Food snobbery


While I’m stuck on campus (or too lazy to walk home), I’ll often grab lunch at the HTM Cafe. It’s a training place for students in Hotel & Tourism Management, with food that’s a bit better than cafeteria quality, but slightly overpriced for convenience. Most of the times it falls into the category of “good enough,” but occasionally you get something really yummy.

I walked in today, and happily saw that the theme was Greek food! I was studying the menu when one of the older supervisors happily started talking to me.

Him: You want some delicious roast chicken or gyros? We’ll put it on a pita with some lemon rice, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. You know what tzatziki sauce is?
Me: Yeah, I’m half Greek.
Him: Oh, then you won’t be having the gyros then.

Oh my god, someone who finally understands.

Gyros are okay, but as a Greek, I feel dirty choosing them over another Greek option, even if they’re from a random Purdue cafe and nothing is going to be very authentic (by the way, the chicken was yummy). They’re like the hot dog of Greek food, and seeing them shaved off a giant cone of meat product disgusts me. Whenever I go to a Greekfest and I see someone choosing that over souvlakia or pastichio or moussaka, I want to go over and shake them. And if they pronounce it “Jie-Roe” I will likely punch them in the face.

*deep breath*

Of course, I’m sure not every Greek person like me is a total food snob. I just have a vendetta against gyros, since your average non-Greek thinks that’s the most iconic Greek food ever. Though there’s other food I’m snobby about for different reasons. I will never order or attempt to make fettucini alfredo. I ate it in Alfredo’s in Rome, where it was invented, and nothing else will ever compare to that pure deliciousness. I avoid eating it to keep myself from being constantly disappointed.

Is there any food you’re snobby about? Is it because of some ethnic rage like me, or for other reasons?

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, yes. Hamburgers.As I live in Germany, the only hamburgers I can get aside from those that I make myself are from McDonalds or Burger King. Until a few years ago it was even hard to get decent hamburger buns. Luckily my local supermarket now has an US shelf in the foreign specialties section(Where I can also get root beer!)Most people I know don’t consider hamburgers real food because they have never eaten a halfway decent one.

  2. says

    Oh, yes. Hamburgers.As I live in Germany, the only hamburgers I can get aside from those that I make myself are from McDonalds or Burger King. Until a few years ago it was even hard to get decent hamburger buns. Luckily my local supermarket now has an US shelf in the foreign specialties section(Where I can also get root beer!)Most people I know don't consider hamburgers real food because they have never eaten a halfway decent one.

  3. says

    Falafel. My university has what it calls falafel, but it isn’t. The only falafel I’ve ever eaten outside of my house was at a very nice Middle-Eastern diner near where I live.

  4. says

    Falafel. My university has what it calls falafel, but it isn't. The only falafel I've ever eaten outside of my house was at a very nice Middle-Eastern diner near where I live.

  5. says

    I used to live in Birmingham, England. Our local fish and chip shop, run by a very enthusiastic Chinese guy, used to serve trays with a mountain of chips and kebab (gyro) meat, covered in chili sauce. Best food on the planet.

  6. says

    I used to live in Birmingham, England. Our local fish and chip shop, run by a very enthusiastic Chinese guy, used to serve trays with a mountain of chips and kebab (gyro) meat, covered in chili sauce. Best food on the planet.

  7. says

    Guinness in Ireland is so much better than anywhere else in the world because its actually a different formula. PZ just blogged about it.

  8. says

    Poutine!It isn’t as ubiquitous in Canada as some would have you believe. You can get it at places like Harvey’s, but it’s utter crap. The only way to get good Poutine is either somewhere that specializes in it (Smoke’s Poutinerie) or at a chip truck on a perfectly random stretch of highway, far from any civilization.

  9. Kat says

    Poutine!It isn't as ubiquitous in Canada as some would have you believe. You can get it at places like Harvey's, but it's utter crap. The only way to get good Poutine is either somewhere that specializes in it (Smoke's Poutinerie) or at a chip truck on a perfectly random stretch of highway, far from any civilization.

  10. Anonymous says

    Having been born and raised in the Canadian maritimes I am very fussy about sea food and donairs. Everyone here in Ottawa appears to be under the impression that all seafood tastes like ‘fish’ and nobody has even heard of a donair (or if they have they think that ‘garlic sauce’ is an acceptable alternative to donair sauce). Silly people.

  11. Anonymous says

    Having been born and raised in the Canadian maritimes I am very fussy about sea food and donairs. Everyone here in Ottawa appears to be under the impression that all seafood tastes like 'fish' and nobody has even heard of a donair (or if they have they think that 'garlic sauce' is an acceptable alternative to donair sauce). Silly people.

  12. Anonymous says

    Unless I see some signs that someone, somewhere in the US is going to make a taco like they make them in Mexico, I’ll decline. “Key lime” pie that’s dyed bright green is also something I refuse to eat.

  13. Anonymous says

    Unless I see some signs that someone, somewhere in the US is going to make a taco like they make them in Mexico, I'll decline.

    "Key lime" pie that's dyed bright green is also something I refuse to eat.

  14. says

    I’ve eaten Sacher Torte in one of the top Viennese cafés, and subsequently what called itself that in other places. I found myself advising the waitress to tell her boss that if the Sacher family ever paid a visit, they would sue their asses. It’s a protected name. I’m no foodie, but even I could appreciate the difference. The story goes that Metternich invented the Sacher to make the other delegates at the Congress of Vienna half-doped so that he could put one over on them.

  15. says

    I've eaten Sacher Torte in one of the top Viennese cafés, and subsequently what called itself that in other places. I found myself advising the waitress to tell her boss that if the Sacher family ever paid a visit, they would sue their asses. It's a protected name. I'm no foodie, but even I could appreciate the difference. The story goes that Metternich invented the Sacher to make the other delegates at the Congress of Vienna half-doped so that he could put one over on them.

  16. says

    I am of Irish, English, and Scottish decent. The only thing I am snobby about is beer. To coincide with what Dan! said and to quote a friend of mine from Dublin (he made this comment while we were in a pub in London), “The further away from Dublin you get, the more crap the Guinness is.” Plus it seems no one outside of Dublin knows how to pour a Guinness from the tap. I see way too many bartenders fill a pint in one draft, they should be shot for this.

  17. says

    I am of Irish, English, and Scottish decent. The only thing I am snobby about is beer. To coincide with what Dan! said and to quote a friend of mine from Dublin (he made this comment while we were in a pub in London), "The further away from Dublin you get, the more crap the Guinness is." Plus it seems no one outside of Dublin knows how to pour a Guinness from the tap. I see way too many bartenders fill a pint in one draft, they should be shot for this.

  18. says

    Jen, you’re more’n likely to punch me in the face. :)I actually LOVE gyros. I *know* they’re not really Greek, but they taste so yummy and I’ll usually eat that if I’m in a Greek restaraunt. I know that Orange Chicken isn’t really Chinese, and I love that too, much to my Chinese wife’s chagrin. I also like American pizza and spicy tuna rolls.When it comes to food, I don’t really care if it’s authentic or not, as long as it tastes really, really good. Mmmmm. Now I’m hungry again.

  19. says

    Jen, you're more'n likely to punch me in the face. :)

    I actually LOVE gyros. I *know* they're not really Greek, but they taste so yummy and I'll usually eat that if I'm in a Greek restaraunt. I know that Orange Chicken isn't really Chinese, and I love that too, much to my Chinese wife's chagrin. I also like American pizza and spicy tuna rolls.

    When it comes to food, I don't really care if it's authentic or not, as long as it tastes really, really good. Mmmmm. Now I'm hungry again.

  20. says

    I’m a snob about, of all things, applebutter. I was raised in the South and it was part of breakfast almost everyday of my childhood, but as I grew older I became a snob. I have definite opinions about which apples to use, how much spice, how long it must simmer, and (if all else fails) which supermarket brands to buy. I received homemade applebutter from three different sources this year for Christmas, and all three givers asked for my unbiased opinion so they could perfect their recipe. I am the Larry Stone of applebutter.

  21. says

    I'm a snob about, of all things, applebutter. I was raised in the South and it was part of breakfast almost everyday of my childhood, but as I grew older I became a snob. I have definite opinions about which apples to use, how much spice, how long it must simmer, and (if all else fails) which supermarket brands to buy.

    I received homemade applebutter from three different sources this year for Christmas, and all three givers asked for my unbiased opinion so they could perfect their recipe. I am the Larry Stone of applebutter.

  22. says

    Tex-mex and sometimes more Southerner or Mexican foods, I tend to be very picky about. Which is funny, because I will eat at Taco Bell often (partially because I don’t see it as representative any more than the egg rolls at Jack in the Box), but if it comes down to Taco Cabana, fucking Taco Bueno, or El Chico, I tend to get glower-y. Granted, I tend to be skeptical of Mexican restaurants found north of Dallas and south of Laredo (Because Mexican food isn’t Tex-Mex), and any place with too many white people sitting in the restaurant.In fact, I don’t trust any Mexican restaurant that has more white people working in the kitchen than Mexicans. Or many restaurants like that at all.

  23. says

    Tex-mex and sometimes more Southerner or Mexican foods, I tend to be very picky about. Which is funny, because I will eat at Taco Bell often (partially because I don't see it as representative any more than the egg rolls at Jack in the Box), but if it comes down to Taco Cabana, fucking Taco Bueno, or El Chico, I tend to get glower-y. Granted, I tend to be skeptical of Mexican restaurants found north of Dallas and south of Laredo (Because Mexican food isn't Tex-Mex), and any place with too many white people sitting in the restaurant.

    In fact, I don't trust any Mexican restaurant that has more white people working in the kitchen than Mexicans. Or many restaurants like that at all.

  24. says

    I don’t bother eating the following:Low fat food – it tastes like shit and isn’t any good for you. I don’t eat any thing that is reduced fat, low fat, 1% etc. Full cream all the way.Most bakery products – I love well made bakery products, but businesses can’t do them any good now. I can’t find a good lamington, scone, damper or custard tart anymore. I make them myself instead. Steak – If its not a good cut I won’t bother. Also, I don’t bother eating steaks in Europe/England. Their steak flavour quality is no where near as good as Aus, so there’s little point.

  25. says

    I don't bother eating the following:

    Low fat food – it tastes like shit and isn't any good for you. I don't eat any thing that is reduced fat, low fat, 1% etc. Full cream all the way.

    Most bakery products – I love well made bakery products, but businesses can't do them any good now. I can't find a good lamington, scone, damper or custard tart anymore. I make them myself instead.

    Steak – If its not a good cut I won't bother. Also, I don't bother eating steaks in Europe/England. Their steak flavour quality is no where near as good as Aus, so there's little point.

  26. Sunioc says

    As a wannabe professional chef, I’m a bit of a snob about everything I eat. I avoid using any premade foods if I can help it, and rarely eat at a fast food place. I can count the number of times I’ve had Burger King or McDonalds in the past 4 years or so on one hand.

  27. Sunioc says

    As a wannabe professional chef, I'm a bit of a snob about everything I eat. I avoid using any premade foods if I can help it, and rarely eat at a fast food place. I can count the number of times I've had Burger King or McDonalds in the past 4 years or so on one hand.

  28. says

    “Yiros” would be a good pronunciation. There are some subtleties to the Greek “g,” but even I can’t do it since I wasn’t raised speaking Greek. My grandparents continue to mock me for it =(

  29. says

    "Yiros" would be a good pronunciation. There are some subtleties to the Greek "g," but even I can't do it since I wasn't raised speaking Greek. My grandparents continue to mock me for it =(

  30. says

    Jen: in Greek Town in Detroit, I’ll order a gyros (Choked “h”iros…jie-roe makes me wanna puke and ALL New Jersey says it that way). Or I’ll have souvlakia or moussaka (sp?) In Mexican Village in Detroit, you get REAL tacos and other Mexican food. I go home from NJ just to eat out. Detroit is multicultural thanks to the auto industry, and you can find enclaves of various types.Food I’m picky about…none, really. But if I order your fried calamari and get fried rubber bands, your rating in my mental book goes WAY down.

  31. says

    Jen: in Greek Town in Detroit, I'll order a gyros (Choked "h"iros…jie-roe makes me wanna puke and ALL New Jersey says it that way). Or I'll have souvlakia or moussaka (sp?) In Mexican Village in Detroit, you get REAL tacos and other Mexican food. I go home from NJ just to eat out. Detroit is multicultural thanks to the auto industry, and you can find enclaves of various types.

    Food I'm picky about…none, really. But if I order your fried calamari and get fried rubber bands, your rating in my mental book goes WAY down.

  32. says

    I can be rather picky about seafood. Growing up near the water it was a lot easier to get decent stuff than in the middle of the fucking country. Not to mention, I get really annoyed when people insist that all crab is the same. Maryland blue crabs are special, damn it! And sometimes people don’t realize how often that “crab meat” they’re eating is imitation shit. I always found imitation crab meat gross, but after I watched a food network show on the details on how it’s made… eww.

  33. says

    I can be rather picky about seafood. Growing up near the water it was a lot easier to get decent stuff than in the middle of the fucking country. Not to mention, I get really annoyed when people insist that all crab is the same. Maryland blue crabs are special, damn it! And sometimes people don't realize how often that "crab meat" they're eating is imitation shit. I always found imitation crab meat gross, but after I watched a food network show on the details on how it's made… eww.

  34. says

    I’m half ‘n half (Chinese and Irish), which basically means that I don’t qualify for any sort of ethnic rage. Alas.As a side-note, my dictionary says ‘gyro’ can be pronounced a number of ways, including jee-ro, jai-ro, or yee-ro. Is the last of those more culturally accurate? Is the ‘yee’ sound standard for ‘gu’? I’m just curious because I’m studying ancient Greek, and I understand there are a number of pronunciation differences (for one thing, gamma seems to be a lot simpler in the olden days!)…

  35. says

    I'm half 'n half (Chinese and Irish), which basically means that I don't qualify for any sort of ethnic rage. Alas.

    As a side-note, my dictionary says 'gyro' can be pronounced a number of ways, including jee-ro, jai-ro, or yee-ro. Is the last of those more culturally accurate? Is the 'yee' sound standard for 'gu'? I'm just curious because I'm studying ancient Greek, and I understand there are a number of pronunciation differences (for one thing, gamma seems to be a lot simpler in the olden days!)…

  36. says

    certain types of Chinese food. if they claim to be ethnic, then they better be ethnic. if they claim to be westernized… oh well.also, there are certain things that are actually fun to see how they’ve been changed by locals, like the orange chicken thing, or having larou [type of meat] on pizza or kimchi on burger.and then there’s BAD IDEAS.

  37. says

    certain types of Chinese food. if they claim to be ethnic, then they better be ethnic. if they claim to be westernized… oh well.

    also, there are certain things that are actually fun to see how they've been changed by locals, like the orange chicken thing, or having larou [type of meat] on pizza or kimchi on burger.

    and then there's BAD IDEAS.

  38. says

    It may be weird, but meatloaf. If I didn’t make it, I don’t want it. I make meatloaf a very specific way, and if it’s not done exactly how I do it, I think it’s disgusting.Oh, and about the whole pronunication thing? My mom has been buying Chicken Kiev from the Kroger meat department, and she keeps saying, “keev” instead of “ki:ev”I corrected her, my sister corrected her, and the Kroger guy corrected her, but she KEEPS pronouncing it like that. Ahh!

  39. says

    It may be weird, but meatloaf. If I didn't make it, I don't want it. I make meatloaf a very specific way, and if it's not done exactly how I do it, I think it's disgusting.

    Oh, and about the whole pronunication thing? My mom has been buying Chicken Kiev from the Kroger meat department, and she keeps saying, "keev" instead of "ki:ev"

    I corrected her, my sister corrected her, and the Kroger guy corrected her, but she KEEPS pronouncing it like that. Ahh!

  40. says

    Proper Irish Soda Bread was a way for country folk to use up their old milk when it started to go sour (no fridge, right?). All you do is mix flour, sour milk, a bit of salt and some baking soda, throw it in a greased Dutch oven, and onto the hot coals in the fireplace for an hour. Heaven! I got this from a self-published cookbook by an escaped Irishman who wrote about all the food he grew up on. Later I spent a long holiday in Ireland, and at one of the B&Bs I stayed at the Bean an Tí (woman of the house) put out a gorgeous breakfast each morning–you really didn’t need to eat anything more until supper–and her soda bread was the very bread I’d learned to make from the book! Real deal.The “authentic soda bread” you get in the cuteypoo Oirish Boutique shops isn’t even close. It’s more of a coffee cake, loaded with sugar and raisins and made with American buttermilk. No. Really. No.

  41. says

    Proper Irish Soda Bread was a way for country folk to use up their old milk when it started to go sour (no fridge, right?). All you do is mix flour, sour milk, a bit of salt and some baking soda, throw it in a greased Dutch oven, and onto the hot coals in the fireplace for an hour. Heaven! I got this from a self-published cookbook by an escaped Irishman who wrote about all the food he grew up on. Later I spent a long holiday in Ireland, and at one of the B&Bs I stayed at the Bean an Tí (woman of the house) put out a gorgeous breakfast each morning–you really didn't need to eat anything more until supper–and her soda bread was the very bread I'd learned to make from the book! Real deal.

    The "authentic soda bread" you get in the cuteypoo Oirish Boutique shops isn't even close. It's more of a coffee cake, loaded with sugar and raisins and made with American buttermilk. No. Really. No.

  42. says

    Cappuccino: for me, it’s the mark of a good café. Far too many places make it like a glorified caffè latte; I should be able to taste a hint of the bitterness of the coffee. And if a café or restaurant serves brown sugar crystals instead of white sugar, my estimation of the establishment increases (even though I don’t take sugar in my coffee).

  43. Stephen Moore says

    Cappuccino: for me, it's the mark of a good café. Far too many places make it like a glorified caffè latte; I should be able to taste a hint of the bitterness of the coffee. And if a café or restaurant serves brown sugar crystals instead of white sugar, my estimation of the establishment increases (even though I don't take sugar in my coffee).

  44. says

    Oh, and beer. I’m becoming a beer snob. I still drink mass-produced crap, but dammit it’s the better quality crap. But if more places served micro-brewery beers and ales, I be happier.

  45. Stephen Moore says

    Oh, and beer. I'm becoming a beer snob. I still drink mass-produced crap, but dammit it's the better quality crap. But if more places served micro-brewery beers and ales, I be happier.

  46. says

    Italian Pasta.Here in the Philippines, what passes off for spaghetti and meatballs is usually this reddish concoction of banana ketchup, tomato paste garlic, corned beef, and hotdogs. Yuck.

  47. says

    @Brittany: No, your mother knows better than the lot of you, at least as regards the city itself. Kee:yev is the Russian pronunciation, the Ukrainians say something more like Kee:iv. I’ve eaten it in Kiev, and it was amazing.

  48. says

    @Brittany: No, your mother knows better than the lot of you, at least as regards the city itself. Kee:yev is the Russian pronunciation, the Ukrainians say something more like Kee:iv.

    I've eaten it in Kiev, and it was amazing.

  49. gaga says

    I’m italian, so I suppose I should be the paradigm of food snobbery, but actually my snobbery is inversely proportional to my hunger… and I’m quite often hungry so I end up being quite open-minded, so to speak :DI tend to avoid Italian food when I’m abroad but, to be honest, my main gripe is with pasta and some of the stuff which requires fresh and/or raw products, like, say, caprese salad.I used to be picky with wines but nowadays there are a number of good wineries around the world, even if the prices will be, on average, much higher than here.BTW, the ‘meat-cone’ here is used for the Kebab and, yes, it’s usually the choice for drunken people after-midnight :)

  50. gaga says

    I'm italian, so I suppose I should be the paradigm of food snobbery, but actually my snobbery is inversely proportional to my hunger… and I'm quite often hungry so I end up being quite open-minded, so to speak :D

    I tend to avoid Italian food when I'm abroad but, to be honest, my main gripe is with pasta and some of the stuff which requires fresh and/or raw products, like, say, caprese salad.I used to be picky with wines but nowadays there are a number of good wineries around the world, even if the prices will be, on average, much higher than here.

    BTW, the 'meat-cone' here is used for the Kebab and, yes, it's usually the choice for drunken people after-midnight :)

  51. Arctic Ape says

    My student cafeteria tends to make up weird shit and name it creatively, often so that it sounds vaguely ethnic. Usually their food is better when they just stick to the basics.A student rumour says that they once tried re-naming fishballs (meatballs from minced fish) on their Finnish-English menu. The new name, as it was literally translated, was “fisherman’s balls”. :)Personally I like to eat unprocessed paleo-style food, which makes me a weirdo in the surrounding junk food culture. My favorite dishes can be pretty well described by the biological species name.

  52. Arctic Ape says

    My student cafeteria tends to make up weird shit and name it creatively, often so that it sounds vaguely ethnic. Usually their food is better when they just stick to the basics.

    A student rumour says that they once tried re-naming fishballs (meatballs from minced fish) on their Finnish-English menu. The new name, as it was literally translated, was "fisherman's balls". :)

    Personally I like to eat unprocessed paleo-style food, which makes me a weirdo in the surrounding junk food culture. My favorite dishes can be pretty well described by the biological species name.

  53. gaga says

    btw, wrt ethnic food: some adaptation is usully inevitable. In part simply because of the scant availabily of the original ingredients, in part because, well, I had the original falafel from a street stand in Cairo, taken with filthy hands from a plate that would have made the day of an entomologist and wrapped in an old newspaper… I found them delicious but I don’t see that as terribly marketable :p

  54. gaga says

    btw, wrt ethnic food: some adaptation is usully inevitable. In part simply because of the scant availabily of the original ingredients, in part because, well, I had the original falafel from a street stand in Cairo, taken with filthy hands from a plate that would have made the day of an entomologist and wrapped in an old newspaper… I found them delicious but I don't see that as terribly marketable :p

  55. says

    After eating fish-n-chips with a pint of cider in Yorkshire, England 4 years ago, I could never be satisfied with any American attempt to duplicate. Guinness in the US is insulting – won’t touch the stuff. I won’t eat anything low-fat/non-fat or sugar-substituted or processed.My one real snobbery has to do with salt. My dad had a restricted diet so food was only salted at the table. That has made me very sensitive to salt/sodium. I learned to enjoy the natural taste of food and the use of other seasonings. I avoid processed foods because of this.

  56. says

    After eating fish-n-chips with a pint of cider in Yorkshire, England 4 years ago, I could never be satisfied with any American attempt to duplicate. Guinness in the US is insulting – won't touch the stuff. I won't eat anything low-fat/non-fat or sugar-substituted or processed.

    My one real snobbery has to do with salt. My dad had a restricted diet so food was only salted at the table. That has made me very sensitive to salt/sodium. I learned to enjoy the natural taste of food and the use of other seasonings. I avoid processed foods because of this.

  57. says

    Coffee for one, I can’t stand coffee from most places. Starbucks basic coffee is utter crap, I don’t understand how it’s so popular in the US (I’m Canadian). I usually like coffee from Second Cup of Van Houtte, but Tim Hortons is generally passable if there is nothing else available.Smoked meat is the other one, I live in Montreal, and when I want some good smoked meat, there are plenty of places to get it (Schwartz is my favorite). When I have tried it from other places, it’s either bland or just plain bad.

  58. says

    Coffee for one, I can't stand coffee from most places. Starbucks basic coffee is utter crap, I don't understand how it's so popular in the US (I'm Canadian). I usually like coffee from Second Cup of Van Houtte, but Tim Hortons is generally passable if there is nothing else available.

    Smoked meat is the other one, I live in Montreal, and when I want some good smoked meat, there are plenty of places to get it (Schwartz is my favorite). When I have tried it from other places, it's either bland or just plain bad.

  59. mcbender says

    @ chutz:Wow. I’d completely forgotten about that, but I’m definitely a coffee snob as well. Starbucks is completely undrinkable. However, I quite like FLAVIA, and I’ve been very happy with the machine I bought from them almost two years ago.I’ve got a thing for wine as well – cheap, low quality stuff is worse than having none at all (and pretty much no wine you can buy at a liquor store is worth drinking, although there are a couple of exceptions). Of course, I’m a college student, so my options aren’t too fantastic, and of course none of my colleagues sympathise.Aside from that, I’m not too picky. I eat to live; I don’t live to eat… I’ve been known to get takeout from the same restaurant every night for a period of 4-6 months.I don’t have any ethnic preferences, due partly to having been brought up Jewish and partly to being a vegetarian: the vast majority of ethnic foods seem to be meat dishes and I can’t think of anything otherwise off the top of my head.

  60. mcbender says

    @ chutz:

    Wow. I'd completely forgotten about that, but I'm definitely a coffee snob as well. Starbucks is completely undrinkable. However, I quite like FLAVIA, and I've been very happy with the machine I bought from them almost two years ago.

    I've got a thing for wine as well – cheap, low quality stuff is worse than having none at all (and pretty much no wine you can buy at a liquor store is worth drinking, although there are a couple of exceptions). Of course, I'm a college student, so my options aren't too fantastic, and of course none of my colleagues sympathise.

    Aside from that, I'm not too picky. I eat to live; I don't live to eat… I've been known to get takeout from the same restaurant every night for a period of 4-6 months.

    I don't have any ethnic preferences, due partly to having been brought up Jewish and partly to being a vegetarian: the vast majority of ethnic foods seem to be meat dishes and I can't think of anything otherwise off the top of my head.

  61. Julie says

    I’m a good cook. Okay, a *really* good cook. Fuck modesty, it’s true. I was raised by two pastry chefs, and a restaurant manager. I know my way around food.If I go to a restaurant, and feel that I could have made the meal I’m served better, I always feel cheated and kinda pissed off. As such, steak is something I’ll very rarely order in a restaurant because they dump a ton of seasoning on it and then char it to twice-over-death.Anyway, the one thing I get absolutely pretentious about is tiramisu. Which is funny, because it’s not an authentic Italian dish. It was a tourist gimick that caught on, so technically I have no soap box to stand on. But still, if someone makes tiramisu with cream cheese I’m liable to dump it over their head.Oh, and risotto. It’s not a *dish*, it’s a *method*. “Insert creamy rice thing” isn’t risotto!

  62. Julie says

    I'm a good cook. Okay, a *really* good cook. Fuck modesty, it's true. I was raised by two pastry chefs, and a restaurant manager. I know my way around food.

    If I go to a restaurant, and feel that I could have made the meal I'm served better, I always feel cheated and kinda pissed off. As such, steak is something I'll very rarely order in a restaurant because they dump a ton of seasoning on it and then char it to twice-over-death.

    Anyway, the one thing I get absolutely pretentious about is tiramisu. Which is funny, because it's not an authentic Italian dish. It was a tourist gimick that caught on, so technically I have no soap box to stand on. But still, if someone makes tiramisu with cream cheese I'm liable to dump it over their head.

    Oh, and risotto. It's not a *dish*, it's a *method*. "Insert creamy rice thing" isn't risotto!

  63. says

    Julie’s mention of risotto reminds me. Have you seen the movie ‘Big Night’? Wonderful movie! Set in the ’50s in New Jersey, two Italian brothers are trying to run a restaurant back before most Americans knew Jack Badword about Italian food. The older brother, Primo (Tony Shalhoub), is the chef. He is a perfectionist. He will only cook what he would eat back home. His younger brother, Secondo (Stanley Tucci), is the manager. He is a realist. He wants to have enough paying customers to keep the place open. Opening scene: the place is empty except for one table. An American couple are looking at their first ever plate of risotto Bolognese. Primo has slaved over it. He is proud of it. They don’t like it. “Where’s the spaghetti?” Secondo explains, “You see, this is a risotto. The rice is the starch.” “Yeah, so, where’s the spaghetti??” “But this isn’t a pasta dish!” “Hey, is this an Italian joint or what? We want spaghetti!! And don’t forget the meatballs!!”

  64. says

    Julie's mention of risotto reminds me. Have you seen the movie 'Big Night'? Wonderful movie! Set in the '50s in New Jersey, two Italian brothers are trying to run a restaurant back before most Americans knew Jack Badword about Italian food. The older brother, Primo (Tony Shalhoub), is the chef. He is a perfectionist. He will only cook what he would eat back home. His younger brother, Secondo (Stanley Tucci), is the manager. He is a realist. He wants to have enough paying customers to keep the place open. Opening scene: the place is empty except for one table. An American couple are looking at their first ever plate of risotto Bolognese. Primo has slaved over it. He is proud of it. They don't like it. "Where's the spaghetti?" Secondo explains, "You see, this is a risotto. The rice is the starch." "Yeah, so, where's the spaghetti??" "But this isn't a pasta dish!" "Hey, is this an Italian joint or what? We want spaghetti!! And don't forget the meatballs!!"

  65. Murray says

    I’m pretty picky about coffee as well. I have trained many baristas and served as a tasting judge in regional barista competitions (yes, there is such a thing) in my city. I feel lucky to live in a city where there are about seven or eight companies that train their staff well, and can make a decent cappuccino (the pinnacle of coffee, and probably the hardest drink to make well).If I see espresso with little or no crema, it’s a bad sign. The crema should be thick and strong enough to hold a demitasse spoonful of sugar on its surface for 3-4 seconds without breaking. Steamed milk should not be frothy and bubbly like dish soap; it should be thick and creamy with bubbles so small you can’t see them (“micro foam”). If a cappuccino is served in a cup larger than 6-8 oz, it’s not a cappuccino. Sorry.If a café re-steams milk, has steam wands encrusted with milk, or spells it “expresso” I will run away.

  66. Murray says

    I'm pretty picky about coffee as well. I have trained many baristas and served as a tasting judge in regional barista competitions (yes, there is such a thing) in my city. I feel lucky to live in a city where there are about seven or eight companies that train their staff well, and can make a decent cappuccino (the pinnacle of coffee, and probably the hardest drink to make well).

    If I see espresso with little or no crema, it's a bad sign. The crema should be thick and strong enough to hold a demitasse spoonful of sugar on its surface for 3-4 seconds without breaking. Steamed milk should not be frothy and bubbly like dish soap; it should be thick and creamy with bubbles so small you can't see them ("micro foam"). If a cappuccino is served in a cup larger than 6-8 oz, it's not a cappuccino. Sorry.

    If a café re-steams milk, has steam wands encrusted with milk, or spells it "expresso" I will run away.

  67. says

    @chutzWe’re in agreement with the coffee bit. I can’t stand Starbucks coffee, but I do have a taste for the local “Kapeng Barako” from our local coffee houses.I’m no expert on coffee, but Barako has a reputedly strong, full-bodied taste that really kicks you awake (more than the caffeine).

  68. says

    @chutz

    We're in agreement with the coffee bit. I can't stand Starbucks coffee, but I do have a taste for the local "Kapeng Barako" from our local coffee houses.

    I'm no expert on coffee, but Barako has a reputedly strong, full-bodied taste that really kicks you awake (more than the caffeine).

  69. says

    Is that the soft corn tortilla, meat and salsa style taco? I used to work at a “Mexican” grill and that was how they served them. No salad on top.

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