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"doggie bags"??

k
kseiverd Aug 27, 2013 12:16 PM

I'm sure being "ancient" is a factor, but find that amount of food served in a restaurant is WAY more than I'm gonna eat at one sitting. I don't hesitate to have what I dont finish boxed up to go.

Back in June, joined brother and his family at the NJ shore for the day and we went out to a local/family place. I had fried flounder... hunka fish could EASILY have fed 2. Baked potato was MASSIVE... only ate half. When I asked to have left-overs boxed up, think I shamed SIL and her mother into doing the same?? One had 2-3 big fried shrimp and other had 2-3 fried scallops left on plate. I KNOW them well enought to just say... ya KNOW you're NOT really gonna EAT that tomorrow!?! Came home with lunch/dinner for next day... and not one shred of guilt!

Used to be a Victoria's Station in King of Prussia, PA... specialty was prime rib. Ranged from a boneless cut (probably a good 8ounces) to TWO bones (like from that scene in Uncle Buck!!). We'd come home with LOTS of stuff for dogs that dined on prime rib scraps... we'd reroast the MEATY bone, slather with BBQ sauce, and munch away the next day.

Are you a DB person??

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  1. Perilagu Khan Aug 27, 2013 12:22 PM

    Absolutely. We make a point of setting aside a portion of our restaurant meals for our American Eskimo. She would be crushed if we returned home from dinner without a few morsels for her.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Perilagu Khan
      girloftheworld Aug 28, 2013 06:41 PM

      when my parents go out without me they bring home a "maggie bag" sometimes if they go to a place we frequent often it comes home with a note and and extra treat from the chef in it.

    2. i
      INDIANRIVERFL Aug 27, 2013 12:30 PM

      Not any more. As I live alone, any leftovers would at most be an appetizer. Not like the kid can take it to school for lunch.

      2 Replies
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
        fldhkybnva Aug 27, 2013 03:37 PM

        Same here, it's usually some kind of late night or random fridge-grab snack.

        1. re: fldhkybnva
          coll Aug 28, 2013 08:23 AM

          Breakfast for me!

      2. greygarious Aug 27, 2013 12:33 PM

        Certain restaurant insiders advise asking the server for a container so you can do your own packing of leftovers at the table, because it is not uncommon for the server or kitchen staff to help themselves to some of your food before packing it for you.

        I keep a baggie or two in my purse for that purpose, since sometimes the restaurant's DB packaging leaks.

        13 Replies
        1. re: greygarious
          Jpan99 Aug 27, 2013 01:02 PM

          I can't imagine why a waiter would want to eat off my plate that I've been eating from. It's one thing for me to eat my own leftovers. If I were a server I would find that just disgusting. It's bad enough you have to look at another persons half eaten food but eat it?? Gross.

          1. re: Jpan99
            jrvedivici Aug 27, 2013 01:09 PM

            I'm not going to say this is "common" but it is not unheard of. If you had a pasta dish, they are not taking a fork and twirling themselves a fork full of pasta, but if you had a side of fries, onion rings things of that nature, yes they are sometimes eaten by staff.

            1. re: jrvedivici
              Perilagu Khan Aug 27, 2013 01:33 PM

              That tells me more about restaurant staff than I want to know.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                jrvedivici Aug 27, 2013 01:38 PM

                I've been in and around the business since I could first walk. Literally my first job at 3 years old was scraping gum off the tile floor of my fathers diner. There is NOTHING I haven't seen or experienced and what I mentioned here is rather tame.

                I laugh every time I read about people complaining about a hair in their food, or a servers thumb on the rim of a glass etc. While I completely agree it's poor service, it's such small consequences compared to the journey your food takes before it get's on your plate. Or in this case after!

                1. re: jrvedivici
                  Perilagu Khan Aug 27, 2013 03:13 PM

                  Spare me the grisly details if you please!

                  1. re: jrvedivici
                    f
                    fourunder Aug 27, 2013 08:40 PM

                    When i was a young pup working in a very well known restaurant, the GM of the place used to pull Costanza's before it was ever a thought on a future Seinfeld episode. I used to shake my head in disbelief.

                    As a patron....there was a restaurant chain known as Bobby Rubino's Place for Ribs...a copy of Tony Roma's back in the 80's. Members from my club had the exclusive New Jersey franchise rights and had two restaurants in Bergen County. One of their feature specials was this thing called an *All City Rack of Ribs", which was actually two full racks/slabs of Canadian Baby Backs for $14.99...an amazing deal. I could just barely finish one rack, let alone two...so I asked for them to be wrapped up to go. The first two times I went to reheat the leftovers....only a half rack was in the doggy bag....Very annoyed to say the least. I could wait to go back and order them again, just so I could confront the Busboy or Server when they brought the bag back to the table....Sure enough, only a half rack was returned. I brought the issue up with the manager and he asked me if I was sure and if I did not eat the other half rack...

                    I told him he was an idiot and told the owners they owed me one and a half racks of ribs.

                    1. re: fourunder
                      j
                      jounipesonen Sep 18, 2013 08:29 AM

                      Drop the other shoe please - and?

                      1. re: jounipesonen
                        alkapal Sep 18, 2013 08:32 PM

                        heh heh, he's getting the slow roll. they haven't given him the ribs yet.

                    2. re: jrvedivici
                      j
                      James Cristinian Sep 14, 2013 04:19 PM

                      Wouldn't be surprised about your food journey. I've been in retail electronics more than a few years and believe me your TVs and laptops take a beating at times. Fragile, please.

                    3. re: Perilagu Khan
                      j
                      jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 01:26 AM

                      Probably an indication of how poorly paid they are.

                2. re: greygarious
                  mucho gordo Aug 28, 2013 04:00 PM

                  Aside from the fact that the staff may indulge themselves, I've had the experience where, because it's a 'doggy bag' the staff took that literally and included scraps from other plates for the dog.

                  1. re: greygarious
                    chowser Sep 15, 2013 11:55 AM

                    If I were that hungry as waitstaff, I'd probably take a few fries BEFORE serving it. Eating off a stranger's plate seems desperate and if they were going to do that, why not just take it off plates that weren't to be wrapped to go? Plenty of food gets thrown out in the back.

                    1. re: chowser
                      coll Sep 15, 2013 01:28 PM

                      I have a feeling they don't necessarily think it through that much. Just food, sitting around.

                  2. Chinon00 Aug 27, 2013 12:57 PM

                    Had dinner at a small bistro w/ this girl a few years back. She had the steak fritte and couldn't finish. Ask for a doggie bag. They took the steak away and returned w/ it wrapped in foil shaped like a small purse.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Chinon00
                      f
                      FriedClamFanatic Aug 28, 2013 02:25 PM

                      Some famous restaurant used to do a sort of foil "origami" swan of leftovers.....forget who

                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                        pinehurst Aug 28, 2013 03:55 PM

                        Was it at the Plaza? Or something? I remember it in an episode of the Sopranos...see how cultured I am? (slinks away)

                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                          JMF Aug 28, 2013 03:56 PM

                          Benihana and other Japanese Steakhouses used to do that.

                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                            Bill Hunt Aug 28, 2013 06:27 PM

                            I have encountered such at many restaurants.

                            Others have special bags, boxes and little foil seals.

                            It just depends.

                            Hunt

                        2. fldhkybnva Aug 27, 2013 03:37 PM

                          I don't usually have food left to doggie bag, but when I do I usually request a bag and if it's early in the night somehow it seems to make it's way into my mouth before the next day.

                          1. fldhkybnva Aug 27, 2013 03:38 PM

                            For those that do "doggie bag" does it matter the company you're with. For example, I have a friend who will never doggie bag on a date or in other circumstances, do you have stipulations on your leftover taking?

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                              John E. Aug 27, 2013 04:54 PM

                              I didn't in my younger, dating years, and I don't now at business dinners. When out with family and friends, we ask for the take home box with some frequency. Of course, it depends on the portion size and the food. I never see the point in taking home leftover french fries for example. Before I would do that, I would eat the fries and less of the main course if my appetite was waning.

                              1. re: John E.
                                j
                                Jerseygirl111 Aug 27, 2013 09:24 PM

                                Leftover fries make their way into potatoes and eggs sandwiches for the beach or hash for breakfast. Seasoned fries are the best for this.

                                1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                  melpy Sep 6, 2013 04:29 AM

                                  We chop them up and sautéed with a little garlic and add to a potato cheese omelette, even better with the addition of broccoli or spinach.

                                  1. re: melpy
                                    n
                                    nikkihwood Sep 14, 2013 10:05 PM

                                    We just toss them in the deep fryer for a minute or two. It works. And yes, they are great in hash.

                                2. re: John E.
                                  k
                                  kitchengardengal Sep 5, 2013 04:21 PM

                                  My friend told me that her dad used to whirl the leftover French fries in the blender with some onion and milk, etc, and make potato soup.

                                  1. re: kitchengardengal
                                    f
                                    FriedClamFanatic Sep 5, 2013 08:05 PM

                                    oh.....wow.....a GREAT idea! I'll save those fries in the freezer and when I got enough............Souptime!

                                    1. re: kitchengardengal
                                      John E. Sep 5, 2013 08:11 PM

                                      That actually sounds interesting. The thing is, there usually aren't enough leftover fries to do something such as that.

                                    2. re: John E.
                                      s
                                      schrutefarms Sep 6, 2013 12:47 AM

                                      What are these "leftover fries" you speak of?

                                      1. re: schrutefarms
                                        c
                                        cleobeach Sep 6, 2013 07:40 AM

                                        Ha! I don't even like fries and I can't resist eating them.

                                    3. re: fldhkybnva
                                      juliejulez Aug 27, 2013 09:14 PM

                                      Back when I was dating, if it was the first few dates, I did not. Once we got to know each other I would.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                        c
                                        cleobeach Aug 28, 2013 06:11 AM

                                        I rarely doggie bag it because I overeat and rarely have leftovers but yes, in certain circumstances I could see someone evaluating whether or not to do it based on the tone of a meal. A business dinner or first date? I wouldn't take the leftovers home. I don't know why I feel that way.

                                        If it was a family member or long time friend that might judge me? I would take the leftovers home no matter what.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                          SaraAshley Aug 28, 2013 06:59 PM

                                          Perhaps I'm a girl of little shame, but yes, I would ask for a doggie bag even on a first date, especially if it were a bad date and I didn't like the guy, hah! I might feel a little bit more awkward about this if I really liked the guy and was trying to impress him, but I know I've still done it in the past. At the end of the night, I just say thanks for dinner and lunch the next day! :) not seriously, but you get the point.

                                        2. f
                                          ferret Aug 27, 2013 04:03 PM

                                          I don't know that I've ever been in a restaurant where a doggy bag was viewed with disdain. If there's something of value left on the plate why not take it home? I'm not taking a few random peas and a heel of bread, but if there's a decent amount of food then why not?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: ferret
                                            v
                                            Vidute Aug 27, 2013 08:00 PM

                                            the heel of the bread is the most treasured part. battles ensue over who gets the heels.

                                            1. re: ferret
                                              tcamp Aug 28, 2013 06:54 AM

                                              Concur. Or, if there was disdain, I was blissfully unaware. I love leftovers for lunch so that is typically what happens with doggie bag fare.

                                              1. re: tcamp
                                                Perilagu Khan Aug 28, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                I've never remotely encountered any disdain. Heck, half the time the waiter will actually ask us if we'd like a "to-go box."

                                            2. t
                                              tardigrade Aug 27, 2013 07:16 PM

                                              Unless I'm traveling and have no way to store or reheat leftovers, yes, I will ask to have them to go if there's an appreciable amount, especially meats. The last time we had dinner out the leftovers from Mr. Tardigrade's roast chicken ended up as lunch for 2 people.

                                              I'd rather restaurants offered half-portions, though.

                                              1. Bill Hunt Aug 27, 2013 07:22 PM

                                                When reviewing restaurants, over the last 15 years, I more often cite a restaurant for having servings that are just too large, far above citing them for having servings that are too small - actually I cannot recall the last time that I was disappointed on a serving portion.

                                                In the US, there does seem to be a certain patron, who wishes to order a meal at a restaurant, and then have enough to feed the entire neighborhood for a week. That is not what I want.

                                                Maybe it's because we travel about 200 days per year, so do not have a full kitchen to heat up leftovers, or maybe it's because we do not like leaving 5 lbs. of food on the table, when we leave, over-filled?

                                                I spend more time talking to chefs and GM's, and urging them to scale things back a bit, than ever asking that they increase the portion sizes. Having only a 12 oz. Filet is not an ideal, at least to me, unless we share that dish.

                                                Most have commented that they ARE offering reduced size portions, and especially for mains, as more, smaller plates seem to be gaining some support. Many restaurants are pushing their "Small Plate" offerings, as though that is a new concept, but the patrons do seem to be taking notice.

                                                Give me a 12-course "tasting menu," but sized in an appropriate fashion, and I am happy. Give me a "Meat & Three," that fills up the trunk of my rental car, and I am not so pleased.

                                                Just my way of thinking, and especially as my neighbors are often in Europe, or Asia, so I have few people to "gift" a ton of leftovers to.

                                                Also, my Bulldogs are on special diets, so no "people food" for them.

                                                Hunt

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                  j
                                                  jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 01:31 AM

                                                  The cost of the larger portion is not in general a significant cost difference to the restaurant - the main part of the price is paying for rent, staff, etc. It is probably cheaper to offer large portions and get known for it - than to spend the savings on the smaller servings on advertising.

                                                  There is also thus a pricing problem. If the portion is 1/3 smaller the customer will expect a 1/3 cheaper price - that doesn't work in restaurant economics.

                                                  1. re: jounipesonen
                                                    Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2013 08:08 PM

                                                    You could certainly be correct on that. The differential between a 6 oz Beef Tenderloin, and a 12 oz Beef Tenderloin is not that much. It's just the guilt (for us).

                                                    Hunt

                                                2. Chemicalkinetics Aug 27, 2013 07:33 PM

                                                  I am definitely a doggy bag person. Well, most of time anyway. Some foods just do not seem all that well to take home like French fries.

                                                  By the way, I don't have dogs, so I eat the doggy bag foods.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                    tcamp Aug 28, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                    Disagree about left over French fries, although we rarely have any. Jerseygirl's suggestions above are what we do.

                                                    1. re: tcamp
                                                      fldhkybnva Aug 28, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                      Do you reheat them in a pan? I hear that works great but I've never tried it.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                        cayjohan Aug 28, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                        Go for the toaster oven to reheat fries. It works great. Honestly, I've doggy-bagged a lot of fries just *to* reheat in the toaster oven, as I'm a crispy-fry type and a lot of otherwise tasty fries suffer a bit from not being crisp enough for me. Toaster oven to the rescue for leftovers.

                                                        1. re: cayjohan
                                                          j
                                                          James Cristinian Aug 29, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                          We take a toaster oven on our roadies to San Antonio for the hotel. A stop in Lockhart and Luling for central Texas BBQ yields plenty of leftovers, plus whatever we get in the Alamo City. The hotel microwave cannot compare to a toaster oven.

                                                          1. re: cayjohan
                                                            c oliver Sep 24, 2013 11:32 AM

                                                            We put them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some red pepper flakes and bake for about ten minutes at 350, stir 1/2 way. Generally better than the first time around.

                                                          2. re: fldhkybnva
                                                            tcamp Aug 28, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                            Cast iron pan, either on the stove top or under a low broiler flame.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                              Midknight Aug 29, 2013 07:25 AM

                                                              Deep fry them. Since I discovered how awesome re-deep-fried-fries are (that was a mouthful to say), I almost look forward to leftover fries. They're even better than the first time.

                                                        2. s
                                                          sedimental Aug 27, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                          Absolutely a DB person, I hate waste, but as I get more set in my healthy ways, I find myself wanting to indulge in not-so-good-for-you restaurant meals but don't want to indulge for the next several days. I often resent leftovers and try to give them to other family members so I won't feel compelled to eat them again :)

                                                          1. j
                                                            justalex Aug 27, 2013 08:02 PM

                                                            Totally okay with doggie bags. As my husband and I have 'matured', our appetities have diminished. We often have half our entrees left over.

                                                            Our waistlines thank us and our doggie thanks us. He's a little guy, so he just gets a small snack.

                                                            Weekends are often hectic, so having that nosh leftover in the fridge becomes a second meal. No shame in doggie baggin' it!

                                                            1. m
                                                              MonMauler Aug 27, 2013 08:22 PM

                                                              I have no problem requesting boxes for perfectly good food if I can use it, and doing so is appropriate. I never request leftovers on early dates or in business situations. But there is a Chinese place my friend and I go to, and we order 4x the food we actually want in one sitting just for the leftovers. I have, somewhat surprisingly, not finished a steak in a few fancy steakhouses, and the leftovers have always made great steak sandwiches.

                                                              1. juliejulez Aug 27, 2013 09:13 PM

                                                                I will if it's something I think I'll actually eat and that will reheat well. Pretty much all the regular italian type restaurants give way too much food, and it reheats well. This past weekend I had a family dinner at Maggiano's, and all of my companions were staying at a hotel, so I ended up with many of the leftovers. I left behind the stuff like fried calimari as I knew it wouldn't reheat well. But, the SO ate the lasagna for lunch on Sunday, and I had the chicken piccata and aglio e olio for lunch at work yesterday. Still have some gnocchi but that probably won't get eaten.

                                                                But, if it's a "nicer" place, or if it's food that won't reheat well, then I don't bother.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: juliejulez
                                                                  l
                                                                  ludmilasdaughter Aug 28, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                                  Julie - just a quick note, but I surprised myself by finding out that fried calamari actually reheats pretty well in the toaster oven. Not quite as good as fresh, but definitely very eatable.

                                                                  1. re: ludmilasdaughter
                                                                    juliejulez Aug 28, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                                    Good to know. I don't have a toaster oven so I never think of using one of those.

                                                                    Also, I hate to say, that fried calimari is not a favorite to begin with :)

                                                                2. j
                                                                  Jerseygirl111 Aug 27, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                                  In my family, we take home everything. Leftover rolls included. And if someone says they don't want it wrapped, we volunteer to take it home for them.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                                    tcamp Aug 28, 2013 06:56 AM

                                                                    "Ma'am. Ma'am. Please don't pack up that pepper mill!!"

                                                                  2. m
                                                                    mwhitmore Aug 28, 2013 04:37 AM

                                                                    When my father asked for a doggy bag, I would always say 'gee dad, are we going to get a dog?'

                                                                    1. JMF Aug 28, 2013 05:59 AM

                                                                      The only thing I have is a question. Doggy bag? I haven't heard that term since the early 80's.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JMF
                                                                        Perilagu Khan Aug 28, 2013 07:53 AM

                                                                        The term does seem to have fallen out of fashion.

                                                                        1. re: JMF
                                                                          chowser Sep 15, 2013 11:56 AM

                                                                          I was thinking the same thing. I can't remember the last time I heard it called a doggy bag. I just ask for it to go.I wonder if young servers get a kick out of "doggy bag."

                                                                        2. b
                                                                          BuildingMyBento Aug 28, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                                          Sure, but I don't have such great luck when I'm in China.

                                                                          Either the food is placed in incredibly flimsy containers (similar to the average cup used for water coolers in China), the chopsticks melt in the plastic "pockets" they come in or the plastic bag your take-out is placed in gets incredibly hot, not to mention who knows what effect the materials have on the food. That latter point can be said about anywhere, but nothing is terribly comforting in the mainland...

                                                                          Jonathan
                                                                          http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                          http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                                          1. p
                                                                            pie22 Aug 28, 2013 08:32 AM

                                                                            i try to always take food home with me if i am going straight home and have access to a fridge.
                                                                            i live in philly so usually i am headed out with friends after a meal, in those cases, most of my group has become accustomed to having our leftovers wrapped to give to the homeless on the streets. some may disagree with that but some people truly do appreciate it and you learn who really is hungry and who just wants your dollar.
                                                                            if i am going home, i usually don't like meat once reheated but usually someone at the table is willing to make it their next meal but as others have said, i also hate wasting food.
                                                                            pasta, asian and mexican make the best leftover meals!

                                                                            1. h
                                                                              Harters Aug 28, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                                              Doggy bags are extremely uncommon in my culture.

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                John E. Aug 28, 2013 12:19 PM

                                                                                I seem to recall a thread about that sometime ago.

                                                                                Do you think it's because portion sizes seem to be smaller in Europe? Or is it considered 'low class' to take leftover food home?

                                                                                Many years ago were at a small restaurant/bar (in a tiny, rural town of about 300) known for their steaks. The wife of our dining companions forgot her doggy bag (back then, it really was a paper bag lined with aluminum foil) on the table. When her husband went back in to retrieve it, a few of the locals sitting at the bar barked at him.

                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                  coll Aug 28, 2013 01:20 PM

                                                                                  But if the place went to the expense of keeping those aluminum lined bags in stock (not cheap) it couldn't have been that unusual.

                                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                                    John E. Aug 28, 2013 02:10 PM

                                                                                    Doggy bags, or the styrofoam boxes in use today, are available in pretty much all restaurants of which I am aware.

                                                                                    I was just commenting on the 'barking' done by the regulars. It would not make sense anymore since doggy bags are not used anymore (I can't remember the last time I saw one.)

                                                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                                                      coll Aug 28, 2013 03:05 PM

                                                                                      Oh they're still out there. With a picture of the dog and all. Just a lot more expensive than Styrofoam, so not every place's first choice.

                                                                                      Guess I should assume that some amount of alcohol was involved in the razzing?

                                                                                      1. re: coll
                                                                                        John E. Aug 28, 2013 04:18 PM

                                                                                        There probably was some alcohol involved, but there didn't need to be. This bar was in a tiny farm town where the only thing left was the bar, the elevator, and the post office.

                                                                                        I was optimistic about the population, it is now down to 12 (I looked it up) the post office is closed, the elevator is closed, but the bar and supper club is open and they've added a meat market.

                                                                                  2. re: John E.
                                                                                    h
                                                                                    Harters Aug 28, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                                                    Couldnt say for sure, John.

                                                                                    It's just not something that's generally in the tradition of any of the Europeans countries where I live or visit. Portion size will come into it. But I think there's just something cultural about it - certainly in the UK, going to a restaurant traditionally has something of the "occasion" to it - a date, a celebration, or similar - where it might not feel "right".

                                                                                    You do see doggy bags from time to time. There's a pub near me which only serve cheese and pate at lunchtimes. Enormous portions and they leave bags for folk to take away leftovers. And, oddly, it seems to be common in local Sichuan restaurants (but not other Chinese ones).

                                                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      stilldontknow Sep 16, 2013 03:37 AM

                                                                                      Agreed it's just very rarely done here. I have to say it's not something I'd ever consider asking for although we don't seem to suffer from the same gargantuan portions as the US.

                                                                                    2. re: John E.
                                                                                      Bill Hunt Aug 28, 2013 06:30 PM

                                                                                      I am not Harters, but I find the portion sizes in both the UK and Europe, to be about right - I might find some restaurants, that are more like the US with giant portions, but have not found them yet.

                                                                                      As for the "feeling" on "doggie bags" in the UK, I am but a visitor, albeit a frequent one, so I must let Harters address that.

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                    3. re: Harters
                                                                                      drongo Sep 15, 2013 03:15 PM

                                                                                      Things may be changing in the UK -- "Doggy bags are so tomorrow" http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/d...

                                                                                    4. n
                                                                                      noodlepoodle Aug 28, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                                                      I rarely take leftover food home because restaurant food never seems to taste good reheated. I think there's a reason why it's called a "doggy bag".

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: noodlepoodle
                                                                                        John E. Aug 28, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                                                        We went to a Korean cafeteria type restaurant a few weeks ago. The dumplings and spicy pork were really good the next day.

                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                          MplsM ary Sep 14, 2013 10:01 PM

                                                                                          Some things make great leftovers - others, not so much. I love leftover curries.

                                                                                          Above comment made, just to stay on topic so I could tell you how much I adore your Red Owl avatar!

                                                                                        2. re: noodlepoodle
                                                                                          Perilagu Khan Aug 28, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                                                          I've found that restaurant Indian food reheats rather well.

                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                            Bill Hunt Aug 28, 2013 06:32 PM

                                                                                            In the few instances, where we had leftover curries, I did like them reheated. The flavors did a "meld thing," sort of like cooking gumbo, then letting it sit in the 'fridge overnight - things just come together.

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                          2. re: noodlepoodle
                                                                                            j
                                                                                            Jerseygirl111 Sep 17, 2013 10:14 PM

                                                                                            Oh gosh. I think it tastes just fine. Must be all that salt.

                                                                                          3. Melanie Wong Aug 28, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                                                            In San Francisco we replate for somebody else if we don't take the food home for ourselves.

                                                                                            v. (re•plate): To place unwanted leftovers, typically in a doggie bag, on top of the nearest trash can so they don't go to waste.
                                                                                            http://www.replate.org/

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                              ElsieDee Aug 31, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                                                              Thank you for this, Melanie - love that there's a word for this practice of ours.

                                                                                              1. re: ElsieDee
                                                                                                Melanie Wong Sep 19, 2013 09:38 PM

                                                                                                Some have wondered why the bag is placed on top of a trash can rather than handed in person to someone in need. The reason is to preserve the dignity of the intended who may not want to accept charity or is shy about personal interaction. I know of at least two incidents where an attempted personal hand-off did not go well. It was quite clear that the homeless person was embarrassed to be singled out and the giver felt as bad about causing this. Something to remember.

                                                                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                  hill food Sep 19, 2013 10:29 PM

                                                                                                  I have been sensitive to this, and your method is nicer, in retrospect I've only directly offered when 'spare changed' then and only then "hey how about a dinner instead!"

                                                                                                  dignity IS important. I never approach someone without their initial connection. and I don't say 'left-over' whatever, I say I have 'some' of whatever if they'd like.

                                                                                            2. f
                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic Aug 28, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                                                              I paid for it!.....it's mine! Whenever I want to eat it all!

                                                                                              We often do trips to the islands via Miami. There is a restaurant there (outside security in the hotel). Very nice and very quiet until 11:50 AM. Then much of the staff at the airport descends for lunch, often in big groups of 8-10. The waiters all know and doggie "bags" are brought at the end of the meal as a matter of course!................BTW.at 1:15PM it goes back to being peaceful and nice

                                                                                              1. e
                                                                                                escondido123 Aug 28, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                                                                I generally order the amount of food that I feel like eating at that meal---often appetizers instead of a main because I'd rather eat three small/different dishes than one large of the same thing. The only reason there would be something leftover would be because it wasn't very good--and that I'm not taking home. (I do not eat at restaurants known for large portions, it just doesn't appeal to me.)

                                                                                                1. pinehurst Aug 28, 2013 03:58 PM

                                                                                                  I do doggie bag if I have nice leftovers that I can't finish. Like lots of chowhounds, I even share them with my actual doggie. He's quite the little soulful-eyed moochie.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: pinehurst
                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Aug 28, 2013 06:35 PM

                                                                                                    A year, or so ago, we had some leftovers of a couple of great beef filets, at an Omaha restaurant. Though we were staying in a Hilton room, with no reheating capabilities, my wife chose the "doggie bag" route. There was room in the mini-bar 'fridge. The next day, I sampled that filet, and was surprised at how good it was cold. It got me through packing!

                                                                                                    Still, not our normal procedure.

                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                      c oliver Sep 24, 2013 11:36 AM

                                                                                                      We almost always have a cocktail (or two!) in our room before going out. Having a little snack to go with that is nice.

                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 25, 2013 06:50 PM

                                                                                                        With the correct food items, or a kitchenette, I would agree. With most "travel" leftovers, well, not so much. It just depends.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                  2. mrsfury Aug 28, 2013 04:45 PM

                                                                                                    I paid for it, it's coming home with me. I only take a doggie bag if there are a lot of leftovers, enough for a full meal or more. If my friend buys lunch I give my leftovers to him and he appreciates it. He says if he won't eat it his kids will. I can't see wasting a bunch of food. Makes no sense.

                                                                                                    1. SaraAshley Aug 28, 2013 07:11 PM

                                                                                                      I doggie bag for many of the same reasons that have already been mentioned. I hate to waste. I'll pretty much take anything with me as long as its of a substantial portion size and don't give much thought as to how well that particular food reheats. I've found in the past that when I'm stuffed after a meal and can't even imagine ever wanting to eat again, I've left my left overs only to wish I had them the next day when surprise, it turns out I did want to eat again! If I'm traveling and don't have anyway of reheating the leftovers, I will take them with me anyways and try to find a homeless person to give them to on the walk back to my hotel.

                                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                                        autumm Aug 28, 2013 09:09 PM

                                                                                                        Honestly, it depends on the weather and what I'm doing next. If it's winter here in MN, box that baby up it will keep just fine. Now in our current 95 degree heat wave (half considering trying to sous vide in my daughter's kiddie pool) unless we are going straight home, no.

                                                                                                        Sometimes I order for the extras, our favorite pizza and hoagie place is an easy next day your co-workers will be jealous lunch doggie bag.

                                                                                                        Now my MIL will get a doggie bag no matter what, then try to leave her half eaten food with whomever she's visiting. Sorry, I only eat my half eaten food, maybe Mr Autumn's but not yours.

                                                                                                        1. westsidegal Aug 28, 2013 11:06 PM

                                                                                                          as a rule,
                                                                                                          i do my best not to waste food.
                                                                                                          i've read that over 40% of the food produced in the US is WASTED.
                                                                                                          if i can put the food to good use by taking the left overs with me, you bet i will do that.

                                                                                                          1. s
                                                                                                            schrutefarms Aug 28, 2013 11:42 PM

                                                                                                            Yes! I always eat my leftovers. Except things that don't keep well, like dressed salads and French fries. One time I brought home at least half of a $50 petit filet, having filled up on the baked potato and bread. I was so excited to have it with eggs in the morning. Well...I forgot to put in in the fridge, so it stayed out all night. I'm sure it was just fine, but I wouldn't eat it, so I chopped it up, fried it in the skillet until there was no more pink, and the dogs got a lovely breakfast that cost more than a month of kibble :)

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                              Jerseygirl111 Sep 17, 2013 10:18 PM

                                                                                                              You are selling yourself short on those leftover fries. Try them with eggs or in hash the next morning.

                                                                                                            2. cronker Sep 15, 2013 05:19 AM

                                                                                                              The practice of doggy bagging was a grey area here in Australia about a decade ago, when the health authorities outlawed it.
                                                                                                              Apparently, a diner got his shrimp dish packed up in a DB and went on his merry way.
                                                                                                              Four days later, discovered the bag on the backseat of his car and ate the old food, got sick and successfully sued the restaurant.

                                                                                                              Things have relaxed a bit since that debacle, but we are required to provide a health warning sticker on any doggy bagged food nowadays, and many restaurants (including mine) will provide you with a container, but will not put the food into it - that's up to you.

                                                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                f
                                                                                                                FriedClamFanatic Sep 15, 2013 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                I'm surprised that the guy was successful at suing. The same thing could have happened with take-out food. Are your take-aways also required to label the packages?

                                                                                                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                  cronker Sep 15, 2013 03:18 PM

                                                                                                                  Strangely, no. There is a caveat emptor clause in the food safety laws surrounding takeaway meals, and it was this that eventually helped us to once again allow doggy bags.
                                                                                                                  As I mentioned, most places now will give you a container but insist that you package it yourself. This is another get out of jail free card to ensure that we can't get sued.
                                                                                                                  Our rules are always changing down here, and you need to be on top of current laws all the time.
                                                                                                                  Recently, we became permitted to allow guests to take away any leftover wine if they purchase a bottle and don't want to drink it all, even if we don't have a take out license. But only if we keep the cap/cork. We now have a box of caps and corks behind the bar for this purpose...

                                                                                                                  1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                    DuchessNukem Sep 16, 2013 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                    Cronker, correct me if wrong, I'm hearing that you have to keep the original cork, and you just give a substitute? What's the rationale for that law? Sounds crazy. :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                      cronker Sep 16, 2013 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                      Its all a bit silly really.
                                                                                                                      Most of our wines are now under Stelvin caps rather than cork anyway, but the "intent" of the law says we have to keep the original cap/cork should a patron wish to take their bottle home with them.

                                                                                                                      The reality of the law is that as long as we provide a cap/cork, the intent of the law is upheld.
                                                                                                                      The thing that puzzles me is what happens if you take a half empty bottle home with you and get pulled over by the police with a half empty bottle on your front passenger seat? You clearly may not be over the limit, but it is certainly going to raise suspicion by the authorities, no?

                                                                                                                      1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                        James Cristinian Sep 16, 2013 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                        I'm always told to put the wine in the trunk by the staff, and if the weather is hot I'll bring an ice chest.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                          DuchessNukem Sep 17, 2013 02:18 AM

                                                                                                                          Ah, got it, thank you.

                                                                                                                          In TX, some restaurants have a clear plastic bag that slips over the bottle and seals with a bit of tape. The bottle should be placed in the trunk or the far back of the SUV (where you can't reach it for a quick swig lol).

                                                                                                                          1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                            John E. Sep 17, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                                                                            I thought it was legal to drive with an open bottle in Texas. Or did the law get changed?

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                              James Cristinian Sep 17, 2013 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                              That law got changed, but virtually every convenience store has a big cooler of iced down singles up front. I often grab a Modelo Especial after work for the drive home. I'm not drunk, been doing it for years. before the haters come out, single beers will not stop people from getting drunk, when twelve packs are readily available.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                Perilagu Khan Sep 17, 2013 06:23 PM

                                                                                                                                That low got changed back in the mid-to-late eighties, I bleeve.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2013 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                  Well, Texans could always go to New Orleans, where you can buy a 5 gal. Daiquiris, with six long straws - one for each occupant in the vehicle - well, almost: http://www.insideedition.com/investig...

                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                    John E. Sep 24, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                    I was in New Orleans on a gambling junket a couple of years ago but did not notice the Daiquiris Drive-thrus. That could have been because we didn't have a car however.

                                                                                                                                    I grew up in a small rural town that was founded in the 1870s as a 'Temperence town' and even in the 60s and 70s it was against the law to sell a drink on Sundays. So when I went to NOLA and saw people drinking Hurricanes while walking down the sidewalk, I was rather amazed. Of course it was a Sunday afternoon and the Saints were playing at home. (62 - 7 over the Colts.)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                                                      kitchengardengal Sep 24, 2013 07:54 PM

                                                                                                                                      In our town, you can finally buy a drink at a restaurant on Sunday, since the law was changed about two years ago. Still no Sunday sales at the liquor store or in the beer and wine dept at the supermarket.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kitchengardengal
                                                                                                                                        John E. Sep 25, 2013 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                                        They changed the law in my hometown many years ago that you can get an alcoholic beverage in a restaurant on Sundays, but the regular bars are closed. Minnesota still does not sell alcohol in grocery stores (except for 3.2 beer).

                                                                                                                                        I remember when I was young and we went to the local steakhouse for dinner and my father would bring a bottle of wine from home because the restaurant was not allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 25, 2013 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                                        John E.,

                                                                                                                                        Going "the other way" can be a bit unsettling, as well.

                                                                                                                                        Having grown up in the shadow of New Orleans, I rather, and foolishly thought, the rest of the US was similar.

                                                                                                                                        Then, I walked out of a bar on Hyman St. in Aspen, CO, with a beer in my hand (no glass), and ran afoul of two of Pitkin County's finest. They were lenient, but informed me that not one drop could leave the bar/restaurant. I learned something that night.

                                                                                                                                        It's like entering into a game of 8-ball, in a strange pool hall - one must get all the rules, ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                        2. re: cronker
                                                                                                                          Perilagu Khan Sep 15, 2013 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                          And I thought America was the home of lunatic lawsuits. What a crock.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                            hill food Sep 17, 2013 02:42 AM

                                                                                                                            PK - I was about to post the same!

                                                                                                                            DN - re wine - some states/cities have loose open container laws. some don't. I thought TX was one of the looser ones. imagine my shock visiting STL, MO a few years ago (used to be very uptight) only to be offered a 'go' cup and wondering "what is this, New Orleans?"

                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                              JMF Sep 17, 2013 07:17 AM

                                                                                                                              I lived in Georgia back in the mid-'90's and the county next door was dry. But my county was so wet you could legally drink beer while driving.

                                                                                                                          2. re: cronker
                                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                                            jounipesonen Sep 18, 2013 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                            How come you know about the 4 day delay in eating - and the restaurant's lawyer didn't? :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: jounipesonen
                                                                                                                              cronker Sep 23, 2013 12:46 AM

                                                                                                                              The lawyer was well aware of the four day thing. The restaurant was successfully sued for not providing "best before" information on the doggie bag.
                                                                                                                              Now, we have stickers that warn patrons about the safe consumption and storage of leftover food taken from the restaurant.

                                                                                                                              1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                jounipesonen Sep 23, 2013 03:21 AM

                                                                                                                                Yikes - end result good but what a path.

                                                                                                                                1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Sep 23, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                  Bloody hell.

                                                                                                                            2. l
                                                                                                                              LeoLioness Sep 15, 2013 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                              I'll get leftover food boxed up if:

                                                                                                                              a.) It's something I'll actually want to eat the next day. Leftover meatballs? Sure. Leftover fish? No thanks.

                                                                                                                              b.) I'm going straight home and the container is easy to transport. I don't necessarily want to carry a chinese takeout box of curry on the subway, especially if I don't have a bag.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                dberg1313 Sep 16, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                I don't have any choice - I had stomach surgery which has forced me to eat much less - so when eating out, I always ask for a box/container, even before the food is served. Even most apps are too much for me. I have never felt judged, even in the most expensive places.

                                                                                                                                1. re: dberg1313
                                                                                                                                  Melanie Wong Sep 19, 2013 09:41 PM

                                                                                                                                  I keep an assortment of sturdy, reusable storage containers in the trunk of the car and bring a couple of them in a tote bag into restaurants to take leftovers home. Cuts down on unnecessary trash of throwing away one-time use containers, and these are more secure and leak-proof.

                                                                                                                                2. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                                                  hill food Sep 17, 2013 02:46 AM

                                                                                                                                  LL - that's why I ask for a soup container - hate that clamshell molded foam slopfest enabling device. and I know I'm going to mix it all up anyway (well with most sauced Asian dishes anyway, yes rice and all thx).

                                                                                                                                3. Disneyfreak Sep 16, 2013 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                                  I love a take home container. Even when traveling on business if the hotel room has a fridge I will take back my leftovers. I was one the object of jealousy when at a conference I took the nice roll the "turkey" sandwich came on and substituted my leftover steak from the night before. I had people asking me where I got my sandwich.

                                                                                                                                  There is one place my parents like to dine at -- the portions are so large (and many entrees come with a side of pasta) that I can get two meals out of the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                  1. alkapal Sep 18, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                    yes, i am a DB person. i was raised not to waste food, because my mom lived in a poor farming area with a large family during the depression, and learned some tough lessons. i hate to see people leave good food on their plates to go into the bin. i am a depression-era-child-by-proxy.

                                                                                                                                    as to those shrimp and scallops, i'd have taken their doggie bags from them, LOL, telling them i know i CAN use this (then i would've crisped them up in a hot skillet, put them on a crusty roll with remoulade and shredded lettuce, and been a happy camper!)(i'm assuming your relatives didn't slobber all over the shrimp and scallops so as to impart their cooties, right?).

                                                                                                                                    the only time i don't take a doggie bag is if i'm at a business luncheon, or out to dinner where we will be going on to some other event. those times, i try not to over-order, so that there is no leftover food.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                      hill food Sep 19, 2013 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                      or depending on the city get the bag and give it fresh off the plate to a homeless person. never been turned down. funniest reaction once was something like "Gai Gao Prao! spicy right? hell yeah!"

                                                                                                                                    2. WhatsEatingYou Sep 23, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                      I really try to not over order, or ask if there is a lunch portion or try to share with someone if I know the entrees are massive. I will doggie bag if I am going home immediately after and there is enough to take.

                                                                                                                                      After a business dinner at a steakhouse, our host had all the leftovers on the table boxed up and he gave it to a homeless person, I thought this was a little bizarre. He clearly thought it was an act of kindness.

                                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: WhatsEatingYou
                                                                                                                                        hill food Sep 23, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                        how is that bizarre? I'd say it's compassionate. (unless of course the guests weren't given the option of keeping their take-away or were 'guilted' into sharing)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                          WhatsEatingYou Sep 24, 2013 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                                          Well its sort of thoughtful but the more I thought about it, the more disgusting it seemed. Just because someone is homeless do they want a cold Porterhouse that two strangers ate from either end of? But I suppose, yes, some would.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: WhatsEatingYou
                                                                                                                                            c oliver Sep 24, 2013 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                                            We're in Rio right now and a man down on his luck asked the couple next to us if he could have their leftovers and they happily gave it to him. This was a sidewalk cafe btw.

                                                                                                                                            On a related topic, we're finding on this trip to Rio that they've started charging under a dollar for the takeaway container. But they're quite nice containers :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: WhatsEatingYou
                                                                                                                                              hill food Sep 25, 2013 01:07 AM

                                                                                                                                              yes WEY it is sad, but when I've pondered what my life would be like on the street (and I have come close a few times), I think I'd lose my pride rather fast. money for food, cooking facility - all difficult to source. in my book if I had an issue I could just cut off the 'touched' edges. better than it getting tossed into the dumpster and inevitably fished out later there and with less muss.

                                                                                                                                              of course if I were a homeless guy with a dog (and I have noticed this in many cities) their dogs always eat first.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                cronker Sep 25, 2013 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                And also on this, isn't there a group who identify themselves as Freegans?
                                                                                                                                                They scour dumpsters for packaged and/or fresh produce that is thrown away at closing time for shops?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                                                  John E. Sep 25, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I saw something on TV about Freegans. I think San Francisco has a large Freegan community.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Sep 25, 2013 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                    "I think San Francisco has a large Freegan community."

                                                                                                                                                    Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                                      c oliver Sep 25, 2013 02:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                      A lot of 'way out there' things that are now commonplace likely started in SF. Here's some info:

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

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Sep 25, 2013 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Interesting, as San Francisco has the one of the largest "safety nets," for disadvantaged, of any city in the US. Washington, DC, is right up there with them. Each seems to have an extremely large population, living on the streets, and panhandling. With the various municipal, state and Federal programs, it would seem odd, that one could fall through all of the cracks, but so very many seem to have done just that.

                                                                                                                                                      Now, if one is getting, say Food Stamps, but they choose to use them in other ways, and they choose to not go to one of the various missions, I suppose that they might also choose to dumpster dive for a meal.

                                                                                                                                                      I am just glad to not be faced with such, and also glad that I can contribute to many charities - mostly medical charities, but still I wonder what is going wrong in the USA.

                                                                                                                                                      OTOH, I think that some folk just love to "live on the streets," sort of like survivalists, who enjoy spending a month in the wilderness, with no food, little water, and almost no shelter. It's like a snowboarder, who creates an avalanche and then jumps into it, to see if they will survive. Just not MY thing.

                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                        John E. Sep 25, 2013 08:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                        The Freegan's I saw on the television show were not homeless. They were more like the 'green' people who saw waste they thought should not be haplening. It seemed like a game or a challenge to them to see who coild find the best food in a Dumpster.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                          c oliver Sep 26, 2013 04:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Right. A Freegan is making a social/political statement.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: cronker
                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                      schrutefarms Sep 25, 2013 10:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                      There's a great episode of Portlandia about Freegans :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: WhatsEatingYou
                                                                                                                                                    chowser Sep 25, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Let them eat cake? If you had to choose between cold leftovers and being starving, which would you choose? There was a thread about how servers will eat off people's plates which is why some restaurants have them box in front of the customers (although I'm thinking it would be to stop customers from claiming they had more food to begin with).

                                                                                                                                                    You could do what a friend of mine does which is ask the person what he/she wants and order a fresh meal to go. That would be kindest.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                      cronker Sep 25, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Been in the game for over 20 years and have never seen a waiter/busser eat off a returned plate. It is considered vile and dirty over here. Maybe I just lucked out with where I have worked, because I likewise have never seen a chef spit etc in anyone's meal.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cronker
                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 25, 2013 07:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                        While I certainly do not know every restaurant in the US (cannot speak for the rest of the world), many servers are fed either before service*, or after. While there might be strange situations, I cannot imagine a server chowing down on a patron's leftovers, but probably happens somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                        * The "before" can be very useful, to educate the servers regarding the dishes of the night, and maybe even the wines, that the sommelier/wine steward is recommending. Real benefits to all, with that plan.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                          James Cristinian Sep 25, 2013 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I've seen on a Ramsey and a Bourdain episode where cooks, not chefs cook up a pre-service meal. On the Boudain Les Halles episode it was a Mexican dish served up by Mexican cooks in a New York French style bistro.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                            chowser Sep 26, 2013 04:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I'll bet you'd get some good food at those meals. I'd pay to join in!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                              p
                                                                                                                                                              pie22 Sep 26, 2013 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                              a friend of mine's husband is a cook at a sit-down casual italian place and the kitchen is mostly mexican (as is he).
                                                                                                                                                              i look forward to nights i am at their house and he comes home from work cause he always brings back some of the "kitchen dinner", they cook it after the rush is over.
                                                                                                                                                              it is always some fantastic, yet simple mexican food.
                                                                                                                                                              last time i was there, he brought back some incredibly delicious and spicy salsa and guacamole that we just devoured with chips. he mentioned they also made some simple chorizo tacos (someone brings it in) with just meat, onions, lime on tortillas.
                                                                                                                                                              just proof, the best stuff sometimes is just simply prepared.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                                JMF Sep 28, 2013 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Every restaurant I have worked with has a "family" or staff meal for staff before they open. I also have never seen any staff eat from leftovers on a plate.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cronker
                                                                                                                                                              chowser Sep 26, 2013 04:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                              That's what I'd think, too.

                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9147...

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