralME
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MelMM Feb 23, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am with you, HD, about martinis. They are made with gin. Period. If you substitute an onion for the olive, it becomes a Gibson. So why do people think they can substitute vodka for the gin, and still have it be a martini? And then these things that have absolutely none of the original ingredients of a martini... who decided these can be called martinis? Every time I see a "martini menu" I want to scream. They just need to go away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HDinCentralME
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jhopp217 Feb 24, 2012 02:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ever Since James Bond came along, this has been acceptable. Most people when they order a martini are specific and those who aren't usually are old crotchety people or underage kids. Almost everyone I know orders the booze they want and then then how they want it. Martini has become universal. As for the others things we end with a tini....does it really bother anyone that much?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jhopp217
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sr44 Feb 28, 2012 09:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sr44
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PotatoHouse Apr 11, 2012 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They do the same thing with Margaritas. LISTEN TO ME PEOPLE!!! A Strawberry Margarita is a DAIQUIRI !!! Or as my wife says, "Just because your cat has her kittens in the oven don't make them biscuits!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Apr 11, 2012 04:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ????A margarita is lime, triple sec, tequila, a daiquiri is rum and lime.....????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kubasd Feb 29, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My annoyance is when I order a Gibson and they have no idea what I want... When I explain, they say "Ohhhh a martini but with onions instead?" followed by "Vodka or gin?" But yes, it does bother me when there is a page long "martini" list. Just because it is in a martini glass DOES NOT make it a martini! Ugh, get those gross frou-frou-tinis away from me... If I put soup in a coffee cup, does that make it coffee??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: HDinCentralME
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Feb 24, 2012 08:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked up martini in my 60s Mr. Boston drinks book. If memory serves, they allowed gin, vodka, and rum martinis. But, gee, no mention of "appletinis" !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sr44
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tastesgoodwhatisit Feb 22, 2012 06:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes! And if you're drinking straight gin out of a martini glass, it's gin, not a martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sr44
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah Feb 23, 2012 08:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I so agree. I hate seeing some stupid fou fou drink passed off as a martini!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sr44
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Avalondaughter Feb 29, 2012 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    EXACTLY. Let me state for the record that I love sweet froufy cocktails and don't drink real martinis, but even I can't stand the misuse of the world martini. A friend once said to me, "Anything in a martini glass is a martini, right?" Her husband moonlights as a bartender!!!! No, the name comes from the ingredient (Martini & Rosse vermouth) and not the glass it comes in. ARRGGGHH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    EWSflash Feb 20, 2012 07:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +1 there, buddy- even if I have one of thoe things at home I won't tell anybody about it . ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: bamagirl30
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bob W Feb 21, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I kinda like the ol' wedge. It takes me back, way back, to the days when it was served with thousand island or blue cheese dressing in a gravy boat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What I don't like is what some places charge for $0.25 worth of iceberg lettuce. 8<D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. DiningDiva Feb 20, 2012 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Braised short ribs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grilled salmon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Truffle fries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And yet another burger joint

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Isolda Feb 20, 2012 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      +4 on the truffle fries (for me and my whole family). But grilled salmon? That's kind of basic, like a family dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DiningDiva Feb 20, 2012 03:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly, you can make it for your family. Why, then, does it needed to be on almost every restaurant menu. Grilled salmon + sauce du jour? Can't a restaurant think of sometime more interesting than that? Aren't there other fish instead of salmon? I just think it's kind of boring on a restaurant menu, especially, as you so aptly point out, a lot of people can do a pretty good job of making it for themselves at home :-)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          laliz Feb 21, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bob W Feb 21, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed -- two things we never order out are grilled salmon and roast chicken. Perfectly fine dishes, but SO BORING.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              512window Feb 21, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is just for me, but I often order the grilled salmon when I'm on a business trip and eating at a restaurant. Why? Because my daughter is allergic to it, so we don't have it at home. Please don't outlaw it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 512window
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bob W Feb 21, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I often order lamb or veal because Mrs. W won't make either at home, so I totally get that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bob W
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                kevin47 Feb 25, 2012 12:25 PM