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All Your Food- and Drink-Related Pet Peeves


Saffy
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A pedestrian trend has been developing over the past few years. Rather than restaurants creating great fish or meat based salads, like Cobb salad or salad nicoise, they are constructing all-purpose salads, like

caesar salad - for chicken add x.xx, for shrimp add x.xx

tortilla salad - for chicken add x.xx, for shrimp add x.xx, for steak add x.xx

Nowadays it is not unusual for a restaurant's entire salad section to offer such options for each salad listed. DULL! LAZY!

There are great meat, poultry and fish based salads that are great because the dressing and the other ingredients are selected to go with a specific protein. What flies with broiled chicken may well sink with shrimp.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Restaurants probably got tired of people like my mother, the "sub" queen, basically deconstruction a dish on a menu because she dislikes the ingredients and then adds a bunch of extra ingredients to get the dish she wants.

It drives me nuts. It's very Sally Albright from When Harry Met Sally.

Waitress: What can I get you?

Harry: I'll have the Number Three.

Sally: I'd like the chef salad, please, with the oil and vinegar on the side. And the apple pie a la mode....But I'd like the pie heated, and I don't want the ice cream on top. I want it on the side. And I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it's real. If it's out of a can, then nothing.

Waitress: Not even the pie?

Sally: No, just the pie. But then not heated.

edited: Harry orders the Number Three, not Sheldon.

Edited by tino27 (log)

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A pedestrian trend has been developing over the past few years.  Rather than restaurants creating great fish or meat based salads, like Cobb salad or salad nicoise, they are constructing all-purpose salads, like

caesar salad - for chicken add x.xx, for shrimp add x.xx

tortilla salad - for chicken add x.xx, for shrimp add x.xx, for steak add x.xx

Nowadays it is not unusual for a restaurant's entire salad section to offer such options for each salad listed.  DULL!  LAZY!

There are great meat, poultry and chicken based salads that are great because the dressing and the other ingredients are selected to go with a specific protein.  What flies with broiled chicken may well sink with shrimp.

Good observation on, as you put it, a "pedestrian trend". I recently had a great Shrimp Louis Salad and that classic salad soars because of the great balance of flavors. It is so much more than a bland assemblage of elements to which one just adds shrimp or chicken.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Holly, I couldn't agree with you more.

One reason to go out to a restaurant is to experience what the chef has created and when a generic salad is created, then chain or no chain, it becomes a generic restaurant.

That being said, there is certainly a place for generic restaurants where people will feel comfortable with the non-challenging food.

It becomes disheartening when a restaurant presents itself as something special, and in fact, they are just treading the same old water.

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As a vegetarian, I far prefer it when salads have the meat as an add on.

It is far more convenient and it's cheaper for me too. If I go to a restaurant and get a Thai chicken salad, without the chicken, I normally still pay the full price for the item .

If we are gripping about salads and add ons, I would also say it would be fantastic for a non meat protein add on.... Tofu, cashews, chickpeas.. something!

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I read an article by MIchael Ruhlman that talked about the bastardizing of the traditional Caesar Salad as people want chicken, shrimp, steak whatever. Nothing is more annoying to a chef than have some "feedbag" guest demand things that make no sense.

Order yesterday

Casear Salad

Blackened Chicken

Dressing

note

Half Caesar

Half Basalmic Vin.

add

Blue Cheese Crumbles

I had to pass it to the line cook - made me physically ill

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Order yesterday

Casear Salad

Blackened Chicken

Dressing

note

Half Caesar

Half Basalmic Vin.

add

Blue Cheese Crumbles

I had to pass it to the line cook - made me physically ill

Nope.... I think the /cheesevinegar/ceasar mix is more disgusting. :blink:

Jakea.... what kind of restaurant are you in that accomodates such a ridiculous order? How are chefs supposed to accomodate these requests with everything else they've got to do? And if the manager isn't in how are servers supposed to know how to cost that item? :unsure:

The most complicated request I'll ever make is if I don't like their dressing selection I'll just ask for olive oil & lemon.... but a server can get me that themselves.

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The proliferation of awful Caesar salads over the last few years has been amazing. I don't order them, but the wife does sometimes.

What you get: Bland dressing lacking any good olive oil and devoid of anchovies and some shredded white stuff that's id supposed to resemble Parmesan cheese and some lousy croûtons from a bag.

Decent ones can be had at better places, but even some better places have fallen victim to Crappy Caesar Salad Syndrome (CCSS).

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I think you'd like this German idea of a salad:

Wurstsalat

Not sure if you're joking, but actually, traditional German/Austrian/Swiss meat salads can be very delicious. Unlike the green salads they serve, meat salads are main dish meals and usually have no greens (at least in the ones I've had). Other common add in besides the wurst and onions are tomatoes, fresh peppers, slices of hard boiled egg. If only meat and onion are used, sometimes cubes of swiss or gruyere cheese are added in. The salads are usually served with some good country or rye bread.

They are salads in the sense that they are served with a vinaigrette. In Austria they often use pumpkin seed oil in the vinagirette which is very tasty.

Last summer when we were in Vienna during a two week heat wave (97-100 deg F) we had Wurstsalat often. I also make it here in the states often in the summer on a hot day when I don't want to turn on the stove or eat warm food used cold, sliced beef or cubes of good bologna.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Where I work we still make our dressing for the caeser and grate our own cheese and you would be suprised by people who come into the restaurant and say our caeser salad is not a caesr salad.

And what is the deal with raw eggs being in the dressing and the uproar around that.

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I think you'd like this German idea of a salad:

Wurstsalat

Not sure if you're joking, but actually, traditional German/Austrian/Swiss meat salads can be very delicious. Unlike the green salads they serve, meat salads are main dish meals and usually have no greens (at least in the ones I've had). Other common add in besides the wurst and onions are tomatoes, fresh peppers, slices of hard boiled egg. If only meat and onion are used, sometimes cubes of swiss or gruyere cheese are added in. The salads are usually served with some good country or rye bread.

They are salads in the sense that they are served with a vinaigrette. In Austria they often use pumpkin seed oil in the vinagirette which is very tasty.

Last summer when we were in Vienna during a two week heat wave (97-100 deg F) we had Wurstsalat often. I also make it here in the states often in the summer on a hot day when I don't want to turn on the stove or eat warm food used cold, sliced beef or cubes of good bologna.

I'm with you. I love the meat salads for which the Germans are justly famous.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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non-meat salads in Germany are almost universally awful, dressed with about a pound of dressing per handful of ingredients... so there's probably something to that.

Interesting; I've almost always had wonderful green salads in Austria--excellent quality and variety of greens including lovely mache. I wonder why there would be such a difference! Except for a handful of fast food or extremely touristy places the quality of ingredients in Austria is very high (much higher on average than in the US). I could expect that there would be more variation in Germany but I"m surprised there would be such a difference in quality and aesthetics.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I lived in a university town in Hessen, but my experiences of salads, as a starving student, were generally at the homes of ordinary middle-class Germans. I'm associating most of my salad experiences with one particular home that I visited right after high school but before my study abroad, so that's probably an inadequate sample. I rarely at restaurants then, although I did have a few decent salads at a vegetarian-leaning restaurant during a rare trek to Muenchen.

At that time, I commented to my dining companion that it was the first time to have a nice lightly dressed salad in Germany, rather than one which was more dressing than ingredients... a local woman overhearing us chuckled in familiar amusement.

In Seattle, I have access to far better produce than I had in Marburg, but small towns in Germany have, in general, better fresh produce than most small towns in the US.

My experiences eating during a brief trip to Salzburg, Austria were not particularly different than my experiences in restaurants in Germany. I'm probably just a bit cynical now.

non-meat salads in Germany are almost universally awful, dressed with about a pound of dressing per handful of ingredients... so there's probably something to that.

Interesting; I've almost always had wonderful green salads in Austria--excellent quality and variety of greens including lovely mache. I wonder why there would be such a difference! Except for a handful of fast food or extremely touristy places the quality of ingredients in Austria is very high (much higher on average than in the US). I could expect that there would be more variation in Germany but I"m surprised there would be such a difference in quality and aesthetics.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Where I work we still make our dressing for the caeser and grate our own cheese and you would be suprised by people who come into the restaurant and say our caeser salad is not a caesr salad.

And what is the deal with raw eggs being in the dressing and the uproar around that.

No clue on that one. Ceaser used to be a tableside preperation not unlike a flambe. The eggs as far as I know were originally "mottled" so at least cooked enough to start to thicken.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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  • 3 weeks later...

i just find it so disappointingly hard to find a good salad, and like you say, they are usually just dumbed down copies of so called "classics". it's the same with dessert...everybody has the "molten chocolate cake", the "creme brulee", etc.

it's like the chefs can't be original in the salad realm, which is I think a supremely missed opportunity. as a pastry chef, I have so much fun and am so creative with salads when I cook...it's just such a relief to make salads because you don't have to sit and worry that the vegetables and meat will be done at the same time...with salads, everything is ready...you are just magically putting it together. So i make my own salads, not just because i love it, but because there's no place else to get a good healthy meal!

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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  • 11 months later...

For too brief a time, I worked at a restaurant in San Francisco where the chef had certain pet peeves - some odd, some not. The one that I am reminded of every day regards hangars. Yes, hangars.

In the linen room, our chef coats hung on hangars. Under the rack, there is a metal hangar "tree" where the used hangars are supposed to be stacked - ubiquitous among restaurants. This is how it is supposed to work: A cook takes a chef coat and puts the hangar on the tree. When the tree is full, the linen delivery person brings it back to the company so they can reuse them.

Unfortunately, many of the cooks at this particular restaurant were a bit lazy and/or inconsiderate. Upon taking their chef coats, most of the cooks failed to put the hangar on the tree where it belongs. Some people would just drop them on the floor!

One day during a kitchen meeting, the chef led a discussion of pet peeves. I voiced a couple of mine, a couple other people mumbled some of their thoughts, and then the chef finished with his hanger peeve. There were a few chuckles, and someone asked why it bothered him.

His rationale involved accountability. He asked something along the lines of, "does your mother still clean your room for you?" He explained that even subtle, little things like leaving a few hangars on the ground makes us look bad to the linen company. When the linen delivery person has to pick a bunch of hangars up from off the floor, it makes us look unprofessional.

From that day on, every day I would put all the loose hangars in the linen room on the hangar tree. Every morning I unlocked the door and walked in to an empty restaurant, there were still some straggling hangars on the rack or floor of the linen room, despite the chef voicing his displeasure. It wasn't my pet peeve, but I understood his rationale. More importantly, I wanted to make him a little less pissed off and a little more at ease when he got to work every day.

Now, I work at a larger restaurant with a larger chef coat inventory, lazier people, and thus many more straggling hangars. Strangely, I still find myself putting every loose hangar I can find on to the tree. Maybe it's a force of habit, maybe because I know it's the right thing to do.

It's really starting to bug me!

Edited by wax311 (log)
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You took the words right out of my mouth, and I could not have said it better myself. It never bothered me as much as it does now that I am the Chef.

That being said, I have learned long ago to pick my battles, and this summer there are bigger fights for me to win than that one, but we will re-visit it in the fall. :)

-- Matt.

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Not sure if its a pet peeve, but after having service run 30-45 minutes because there is a line at the door, then 10 or so front of house employee tickets showing up on the board really irks me. By that time I have everything I don't absolutely need already pulled off and put in the dish sink. Food put away, etc...

AHHHH EAT YOUR YOUR MEAL WHEN ITS SLOW, like when you are chatting it up in the back.

After close, I just want to break it down, clean it up and go home and stare at the floor/wall with a beer in my hand and let my brain downshift.

Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)
Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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I've been known to flip out when FOH staff try to order discounted employee meals after we're already closed or right at close. I can appreciate that they work hard and are hungry but it's incredibly disrespectful to the kitchen. What would they think if I came in on my day off right at close and sat in their section for 2 hours? My suspicion is that they'd be pretty pissed off.

One of my hugest pet peaves is when a server rings a 30 top all on one ticket. :hmmm: For those of you not in "the biz", imagine reading a book on 2 inch by 24 inch paper. Now imagine that page hanging down into the bain marie of red sauce. And to make matters more fun, now count the number of times "The" appears on that page. I'm a pretty low key guy but I once crumped up a ticket for a 30 top (all on one) and threw it at the server and told her to re-ring it again, correctly.

Edited by Rob Babcock (log)
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