r

Reefmonkey's Profile

Title Last Reply

annoying food bloggers

I completely disagree with the attitude of several posters here. What pretentious crap that there is a certain class of people who are "enlightened" enough to have an opinion about what they eat, and everyone else should just shut up and be grateful to be fed. This attitude is why so many people hate foodies. Restaurant food and service is meant to be enjoyed by the average diner, not just your fellow servers or other chefs, or some "expert" or someone who "knows about food." If your food, or you service, has failed to satisfy the average diner, you have failed, period. It doesn't matter if they were there on your "off" night, or didn't come back three times like a critic would. They are under no obligation to give you a second or third chance.

The customers who come to your restaurant have a right to an opinion about your food and service by virtue of having paid for the food.They have a right to share that opinion with others. They have been sharing their opinions for as long as there have been restaurants, it's called "word of mouth". Restaurants have always lived or died by word of mouth, which is regular people who have eaten at a certain restaurant telling people whether they liked the restaurant or whether they didn't like it. People blogging about their restaurant experiences is simply a continuation of that tradition. The only difference is, instead of this word of mouth being spread verbally at gyms and cocktail parties and at the golf course where you would have never heard that Joe Diner thought the service was slow or the food was uninspired, now you have the opportunity to stumble across it on the internet.

The food-related blogs that I find most annoying are those written by servers who have convinced themselves that their job is some high calling, and so now 20% should be by law the minimum tip for adequate service. As they insist their job is so important they deserve more money, they bitch about customers who ask for changes to a dish, or expect servers to be honest in their suggestions about which dishes are better done, and which are not the chef's strength. And then there are the snarky comments about their customers not "knowing about food" just because the customers haven't fetishized food the way servers and pretentious foodies have.

The 78 Most Annoying Words to Read in a Restaurant Review

Except Sietsema uses the term "annealed" completely incorrectly. It doesn't mean sticking two things together. It means heating a metal or other material above its critical temperature to allow its atoms to diffuse to a homogenous equillibrium state to improve properties such as ductility. God I hate foodie pretentiousness.

Jul 31, 2013
Reefmonkey in Features

Next time a wine connoiseur looks down on your choice of wine....

....just remember this study:

http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2007/1...

"In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.
The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary vin du table. Despite the fact that they were actually being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly opposite ratings. The grand cru was "agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded," while the vin du table was "weak, short, light, flat and faulty". Forty experts said the wine with the fancy label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the cheap wine was."

Jul 27, 2011
Reefmonkey in Wine

Shouldn't the server at a function tell you if the bar is no-host?

Considering the hosting company called it a "free" event with a "social hour" before dinner and lecture, I can certainly understand your confusion. The host should have put "(*excluding alcoholic beverages)" on the invitation. It is possible that the restaurant assumed the host had done that, which is why the server did not inform you. This is 90% host's fault. I do reserve 10% of the blame for the restaurant, though. They should have been billing each time they brought a drink during the social hour, for several reasons. 1. it would have reinforced the idea that this was a cash bar, 2. I'm surprised they were able to keep what everyone ordered during the social hour straight, if it's like most social hours where people mill around and mingle with several groups before sitting down, and 3. Sometimes people might make an appearance at the social hour for networking, but not be able to stay for the dinner. How would they bill those people?

Feb 18, 2011
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

What is the best way to order food/drinks that keeps the bartender happy?

The bartender is supposed to keep you happy, not vice versa. It's his job to serve you. If you start out drinking a Tom Collins, then when you're finished with that decide to switch to a Singapore Sling, and after that decide on a snifter of Gran Marnier, there is nothing wrong with that. It's ludicrous to think that you should have to say upfront what you are going to want all night. You're allowed to change drinks, you're allowed to change your mind, and taking your order everytime you do is what the bartender gets paid (in your tips) for.

Feb 18, 2011
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

jalapenos are never spicy or even close too spicy

You may be watering them too much, and your soil may be too enriched. Jalapenos are at their spiciest, but have smaller pods, in poor soils with hot, dry conditions. Once you set pods, you should thoroughly water, then let the soil get really dry - even let the pods almost wilt, before thoroughly watering them again.

Feb 18, 2011
Reefmonkey in Gardening

Limoncello- WTF???

I've successfully used supermarket lemons, but only after spraying each lemon with Fit(TM) and scrubbing with a vegetable brush, then rinsing in warm water. It is a bit of a time-consuming process, so for that reason and because organic lemons give you a greayer assurance of no residual, it's better to use organic lemons if you can get them. However it can be done with supermarket lemons with the proper care.

Feb 14, 2011
Reefmonkey in Spirits

Texas sushi etiquette question & recommendations

Dallas Alice - I like the name - from the song "Willin'", right?

Oct 29, 2008
Reefmonkey in Texas

Texan foodie spots? Help needed from the UK!

I'm a native Houstonian, and love my hometown, but I don't recommend it for people coming to experience "Texas". It's a great place to live, with fabulous restaurants of all nationalities, genres, and price brackets, but (or maybe because of this) there really isn't any "Houston"-specific cuisine. And as for sights to see, we don't have a lot of historical sights or other attractions. I lived in Dallas 4 years for university, and what I said for Houston goes for Dallas too.

For big cities, I recommend San Antonio and Fort Worth. Austin would be slightly lower priority than these two. As far as sights go, in San Antonio I HIGHLY recommend renting or borrowing (or buying cheap second-hand) bikes and biking the Mission trail, a series of 18th century Spanish missions. A large part of your ride will take you through nice parkland along a pretty river. The Spanish Governor's mansion in downtown, and the mexican market are cool, too. A fun place to go for tex-mex in San Antonio is La Fogata. Romantic patio, great margaritas, good food. Watch your belongings, the neighborhood is prone to car breakins, though.

Fort Worth has a beautiful downtown and true texas character for a big city. A genuine foodie spot I can recommend is Lonesome Dove. Tim Love is nationally known for his upscale Urban Western cuisine.

For barbecue, there are 4 texas styles. The east texas/urban african american style, with pork, ribs, and sweet sauce. One of the best places to try that is NEw Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville Texas. Yes, it's a church, but they also sell barbecue. Another great place to go is Stubb's in Austin, especially for their Gospel Brunch on Sundays, when reservations are essential.

Another style is the central texas/hill country style barbecue, which is derived from the German meat market tradition immigrants brought over in the 1840s. No sauce, no sides, just well-smoked meat like pork loin, beef shoulder, and prime rib. Those who told you to go to Lockhart were steering you in the right direction. They are also right to recommend Kreuz and Smitty's. The barbecue is comparable at both (two branches of the same family own them), but Kreuz is in a brand-new building, while Smitty's is in a 100 year old building with real character. Black's is good too.

Cowboy style barbecue is another style, and a great place to go for that is Cooper's in Llano, outside of Austin.

The final style is south texas mexican barbecoa - which is a whole cow head wrapped in wet maguey leaves and cooked until the meat falls apart. IT's also where lengua (tongue) tacos come from. I can't recommend a specific place, but a lot of mexican taquerias and carnicerias serve it.

Oct 28, 2008
Reefmonkey in Texas

Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

"although your idealism is sweet."

and your attempt at condenscension is pathetic.

"My restaurant ...."

Ahh, you are a restaurant owner, your axe to grind is revealed. You certainly would have no problem if your waiters automatically gave any diner who asked for btg the most expensive glass, would you?

"...places that don't take their wine program very seriously..."

"serious wine program" is my new favorite on the list of neologisms that the pretentious in the restaurant industry use to inflate their sense of self-importance.

"You're out of date and completely incorrect."

Your transparent defensiveness is duly noted.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Shouldn't food service professionals "get" vegetarian?

Honestly, there are so many different types of non-meat eaters

Piscaterians
Ovo-lacto vegetarians
lacto, but not ovo vegetarians
Vegans, in multiple degrees of adherence - after all, that pasta may have been vegetarian enough for you, but it likely has eggs in it

Not to mention multiple levels of adherence to halal and kosher (which for instance, in the most strict sense do not allow the same plate or utensil to be used for both dairy and meat, even at different times)

Let's not even get into all the possible allergies people could possibly have.

In order to prepare every meal permutation that would satisfy every possible dietary restriction AND every palate, food service professionals catering a banquet situation would have to serve more choices than there were people at any given event. These guys are doing mass serving of huge numbers of people at a time. They have a repetoire of just a few dishes that they have learned through experience work satisfactorally for mass serving. Learning a million permutations of piscatarian-ovo/lacto-vegan-kosher-hindu-halal - actually make that two million permutations because they need to have a backup in case you don't find the one thing they make that adheres to your restrictive diet appealing - is an unreasonable expectation. People with restrictive diets, especially those whose diets are restrictive by choice (this includes religious requirements) should take responsibility for their choices and not burden others with them. You made your choice, and this is one of the consequences, one of the sacrifices you agreed to when you selected this lifestyle. Just eat what you can eat and eat around what you can't, and accept that it is not going to be the most culinarily satisfying few days of your life - even us omnivores have to do that last part when confronted by rubber chicken and grisly beef at these banquets, why should you be special?

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Is tipping % going up; if so to what & why?

No, it has nothing to do with your age, so many waiters have gotten a ridiculous sense of entitlement to 20% for merely doing their job over the last 10 years or so.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

"a serious wine program." God, that's the most pretentious thing I have heard in a long time. (not to mention the "This is JUST not true" phrasing being histrionic)

Pretentiousness aside, you miss the point entirely. I did not say that A&D would have an official "house wine", I said that many, if not most people who are ordering by the glass and not calling for a specific label are by convention ordering a house wine, meaning that they are of the mindset that they want a wine which fills the the old niche of the house wine - as I said, something low to middle of the list in price, certainly not top of the list. I don't know, I am assuming that $25 a glass is top of the list and that there were plenty of lower-priced choices that the OP saw on the list after ordering. If not, and $25 was one of the more "value" priced wines on the list, then I don't know what the OP is complaining about.

I am assuming your perseverating on the idea of a "house" wine is what you were saying was "just not true", so that what I wrote above satisfies you, though I can't be sure as your post is undetailed and barely responsive.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

List of Dallas LATE-NITE spots...

How can a Dallasite on a foodie website talking about late-night spots forget Avanti?

A nice upscale late-night break from greasy tex-mex or diner food. Where else can you get carpaccio, or escargot, or lobster ravioli till 3 AM?

Coming to Houston - Only interested in Tex-Mex or Mexican

The original Ninfa's on Navigation is still fun and good, but the chain Ninfa's are not worth it.

Hugo's is great upscale interior Mexican, and Hugo Ortega is now nationally recognized.

Maria and Selma's in the Museum District has great street mexican food.

The place I recommend most of all is El Tiempo (owned by Mama Ninfa's son) - fantastic fajitas, great margaritas. There are two locations - one on Richmond and Buffalo Speedway, and one on Washington near Waugh or Studemont.

Another recommendation - there is a great taco truck behind the Airline Farmer's Market (AKA Canino's) on Airline. Serves molleja (sweetbread) tacos. A french chef has said they are the best sweetbreads he has had in America.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Houston

When to Censor Your Dinner Conversation?

I don't see a problem with that. I've done that too, initiated a conversation starting with asking someone what they ordered because it looked and smelled good and I wanted to order it too. I've also sometimes chimed in agreement with a nearby table when they have complained that our mutual server is slow.

I guess the logical rule that would come from this is it may be okay to initiate a conversation with another table if it is about the current experience at the restaurant, but one should still use common sense.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Going "green" or being sneaky cheap?

That's funny, they used to brag on their sleeve as being so much greener than using two cups, which other to go coffee places do to insulate.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

To Serve or Not To Serve?

It is completely up to you. The bottle is meant as a gift to you, not a contribution to the meal, so you are not obligated to serve it. You can save it to enjoy yourself later. On the other hand, if you would like to serve it, you may do so, and you will still be correct.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Is tipping % going up; if so to what & why?

jgg13 hit on part of the reason when he talked about "showing off".

I think the biggest reason is that it is easier to move the decimal one place and double than it is to move the decimal one place, remember that number, divide that number by half, and then add the half to the whole. Lots of times people are ready to leave when they get the check, and don't want to spend more time than necessary figuring the tip, and also may feel self-conscious as their dining companions watch them scratching their head on 15%, worried these companions may think they suck at math.

Because of this, waiters are getting 20% more often, and so they start expecting it, feeling entitled to it, and go around saying that is the "correct" tip.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

BobB brings up a great issue when he talks about cognacs. It reminds me - someone ordering wine by the glass without asking for a specific label (eg "I'll have a glass of a sauvignon blanc") is by convention ordering a house wine. They are expecting something middle-of-the-list or below. It's just like someone ordering a well drink from the bar. If someone came to a restaurant and said "I'll have a scotch on the rocks" and when the bill came they realized that the server had served them Dalwhinnie 29 year single malt scotch at $25 a glass, they'd be pissed.

It's the same with

Usually, people who are ordering by the glass do so because they aren't in the mood to shell out for a full bottle. An honest waiter knows this and wouldn't try this stunt. There may be people who can't finish a bottle, but still want a high priced glass, and those people will specify that they are going for something more expensive. In general, though, most people who are ordering wine by the glass are looking for something quaffable, not a transcendant experience. If they were, they would know that ordering even a really nice wine by the glass is going to be a let-down versus ordering an unopened bottle, because now you've got a wine that is no longer at its correct serving temperature (or even celler temp at that - it's either going to be too warm for a red after sitting at room temperature, or too cold for a white after sitting in a refrigerator or ice too long) and will also be oxidized because it was previously opened.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

That's right, they can't finish a bottle, and therefore do not want to pay for the price of a bottle. There may be people who can't finish a bottle, but still want a high priced glass, and those people will specify that they are going for something more expensive. In general, though, most people who are ordering wine by the glass are looking for something quaffable, not a transcendant experience. If they were, they would know that ordering even a really nice wine by the glass is going to be a let-down versus ordering an unopened bottle, because now you've got a wine that is no longer at its correct serving temperature (or even celler temp at that - it's either going to be too warm for a red after sitting at room temperature, or too cold for a white after sitting in a refrigerator or ice too long) and will also be oxidized because it was previously opened.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Is not tipping illegal?

I see, and your response is reasonable. You and I were looking at the issue from two different angles. I was focusing on the issue of overall service, including the hostess and the quality of the food being reasonable criteria for tipping when you take into account tip pooling. I pretty much ignored the idea of tipping zero percent if any one of those criteria isn't acceptable, because I consider it a ludicrous idea. You were mostly focusing on the idea of tipping nothing if the overall dining experience is not, in essence, perfect. On that issue, you and I are in complete agreement. It is an extremely rare situation that justifies leaving no tip, and in such a situation, the manager should be called over to the table.

Oct 27, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Tipping: why a percentage?

It is a very good question, Anne.

If you think about it, it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense. Think too about the oft-quoted advice that a neighborhood restaurant deserves only 15%, but a "fancy" restaurant deserves 20%.

Someone working at Chili's may have to work a lot harder than someone at Chez Fru Fru, since tables turn faster, and waiters generally have to work bigger sections. Also, the food itself is much more expensive at Chez Fru Fru, so the waiters there would be making more even if they weren't getting a higher percentage.

Think about it, what requires more work - a 6-top at Chillis all ordering $10 entrees and needing constant refills of coke - $67.50 before tax, or two people at Chez Fru Fru each ordering $40 dollar entrees plus a $70 bottle of wine - $150 before tax. Why should the Chilis waiter only get $10.25 from his 6 top and the waiter at the fancy restaurant get $30 from his two people?

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

For a $100 dollar bottle of wine, $25 a glass is right on the money. Usually, people who are ordering by the glass do so because they aren't in the mood to shell out for a full bottle. An honest waiter knows this and wouldn't try this stunt.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

Amen. That's me, too. It seems to me that waiters are trained to do everything humanly possible to make me feel like a cheapskate if I dare to ask them the price of the off-menu special they just described.

Sometimes a written menu can be misleading. I got burned once in my mid 20s when I finally had enough money to take a date to an upscale restaurant. Waiter gave me a wine list that I didn't realize were the "featured" wines of the night, all fairly expensive, and led me to believe that was the wine list as he rushed me to make a decision. Once I got to look at the menu, I found the full wine list with more reasonable wines in the back of the main menu.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Why do people feel like they need to eat on an airplane?

Continental's first class food can be pretty good (except for breakfast). I'm pretty much always upgraded domestically (all those flights to japan help) so I don't have a lot of experience with their domestic coach meals. The coach lunch, which I call the "turkey sandwich lozenge" because of the size and shape of the thing, is serviceable, and I would rather they served that on the flight to Japan than a hot meal. The times I do fly coach domestically, even if they do serve dinner, I usually don't eat it because I figure it is the end of the day and I can make it until I get to my final destination.

I've never flown BA. Some of Air France's coach food is downright delicious, though. One of the best airline coach meals I have ever had was on Turkish Airlines.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

Where were history's first restaurants?

I'm not sure what your point is. Go to Shinegawa in Tokyo, there are plenty of gaijin restaurants that Americans in Tokyo on business who don't like Japanese food go to - TGIFridays, etc. When I'm over there for a few weeks at a time, sometimes I go to those restaurants just because I'm a little homesick for American food. I rarely see locals in these restaurants. They are still restaurants, though, right? The OP was "what were the oldest restaurants", not "what were the oldest restaurants that catered to the local populations".

As far as permanent Roman residents who ate ate thermopolia, from what I learned of them when I took latin in high school, they were often frequented by locals. And by "Rome" I don't just mean the city itself, but the civilization. In pompeii I visited the well-preserved remains of a thermopolium. They were a quick place to get a bite to eat, mostly in the middle of the day when one didn't have time to go home.

I'd venture to say that in Sumeria, Babylonia, and Assyria, the large urban centers, anywhere with markets and trading centers had at least food stalls in the markets.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

The perpetual empty handed guest

Maybe your friend is not good at big group things, but he should still be reciprocating. That doesn't mean he has to fete you in exactly the same way you do him. He doesn't have to have a big party with lots of people just because you do. If he's not into big parties, he could just have you over one night. IF he doesn't cook, he could invite you to a restaurant, or theater tickets, or whatever. If he's poor, the food doesn't need to be expensive - burgers in his backyard are fine. It's the thought that counts, but he should be making the effort.

You should ask yourself "do I enjoy this guy's company enough that I don't feel I am being taken advantage of?" If the answer is no, then consider cutting him from your guest list. I think the fact that you are asking here means you already know the answer.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

The perpetual empty handed guest

You may be frustrated by this person for not bringing something, but there are other people who get equally frustrated by guests who show up with an appetizer or even side or main dish they made which they expect to have served along with the food the host prepared.

Sometimes I am at a loss of what to say when someone asks what they can bring. Usually I have thought of everything, will have enough food and drink for everyone. I've sometimes resorted to responding "could you pick up a bag of ice on your way over?"

That's for big parties, but if I am having a core group of close friends over, we discuss it in advance. I say something like "hey, I was thinking of having everyone over on Saturday, just to hang out and see each other, and everyone can bring a dish of whatever it suits their fancy to make or bring. What do you think?" With close friends you can do stuff like that.

So this bottle of wine or six-pack you think your friend should bring over, do you think of this as a contribution to the drinks that will be served there, or as a host(ess) gift for you to enjoy by yourself after the party?

I always bring at least a bottle of wine as a gift, not expecting it to be consumed at the party, but perfectly happy if the host chooses to serve it then. I think it is nice to provide such a gift, but not everyone thinks to do so.

Now, if you think this person should bring wine or a 6pack so that you have more to serve at the party, you should ask yourself - "am I actually hosting friends, in which case I will take care of all the food and drink, or am I merely facilitating a collective pot-luck get-together?"

If it is a matter of you expecting it as a host(ess) gift, ask yourself "am I hosting this party so that I can get free wine and beer from my friends, or because I enjoy entertaining and also enjoy my friends' company?"

If you enjoy this person's company, and that of his partner, keep inviting him, and drop the expectations of him giving you something in return at that party. If not, stop inviting him.

Does this person reciprocate by inviting you to parties? If not, you may want to consider whether or not to keep inviting him.

Ultimately, the reward you should expect from hosting your friends should be the pleasure of their company. Don't expect gifts and you'll stop being disappointed when they don't come, and more delighted when they do come.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food

When to Censor Your Dinner Conversation?

I think as long as you are talking at a reasonable volume and not being profane, your dinner conversation is no one at another table's business. Sure, every once in a while you might get animated and your voice may raise a little, that happens to everyone.

In the case where the conversation at a table is too loud, someone at a neighboring table may say "excuse me, but could I ask you to please keep it down a little" or if they are using profanity, a stronger tone and a reminder that children/elderly/ladies are present and can hear them (usually better to ask your waiter to do it for you in both cases), but in no case is it appropriate to comment on the content of a conversation you happen to overhear.

Trust me, the man who made the comment was way more in the wrong than your friend. He was the rude one.

Oct 23, 2008
Reefmonkey in Not About Food