A while back, I was traveling through this small town in which I will not name. While in that town I noticed a small sandwich shop. I could tell by the sign on the front that this was a local business and not a franchise. The thing that I noticed most was day after day this place was packed. There was hardly a parking place open and I could see through the large windows that the line was always long. After a few times of seeing this, I decided to try this establishment.
I won't give away the details, but I will tell you the food was terrible. I know I have had worse food, but I really can't remember when. I started to wonder why so many people came day after day to get this terrible food. After looking around the town, it occured to me that this restaurant was one of a kind. There were mostly fast food establishments, but not any restaurants or anything out of the ordinary.
I used to think the sign of a good restaurant was a good client base. I now realize that is not the case at all. When a restaurant is the only one for miles, it is bound to be busy no matter how bad the food is. On the flip side, a great restaurant in the city may have an average monetary value. So when you own a restauarant, I suppose you must decide whether you want to be the only one around or a really great restaurant.
If someone would like to be an excellent restaurant owner, I would think he or she would want to be both. So how do you know if you have a great restaurant? If you are unique, but not great the town will dine with you. If you are great, not only will you be serving people from your town, but you will be serving people from the surrounding towns as well. If you can somehow manage to be both unique and great, people will travel all over the country to dine with you. In a world filled with both unique and great restaurants, strive for both and the sky is the limit!
Have you ever went to a new restaurant and wondered how to judge if you are in a good place or not? As you can imagine, I have. As you know, there are many signs that the restaurant you are sitting in is less than perfect. Here I chose to give you five dead giveaways that you may want to pass on desert.
Number 5: Your Table Has Not Been Cleaned. There is nothing that says you are not welcome more than taking you to a table that has not yet been cleaned. This action shows that the restaurant is either trying to hurry the customers, or they have no organization skills at all. If the first is true, you will feel like someone is always looking over your shoulder. If the later is true, you will never get your order right, your bill may be wrong, and well..... good luck.
Number 4: You Are The Only One In The Restaurant. This can only mean a couple of things. Either you came on Christmas day, or everyone else knows something you don't. I am going to assume its not the first so what is it that you don't know? People will eat just about anything. For instance, the golden arches sold over ninety-nine billion. If no one is in the restaurant, usually the experiences have been bad on numerous occasions. My suggestion.... you should probably leave too. Your body will thank you.
Number 3: Your Server Brings You The Wrong Drink. Yes, everyone makes mistakes. However, if you server didn't get your drink order correct, what confidence can you have that he/she will get your food order correct. A good server takes pride in getting everything correct. If you didn't get a skilled server, chances are the cook will not be skilled either.
Number 2: Your Menu Is Handwritten. You may think you are in a small and exciting restaurant when you receive a handwritten menu. However this tells you that the owners just didn't want to take the time to type the menu. If the first thing in the business was the thing they chose to slack on, you probably aren't getting the best ingredients.
Number 1: Your Food Doesn't Look Like Food. My number one reason for knowing you are in a bad restaurant is that your food looks nothing like food. How will you know if your food doesn't look like food? You have been eating food for as long as you have been alive. By this time, if you look at your dish and think to yourself "Is this edible?", perhaps you should send that back. If it doesn't look like food, it could be decaying, or not prepared correctly. In either case, its your life. No new and exciting food is worth putting your body in danger!
And there you have it. Five ways to know that you are not in a good restaurant. Feel free to leave us a comment about a bad restaurant experience that you have had. Until the next foodie five, eat what you want!
Have you ever had trouble choosing a restaurant to go to? I know it is one of the most difficult choice in our daily lives. You don't want to make the wrong decision and be disappointed. An even more difficult situation occurs when you have a spouse, friend, or other party involved in the choice. So how can you avoid spending countless minutes, or even hours agonizing over what establishment to eat at? I think I have some tips that will help.
So let's say you are alone and you have the task of choosing your dinner for the night. You have a few choices in mind but can't definitively decide for fear of your disappointment. You could spend and hour trying to reason your way to an answer that will end up with you settling for something convenient and less satisfying. You could narrow it down to two choices and flip a coin, which will leave you wondering if you made the right choice. Or you could try these simple steps.
First, try not to think about the restaurant. Try to choose the type of food you want first. If you can narrow your choice down to a great steak or a juicy burger, you now have a great starting point. Let's say you choose a burger. Now start to think of the restaurants with the best burgers in your town. You should have a small pool to choose from at this point. Now try to visualize eating a burger. Let your mind take over and within minutes you should know where you are going.
Now let's discuss the plus one situation. Let's say you are out with your spouse. Most married people know that choosing a restaurant together can be quite a task. The discussion usually starts, "What do you want tonight?" The reply is usually, "I don't know." This goes on for at least an hour, ending in sour grapes for both parties and ending up at a place like the golden arches. Let's discuss a cure.
Before you ask where the other wants to eat, you know the reply. You should have suggestions before you even ask the question. Knowing that you will probably get an answer of no on all of these, try not to walk on egg shells. If you have something you really want, say it. This will let you know your companies true intentions. If you say you want to get a burger, the other party will probably say one of two things. Yes, where would you like to get one, or No, I don't feel like a burger.
Either way you are on your way to a quick decision. If you find yourself getting a no on every suggestion, which happens occasionally, the other party is not ready for food, and chances are, there is something else needing to be accomplished before dinner. Try to keep the dinner decision in a relaxed atmosphere. This will help in choosing a place that will not disappoint either party.
Yes choosing a restaurant is not an easy task, but following these instructions can speed up the process and you will be satisfied more. Remember, if you are not satisfied at dinner, you will spend the rest of the evening eating everything in your home, trying to satisfy what your mind was really wanting to eat. So remember to always make a good food decision, and as always, eat what you want!
Today, I found myself staring at an elevator that did not look inviting. I reluctantly pushed the button and waited for it to arrive. As it came down the shaft, I could hear the creaking and the may other noises it made, still wondering if I should get on. The doors parted ways with each other and I entered. After what seemed like an eternity, the doors began to shut and I was now along for the ride.
As I arrived on the second floor, still hearing the noises of the old machine, I saw the doors begin to open. The ride had not stopped yet. I actually saw my cart slide into its place. I don't know if that was suppose to happen, but I was just happy to make the sketchy journey to the second floor.
As I exited the building I thought about the chance I had just taken. I was only going to the second floor and yet, I chose to take the elevator. I could have taken the stairs. It would have required some effort but at least I could have ensured a safe journey to the top. So what does this have to do with food?
I've noticed there is not much new or different dishes out there being made. I feel the restaurant industry is getting a sort of "elevator" mentality. You see every building has stairs, but we choose to lock ourselves up in this metal box in hopes that it will take us to the top. If you want to be at the top, you must think out of the box. Just having the best chicken and waffles in town will not win you awards. But what if we tried chicken and crepes? I've not seen that. Its outside of that box. Yes you may have to take those stairs. You may have to work a little harder. But you can guarantee yourself you will get to the top.
Being a critic of food, I can tell you there are combinations out there that are being tried and are successful. Those people are winning awards. Your special garlic mashed potatoes are good, but I'm not telling anyone about that. It's time we all stay out of that metal box. If you stay in the box, you may not make it. Just put in the work, and take the stairs.
Today I came home to a white powdered substance on the floor of my child's room. Now she is four years of age and it is typical to find some sort of mess that she has made somewhere in the house. I brought her into her room to ask her what had happened to her floor. She then proceeded to tell me she attempted to make snow in her room, which sounds like a fun idea. However she decided to use powdered soap for the washing machine in order to create her snow. You see although it looked like a fine idea, that soap has harsh cleaning chemicals that bother the senses in it. In short, it did not make good snow. In fact, it may have made the worst snow.
What does that have to do with food? Consider the following. Have you ever had a limited time item at your favorite fast food restaurant that just didn't quite seem to come together? Sure I have had my fair share of those items be successes, but every now and then, one comes out that is, to put it nicely, disgusting. In respect to those items, I have never seen them pull the item before its time runs out. They have too much product, or they simply feel the need to have a promotional item out there.
You see these items look and sound good, but at the end of the day they are not snow, they are washing detergent. The fact is we are being given something sub-par because the corporation thinks if they do not have a promotion going, we will not come. The truth is if the establishment has been there for a while, we will show up. I would prefer if a presentable product cannot be produced, they just pass until a good product comes along.
Of course this theory is not exempt to chefs. Some chefs are so worried about having that signature dish, that they will continue to serve food that is not composed well and thus put themselves at risk as being a mediocre chef with technical issues. My advice is simple. Snow will come eventually and washing detergent will not be a substitute You don't have to force your brilliance, it will come to you if you are patient.
I was out last night as I usually am, doing a review and having fun, and something particular happened to me. I was in a restaurant that was just trying to get started as a local eatery so the menu was a little different. I knew I needed to order a drink first so I immediately looked for their products. As I browsed through the usual soda choices, I found something special. A rose among the thorns you might say. The menu read “fruit punch.” How exciting to find something different than the standard sugary drinks I am used to.
The waitress came by to get my drink order. She couldn’t have been friendlier. I asked her what kind of fruit punch she had to serve. At that moment a look came over her. A look that I have seen many times before when I order fruit punch. Could it be that I, a thirty year old man, sits before her in interest of fruit punch? The answer I received: it’s red. I told her I didn’t care what kind it was, just bring it to me. It was great!
I don’t know why I always get this very same response when I order fruit punch. I love the taste. It is so much different from the normal drink. Fruit punch has received a stigma that it is only for children. How can I eat what I want when I am so afraid of the reaction I will get from ordering differently? I believe we have trained ourselves to label food and drink with words like “Happy Meal” and “Children’s Menu.” Also companies with advertising aren’t helping with this issue. When is the last time you saw a serious commercial for fruit punch? All we see is a cartoon Hawaiian man or children holding a pouch and smiling.
I am ready to eat what I want. I take a stand every time I dine out because I do order differently, as you know. Furthermore, I ordered a drink today that had orange juice, Sprite, lemonade, and grenadine. I was almost applauded by the waitress for ordering this drink. However, if they had named it fruit punch, I believe the reaction would have been much different.
In closing, I want you to think about why we still eat and drink things we are unsatisfied with. I ordered the fruit punch, but the reaction of the people around me made me wish I would have ordered something normal. I suggest we all take action to change this food culture and eat what you want. Let taste buds rule. Overcome the looks and comments and order that kid’s meal. You will pay half the price and get the portion you wanted. Get your burger plain. It’s not weird if you just want to taste the juicy meat and melted cheese for what it is. Finally, get the fruit punch. Children like it because it’s delicious. There is no reason why you shouldn’t have something delicious in your adult life too!
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, John Kasich was found doing a press event at P.J. Bernstein Deli in New York City. I was particularly drawn to this event due to the casual nature and in-depth description of food. I found out that just as Governor Kasich loves to stay in a race he has no chance of winning, he also has a love for pickles. As he was waiting on his soup to arrive, he ate two pickles. Talking with his mouth full on camera is not normally something I would suggest, but in this case, it seemed to work for him.
The soup finally arrived and I noticed he only took one or two bites. Perhaps it was not that good, or perhaps Governor Kasich was craving another pickle. Yes that was it. He quickly went to the third pickle and shoved it quickly in his mouth. No wonder he had no room for the pastrami sandwich that he quickly shoved off on one of his aids.
Well enough about the love of pickles. Governor John Kasich did give some attention to the store owner. The owner was happy to have the publicity. I believe he said he had been open since 1980 but do not quote me on that. The man did not have recorder near him. Finally Governor Kasich ordered desert. It was an apple strudel. I noticed he was irritated because he asked for the strudel to be cut into three pieces with no whipped cream and it came in regular fashion. I couldn't believe my ears. The Governor is a picky eater? No whipped cream? Let me just say welcome to Picky Nation Governor but now, I must tell the rest of the facts.
As the meal was winding up, the microphones were closing in tight on Governor Kasich. It was making me claustrophobic to even watch this facial assault. Nevertheless, this is what reporters do and he should be used to it by now. After what seemed to be a pleasant event, the room seemed to be turning hostile. Who could blame the reporters when the answers they were getting seemed to be "no comment" and "I don't know."
Finally Governor Kasich became so frustrated with one reporter, he grabbed the reporter's microphone and badgered him to answer his own question. When he received silence from the reporter, he the forcefully handed the device back to him and then proceeded to end the event.
Is it lack of sleep, the constant questions, or just sour pickles that made Governor Kasich to have a short fuse? I can't say for sure. All I know is that at the end of the event, Governor Kasich wanted a fourth pickle but didn't want anyone to talk about his pickle obsession. I'm afraid by the time I heard this statement, this article couldn't be stopped!
It was mid to late summer and the weather was at its hottest. I can remember at my age, any work seemed like hard work. I was only ten and I was beginning to learn what my father liked to call “a survival strategy.” You see every year he would plant a garden. We did not own a farm, but the garden was much larger than most. We, as a family, would pick beans because that was the least likely plant that I would rip apart while harvesting. Although mostly unsuccessful, I still would give it my…. well let’s just say I tried.
With five rows of bean plants being picked three to four times, we had plenty of beans for our family, and others as well. My father would always give away a few bags to people we knew, but this time we were taking them somewhere else. I was told to get ready because we would be taking our beans to a farmer’s market.
What could this be? What would we be doing at a market full of farmers? We only have a few bags of beans and real farmers had real farms, with real amounts of beans. When we finally arrived, to my surprise, there were no farmers. It was a moderately sized building with two or three people just standing around.
The man sitting on the stool asked, “What have you got for me today?”
My father just replied, “Beans.”
As I watched this transaction take place, I was still wondering about the farmers. I was being shown that all I had to do is bring my garden goods to the man on the stool and, in return, I will come away with money. Well that has been quite some time ago but from this, and many other experiences, I have drawn a few conclusions to let you know about.
The first thing that strikes me is that the farmers market did not want to know anything about where the beans came from, or what pesticides had been used. The next thing is that all the like products (beans, tomatoes, etc.) were all being lumped into one bin to be sold. There were no rotation or sorting to it. Thus we come to the hypocrisy of a road side stand.
These observations do not pertain just to the farmers markets, in which we all attend. They also can be attributed to many road side stands as well. Any place that is not regulated is susceptible to just about anything. The same people who are buying that organic fruit in the grocery store are probably also buying from road side stands and farmers markets.
We would all like to think we are getting homegrown goodness from our local farmers markets. The truth is we do not really know what chemicals are being used at those farms, do we? And yet some of us do not trust the regulated product at the grocery store, thus paying more for organic. I have even stopped at a few road side stands where I thought I was getting fresh product. I could tell from the taste that the product was probably imported from at least another state. Possibly further. Again with no regulation.
We all fall victim to this trap though right? If you see fresh peaches on the side of the road in Georgia, aren’t you tempted to stop? Or perhaps the worst I have seen are the orange stands in Florida. They claim to have fresh oranges. Even advertising to show alligators. I stopped at three of these. I saw imported oranges and no alligators. However doesn’t it get us every time? One great experience and we are on the hunt for the perfect fruit. We have trained ourselves that nothing tastes better than food from the side of the road.
What is worse is that we do not care what has happened to road side or market food. We purchase these items without question, assuming it will not harm us. And should we not talk about road side eggs? Eggs you buy from a neighbor, not knowing he pumps those chickens full of steroids. Perhaps he doesn’t wash or handle the eggs correctly. After all, he has ten chickens. That hardly makes him an expert. Yet we feel more comfortable giving neighbor Bob our three dollars than trusting our regulated grocery stores for reasons only you can answer.
You see it is quite simple. We are approaching spring and the road side stands will be there to tempt you. The farmers markets are coming into full force with your favorite local farmers. Because after all, isn’t buying local the best? I am not here to judge, and yes, I will continue to purchase from my local farmers market and any road side stand I may see. Just know that when we shop at the grocer and look down upon those picking from the non-organic bins because they do not have enough sense to buy strictly organic, that we all have fallen into the hypocrisy of the road side stand.
When I was younger, I had a job at a local fast food chain. Every morning I would make the tea and have someone else taste it to ensure the sweetness was spot-on. As you could probably guess, I didn’t like tea. It was disgusting. Unfortunately the nature of humans can be quite mean and as such, I was ridiculed and jeered on a daily basis, only for not liking tea. One morning, I had finally had enough and decided to drink tea until I began to like it. After all, everyone likes tea and you are weird if you don’t.
I began to go on a tea binge. At first it was all I could do to swallow it, but I suppose you can acquire a taste of anything after a while. On the third day the tea suddenly began to taste good. It was a cup of fresh brewed, sugary goodness that I grew to enjoy. Soon tea became one of my favorite drinks. Oh yes I knew it couldn’t be good for you. I knew how much sugar I put in and also what the caffeine was doing to my body. All I really was pleased about was not having to hear the jeers of my peers any longer.
After a few years, I had a minor health setback and had to give up all caffeine. Thus my tea days are behind me but it did get me to think about what we put in our bodies and why. You see being picky is not something only weird or unusual people experience. Everyone is picky, but to what extent. The real question is if exercising this pickiness could help our obesity problem or not.
Am I here to tell you that leaving off the pickle you didn’t really want will make you skinny? No I am not. However if we look at the facts, we are putting things in our body we don’t really want due to laziness, peer pressure, or disappointment. As a picky eater, I have come in contact with all three situations.
The first reason people put in their mouths things they do not really want is laziness. Some people would rather get the burger with everything than to take the time to ask for what they want or do not want on it. I have actually been eating with people who have said something like “this would be better without the mayonnaise” knowing that person has eaten the same product thousands of times with mayonnaise on it. When asked why they did not ask for no mayo, the reaction is usually that they didn’t want to go through the trouble. That mayo they just ate had approximately 5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of carbs, and 100 mg of sodium. It doesn’t sound like much but as we from the one of the famous weight loss programs, it adds up
The next reason is peer pressure, or fear of being thought less of. This happens commonly in restaurants. Some people are ashamed or intimidated to ask for something to be prepared in a way that deviates from the menu itself. A few people will not even ask for a different side. Try to remember that you have a server who serves you and not the other way around. Also remember that the asparagus is better for you than the mashed potatoes they had suggested. If you want it just ask.
The last thing that hinders people from being picky is disappointment. This usually stems from a bad run of restaurant events that has left them wanting due to getting an order wrong over and over. These people are picky in the closet. What I mean is rather than getting what they really want prepared like they want it, they just order something straight from the menu that suites their taste buds. Try to remember that if you are picky, this will happen from time to time. Just be patient, but eat what you want.
I was watching one of my favorite food competition shows and I began to notice something special about this particular episode. One contestant was a vegan. I thought it was great for her to get out there and cook her pants off with the rest of them. After all, food has no beliefs, and thus, good food is simply..... good food. My surprise came when after every segment, she felt the need to proclaim how she would win, even though she was a vegan. She ended up winning the competition and, I suppose, counted it a small victory for vegans everywhere.
Let me say I am a lover of all foods. As long as the taste and texture is there, I will be pleased. But let me say this to you who specialize. I want my food without an agenda. You know why you cook it and that should be enough. As a food critic, I will never turn away good food, but I will always be honest about it.
This is not the only instance I have seen so let me not just pick on the vegans. I have seen many others on this manner. I in no way after seeing this episode, wanted to run out and get some vegan cuisine. What I am saying is if you have great food and win a competition, take that as a personal victory. If you cook for someone in your certain style and they love it, take the compliment for yourself. Chances are it was not your style that won them over, but your execution and presentation.
I want you to know I respect all cooking styles and beliefs and I partake of each of them frequently. But as cooks, we give too much credit to the style and the ones who have come before us and not enough credit for ourselves. If you cooked something delicious, let that be you, and not your style. In short….. let your food do the talking!