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Jenise

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Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jenise » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:45 pm

So let's all do some useful hating here. Join in, give your two cents.

The trend I want to hate on today: menu items that are __X__ Done Two Ways, or sometimes even Three Ways.

Before I realized it was a trend, I ordered Lamb Two Ways once at a Southern French restaurant in Tustin, CA, before we moved here 15 years ago, and regretted it. In the case of that dish and virtually all I've seen since, it was two separate dishes with little in common but for the sameness of the animal the proteins came from, and the result has never been especially interesting to me. At least on the same plate. Serve me two separate small plate dishes garnished and sauced specifically and appropriately one after the other in which I can be separately captivated, and you'll get my attention.

But two disparate items on one plate might as well be leftovers. They rarely compliment one another.

I've avoided any dish so named since, and only had them in situations where I don't order my own food but just eat what I'm served. None of those have WOWed me either.

So I was happy this morning to hear Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, upon sending a contestant home for an unsuccessful Rabbit Three Ways, opine that it never works in her opinion either. She said something to the effect, "Three different preparations has no chance of being as successful as one thing beautifully done." And she wasn't just talking about cooking competitions.

Your nomination?
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Robin Garr » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:41 pm

Neither of these are new - I'm pretty sure I've ranted about them before - but I'd be happy to see an end to the use of balsamic - especially cheap balsamic - as a stripey, sweet decoration on main course dishes.

The other is kind of similar: Overly generous use of sweet and fruit flavors in savory main courses. Why?
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Rahsaan

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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Rahsaan » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:04 am

I don't have anything against the concept of presenting something two/three ways. I think it can allow people to be clever and inject some personality/whimsy/art into the meal.

The practical reality is that many of the people now doing that are probably just hackneying an old trend and not actually doing something artistic or interesting. So then the execution is bad. Which tracks with the fact that I don't think you see it much at high-end cutting-edge restaurants anymore.

But, in theory, I could like it!
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Jo Ann Henderson

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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jo Ann Henderson » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:15 am

A “smear” (of anything). Give me a serving or a drizzle - otherwise, don’t bother.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:28 am

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:A “smear” (of anything). Give me a serving or a drizzle - otherwise, don’t bother.

Right! Why should I have to scrape my food off the plate?

I'm still tired of ingredient menus, or, rather, artlessly executed ingredient menus. Just because you put A, B, C, and D on a plate does not mean you have them working together!
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Barb Downunder

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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Barb Downunder » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:13 am

I pretty much concur with all of the above!
My pet annoyance today is food served on wooden paddles/palettes. In most cases it adds zilch to presentation, they get scruffy looking, often the odd shape and/or size doesn’t fit comfortably on the table, they are awkward for the waiting staff who often have difficulty managing two and go have no hope of carrying more than two.
And please do not serve my chips in a teeny tiny pretend frying basket.

Here endeth today’s whinge. I will probably return with more.

When these presentation items appear in Kmart it is way past time to pull the pin!
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Jenise

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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jenise » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:16 pm

I think the smear craze is pretty much over--at least those applied with a paint brush. Puddles widened with the back of a spoon still work, IMO.

And Barb--know what you mean! We ate a wine bar last night. All the food is made for sharing and served on wood boards, which take up so much space that all the diner gets is a 4" square plate on which to serve themselves. If four of you were to each order your own board? Well, you couldn't, not at a table for four.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jo Ann Henderson » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:29 pm

Jenise wrote:Puddles widened with the back of a spoon still work, IMO.

Not even! I’d much prefer a neat looking plate. What’s the point?
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jenise » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:47 pm

The curve of the swoosh, if you will, mimics the round perimeter of the plate. Small servings can be nestled in against it, sauce and one side, empty plate on the other. For me this works well for single course, appetizer size servings, not where the entire main course is on the plate and a large amount of sauce would be detrimental.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Barb Downunder » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:52 am

I’m over deconstructed classics on the whole, a spelck of of pate, a glob of mushroom purée, a tiny steak, a leaf of puff pastry does not a beef Wellington make.

Whilst I enjoy a degustation/tasting menu in its place, it has been overdone to death (but it won’t lie down) and is frequently pretentious rather than interesting.
We were annoyed,when in Melbourne recently, to find what had been a terrific local Japanese restaurant had gone degus only. At 85 bucks a head when we simply wanted a light early dinner on a Wednesday, we walked right out again leaving the empty house still empty. Spent <100 bucks next door at the Thai place which curiously was quite busy!!! (Having ordered our own personal tasting menu from the small plates/apps on offer)

Oh Jenise what a can of worms, and what fun.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Rahsaan » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:12 pm

Well, if we're venting, one thing that constantly annoys me is when the waitstaff ask 'Have you dined with us before' as if their menu was somehow indecipherable to the newcomer. The cases where one needs prior knowledge to navigate a menu are extremely rare, and most places fancy themselves a bit too precious by posing as if they have a unique philosophy/approach.

That said, I do appreciate the general trend towards more thoughtful menus.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Barb Downunder » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:34 am

Rahsaan wrote:Well, if we're venting, one thing that constantly annoys me is when the waitstaff ask 'Have you dined with us before' as if their menu was somehow indecipherable to the newcomer. The cases where one needs prior knowledge to navigate a menu are extremely rare, and most places fancy themselves a bit too precious by posing as if they have a unique philosophy/approach.
us.

Rahsaan I know exactly what you mean, this happened to us at lunch today. And what was worse is she asked us twice (pay attention) and twice we replied in the affirmative and she still gave us the whole (unnecessary) spiel!
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:09 am

Hate to say it but we just haven't been going out places that do trends of any sort enough to know what the trends are. This is not a good thing. as it reflects the fact that we're working too much and only going out to one or two places at which we're regulars. Based on what experience I have, though, I'd put the over-reliance on India Pale Ales at breweries as a trend that needs to die. One or two are fine but the places around here all seem to have a bunch of them with some flavored with everything from oranges to coconut and others aiming to out-hop anything else that can be put in a glass.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Ken Schechet » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:33 am

Barb Downunder wrote:I pretty much concur with all of the above!
My pet annoyance today is food served on wooden paddles/palettes.


FYI, a restaurant in London was closed down last week because the wood paddles they served the meat on were full of bacteria. It's not only a yawner of a presentation, it's very unsanitary.
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Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change, and wine to accept the things I can't.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Barb Downunder » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:15 am

Ken Schechet wrote:
Barb Downunder wrote:I pretty much concur with all of the above!
My pet annoyance today is food served on wooden paddles/palettes.


FYI, a restaurant in London was closed down last week because the wood paddles they served the meat on were full of bacteria. It's not only a yawner of a presentation, it's very unsanitary.


Thanks Ken, that just popped up on fb, they copped a pretty hefty fine as well. And deservedly so looking at the state of the boards. Hopefully this will hasten the demise of this fad.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Rahsaan » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:18 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:...Based on what experience I have, though, I'd put the over-reliance on India Pale Ales at breweries as a trend that needs to die....


Not just breweries, on beer lists at restaurants. It's often a quick way for me to judge the gastronomic intelligence of a restaurant by looking at the beer list. If they have all IPAs (or 90% IPAs) then I can usually safely assume that their food intelligence level is also quite low. If they have a range of beer styles (especially if they go beyond IPA, lager, pilsner and something dark), I can usually assume that something intelligent is lurking somewhere.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Dale Williams » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:36 am

I'm happier with the 2 way or 3 way thing than Jenise. I think in general (especially at "snout to tail" type places) it's a good way to get people to experiment a little. I've loved rabbit (loin and sausage), halibut (cheeks and filet), and many pork or lamb combos. Sure, can be poorly done and boring, but good places do both (or three) things well and think about how they work together. We've also had fun at home with various vegetables 2-3 ways, like cauliflower steak with cauliflower puree.

The deconstructed classic can occasionally be inventive and delicious, but agree more likely leaving you wishing for the classic.

Especially agree with overuse of cheap balsamic (or truffle oil).
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Peter May » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:25 am

Ken Schechet wrote:

FYI, a restaurant in London was closed down last week because the wood paddles they served the meat on were full of bacteria. It's not only a yawner of a presentation, it's very unsanitary.


The restaurant is in Birmingham, not London, it was fined £50,000+ but not closed down.

In addition, wooden plates which were incapable of being cleaned were being used to serve the food, the city’s magistrates’ court heard

The company entered a guilty plea to failing to comply with a hygiene improvement notice by continuing to use the wooden plates.

It was fined £50,000, and told to pay £670 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

The council said on Twitter: "Wooden plates could pose a risk of food poisoning to anyone eating from them."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bi ... m-42582900
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Paul Winalski » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:35 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:I'd put the over-reliance on India Pale Ales at breweries as a trend that needs to die. One or two are fine but the places around here all seem to have a bunch of them with some flavored with everything from oranges to coconut and others aiming to out-hop anything else that can be put in a glass.


Amen to that. IMO, hops are to beer what oak is to wine. IPAs have become the over-oaked chardonnay of the beer world.

-Paul W.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:12 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:
Mike Filigenzi wrote:I'd put the over-reliance on India Pale Ales at breweries as a trend that needs to die. One or two are fine but the places around here all seem to have a bunch of them with some flavored with everything from oranges to coconut and others aiming to out-hop anything else that can be put in a glass.


Amen to that. IMO, hops are to beer what oak is to wine. IPAs have become the over-oaked chardonnay of the beer world.

-Paul W.

Overly sour is the new overly hopped. Out here, the proliferation of high acid (in some cases screeching acid) gose and saison is moving this style to the front over grossly hopped brews. Can't say I'm a fan of either.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:31 pm

Sour beers make me crazy. I have tried a few, and it's the rare one that has any sense of balance.

Beer seems to have taken the winemaking extremes, and held them up as the paragon of style. More this!! More that!! Too much is never enough!!! I want my MTV! ...Oops...
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:08 pm

A beer-loving friend has told me that brewers are a somewhat wanton lot. They don't have to spend all year growing grapes; they just buy some grain+hops and can make beer pretty quickly. So they get bored easily and fool around.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Timo Olavi » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:37 pm

Coming from the perspective of someone who has been a huge fan of sour beers for the better part of the past ten years, I couldn't be happier that there is such a wide and still growing variety available today. Also, I can not agree that they are more sour or more extreme as of late, considering that artisanal Lambic beers have been around for at least two hundred years, and since sour beers routinely rely on the metabolites of micro-organisms (rather than the the malt bill or hops) for their character, lower acidity would more often than not just lead to bland results.
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Re: Let's discuss trends that need to die

by Jenise » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:55 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Especially agree with overuse of cheap balsamic (or truffle oil).


Amen to that. Not long ago I asked for oil and vinegar in place of any of the restaurant's sweet salad dressings (honey mustard, blueberry, and something else). My salad (the gratis side salad) was primarily iceberg lettuce. They brought me cheap balsamic vinegar--I said, no how about a white or cider vinegar. They didn't have any, and besides, I was informed, "balsamic's very popular". Like that would change my mind.
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