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alacarte

Have You Ever Eaten Your Way through the Menu?

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Have you ever methodically eaten everything listed on a given restaurant menu? Not all at one time, of course.

I found an interesting little German restaurant & I've been trying to sample every variation of wurst, schnitzel, spaetzle, etc. on the menu. It's a herculean task, but I'm game.

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I'm working my way through the menu of a Korean restaurant that my husband and I go to once or twice a month. He always orders the same thing. I've had something new everytime I visit, but the seafood dishes are always the most... interesting. I love exploring menus.

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Does that include the Maryland fried chicken?

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There's a not so cozy little meat market on the Corner of St. Charles and Carrollton in the Big Easy that boasts the largest beer selection in the world (at least they did when I was there a couple years ago). I got about three quarters through that. That's gotta count from something. Does anyone remember the name?

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Here in Fairfield, California, there is an amazing hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant that specializes in Maki and Temaki. Trust me, it is just about the ONLY amazing restaurant in this otherwise hell-hole of a town.

I have been both carrying their menu around with me AND have transcribed it into my Visor (Palm) and as I eat there at least twice a week, I check off what I've eaten. The biggest problem is that just when I was close to having tried everything, they added an additional dozen rolls to the menu!

Here's a sampling of the offering (which I can't get enough of):

The Awesome: Deep fried shimp, crab meat, cucumber, topped with unagi, avocado, ebi, spicy sauce, and house special sauce.

The Crazy Monkey: Salmon, yellow tail, unagi, cucumber, and tobiko.

The Angry Lion King: California roll topped with salmon and house special sauce - baked. Topped with crab meat and tobiko.

With over sixty of these styles Temaki to choose from, it is going to take a while to get through them all! The biggest problem is their size. Two of us can order two rolls and be stuffed. Besides the fabulous rolls, there is also the traditional tempura, udon, etc... I figure I'll have finished the menu 100% in another two months -- and I've been working on this since November!

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Between the two of us, Jason and I have eaten everything on the menu at Saigon Republic in Englewood, NJ. We host their website and worked through most of it when taking pictures for the site.

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In college, three of my fraternity brothers did this at Hardee's and could recite the enitre menu - with prices - from memory.

THat is one of thos ememories I would have preferred keeping repressed.


Bill Russell

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Between the two of us, Jason and I have eaten everything on the menu at Saigon Republic in Englewood, NJ. We host their website and worked through most of it when taking pictures for the site.

What is on that Vietnamese Sandwich - it looks pretty good.


Bill Russell

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Wouldn't it be convenient if restaurants offered menus with check boxes, so you could check off the dishes you've tried? Only place I ever saw do this was Artisanal, with their cheese menu.

I do like the idea of downloading the menu into a Palm Pilot etc. for easy tracking. :cool:

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My wife and I recently went to Aquavit in NYC to celebrate our 1st Anniversary. They have a regular a la carte, tasting menus, and then a bite menu, which is basically 3/4 of the whole menu in 15 courses. We went with the bite menu, and it was one of the best meals ever.

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If anybody wants to know what was on the menu of about a half dozen Tex-Mex places and Taquerias in Huntsville, TX about 10 years ago, I'm your man.

Otherwise, I've got a big bag of nothin'.


Rice pie is nice.

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Have you ever methodically eaten everything listed on a given restaurant menu? Not all at one time, of course.

Perhaps the closest I've come to that is at Teresa's, my local Polish diner. I've been a regular there for so many years that I've eaten probably something around 70% of their menu. I guess that's somewhat true of Frutti di Mare, too. I used to eat at that place a lot in the days before there was a wider selection of Italian restaurants in the East Village that I like better. But for me, a lot of it is how many times I eat somewhere over a long period of time, and also that the menu isn't really long. I've eaten a bunch of things at Grand Sichuan, but the menu's extensive and I also have favorite dishes, so I haven't come close to eating everything on the menu.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Between the two of us, Jason and I have eaten everything on the menu at Saigon Republic in Englewood, NJ. We host their website and worked through most of it when taking pictures for the site.

What is on that Vietnamese Sandwich - it looks pretty good.

That was either the BBQ Pork or Chicken. They're both good.

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Some places make a marketing gimmick out of it. Try everything on the menu (or the entire beer selection) and get either a commemorative t-shirt or your photo on a wall of fame.

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Some places make a marketing gimmick out of it. Try everything on the menu (or the entire beer selection) and get either a commemorative t-shirt or your photo on a wall of fame.

Yep, I used to eat at pizza place that had "drink you way around the world". Once you tried all the (import) beers they had--they'd put your name on plaque they had up on the wall.

There's a diner type restaurant in my neighborhood that I've been eating at for the past 10+ years---I've worked my way through their menu at least twice.

I like the idea. There's a new Cuban/Caribbean place that I'm currently working through.


Challah back!

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There's a not so cozy little meat market on the Corner of St. Charles and Carrollton in the Big Easy that boasts the largest beer selection in the world (at least they did when I was there a couple years ago).  I got about three quarters through that.  That's gotta count from something. Does anyone remember the name?

All in one visit? No wonder you can't remember the name. :raz:

Wouldn't it be convenient if restaurants offered menus with check boxes, so you could check off the dishes you've tried?

alacarte: I do that with takeout menus (even when we eat in). Obsessive that I am, I usually note the date we had it, and star it if it was really good.

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On the flip side, is there any place that you only eat one dish? I have a few regulars that rarely divert from their regular meal.

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Does that include the Maryland fried chicken?

I can't believe no one picked up on this. Diner is the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread.

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Have you ever methodically eaten everything listed on a given restaurant menu? Not all at one time, of course.

This is basically what I do for a living. I've even done it all at once, on several occasions. When you're writing a restaurant review, you'll typically go back to the restaurant enough times to order everything (unless it's an unusually large menu, in which case you might prioritize), but if you're doing a non-review food article that puts you in the restaurant one time, and the chef is working with you, you can often just agree on a "menu tasting" (this is the industry term for a tasting menu that includes the whole a la carte menu).

Not that I only do this for work. Last weekend, on my birthday, we came very close to eating the entire menu at Fiamma. I assure you that's a major accomplishment, and though we didn't make it through the whole thing I'm sure we are the current record-holders. But perhaps my most treasured eating-the-menu memory is this one, which I wrote about a few years ago:

I probably have more personal experience with the Carnegie Deli menu than many of the people who work there. Not only have I eaten there all my life, but also my old law firm had a corporate account there -- and anybody who has worked for a big New York firm can tell you what that means. One week, for example, while working several late nights on a big case, I and two of my paralegals decided to make it our holy mission to try every single item on Carnegie's menu. Every night, for five consecutive nights, we ordered three or four items apiece (usually an appetizer or two, a sandwich and a dessert). Occasionally, when the late nights grew into early mornings, we also ordered breakfast (Carnegie is open approximately 22 hours a day). We shared everything, and probably sampled over fifty of Carnegie's offerings that week (a few, such as the pastrami, more than once). After we ordered take-out several nights in a row, the woman on the phone had grown to recognize my voice. When I asked her to include plates, forks and knives with the delivery, she asked for how many people. When I told her the order was for just three of us, she proclaimed; "I hope you don't mind my saying: You guys is pigs!" I seriously doubt that many people alive today, even professional food critics, have conducted what we came to know as The Experiment. Needless to say, after The Experiment, a few months passed before I had any resurgence of deli cravings.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG pretty much summed up our dining experience when he's "on the job" (cop speak) and it can be maddening because there are times when I want to order a dish I've already had but I'm not allowed (well, maybe if I beg and plead).


Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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On the flip side, is there any place that you only eat one dish? I have a few regulars that rarely divert from their regular meal.

There are some restaurants like Union Square Cafe, which when I eat there (almost always for lunch) I am guilty of this very thing. I always plan to order something different but when I get there, because I don't get to eat there often, I always end up ordering the tuna burger. It's so good and I enjoy it so much and, to make matters worse, it's so good that all other tuna burgers pale by comparison so that's the only place I eat them. I might as well give up and just acknowledge that at lunch at Union Square I'll only ever eat tuna burgers. There, I've said it.


Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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On the flip side, is there any place that you only eat one dish? I have a few regulars that rarely divert from their regular meal.

There is a very casual fish and seafood place near our home which we go to from time to time. I always order exactly the same thing: a bowl of Manhattan Clam Chowder and the Fried Shrimp Platter with fries. (Rice is available as an option, but I stick religiously with the fries.) A small side of cole slaw is included, and I always ask for both tartar and cocktail sauces. The shrimp portion is extremely generous, so I eat all but about 5 or 6, leave over a handful of fries, as well as a little of the slaw and take it all home, together with the leftover sauces. This makes for an excellent lunch the next day. :biggrin: My husband also always orders the same thing: a bowl of Manhattan Clam Chowder and a dish called "Mediterranean Morsels," which consists of lots of different shellfish over a huge portion of linguini with an Italian-style tomato sauce. He has a big appetite, so no leftovers where he's concerned. :rolleyes:

As for the initial question of eating one's way through a restaurant's menu.... Each summer, we go to the Auberge Hatley in Quebec for 5 days. In addition to breakfast -- there's a buffet, but one can also order from the kitchen -- we eat a 3-course lunch and a 3-course dinner each day. The lunch menu is not too big, so each of us can order every item available -- which is what we do. The dinner menu, however, is much larger, but between the two of us, we manage to order just about every item. And for those items which one of us orders that the other does not, we taste each other's dishes. So, in that way, everything gets sampled. I'm drooling just thinking about it because it's always a totally delicious experience! :smile::smile:

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On the flip side, is there any place that you only eat one dish? I have a few regulars that rarely divert from their regular meal.

That’s exactly the reason we don't eat at Tra Vigne anymore, there are only some many times you can eat the same meal.

Four of us together have eaten the entire menu at ZuZu in Napa in one sitting. ZuZu a tapas bar with an amazing wine list so it's really not so hard to eat everything they have to offer.

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Does being led through a restaurant's repertoire count? If so, yes! I spent a month in the fall and a month in the spring this year in Lecce, in the South of Italy. I went to Pizzeria Toto almost every day. The round and rosy and well fed young waiter realised after a day or two that a menu was not needed. He'd come over to me and say "and today I think you should eat...." I did NOT eat pizza...but I did eat the most amazing Pugliese home style cooking. It is a regional style that believes in using enough garlic. They can also bake some dynamite cookies and other small sweets. bill

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