See the topic. I place chicken fried steak in this category. I grew up with this, and am still looking for a respectable recipe that lives up to what I had as a kid. Even a search here doesn't turn one up. Great when good - horrible when less than good.
I'd also put meatloaf and strawberry shortcake in this category.
Can any of you make a decent CFS? I have faith in some of you because I've read your posts. It's been at least 15 years since I've had this dish because I keep passing it up in the dodgy places that offer it.
How about the rest of you? What don't you eat unless it's really good? You must have a snob dish.
Oh yeah - and Peach Cobbler. My major snob dish. Doesn't get any better than my gram's.
Oysters, and Liver and a few other things are so easily overcooked, that the only way to prepare them seems to be to do it yourself.
I have been grocery shopping with friends who winced when I threw a package of Liver into the cart. Only too have them come back for seconds when it was prepared properly.
Not really into desserts, but there are some I like to sample because the presentation is so well done.
With the cold front that came through - the DW has requested chili for this weekend. This will be a feat in itself in this tiny apartment but I think I can handle the challenge. If not she will figure out where to eat out. And she will not find a finer pot of beans, meat & seasonings.
i agree that some foods just have to be really good to eat and country fried steak is one of them--i only eat it at restaurants that i know have a very good one---there are other foods (ribs) that i just always like better when i order them at a restaurant than when i cook them--i like fish better cooked at a restaurant too--i only like good coffee--i am a coffee snob for sure
There are foods that I miss from earlier times in life, Cuban espresso in Key West, Pizza from the Staten Island ferry terminal in lower Manhattan, Darya's Steelhead trout buffet in Alaska, the list goes on and on. I feel blessed to have been able to have partaken of some of these culinary delights.
We all need food, but when it is special, it is more so, shared with special people.
Coming up on the second ½ century, I can only hope to find more special food & the proper company to experience it with.
Mac & Cheese - some places are great, and a whole bunch are so-so at best.
Liver & Onions - we both love it, but even at places we like it depends on the cook and the meat. Always if'y.
Chicken Fried Steak - one of the State Dishes of Texas - some are to die for and most have waaay too much batter and/or cold oil, so it comes out awful - even worse if they overcook it because the oil is cold.
Biscuits & Gravy - delightful when done right, and something that might clog a garbage disposal if wrong.
I like all kinds of cole slaw, but have found at least one that was horrid - and that was at a world famous BBQ restaurant.
I used to work in DC two blocks away from a guy that ran a pho place (go figure) and he also specialized in Cubano sandwiches. He had a line forming each day for lunch. He made an espresso that would knock you on your a--. And he didn't have the long lines at breakfast (unfortunately for him) but I recall him fondly.
andidandi - I don't even try - LOL. We know a few restaurants that "have it down", so not worth the time to perfect our own. But I do have a funny story about CFS.
When the "oil patch" died in the mid-80's moved family to CO for a couple of years then to LA for a couple more before relocating back to the Houston area. On one of the road trips back, when we had been out of Texas for about a year, we stopped at a tiny town in the panhandle. There was a PO, a gas and general store, and a small 2 story motel with a restaurant. After six or so hours on the road we were hungry, and there were several PU trucks in the restaurant parking lot, so we stopped.
The waitress was friendly - hollered to us, "Just sit yourselves down anywhere, I'll be right there. Want some tea?"
We hollered back, " We'd love some, but unsweetened".
She brought quart sized glasses and a pitcher to the table with some menus.
A couple of minutes later, came back with another pitcher - first one was empty - and asked, "See anything you like?"
We said, "There's a bunch of things we like, but not what we want."
"Well, What's that?"
"Chicken Fried Steak - we can't get we are used to in Colorado."
"Shucks, darlin's, we don't have to put that on the menus in Texas - it's always available. So y'all want three orders. Want mashed or fries? Just set up the salad bar - h'ep yourselves".
I had my best CFS in Texas also. It was in a restaurant just south of Waco TX on I 35. It was so good. Lots of truckers there...so always look to see if trucks are parked at the restaurant. Sorry I can't remember the name of the restaurant. I have since married a man that loves to cook...and his CFS are to die for. He will also make his own meat portions...pounding the beef out just so. I guess being a Texan is half the answer, no offence intended, to just how much you love CFS. Although we live in Arkansas now I still love CFS with a Texas origin. I think the waitresses make a certain difference in how much you enjoy your food. We will be on the road soon and will look for CFS.
Our years in Southern Colorado (Trinidad, CO) left us with some real preferences in both Mexican and Italian cooking, but green chile, eggplant Parmesan, and marinara sauce were difficult to adjust to in the rest of our world. We are still reserved about ordering Italian or Mexican dishes. (Also, I agree, CFS and sausage gravy & biscuits are iffy) I know what I like in coleslaw when I eat it out, but don't have a good recipe...any suggestions? Bubba, I agree, some sausage gravy and biscuits would clog a garbage disposal!!) I once made the light remark, "how can you mess up breakfast?" and I promptly found out, and it has come back to haunt me too many times.
There is Mex-Mex, Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, NM-Mex - all different. And I really don't want to discuss CO-Mex.
It depends on what you were first exposed to. We had some Mexican imigrees who opened restaurants in Tulsa where I was first exposed, so they represented central Mexico's style. Since USAF brought me to TX, found what I really liked in San Antonio. And have had food from Yucatan, both coasts, high mountains, and other places in Mexico - again all different. California Mexican food is closeer to Texas style than others, but has its own twists, too. Really LOVE the albodigas (sp) soup (tiny meatballs with vegetables) that was a "house" tradition on many of the restaurants there. I have asked for it at some of our favorites, here. They understand, but do not make it.
There is one canned version that I know - Juanita's. It is good, but not great, and certainly not like the home made versions we got in the LA,CA basin. But there are some people that think Taco-Bell is Mexican food.
Very similar experiences. If all you are exposed to was Chef-Boy-R-De, or that sort of canned food, you may not like real Italian food. Fortunately for me, my step-dad knew lots of restauranteurs so I was introduced to some wonderful Italian food as a child.
Same with me. A Mexican place in OKC is the only one I will go to. Unfortunately I get there about once every five years. And I recall a trip to Italy as a kid where I first realized that having everything covered in thick tomato sauce is not the way it's done.
And if you're talking fast food burger, and ice cream, it's all about Braum's.
For me the dishes that I am a snob about are fried shrimp and fried oysters and fried soft shell crabs. Need I say that I am from New Orleans. I get so hungry for all of them that every now and then I try them here in New Mexico in a really good restaurant or maybe even some coastal town, in the East or West or even Europe.
There is nothing like good fried shrimp, oysters and soft shelled crabs and there are very few places that know how to make them so the batter isn't to thick, the seafood is fresh, and they aren't over cooked. It sounds easy but its like playing really good piano. If you don't do it regularly you won't be able to do a decent job. Sigh.
oh i would love some soft shell crabs right about now! we do have a good sea food restaurant that has them but they have to be in season-and i think in season is the spring--oh well------oh and fried oysters------------just love them but yes they have to be done right and fresh--
The secret to CFS is the meat! Forget the Round. Use Thin Sliced Sirloin instead.
I too am a coffee snob, but most would not like my coffee.I learned to drink coffee the way my grandfather, an old time cowboy, wanted his. Lots of coffee grounds and a little water.
Dyson, i've made it to the3/4 century (lacking2months) and hoping to continue finding good eats and people for another 1/4 at least. So lift a glass to fine food, whatever it is.
Even something many think is simple - hamburgers - can be ruined by the wrong cooks. DW & I went to a place that had several different meats - elk, kangroo, emu, etc. Ordered two different burgers, so compare the flavor of the differences - both were so overcooked, the patties may as well have been some old shoe leather - no flavor left at all.
We wound up winning #1 in Hamburgers on CitySearch this year - yippee!
All of our staff really enjoy producing a quality product. One of our newest employees has a burger he wants us to add to the menu - it is really good, so just might do that. He modified our mushroom-jack with some of our specialty products. We will have to figure out the correct price for it, first - extra product and labor is involved.
I, too, am a food snob for the right kind of food. Unfortunately, I don't like some of the spices that make Tex-Mex , Tex-Mex so I stick w/fajitas w/o bell peppers or onions. (The stomach rebels at these 2 foods and so does the nose.) Love good cfs if it is cooked in deep fat and floated so that the food never touches the bottom to take the coating off. No reason to have too thick a coat. Same thing w/fried seafood. My criteria for a good seafood place is if they can deep fry shrimp w/o all the coating that makes a salad shrimp look like a super colossal sized one. Friends, cornstarch is a much underrated coating if it comes well seasoned. Having left the 3/4 century age far behind leaves me w/a kind of touchy stomach. It's ok at the time of eating but a few hours later I am paying for my mistakes. Fried onion rings! thin and lightly coated. Wonderful and deadly. Artichokes, asparagus and avocado - my 3 favorite foods and they hate me! I can eat my weight in bacon, sausage, crisp waffles, fluffy pancakes w/butter and syrup and throw in a breakfast pork chop and I'm in heaven all day and night. We love each other. Same for fried gizzards or any fried chicken or seafood. Gosh but I get hungry!!!!!
Yes, I agree, plantladyhou, most fried seafood have way too much breading. I like cornstarch as a coating myself -- learned it from Chinese cooking. Crisp but light. Beer batter -- puffs up whatever it is cooked in to look like more than it is, but it is very disappointing when one bites into air!
Luckily, my stomach is still good. I hope it stays that way. I feel for you not being able to eat all those veggies. I love fried foods but try to avoid them because they do add pounds and cholesterol.
Yes. And fry it like you would flour coated stuff, but it is a little finer than flour. I also like shrimp breaded with flour. It is a lot tastier than most batters.
Another kind of food I am a snob about is Thai food. I took a Thai cooking class and then a one month tour of Thailand and I can barely stand to eat Thai food in a restaurant. They don't use enough of the herbs and spices the Thais are so fond of and generally don't put in hot enough chile -- although you can request hotter chile in most Thai restaurants. Ask for medium or level 5 if you want your Thai food a little hot. Only ask for hot if you have tried medium and found it inadequate. Hot in Thai food can be off the heat scale! I knew a guy who didn't know anything about Thai food who went to a Thai restaurant and asked for hot -- he said he couldn't eat anything but the peanuts!
After a few years in Alaska I can no longer tolerate most seafood because it all tastes old to me. When the restaurant has a dock out back for deliveries straight off the local boats, you know that fish is fresh. Strong flavored fish like salmon seems to smell funky the fastest.
DH loves fish and loves spicy food. A couple of years ago we were driving around the Yucatan, tired and hungry and trying to find a place to eat. We ended up in the working class neighborhood of a very snooty tourist town and stopped at the first restaurant we saw. It turned out to be a fish place with the best darned Veracruz style fish and hottest habenero salsa we had ever tasted. We probably wouldn't have found anything that good around the hotels and resorts a few miles away!
Yes, cooking for tourists is often tired and sad -- because they are too unadventurous to try the local stuff. That works great in Mexico as long as you stay off the fresh veggies and water and ice.
I do not care for salmon and friends had told me that if I ate salmon from Alaska or Washington State, I would. I agree it is very funky tasting everywhere else. Oddly enough though, I like raw salmon sushi. I think most sushi places, of necessity, buy high quality fish. Also, I am thinking cooking may emphasize that strong flavor in fish.
Anyhow, I am definitely a sea food snob because I grew up in New Orleans and had fabulous sea food all my life. Here in New Mexico, I eat little fish even though we get a lot of fish that is pretty good because it is flown in. Still, I don't usually eat it. My husband though doesn't mind a bit.
I don't know if you read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. The guy moves to Newfoundland and can't find anything worth eating there except for the squid burger. After much nervous apprehension, he gets used to them and recommends them to others. It is very funny.
We learned almost 4 decades ago when traveling in Mexico - find a restaurant packed with "locals" and you will find good food and reasonable prices. Very few of them had Sanborn's or other tourist approval signs. Most places that displayed them were $$$ higher, with less service and concern for their patrons or food.
my father always said he liked a good hamburger better than a steak--well now i say the same thing--there is nothing quite as good as a "good burger" and how i wish i could taste your award winning burgers bubba! i just know i would be a repeat customer! so what is the secret to a really good burger?
Planolinda, it is a whole lot of little things that make our products work.
Proper training of employees - "Only ONE WAY to do things" - the way the tickets are coded, the way the buns and meat are cooked, the way the condiments and vegetables are assembled. Look and look again to be sure that what you are making is exactly what the customer ordered - right meat, right bun, right cheese, right veggies and sauces, right packaging (here or to-go).
BTW, we don't just pay minimum wage - if that's all you are worth, we do NOT have a place for you.
I have a philosophy - There are no bad jobs - any job can be done with pride, professionalism, and proficiency.
So we laugh at those who say, if you don't get a good education, you'll just wind up flipping burgers. Our staff may be the highest educated group of burger flippers around - majority are college educated, some with advanced degrees.
Congratulations Bubba, on understanding that wages don't determine a person's worth, but it is pretty hard to get a decent worker if you don't pay a decent wage. And thanks for taking pride in the humble hamburger which can be a truly outstanding dish. I don't eat many of them any more because most that you buy are over or undercooked and half the time don't even come with veggies. A hamburger patty cooked any which way and a white bread bun just doesn't whet my appetite. But a really well prepared burger is still heaven as far as I am concerned.
Quality products help, too. We use a local custom bakery, and are very selective about our meet and produce vendors - have used the same vendors for years. And they are customers, too.
Our vegetable vendor used to have a place just a couple of blocks away - now many miles away, but several times a year, pre-orders burgers for his entire crew, and has one of his delivery drivres pick them up. He also brings his family by for a weekend meal quite often.
After "Ike" hit we had the busiest week ever - one again (like "Rita") we were one of the few restaurants with power, so became an oasis for many. And I thank those who were first-time customers, that are now regulars.
Did you have a generator to keep going after the storms? Or were you just lucky. Or maybe some of the power restorers were your customers and wanted you back in business.
Anyhow, it must be gratifying to see your suppliers become customers. They know what goes into your burgers!
I have to credit one of our employees for us getting power back. He came up Saturday morning after Ike passed.
Reset the fence, and cleaned up the outdoor ceiling fan blades, and policed the outside of the building. He noticed a CenterPoint PU at the end of the tollway overpass, so went to speak with the driver. Told him that we had just received a large shipment of meat, and asked if there was anyway he could help us get power back on.
The driver understood, but told our employee that it wasn't his call to make -- however -- when DW & I arrived Sunday a little before noon - we had full power.
My partner and his daughters opened @ 2 PM and did a double volume day. Monday was even bigger.
Our baker got lucky, too. His plant is one block from a hospital, so when they got it on-line, he had power, too.
Bubba_MoCity- You had me laughing. I recently ate at an upscale-but-reasonable place that had two burger choices on the menu. One, was your standard burger at about $8. They also had a burger at $25 (kobe). It was funny listening to the waitpersons making the rounds and constantly being asked what the difference was.
Down the street from my house used to be a coffee house that offered a $5 cup of hot chocolate. The menu said that they refused to answer any questions about it. If you wanted it, just hand over your cash.
And you know what else really gets me going? Iced coffee! I expect iced coffee to be coffee that has been brewed and chilled, and possibly concentrated with the consideration that the ice will water it down.
Half of the places out there will take an order for "iced coffee" and then just pour their hot brewed coffee over ice. You don't even make it out of the shop before all you have is a glass of tepid ****.
So, where are these CFS recipes guys? I see people bragging!
We have a place in Houston that sells Kobe burgers - same price you quoted. Ordered one just to try - DW & I have had Kobe more than once, but always steak, never ground. It was outstanding - done in a Cast Iron skillet that was allowed to turn almost red. Rare (as that quality of beef should be) but carmelized outside and warm through.
We considered it a fair price for what was served. Just not someplace that is on the "restaurant rotation" for us.
Bubba, I have been trying to get to your restaurant for ages since I found out that you served bison. Now I have an even better reason to want to go there. When this week end is over (we're celebrating DDH's, one daughter's housemate"s and my b-day(s) by taking off on Saturday and going to Lake Charles (Delta Downs and Isle of Capri) to try some gambling and get some good food there too. What is the name of your restaurant again? I believe that one of our sons lives near where it is or in the general vicinity so I will get him to take us there.
I have never had Kobe beef but we got a momentary thrill when this new restaurant opened and it was named Japanese something or other Kobe Beef. After a few days in business the sign mysteriously got changed to read "Koby". Kind of reminds me of the TV series "Cheers" where they would have "buff" at an all you can eat place. Hate it when things don't go as they should. Kobe, indeed.
Bubba- The funny part was that they had not prepared the waitstaff to explain the difference. It was like the gong show. I noticed this when announcing our reservation at the entrance when one of the waitstaff walked up to ask the hostess what the difference was. The kid had no idea.
Just go to CitySearch - Houston - Best Of - Hamburgers
Bubba's Texas Burger Shack
5230 Westpark (Between Rice & 610W - about a mile south of the Galleria)
One of our former mamagers came us with a clever retort to the question, "What's the difference between Buffalo and Beef?" ---- "About a buck!"
Actually - 70% less fat, half the calories, 30% more protein. No feedlot, hormone injected, antibiotic fed animals - all free range, open pasture stock. If we served you one instead of the beef, the only clue you would have is the clean finish - no greasy palette. Our vendor is also a rancher - inspects every head that comes through his packing plant.
What a fabby thread. I'm also a fish snob. After eating fresh fish out of the lake for many years in the NWT I'm spoiled. I'm a salad dressing snob too. Perhaps because I like making them so much. o and nobody makes sugar cookies like Moo (my mom) and never will IMHO.
Thanks, Bubba. I just want a really good hamburger. I'm so tired of make-believe hamburgers w/make-believe cheese make-believe buns and make-believe lettuce and tomatoes and onions and pickles. Only the mustard is real. The other hamburgers are real, all right - real awful.
Love fresh fish, too. Remember the flavors from boyhood days in N. MN.
Now mostly Gulf shellfish.
DW & I really like sashimi. Have learned to ask the sushi chef, "What came in today?" Got spoiled when living in LA for a couple of years - knew a mom & pop place that was wonderful. Unfortunately it is no longer there.
DW has become an egg snob ever since we have been buying at the Farmers Market - no comparison in flavor.
I still cook Sunday Breakfast at Bubba's - 9:30 AM till we get so many burger orders that I can't make pretty eggs.
I finally pinned down the spice that always put me off Tex-Mex foods. I just can't stand cumin. Fresh is fine, in moderation, but most cooks use way too much, especially in the socalled Spanish rice.
Robert, I always thought that it would have to be the cumin since most of the other stuff in Tx-Mx is what I have always eaten but I didn't have any proof. You have just confirmed what I thought. Thanks!
It took me years to learn to appreciate cumin, but I wouldn't know how to cook with it now. It is in a multitude of Indian dishes as well and I love good Indian food. But it is pretty strong for the American palate.
The use of cumin and many of the other foods of India, the Middle East, and Mexico, probably began as medicine, as did turmeric and ginger.
Cumin is one of those spices that one must learn to like, much as one must learn to like coffee or wine or kale. It has a strong flavor. Americans aren't big on strong flavors -- on the whole, though many of us have developed a taste for them.
No, I think the ability to enjoy strong flavors is a mark of sophistication. The original American diet -- which is still popular today, is rather bland. I have welcomed the new foreign foods which have added lots of different flavors to our diet -- and they have contributed to our health as well.
Most herbs and spices have a health benefit, not just a flavor benefit.
I love many strong flavors but not to an excess. Too much hot pepper or even sugar goes against me. However, I love strong cheeses and a lot of the spices and herbs in Cajun and Creole cooking. I guess it's just a matter of "taste" - or lack of it.
The seed on rye bread is usually caraway seed. Coriander seed is usually ground and used in curries. I absolutely love fresh coriander, that is cilantro, and put it on lots and lots of things -- curries and salsas and salads mostly. To me it tastes a little like soap but I find it tastes very refreshing and after awhile one becomes more attuned to the other complexities of the cilantro. Of course, it is used a great deal in Mexican restaurants, and I have been eating Mexican food for a long time.
I have grown it, but am not doing so right now, though I still get volunteers from the time I let it go to seed. I should grow it, but you have to replant it about every 3 weeks, which I often forget to do. Another crop I try to keep planted because it goes to seed so easily is arugula. It is much easier to pick them from the garden than go to the store for them. Only you have to remember to keep them going!
Harvesting is a real trip with cilantro. When the seedheads form, you have to wait until they are dry enough to shake seeds loose. If you pick them before that, their edible, but won't germinate. So you are bound to have another crop of volunteers, too. LOL
I have never heard of Papalo, but am all ears ( eyes?). If it tastes like cilantro and is easier to grow, I am in favor of it.
Yes on the cilantro volunteers. I had cilantro for several years out of the first crop's seeds that fell on the ground. I guess you have to put a cloth or something to catch them when they fall if you want to save seed?
You are very lucky to like most kinds of foods. That gives you the optimum chance to be healthy. A varied diet really helps keep us healthy -- and not bored.
i am looking forward to reading about papalo--
it is funny how when something tastes so good to me and so bad to someone else --and cilantro is what comes to mind--to me it is fresh and fragrant but martha stewart said she doesn't like it and since then i read or hear others who really do not like it--bubba i grew some from seeds you sent a while back--so good in fresh salsa --someone asked what i use so much cumin in--well i don't cook indian food so i guess it is mainly mexican dishes -
I've never heard of papalo, it but it sounds interesting. I could be tempted to plant it and try it. Thanks for the introduction. I'm not fond of lots of cilantro, but feel a need to have some available and get tired of replanting every few weeks. Living where we do, we can get "fresh" cilantro in the grocery stores from time to time, but the slimy water they leave it sitting in doesn't make we want to buy it or the parsley!! Wonder if papalo can be raised under grow lights or on a windowsill. Any ideas?
Our daughter took her renter out to dinner last night for dinner and invited us along. We went to a roadhouse - won't say which one but it wasn't out in the country and it was in a real rip off, I think. Anyway, I ordered Chicken Fried Sirloin (Steak) w/cream gravy on the side. This has to be the worst CFS I've ever eaten! It was "pounded" nice and thin and had a very thin coating on it that kept flaking off. Where it flaked off, the steak was almost black. This thing got sent back and was immediately replaced w/one hot out of the fryer. Same ol'. I don't know what kind of fat it was cooked in but I do know that you shouldn't be able to taste the grease and this you could - kind of rancid taste: really horrible. The cream gravy was made w/the same grease. The dinner was a disaster! This is the second time I have been there and as before it was loud - the music was deafening and over the top and the dancing wait-staff didn't add to the atmosphere. The manager got to know us really well as we complained about the noise and the food. If I ever go back I hope someone checks me in at the nearest mental ward because I would have to be crazy to go back. Ah, well...
There are several "chain" restaurants that are "off the menu" for DW and me -- unless someone we know informs us of a particular location that has a staff that understands food and customers. We have received awful meals at almost all of the national chains, but have discovered a few exceptional places. Some whole chains have gone out of business that had at least one store that was great. I credit management (national) for that failure - you have to have undercover quality inspectors touring all the time.
I know people that have had a bad experience at some of our favorite restaurants, too.
You were right to inform the site manager of his problems.
FYI - Logans on hwy 6 just north of Westheimer has NEVER dissappointed us - and their rolls are addictive.
I almost never eat at a chain restaurant. I am happy if other people want to go there, but I only eat in chains in places like airports where there is little or no choice. Small local chains are a different matter. They can be excellent. We have a small chain of sort of Mexican food that is healthy and light here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe that is called The Bumblebee. Their food is wonderful and healthy and the owner is often working along side his staff. I would recommend it to anyone. We recently took some guests from Spain there and they enjoyed it greatly.
Me too paj. I too don't eat at chain restaurants except the Keg for their prime rib. Mostly I prefer to frequent my neighbourhood mom and pop type restaurants. Always excellent food and service. It's not that I have anything against chains I just like to support local small business.
Believe me, if it hadn't been a special occasion I would have had to be half dead before going there. All I can say is don't eat at Texas Roadhouse. Logans on Hyw. 6 is good. These types of eateries aren't my cup of tea. If I'm going out it's usually for a specific kind of food such as breakfast, seafood, Tex-Mex, Chinese - whathaveyou. I'm not much of a beef eater unless it's really good beef and barely cooked. LOL
I hate chain restaurants as well. When did it become a requirement that they cover every square inch of their walls with random pieces of fake antique crap? It's like having a meal in the middle of somebody's garage sale. There's rarely even a theme to the decor. I just sit there and marvel at the thinking process of the decorators.
And I hate any place that makes me listen to them singing Happy Birthday to someone. I don't mind a place that acknowledges a birthday with a gesture. (Many of the best upscale places specifically ask when you enter if you are celebrating an occasion, and I think that's always a nice touch.) Give a free dessert or some champagne on the house, but don't make me listen to you singing to people.
plantladyhou- CFS is often a disaster. It's really hard to find. If you sent it back once they should have made an effort to get it right.
And that reminds me of one other thing I really appreciate in a good restaurant - when I don't eat something I've ordered, I appreciate it when the staff makes a point of asking if something was wrong with it. I was in a large party once at a restaurant, and did not finish a dish because the waiter had spilled the side sauce (which I did not intend to eat) all over the dish when she carried it out to the dining room. I didn't say anything. When the dishes reached the kitchen the manager came to ask me why I hadn't eaten it, and comped the meal when I told him why.
For the most part the only chains we frequent are local chains - not national. Always prefer to find a "mom & pop" place. And, as said elsewhere - look for someplace crowded with local regulars. But that does not mean places like McDonald's. Houston's own "James Coney Island" is not what they were many years ago - corporate expansion, no "foodies" managing each site.
My primary employment has taken me all over the USA, and sometimes you can get "suckered in" by an unknown name in a "new to you" city, then discover that it is a chain.
I really don't like the food at big chain restaurants. I don't care about decor at all. Some of my favorite restaurants have no decor at all. I go there for the food. If they want to decorate that's nice, but it is wasted on me. The food in big chain restaurant is usually uninspired and uninspiring -- mass produced.
Oddly enough, I like slightly noisy restaurants. Recently my husband and I went to an upscale restaurant which was so quiet you could hear a pin drop -- and everyone else's conversation. I didn't want to hear other people's conversations and didn't want them to hear mine. I definitely think a restaurant can also be too loud, but a bit of noise is a good thing for me.
Bubba, I don't know your area at all but to me the fact that you grow your own cilantro tells me I would like your restaurant. This shows that you run the place with a personal touch and a concern for flavor. That is what makes for a good restaurant.
Ah yes, back to the question of the week. hahaha. I know I hate cilanto, too, and my taste buds are very highly educated, thank you very much. Evidently all the CFSs are the same at TRH because the one I got the second go 'round was just like the first except it hadn't had a chance to get cooked 2 or 3 times. Just wish I could identify the taste of the oil/shortening/whatever/mineral oil they cooked it in. Guess they are smart enough not to eat their own cooking. I am, tho.
I think we have Texas Roadhouse in Albuquerque, but I have never been there. Don't plan to start either. There are just too many better places to eat.
In our town we have a locally run grill that makes the exact same kind of CFS you describe. I can't stand it. When I complained to a friend he said -- that's Texas style! If I were a Texan I would have been offended. But he liked it -- went to college in Austin and developed a taste for it.
The owners are Korean and have run several successful Asian restaurants. This restaurant is successful and some people really like it. I never go there.
Bubba - I don't have anything for or against parsley. I can't say that I've ever had it used as a meaningful herb in a dish. Perhaps a rice pilaf? It doesn't have much flavor for me. I will put rosemary on anything (nothing beats rosemary and pepper on bacon) but I don't really cook with parsley. Am I missing out?
plantladyhou- I've discovered a good rule for chain steakhouses (some of which I can actually stand if I'm out of town): if they put that sugar glaze on the dinner rolls, run away. A good roll is just sweet enough by itself. I like a place that just serves good bread. Bread gimmicks irritate me, especially since it's usually when you go out that you get good, hot bread, right out of the oven. (There was a time when I baked bread daily at home, but I no longer have the time.)
I don't really care about decor, so long as the place is clean, but I get a sort of claustrophobic feeling in those places. There's just so much stuff all over the place that I can't stand it.
I grow bales of parsley. I use it in soups and stews and salads. I also make tabboulli which is a parsley salad made with bulgur wheat. Yummy! I don't much go for the curley kind. I like the flat, Italian kind. I grow it in my lily bed which has overhead watering. It loves it. Parsley lightens salads that have a lot of mayonnaise or sour cream in them or grain salads like barley or quinoa or bulgur salad. It adds more nutrients and character to broth. This is good for my husband who isn't all that into veggies. So I put a handful of parsley in lots of his food. He doesn't notice or care and I figure that contributes to his health.
I love rosemary as well but have never tried it on bacon, but would like to. I put it on pork and lamb roasts so why not on bacon? What do you do with the rosemary and black paper after you have baked it? Put it on meat? or bacon? or whatever you are serving? save it in a jar for future use? Sounds interesting.
pajaritomt- I place the bacon on the cookie sheet, and then crack the pepper onto it. Then I sprinkle the dried rosemary leaves onto it, just like pepper. I don't use fresh rosemary on the vine, like I do when I wrap it around a roast or a chicken. So, I eat the rosemary with the bacon slice.
i got here late but i only eat my wifes lasagna. i never order it in italian resturants. she makes what i call a messy lasagna that is to say that when you put it in your dish the sauce and the melted mozzerellacheese seems to "float" over the entire plate.
Italian flat leaf parsley is the only way to go IMHO. Great now Herbie43 throws lasanga into the mix Now I'm really hungry too LOL. I never realized it but I guess I'm a lasagna snob as well. I only eat my own AND now that I think about it I'm also a French Onion Soup snob cuz I never order that either cuz I luv my own. OMG I'm a big food snob. This doesn't seem very politically correct does it?
getting back to the retaurant chains--i agree with others who said it isn't anything so much against the chains but i'd rather support small business and local business--so i try to do that--and when traveling i like to try somewhere i don't have back home--why go to the same chain you can visit any day --but one chain that i like to stop at is cracker barrel--for some reason it is fun for me to stop there on the way to somewhere else--a break in a long car ride --and i do like their food
planolinda - Any chain willing to sell me candy in the lobby (esp. old fashioned candy) gets a pass. I find them claustrophobic as well with the decor and most of the shop being kitsch, but I can survive it. The food is decent. Plus, they really have seemed to embraced customer service.
My only complaint would be the wait for a Sunday breakfast. I avoid any places with a wait because I can usually find a small independent place without the wait. A bad location does wonders for the wait time.
i love to cook so i think that both makes going out fun in some ways because i often decide
"this is great and i can make it myself!" and then i often do make it only i think better
but on the other hand--i know what it costs to make yourself and lots of times i think "this would be better if ..."
Man, ALL food falls into this category for me. So either I'm a TOTAL snob, or...
Honest, that's not it. It's only once I got away from mum's cooking and tasted what passed for food amongst the rest of the population, I found out all those weird additives in pre-made and restaurant food make me sick!
So I only don't eat my own cooking if I'm dreadfully ill or someone's treating me to a meal out or a meal in their home. I'd eat ground glass rather than violate the sacred pact between the one showing hospitality and the one being treated to the hospitality. I can always sleep it off next day or two.
Lucky for me, mom and grandma were really good, adventurous cooks.
I understand from the pressure cooked beets thread that you are French. That makes it very hard to eat in the United States. The French take food seriously. They demand that it be fresh and healthy and tasty. Most Americans don't have a clue how delicious food can be. We eat stuff shipped across the country or from the far corners of the world and we tend to have a limited diet.
I grew up among French and Italian people in New Orleans and thought everyone was interested in good food. Alas, that is not the case throughout most of the US. You are most gracious to eat what you are served among friends and not to tell them how little you like it. I do hope you will invite them to your house as well. We Americans have spent our history trying to build a strong country in a tough land. We didn't spend a lot of time on things culinary. But you can be part of the education of those around you.
I, too, am a food snob. I grew up among great cooks, as you did, and I traveled a lot and tried many cuisines. But most Americans simply don't have the opportunity or interest in learning fine cooking and are completely unaware of what they are missing.
I say, invite your friends over for a real meal. They will look at you and your family with amazement. Try them on green meatballs!
Well, I should clarify, Don's the one half French (his mom was born there) and my maternal granddad was all French. Not sure what percentage that leaves me with, but I know one thing for certain: based on the eats I could definitely go live in the Burgundy reigion and never look back.
Ooh, that reminds me, when we were there, one of the little restaurants there served us grated beets that were buttered and a bit salted, and they treated some carrots the same way, and it was great. Simple, but who said the great stuff had to be complicated?
I do agree with most if not all of your observations. I read somewhere once the French distinguish themselves as the world's biggest hypochondriacs (yup, yup...) and as spending a bigger percentage of their money on food than anybody else on the planet. I know if I lived over there, with fresh sourdough baguettes made fresh every day, and more than 300 different cheeses to taste my way though, fresh home grown veggies on offer every day at market, and all those fascinating little animal bits for sale we never see here, i'd definitely spend a lot more for food every week if I were living over there.
Our system--up until now, at least--of growing things out west and shipping them all the way over to the east coast does require tough skinned veggies to work. Unfortunately doesn't do much for the taste of things to continually select the toughest available. And standardization tends to cause loss of heirloom varieties.
Maybe the current turn Wall st's taken will cause people to focus more on buying local, and growing their own. Really, I think that's already happening.
It really is happening, already. Actually, our farmers Market is a little more expensive than the store but the veggies are sooooo... much better. I have become a regular at the farmers market. I have seen recipes for grated beets. I will have to try that. I get beautiful beets at the local farmers' market, cheaper than at the grocery. My husband,who is suspicious of most veggies, really likes them.