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What menu items you can't resist when you see them

Anything made with uni.
Whenever I read suckling pig on the menu..I just can't resist!
Any kind of duck dishes...whether it's at a French restaurant or Chinese restaurant.
Cod fish. My favorite fish.
Some kind of braised dishes..(usually very flavorful and can't really go wrong)
Pate..any kind of pate...especially duck liver or goose liver or housemade pate de campagne.

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      1. The first thing that comes to mind is fried onion rings but of course only if they look like they're the real thing. If it's an order of them for $2 you know it's the chopped and formed pathetic imitation of them.

        4 Replies
        1. re: janmcbaker

          Yes, i forgot about them. French fries, onion rings and sweet potato fries.

          1. re: janmcbaker

            Giant homemade onion rings. Greek or Turk owned NJ diners usually make them. Inch and a quarter to inch and a half wide slices of huge onions, dusted with cracker meal, egg bathed, bread crumbs then fried golden brown. YUM :-)

            1. re: Tom34

              Onion rings are the sole reason I go to Ted's Montana Grill.

              1. re: Tom34

                Amen, but when something is described as including caramelized onions it's hard to pass up. Also rhubarb, whether in savory or sweet dishes.

            2. Brains, sweetbreads, liver, kidneys, heart.

              Pork belly. Pasta with fresh porcini or truffles.

              Yellowtail sashimi or crudo.

              11 Replies
              1. re: linguafood

                Yes, sweetbreads and pork belly! can't go wrong with both.

                  1. re: Sinicle

                    I haven't seen brains on menus nearly as often as any of the other things, sadly.

                    My mom used to make a killer calf's brain, and then that whole shit in the UK went down and that was the end of it, pretty much. Wah.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      You know Lingua, I will eat nearly anything - at least once - but I can't seem to get my head around - semi-pun-intended - eating brains..... so never had them.

                      Sweetbreads, kidneys, etc. Love!

                      1. re: gingershelley

                        They are delicious. You should really give them a try some time!

                  2. re: linguafood

                    Agree with the sweetbreads, kidneys and heart. Liver I make at home a couple of times a year, so I can resist when I go out. Used to love brains, but too much cholesterol for me, sigh (there are some taquerias around here that serve them: I usually go for the tripitas, lengua or cabeza, though).

                    Also: steak tartare, duck, scallops, vegetables I haven't heard of...

                    The only dessert I can't resist is canoli - good thing it's rare out here.

                    1. re: tardigrade

                      I'd make (calf's) liver at home more often if my man were a fan. He is not. And while it's really very cheap to get, I rarely feel like eating anywhere between 8-12 oz. of liver all by myself. I also found that the slices aren't often great quality with lots of silver skin, so I do *love* a good rendition of it in a restaurant -- German, Austrian & Hungarian are the way to go.

                      OTOH, I make pretty killer scallops at home, so it's not a *must order* when going out.

                      I really, really wish there were more restaurants serving brains.


                      1. re: linguafood

                        My mom cooked calf's liver to perfection in a cast iron pan with bacon & onions and she and my dad loved it.

                        I just could never acquire a taste for it then and have tried it many times since and still don't like it.

                        I think I am in the majority on liver but thats good for those that like it because as you say its very reasonable here in the States.

                        My hunch is that in Europe its much more desirable and probably more $$$..

                        1. re: Tom34

                          The slices generally available in the supermarket are so thin, holey and grody it's not even worth the small buckage they ask for.

                          The key to good calf's liver is a slice thick enough to be cooked MR, preferably in bacon fat along with caramelized onions and apples.

                          I do get my occasional liver fix at home with chicken livers whenever I'm lucky enough to find giblets in a whole chicken. They're thick enough to cook them perfectly, and are so good straight out of the pan with a quick glaze of port or a maple balsamic I have around (I just can't get myself to buy one of those 1 lb. tubs of Tyson livers. Ick).

                          My mom made a killer dish with veal kidneys, braised in a cream sauce served over rice.

                          I really gotta get back to Yurp.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Funny you mentioned all those organs as when ever we got a turkey there was a bag in the cavity that had all those things and my mom cooked them up for my dad and he loved them.

                            Are you giving away a little age? :-)

                            1. re: Tom34

                              Old enough to type on a laptop and cook organ meats.

                  3. Tiramisu at an Italian restaurant.

                    Spicy tuna roll ata sushi restaurant.

                    Pâté at a French.

                    1. horse
                      green turtle
                      smoked fish dip

                      The only one that usually disappoints, but I keep trying, is the smoked fish dip. Tilapia off the grill with Old Bay Seasoning and mayo is not acceptable.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          You would be surprised at how many urban ranchers find out what a pain in the wallet and clock it is to keep those "pets" for the kids.

                          The most common statement? "Just don't kill it here."

                          And the culls I get from my local strudel feed lot are remarkably inexpensive.

                        2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                          IRFL, We picked up some smoked mullet dip at a little shack in Florida on our way to Sarasota this summer. I'd never heard of it before, and I liked it, but I couldn't eat much..it was very rich.
                          Our car smelled like smoked fish for days. We got some slabs of smoked mullet, too. The guy who smoked the mullet made the dip himself that morning.

                        3. I have a weak spot for cheesecakes. This is not to say that I always order cheesecakes when I see them because I usually do not order desserts. However, when I do, cheesecakes are often on the top of my list. Same for creme brulee.

                          I am also a big fan of Chinese Cantonese Dim Sum, especially the rice noodle roll.

                          In term of sushi, I would say that yellow tail, mackerel, eel and uni.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            As much as I love creme brulee, I often do not order this when I am dining out because I know how easy it is to make creme brulee...I try the get the most complicated sounding desserts...one that's hard to duplicate at home.

                            1. re: Monica

                              <one that's hard to duplicate at home.>

                              An excellent point.

                              :) However, I don't know how to make creme brulee.

                              Now that you opened the door, I will expand a few items too. I love Chinese steamed barbecue pork buns. I love them so much that I learn to make them (pretty good I must say). However, I don't order them very often. Not because mine are much better, but because they fill me up very quickly.


                              I also don't order uni for sushi very often even though I love them. They are either not available or too expensive.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                My sis is a pastry chef and she said you often see creme brulee on the menu because they are so easy to make and can be served immediately after a quick caramelization)

                                Chinese steamed bbq pork buns sound like a lot of work..i am sure yours is a lot healthier too as a lot of pork buns seem to be a bit too fatty for my liking.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  It takes me a lot not to order a creme brûlée, if it's not on the menu. Yes, I know I could make it at home, but I dont

                            2. I had a hard time thinking of anything but I have a weak spot for homestyle sage stuffing or apple crumble.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: Kalivs

                                  Oh yes, requires vanilla ice cream for me.

                              1. I struggle to resist roast belly pork (with very crisp crackling, of course)..

                                I must try harder - as it's on just about every bistro menu and ordering it all the time gets monotonous.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Harters

                                  My husband cooks/smokes pork belly with wood chips for about an hour. The skin comes out super crisp and the meat..oh so tender. We just salt and pepper generously. ..so so good...and so easy.

                                2. escargots in garlic butter with parsley, served with crusty french baguette for dipping.

                                  if it is a seafood place, i almost have to always go for fried shrimp or shrimp scampi.

                                  hmmm…garlic and butter…a theme! ;-).

                                  1. Can i say lambrusco? I don't see if often by the glass and can't manage a half bottle on a weeknight......

                                    Anything with jerusalem artichokes gets me
                                    House pickled vegetables
                                    Fancy potatoes like pomme dauphine
                                    Any dessert that has pedro ximinez involved
                                    Any hot spiced wine like glogg

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                      Lambrusco by the glass for me too!

                                    2. Can't resist deep fried pork with spicy salt....whenever, I see it on an Chinese menu.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: easily amused

                                        I just googled the image. Oh yes, I remember those. They are very tasty, and very difficult to mess up too. They are just unhealthy. :)

                                        1. re: easily amused

                                          Fried squid with spicy salt for me. If featured, I must have it. And summer rolls.

                                        2. baked potato, cooked all the way through, almost over cooked- crispy salted/peppered skin and lots of butter....would be enough for dinner unless there happened to be a medium rare slab of prime rib nearby.

                                          1. Anything with crab or lobster in it, and shrimp to a lesser degree.

                                            17 Replies
                                            1. re: SaraAshley

                                              One day they will invent a turducken version of lobster/crab/shrimp. They will stuff a baby crab inside a losbster, and a shrimp inside the small crab.

                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                  :) Took me a second to know what "crimpster" is. Good one.

                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  "One day they will invent a turducken version of lobster/crab/shrimp."

                                                  I've had shrimp stuffed with a mixture of crab and lobster. Does that count?

                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                    That's the wrong way around! The lobster meat is going to feel humiliated!

                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                      "I've had shrimp stuffed with a mixture of crab and lobster. Does that count?"

                                                      Yes, as the Triple Treyf Special!

                                                    2. re: SaraAshley

                                                      I wanted to also add hush puppies. If I'm at a seafood restaurant that has hush puppies, I'm definitely ordering a basket of those pups before my lobster, crab and shrimp feast.

                                                      1. re: SaraAshley

                                                        "Conch Fritters". If you like fried bread/batter products, give these babies a try. Best to date were at Alabama Jacks, Card Sound Rd., Florida Keys. Interesting mix of characters as well, at one table you may see a group of bikers laughing it up with a table of CEO's. Also Clog dancing on certain nights.

                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                          I've had Conch Fritters at several places in both the Bahamas and Key West. I like them. They are definitely better at some places than others, though. I had some bum ones for sure at a couple places in the Bahamas. But then again, I didn't really like much I ate in the Bahamas, period.

                                                          1. re: SaraAshley

                                                            If you fly into Miami International and head down to the keys you will eventually end up on Card Sound Rd. About 10 to 15 minutes before you get to Key Largo / Ocean Reef Club you will hit an old squatters shack which is Alabama Jacks which is known for their Conch Fritters.

                                                            If you have a very wealthy friend or business executive who can get you into the Ocean Reef Club (exclusive private) jump at it. Some of the best cuisine the world has to offer and at the table next to you may be Jimmy Buffett or Heads Of State from all over the world.

                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                              The only time I've been to the Keys I flew from DC to Miami and then Miami to Key West, so no driving, but this might be a fun idea for the next time I go.

                                                              I've never heard of the Ocean Reef Club, so what do you mean by "get me in?" Is it strictly a money thing, or do you have to be someone in the know or with power to gain entrance? Just curious! :)

                                                              1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                They have a website that is pretty detailed that you can Google. Its basically an extremely up scale private community of I think about 1500 homes. They have their own private police / fire / EMS / medically facility and the County Sheriff maintains an office there. They also have an airport and PGA Golf Courses.

                                                                The land is surrounded by water and has one secured entrance. All boat / yacht owners are required to have a transponder so non members who venture into their waters can be monitored and greeted. This extremely high level of security is very attractive to the extremely wealthy & celebrities. The US Secrete Service rates it just below Camp David in terms of security and they are often there with Presidents & Foreign Dignitaries.

                                                                FOOD: They have about 9 world class restaurants that serve the very best of the best as money is no object to those doing the dining. If they don't have it a plane will be there as fast as humanely possible bringing it. They also have a culinary school where future chefs can train under the guidance of some of the best in the business.

                                                                THE PROBLEM: You must be invited to gain entrance & cash, checks & credit cards are not accepted. Every amenity and service is paid by account. You see, if you have several extra million laying around, you could purchase a property there but you can't use the club amenities which include the restaurants until you become a member of the Ocean Reef Club and get an account. This requires acceptance by the membership board which is how they control the makeup of the community. In essence, you won't find a Caddyshack Rodney Dangerfield type character there as they spend quite a bit of money screening applicants.

                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                  Oh my goodness! Thank you for that very detailed description. So, first I must purchase a property there, and then get accepted by the membership board to use their amenities. Let's just say I think I have a far ways to go in my event planning career to make that a reality. Although, I haven't met future hubby yet, so maybe his credentials will be better than mine, but I'm betting not considering the type of men I typically like!

                                                                  What about being an invited guest? You said that was possible, right? Any screening done for guests? And, I must also ask, have you been?

                                                                  1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                    The only way I got to go a few times was by invitation from
                                                                    a relative who has a house there and has been a member since the 80's.

                                                                    I am pretty sure many corporations have non equity memberships but an individual guest under a non equity membership can only visit once every 5 years and they do keep a log. No restrictions on number of visits from equity member guests.

                                                              2. re: Tom34

                                                                Sisters in the Pot in Riviera Beach, FL. Best conch everything--fritters, chowder, salad--anywhere.

                                                          2. re: SaraAshley

                                                            Good call, hush puppies, double yes! I'm often disappointed so avoid them but at a place I know they are good it might be the only thing I order.

                                                        2. beets
                                                          brussels sprouts
                                                          an interesting cheese or charcuterie plate
                                                          any caramel or butterscotch dessert

                                                              1. duck fat fries

                                                                flan / creme caramel

                                                                I have a weakness for crab cakes and can seldom resist trying them at places I where haven't eaten before. Though really good ones are few and far between, even the lesser ones usually float my boat.

                                                                fresh sorbet, when it's made in-house

                                                                Cantonese pan-fried noodles

                                                                Stuffed grape leaves



                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                  Add some rosemary to the duck fat fries and I'll join you.

                                                                2. Laa-aaa-amb. Even a half leg is daunting for the two of us, and I have yet to master chops. If there's lamb on the menu, my decision is made.

                                                                  1. Day boat scallops
                                                                    Chinese Butterfly Shrimp
                                                                    Fried Whole Belly Clams
                                                                    Creme Brûlée
                                                                    Indian Pudding
                                                                    Pork belly, roasted crisp

                                                                    1. I adore really good cheesecake so it's one thing I'll order if its an out of the ordinary variety. Although originally from NY, I now live in a food wasteland so only get it when I'm outside of my area.

                                                                      I also have a huge sweet tooth so if I see variety in the way of desserts, I'll usually order with the exception of crème brulee...I just don't see what all the fuss is about...to me, it's boring.

                                                                      Other things I'll get are random protein parts (i.e. pork belly, pig tails, beef tendon, ox tails, chitterlings, etc. things along these lines)

                                                                      Love seafood....and I have a weakness for fresh warm out of the oven breads

                                                                      1. If I have been dieting or really almost anytime, I have a thing about fried chicken. I remember doing a drastic low carb diet for weeks on end and desiring fried chicken more than any other thing, even something sweet.

                                                                        If I see it on the menu, I'll probably order it. I skip the usual sides, though. I usually have 2 pieces (I am such a pig) and a side salad.

                                                                        I have no idea why I want this if I see it. I think it is totally weird. But there it is.

                                                                        1. Some form of eggplant is usually much appreciated, save for a few sweet Chinese dishes. Then again, one of my favorite eggplant meals is from China (it involves that, mashed, along with mashed green chilies and who knows what fiery sauce). Avocado, tomatoes, bird's eye chilies, and onions too.

                                                                          If it's Middle Eastern, then ful and copious amounts of olive oil. If Korean, then anything without mayonnaise (and probably without bones). Fried oysters, king scallops and ice cream, only if the flavor is random enough. Otherwise I don't ever eat ice cream.

                                                                          1. Duck
                                                                            Foie gras
                                                                            Almost anything served with mashed potatoes
                                                                            Fried calamari with hot banana pepper rings
                                                                            Any kind of seafood chowder
                                                                            Lamb shank
                                                                            Fish tacos
                                                                            Club sandwich
                                                                            Lobster roll
                                                                            Tuna melt
                                                                            Toasted Italian with the works
                                                                            Croque Monsieur
                                                                            Eggplant parm
                                                                            Spaghetti carbonara

                                                                            Lemon meringue pie
                                                                            Carrot cake
                                                                            Bread pudding with a boozy sauce
                                                                            Irish coffee

                                                                            1. Duck or rabbit in French/Italian places, dumplings of any sort (from gyoza to shu mai to pierogi), and if a place has good seafood, then prawns or crab.

                                                                              1. Usually, I try to order something which I have not had before, which sounds good. However, these dishes throw off my plan often because I find it hard to resist them:

                                                                                beef bourguignon
                                                                                bananas Foster
                                                                                eggs Benedict or any of its variations (extra hollandaise, please)
                                                                                shrimp creole
                                                                                shrimp etouffee
                                                                                crepes Suzette
                                                                                plank French fries
                                                                                steak au poivre
                                                                                steak Diane
                                                                                baked Alaska
                                                                                king crab, steamed with butter and lemon sauce

                                                                                I could go on and on . . . Funny, how I never noticed that so many of my "can't resist" dishes have the name of the food followed by a name (like "Diane" or "bourguignon") or that many of them are hoary old French classics.

                                                                                1. smoked duck
                                                                                  smoked fish
                                                                                  shrimp & chive dumplings

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    That's a good enough short list for me!

                                                                                  2. Currently, I know I have a soft spot for old-school/classic desserts like Baked Alaska and Iles Flottantes (clouds of egg white in custard sauce). Also, any of the fatty or more obscure parts of the pig - belly, skin, intestines, feet, blood sausage etc..

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: vil

                                                                                      Vil, Iles Flottantes are super easy to make - you poach' the egg whites in the microwave! Crazy; a friend gave me a cookbook of French food - mostly more 'modern' dishes, and this method for them was in it. Works like a charm.

                                                                                      It is such a simple and inexpensive dish, and with this method of cooking the fluffy egg whites, easy now - you can make at home.....http://www.francethisway.com/frenchre...

                                                                                      1. re: gingershelley


                                                                                        Not only that, they sound so "exotic", haha. Just plain eggwhites, yet dinner guests are truly impressed, not to mention them not being able to say it properly (all the more makes me, the dinner host, seem more cool).

                                                                                    2. Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cheese.
                                                                                      If I know the bread is outstanding - Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Tomato
                                                                                      Avocado salad (any kind)
                                                                                      Plantainos Maduros
                                                                                      Housemade pimento cheese
                                                                                      Housemade tater tots

                                                                                      1. I'm a sucker for a seafood pasta dish. Red or white, doesn't matter. Fra diavolo is my favorite.

                                                                                        1. Add me to the hush puppy crowd. Good hush puppies are a thing of wonder.

                                                                                          I'm on a life-long quest to find a perfect meatball sub. I've been disappointed 98% of the time but I will usually order one if it's on the lunch menu of a new place.

                                                                                          1. My husband loves ordering game meat like rabbit stew or goat stew or lamb...or koala meat if he sees it on the menu.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                              I call them menu buzz-words. I won't necessarily order them, but they'll at least draw my attention:

                                                                                              spaghetti carbonara (interest ceases if they mention cream in the description)
                                                                                              key lime pie
                                                                                              fried chicken
                                                                                              house made potato chips
                                                                                              house made sausage

                                                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                                                Yes, if I can get goat, I'll usually try it ...

                                                                                                Also like trying something I haven't had before, but as time goes on, that becomes increasingly difficult ...

                                                                                              2. crispy duck. a good lo mein. crisped veal sweet breads. a solid warm chocolate chip cookie or chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert. if it's fall or winter, a thick porcini mushroom soup.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: ahuva

                                                                                                  Porcinis! Any dish that has them......

                                                                                                2. Macaroni & cheese always calls my name. I believe in trying every last one. For awhile, I was trying every chile relleno in town. And this may come as a surprise to some, but ... foie gras.

                                                                                                  For dessert, chocolate ... I don't always order the chocolate option, but often do.

                                                                                                  And agree about fried chicken, that's something else I like to try all versions of. That, and lobster rolls.

                                                                                                  I'll also usually order a beet salad, as I've had so many great ones.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                    Good point, fg. I forgot to add foie gras. Though it has to be seared. I don't nearly care as much for it as cold paté.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Yes, seared is exactly what I meant. I don't care for pate, but I have had some mousse preparations I really enjoyed. Someone I dine with frequently only likes the pate, not seared foie gras, which is ... her absolute right, but something I do not understand, at all.

                                                                                                  2. Oysters, particularly raw, Rockefeller and fried.

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                      I had a bacon-wrapped oyster in Singapore, but sadly that's not a staple of menus anywhere.

                                                                                                      1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                        True, but it is a staple in my kitchen, and so easy and better than good. Cook bacon a bit first, wrap around oyster and broil 'till edges curl. Yipeeee!!

                                                                                                      2. pike quenelles in nantua sauce
                                                                                                        lao crispy rice ball salad with sour issan sausage
                                                                                                        vietnamese: Gỏi Hến --
                                                                                                        [Baby Clams with Pork sauteed with special spices.herbs.peanuts on top of mixed vegetables served with Sesame Rice Crackers](from "rice paper" restaurant's menu, falls church's eden center, virginia).

                                                                                                        1. Ahi
                                                                                                          Mushroom risotto
                                                                                                          Mushroom soup
                                                                                                          Cheese platter
                                                                                                          Ice cream sundae
                                                                                                          Banana cream pie
                                                                                                          Crème brulee
                                                                                                          Tableside caesar

                                                                                                          1. For my husband, while in Italy it is rabbit served with its kidneys. They actually look like kidney beans. He loves it and will order it without looking at the rest of the menu once he spots it.

                                                                                                            1. Anything with lobster
                                                                                                              Linguine with clam sauce
                                                                                                              Anything where mushrooms are the prominent item
                                                                                                              Egg rolls (preferably with shrimp of course)
                                                                                                              Hot and sour soup

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. Fresh soft shell crabs
                                                                                                                Fresh artichokes, especially grilled
                                                                                                                Wild mushrooms, anyway
                                                                                                                Oysters, raw or fried

                                                                                                                1. Also octopus...yes, I forgot about octopus...nicely charred octopus or braised octopus...yummm..

                                                                                                                  1. Grouper
                                                                                                                    Hot and sour soup
                                                                                                                    Creme Brûlée
                                                                                                                    Soft shell crab
                                                                                                                    Black raspberry pie

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                                      You can't resist hot and sour soup? Interesting...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                        If Chinese, then H&S. When we order it's always, "Hot and sour...then what do you want?"

                                                                                                                    2. There are so many that I have to make categories!
                                                                                                                      Nicer restaurant: steak au poive
                                                                                                                      Casual dining food: grilled (not just fried) hot wings
                                                                                                                      TgiMcFunster's type place that everyone else wants to go to: onion straws
                                                                                                                      Asian food: Sichuan hot pot
                                                                                                                      Indian food: chicken 65
                                                                                                                      Mediterranean food: anything with tzatziki sauce
                                                                                                                      Middle European food: pork schnitzel
                                                                                                                      Central/south American food: ceviche
                                                                                                                      Sweet stuff: baklava
                                                                                                                      Overall unable to resist item: a cheese plate

                                                                                                                        1. To name a few, diver-boat scallops, squid ink pasta, grilled octopus, uni sauce.

                                                                                                                          1. Steak Tartare

                                                                                                                            Rignons (Kidneys)

                                                                                                                            Frogs Legs


                                                                                                                            bone marrow. big time!
                                                                                                                            pig cheeks

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                              I've only had thai version of frog legs...I should try French and Chinese versions.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                Oh wow! I've only had French and Italian versions of Frog's Legs..but now...you have piqued my interest wiwth the thai version...got a recipe?

                                                                                                                              2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                Any cheeks -- beef, grouper, pork -- actually

                                                                                                                              3. nihari
                                                                                                                                steamed clams
                                                                                                                                (real) bbq brisket
                                                                                                                                short ribs
                                                                                                                                rueben sandwich is sooo hard to pass up sometimes!
                                                                                                                                pecan pie
                                                                                                                                carne asada al carbon
                                                                                                                                grilled squid or octopus
                                                                                                                                dan dan noodles
                                                                                                                                crispy tripe tacos
                                                                                                                                fish tacos
                                                                                                                                papaya salad
                                                                                                                                Aguas fresca de alfalfa. No way I can ever pass one of those up if it's on offer.

                                                                                                                                And if anyplace PROUDLY claims that they use dark meat chicken in any dish, I'm getting that dish.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                  Forgot so many you mentioned, brisket from a handful of Texas joints, plus spareribs. Lot's of average for Texas BBQ down here, but some great stuff if you know where to look. Gravy training your grouper, reuben, short ribs, carne asada, pecan pie, adding beef ribs which are tough to come by in Texas, go figure, non chain fried chicken, chicken fried steak, and carnitas, again very picky on these. Authentic TexMex, not the stuff that tries to pass itself off as TexMex in most of the country.

                                                                                                                                  1. Foie gras. Sweetbreads. Most anything served tartare - salmon, tuna, beef, you name it. Lamb ribs (just had some last night, the first time I've seen them on a restaurant menu in years. Not rib chops, mind you, a rack of just ribs, slow cooked and smoked or glazed).

                                                                                                                                    Actually, that reminds me - a few years ago in a local Spanish restaurant they had a special of lamb sweetbreads. Amazingly delicious!

                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                      ooh, lamb ribs! how interesting. whenever i get lamb chops, i have a hard time not gnawing on the bone.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                          hey, there is a league of us rib gnawers!

                                                                                                                                          viva la rib gnawer!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            Me too. It just about kills me when I see somebody on a cooking show peeling the membrane off the bottom of a rack of any kind of ribs before cooking, that's just about the best part.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                              Many would also argue that leaving it on keeps the fat from dripping out the back side of the ribs which makes for a moister rib.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                Hmm. I'll leave it on next time I smoke a couple racks. Or maybe leave it on one, and remove from the other to do a taste comparison.

                                                                                                                                                It's a bit of a PITA to get it off...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                    Nah...! Next, they'll be pulling heads off shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                      I used to rip it off both pork & beef ribs until advised not to on Chow by a Texas beef rib dude. I took his advise and left it on and they came out much moister. It says right in your article that removing it allows the fat to drain out. Being ribs are very reasonable I would do a rack each way and see which is better.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                        I plan on doing just that this weekend, when 4 racks will find their way into my smoker :-)

                                                                                                                                        2. Anything with a poached egg on top! Top contenders so far : frisee salad with lardons and poached egg; oxtail salad with poached egg; burger with pork belly and poached egg; bacon pizza topped with poached egg. Mmmmmm......

                                                                                                                                          Also, rabbit. So much better than chicken.

                                                                                                                                          1. Not a main dish, but any lemon dessert (lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, etc.). No matter how full I am, I've always got room for a lemony dessert!

                                                                                                                                            1. Looks like my tastes are similar to many others here. Presented in the order of an ideal tasting menu:

                                                                                                                                              Fried oysters
                                                                                                                                              Chicken liver pate
                                                                                                                                              Foie gras
                                                                                                                                              Pork belly
                                                                                                                                              Beef short ribs

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ponder99

                                                                                                                                                yup, otherwise most of the stuff you listed wouldn't be so expensive.
                                                                                                                                                Chicken liver pate is so cheap and easy to make at home...i don't usually order that at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                              2. All I know is that if I ever see grouper, tongue, and lamb on the same menu, I am in big trouble.

                                                                                                                                                1. Octopus salad or grilled octopus

                                                                                                                                                  1. anything duck including rillettes
                                                                                                                                                    foie fras
                                                                                                                                                    white truffles
                                                                                                                                                    sweetbreads, brains, offal
                                                                                                                                                    all sorts of liver pate
                                                                                                                                                    suckling pig
                                                                                                                                                    wild boar
                                                                                                                                                    lamb ribs
                                                                                                                                                    cuttlefish risotto
                                                                                                                                                    duck fat fries
                                                                                                                                                    pork belly
                                                                                                                                                    braised snail
                                                                                                                                                    steak tartare
                                                                                                                                                    anything with wild mushrooms
                                                                                                                                                    bone marrow

                                                                                                                                                    1. Depends on the menu and the restaurant I'm in.

                                                                                                                                                      But I admit to liking anything fried. And crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                      1. if i'm eating in any local joints around here, I order anything that remotely sounds "southern".
                                                                                                                                                        it's never as good as one would get "down south", but it usually* beats the boring nothingness of a NJ style diner with 20 pages of nothing.

                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                            lingua, you are so funny. and right...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                              Hey! I know I place in Jersey that works magic with Velveeta.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                            Gee, Gastro, I do live in the South, and would give anything for some good diner food now and then!

                                                                                                                                                            We love to have breakfast at places that don't even HAVE grits and biscuits on the menu. We eat plenty of those here.
                                                                                                                                                            Give me corned beef hash and home fries, and I'm a happy gal.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                              We all seem to want what we don't have. or can't get. You're more that welcome to my portion of canned corned beef hash. and boiled potatoes warmed on a flat top.

                                                                                                                                                              I'll trade you for your biscuits and sawmill gravy, sausage gravy. Chicken fried steak, white gravy, milk gravy, cream gravy. Fried chicken. Country style steak baked in it's own gravy. Any style BBQ. Grits and greens.


                                                                                                                                                              Grits and greens, gotta go south of Queens...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                You folks don't have C.B.Hash & home fries down there?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                  Sadly, no, tom34, not here in West Georgia. If I want them I make them at home.

                                                                                                                                                                  Gastro, if you ever want to try a killer gravy for your biscuits, make up a batch of sausage gravy and add a can of diced tomatoes to it. One of our elder Master Gardener friends is in charge of breakfast when we have morning events, and his cheese eggs and tomato gravy made me tell his wife I'd marry him for his breakfasts.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                    now we're talkin'!

                                                                                                                                                                    I have GOT to try that at home. I never woulda thunk to add a can of diced tomatoes to sausage gravy, but you can bet your buttons I'm gonna give it a try soon! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    since corned beef I guess is a new england thing... I will also say that homemade corned beef and the hash you can make from it is SO much better than anything coming from a factory and NJ/NY style factory diner...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                      My favorite way to eat that tomato gravy is over a big flat sausage patty.
                                                                                                                                                                      I'd say proportion-wise, add about a half cup of tomatoes to 3 cups of gravy. It doesn't water it down, and it makes it a beautiful rosey pinkish grey..use chunks, not puree - the little bites of tomato in there are so good!

                                                                                                                                                                      The corned beef hash I've had at restaurants wasn't canned, so I guess I had it at a little bit upscale diners. Hubby's ordered the Jersey stuff now and then, but that's what he grew up on.

                                                                                                                                                                      My mother always corned her own beef (as do I), and she used the hand crank meat grinder on the leftovers, with some onion and potato run through the grinder, too. Now that is some excellent corned beef hash.
                                                                                                                                                                      Somehow the price of brisket has just got away from me, and I haven't corned one since last winter.I may just have to bite the bullet and spend whatever it takes.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                        Ground up corned beef with the potatoes and onion for hash! I was a pre-teen last I saw anyone doing that! Wow! That's a throwback for me. Some non - diner breakfast places and weekend brunch joints around here just cube the corned beef and serve it in a bowl warm. Maybe some potato product on the side. Not a hash in my book.
                                                                                                                                                                        Now, for another throwback, I gotta make me some red flannel hash this weekend...

                                                                                                                                                            2. Monte Cristo sandwich
                                                                                                                                                              Diver scallops
                                                                                                                                                              Crab legs

                                                                                                                                                              1. Uni and any other kind of seafood usually (especially shellfish!)
                                                                                                                                                                Bone marrow
                                                                                                                                                                Snowpea shoots

                                                                                                                                                                1. The liver of just about any creature (lamb, lobster, kobe beef, calf, chicken, goose, monkfish etc) except for pufferfish and polar bear (poisonous)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I go for things with sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, goat cheese, roasted red peppers. I try not to order something I can easily make at home, except salad, which I rarely resist. I order fried foods, which I seldom do at home. Love good fish, which is usually served with a sauce which I don't often do at home (sauce, not fish). For desert, love lemon or lime, key lime pie, lemon tart, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. steak tartare
                                                                                                                                                                      arctic char crudo
                                                                                                                                                                      Kusshi oysters
                                                                                                                                                                      Dungeness crab cakes
                                                                                                                                                                      bouillabaisse / cioppino
                                                                                                                                                                      seafood chowder
                                                                                                                                                                      grilled/roasted sardines
                                                                                                                                                                      seared ahi
                                                                                                                                                                      moules marinières
                                                                                                                                                                      clams casino
                                                                                                                                                                      deviled duck eggs
                                                                                                                                                                      wakame salad
                                                                                                                                                                      rabbit in mustard cream sauce - really any rabbit dish
                                                                                                                                                                      beef cheeks
                                                                                                                                                                      pasta with cream sauces, especially seafood or morel
                                                                                                                                                                      I have a hard time resisting charcuterie type of things like prosciutto, olives, cornichons, pâté, tapenades, burrata, soft stinky cheeses, blue cheeses
                                                                                                                                                                      And I'm a sucker for a terrine

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm hungry now!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. salmon skin roll
                                                                                                                                                                        black drum

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Brussel Sprouts, especially if they come with bacon and/or pecans

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                                                                                            Co-workers tout the taste and health benefits of Brussel Sprouts but I just can't grasp it. Every time I try I am reminded of the sulfur smell when disturbing the mud in the skunk cabbage marsh while duck hunting.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                              probably because you are not cooking it properly. Brussel sprouts, when cooked properly is like candies.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                                                Well my mom must have not known how to cook them. I will have to look into some more modern ways of cooking them.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tom34


                                                                                                                                                                                  My mom never really got Brussels Sprouts. She came from a time, when "frozen food" was just taking off, and was considered to be "something special." Let's just say that her versions were horrid, though she tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                  It was not until maybe 25 years later, that I had fresh Sprouts, with a hint of garlic and olive oil, on a hot skillet. What a difference!

                                                                                                                                                                                  Same for Beets. Back home, they were horrible little things, and I shunned them. Then, one night Chef Thomas Keller was cooking at an event. To my amazement, he did Beets in nearly every dish. I thought that I had been hosed, but tried to keep an open mind. Luckily, I did, and his Beets were something else, entirely. Now, Beets are on many of my menus. I mean, who knew?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Let's just say that I have since learned that "there is life after Bird's Eye frozen... "

                                                                                                                                                                                  Heck, after a dozen trips to Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN, and dining on the fresh, often heirloom veggies from their garden, there are many things, that are now revered, and not reviled, at least by me. I even enjoyed fresh, raw Okra, right out of the garden.


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hey Bill,

                                                                                                                                                                                    You know your right they probably were out of a can or bag back then. We have some good sources of fresh around here and I will have to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Pulled pork sandwiches

                                                                                                                                                                              Fish & chips

                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken pot pie

                                                                                                                                                                              Shepherd's pie


                                                                                                                                                                              Boeuf bourguignon

                                                                                                                                                                              Coq au vin

                                                                                                                                                                              Veal cutlet

                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken fried steak

                                                                                                                                                                              Fried chicken w. waffles

                                                                                                                                                                              Sweet & sour pork

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Anything with salumi, prosciutto, pancetta, chorizo, dry sausages, and other cured meats
                                                                                                                                                                                Smoked anything (meat, fish, cheese, fruit, vegetables)
                                                                                                                                                                                Roasted or pickled peppers
                                                                                                                                                                                Caramelized onions
                                                                                                                                                                                Onion rings
                                                                                                                                                                                Goat cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                House-made pasta with any of the above

                                                                                                                                                                                Desserts with:

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Fresh soft-shelled crabs, but there have been as many "misses," as "hits."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Still, we often succumb and experience great food, or suffer from frozen crustaceans, that should have been thrown out with the spoiled cabbage.


                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have had soft shell crabs several times when we've been out East, at several different kinds of restaurants. None of them has even slightly compared to the one I had in Norfolk VA at a little Captain D's store back in the mid 90s. I'm done trying to find them.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                                      Great Soft-shelled Crabs are often difficult to come by. I grew up with the Gulf versions, and greatly appreciated those. OTOH, I have had many poor, to very bad versions, that I now ask a lot of questions, and temper my choices greatly.

                                                                                                                                                                                      All of that said, the very best, that we have ever had (wife is a New Orleans native, so grew up with Gulf Soft-shells too) was from Chef Michael Dagnehart, in Denver, CO (not an area, known for Soft-shells). His iteration was the ultimate, even over freshly caught, and fried up, on the beach!

                                                                                                                                                                                      In the Mid-Atlantic Region, I have had a few good versions, but then, some of the absolute worst versions - long frozen and long gone!

                                                                                                                                                                                      If my questions yield the right answers, then I will try. Just had a couple of great Soft-shelled Crab dishes in DC, but it WAS during the "season."

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry that you have not had the best of luck - I have, though have suffered through some really poor examples too.


                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Grits. I love grits, and they are so hard to find in this part of the country. I have to admit that I have no idea why I don't just cook them at home more often. Someone asked me that recently, and I had no answer......

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                      See my earlier post about the grits and biscuits!
                                                                                                                                                                                      You can't swing a cat without hitting a bag of grits or a grist mill around here. Today for breakfast I cooked up some stone ground dent corn grits from one of our local farmers.
                                                                                                                                                                                      To keep the cooking time down to an hour+, I floated all the hulls off in a potful of grits in water. Last time I made these grits, it took 4 hours simmering to soften them up enough to eat. I served them with shredded cheddar, bacon and an over easy egg to chop up in it. I didn't need lunch till after 3:00! That is stick to your ribs eatin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                                        You don't know how lucky you are!

                                                                                                                                                                                        You can't swing a cat around here and not hit a huge 250 seat NJ style factory diner. No grits, No biscuits, No gravy. Save for the boxed powder mix brown gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        All items on a 20 plus page laminated menu come off the factory processed food truck to be heated and served.

                                                                                                                                                                                        ...I gotta move down south...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I do know how lucky I am! Having spent most of my life in the Chicago area, I crave a good Chicago dog now and then. They don't do hot dogs here. Well, you wouldn't want to order one at a meat & three, anyway.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I've grown to like some Southern foods, field peas, for instance. Love those, especially the regional ones like White Acre peas or Lady peas. Love a good biscuit. I'm iffy on the grits, but if you put enough bacon, egg and cheese on anything it's delicious. Though the good chunky grits like I made today, they do have a lot of flavor themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you Google the Garry Farm in Carrollton GA, you may be able to purchase some of their stone ground corn meal or grits by mail. Jacque and Nancy Garry are the farmers.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                                          chopping up the egg in the grits -- yep, that's the way to eat it! i don't care how people look at me in a diner. that's the best way. (and of course, i've buttered the grits).

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Excellent question!! It's usually something made with taters for me. Disco fries, disco tots, truffle fries, basil mashed potatoes. I also have a seriously difficult time not ordering biscuits and sausage gravy when it's on a menu (as it's not particularly common fare in CT).

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: masha bousha

                                                                                                                                                                                          Just curious: Just what are disco fries & tots? I have nere heard these terms before.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                                                                                                                            french fries (or tater tots) topped with melted cheese, often mozzarella, (or american or whiz) and brown gravy. It's a NJ diner thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                            kinda like a cheesy (pun) version the Canadian (Quebec) Poutine.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, OK then. I had never heard that term, but am very familiar with poutine.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Any "lemon chicken" anything. It's simple and classic and I've passed up many-a-house-signature-dish in it's favor.

                                                                                                                                                                                          There's something about lemon chicken that just makes me stop and want to inhale everything in my path.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. onion rings
                                                                                                                                                                                            fried calimari
                                                                                                                                                                                            fried ice cream

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Grilled octopus. Any local fish, especially smaller species cooked whole, especially in a wood fired oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowhounder411

                                                                                                                                                                                                Grilled octopus brushed with ouzo. Mmmmm :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Chili, French Onion Soup, Steak Tartare, Carpaccio, to name a few.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Okra stew! In house-made tomato sauce (optional lamb) with pita bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know okra is a very polarizing food here among the 'Hounds, but I personally can't get enough of it. Mmm.. now I'm craving Turkish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: OhioHound

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Okra coated in coarse corn meal and fried in bacon drippings
                                                                                                                                                                                                      -- THAT is my favorite, but really, I love any kind of okra.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd eat a shoe sole if it were coated in coarse cornmeal and nicely fried in bacon drippings !

                                                                                                                                                                                                        With red eye gravy of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I have to work hard to resist roast belly pork on a menu. It's doubly hard as it's almost always on menus and I'd never be eating anything else.