ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › What do you do when................
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What do you do when................

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm sure we've all had this happen to us. What do you do when your non-chef or non-food saavy friends want you to go out to dinner to this place with "great food." You go and the food sucks.

It's really an awkward situation because even being honest in a diplomatic way can lead to hurt feelings because they personalize it, or they think you're some kind of snob. On the other hand, you don't want to choke down wretched gruel and fake that it is good. This latter option always carries the future risk of being asked to go back to that restaurant.

Your experiences?????

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
post #2 of 21
It's a toughie that's for sure. I think the best thing is to find something that was passable and bring that to the fore, ie: man, that water was really something! And the carpet! Wow, you could barely see the puke stains in that baby :p
But seriously if you make an effort to be honest that it may not have been your cup of tea for whatever reason, find something to make them think it wasn't a total waste on you and next time insist that you pick the restaurant.
If all else fails, get new friends :roll: :smiles:
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #3 of 21
Yep, make it about friends, not about the food, unless the whole night was planned around the food of course.

I've been in this position before with relatives (not of my blood thank goodness) and they always insist on going to this place where they boil the ribs. Their other favorite "great Mexican food" is a greasy "taco meat" place. I can get new friends, but I can't shake this group. ;)
post #4 of 21
Just remember, that enough margaritas will help any food, no matter how awful!!!

Seriously, I have been in that situation on a number of occasions. If in doubt about the quality of the food, look for something hard to screw up, like a burger, or a couple of fried apps (not great food, but also hard to really screw up). If the place really sucks, come up with some excuse without hurting your friends feelings. "The food was alright, I just don't care for the way the "chef" prepares, spices things. It's a personal thing." I've used that one. Or, just try to subtley take over the decision making. "Hey, you know guys, I just heard about this really cool new place we ought to check out!"
post #5 of 21
If I can't be honest with my friends.... :roll: I'm not a big fan of walking on eggshells, and I believe life is too short to choke down bad food and worthy opinions. ;) Actually, I do have a reputation for being a little "too honest," and I have bitten my tongue in the company of some in order not to offend, but generally I'm right out there with it. I once had a chef (who was shortstaffed and was practically doing the line herself ) ask me to come back and give my opinion on the dishes she made for us. I told her the strengths but I also told her the weaknesses (and I thought I was pretty darn gentle about it) -- it was like I had slapped her. That woman never spoke to me again.

I know I am getting a little off track here, so forgive the tangent, but... I appreciate when people critique my cooking or dishes. My husband is my best critic, because I can always count on him to be honest. It helps me grow and learn, and it alows me to step back sometimes and re-evaluate. I know I am not the only cook that sometime gets so caught up in the process of creating that the result is an "omigosh what were you thinking???!!!!" monstrosity.

If your friends ask you if you enjoyed the restaurant and / or would like to go back, I say be honest and tell them you enjoy their company but the place was not your cup of tea, lets try something new! But that's just my take, maybe I AM a snob :cool:
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
Reply
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
Reply
post #6 of 21
Happened last week, though the person asking was a food writer. someone that was joining us for dinner wanted to go to a restaurant that they'd eaten at and thought the food was incredible.....we had already decided on a new Afghan restaurant....they wanted to go to the "incredible salmon place" where I'd eaten 3 times prior and just would not go again unless someone totally insisted and was picking up the bill.
Long story, I said nope tried it and they use substandard ingredients and you can't fix that.
The new Afghan place was a HIT and the friend of a friend was happy with her meal.

But my blood relations still ask what I think of places that are mediocre chains....I let um know. It's ok. they are not going for the food usually but want my stamp of approval....oh well....I need to be careful not to weird them out with food. Seems like they are hesitant sometimes to go out with me because I stretch their Utah food sensibilities....just makes me rethink what standard acceptable fare is for the general public. Even my dad wants chicken alfredo at Italian restaurants....gotta love it.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #7 of 21
Be happy that your friends at least have an interest in food. Time and experience do wonders. And as for having to "choke down wretched gruel"- one of the only times I had something to eat that was that bad? I made it......Along time ago as a young cook who thought I knew how to cook Dover Sole... :eek:
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Laughing my A** off Chrose! :lol:

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
post #9 of 21
I must admit a little offense at that line. But no anger. I don't rightly know what Utah food sensibliities are, and I've lived here 33 years.

Remember, Utah has more foreign language skills than any other state--people who got those skills living overseas and eating overseas (while on religious missions) for years at a time. And world renowned skiing and resorts. There are a number of nationally rated restaurants, the Mandarin being the latest.

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,615152785,00.html

On the other side of the coin, I admit I enjoy cheap dives with good food. We tried a newish mexican place two weeks ago. While the names are mostly familiar, the preparations were notably different. Had an entomatada. A tomatillo enchilada basically, but no chiles. Sour green tomatillo sauce, accented against the crumbled salty cheese with a quality chicken deshebrada inside. Unlike anything I'd ever eaten before. The tomatillo sauce was like none I'd seen before either. No juice separated from it and while it had body and it was thick but it would separate cleanly when scooped. I see that I'm failing to describe it.

There's plenty here to broaden the sensibilities. And cheaply too.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
post #10 of 21
As you know, I'm not a chef (although my brother is) but I am a pretty good home cook. My friends know I'm avid about food, cooking and restaurants, so I occasionally am asked the same kinds of questions. When I'm asked about a chain or other place that doesn't aspire to be haute cuisine, I may answer, "It's fine for what it is." That seems to satisfy. I've eaten at independent restaurants that are well-regarded and had mediocre meals. "Any chef can have an off night."

Being a non-chef I hear some blistering things about people in the kitchen. On occasion the remarks are deserved; usually they're unfair. I try to give some perspective based on what I've learned from the pros here. Doin gwhat you do is hard work. I try to make people understand that.
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #11 of 21
What Mezzaluna says goes for me too (except my brother isn't a chef :smiles: )

Jock
post #12 of 21

Tony Roma's and TGI Fridays?

I try to not be too critical to friends whose tastes in restaurants I disagree with, because I know what it feels like to have one of your favorite restaurants criticized.

A few of my CLOSER friends and I love food and will pay good money for good food.

However, I have a few other friends who feel they are true foodies but yet, their idea of excellent cuisine is Tony Roma's and TGI Fridays.

One of these friends asked me once for a great seafood restaurant. I recommended one that flies in fresh fish daily (here, into Las Vegas). When I asked them how it went, she was disappointed because her calamari tasted wrong.

It wasn't until the next time I went to that restaurant that I realized what was so wrong with the fried calamari--IT WAS FRESH!!!! She was used to the rubbery/chewey calamari from chain restaurant--heavily breaded and all.

Another friend SWEARS she is a foodie. She has spent good money at excellent restaurants ordering such items as filet mignon cooked WELL DONE! It never ceases to amaze me that she then criticizes the restaurant for not being able to cook her food right. This is the friend that considers Tony Roma's the best place to eat.

They may be completely backwards in what they consider good food, yet when you criticize someone's favorite restaurant, you really are criticizing their opinions too. So be a little sensitive, but don't lie either.
post #13 of 21
None of this is too surprising when you consider the highly commercial nature of chain restaurants. For some people, a McDonald's hamburger is the benchmark for burgers. Whether you have their burger in Houston, Sacramento, Toronto or Newark, it tastes the same- leaving the impression that those are "authentic" hamburgers.

Some of the shows on Food Network are getting away from fresh, authentic ingredients and moving more toward convenience foods. Rachael Ray, Giada DiLaurentiis, Paula Deen and others all use some convenience foods. I think the proportion of foods like Bisquik, etc. has increased as well as the frequency of use. However, the one who takes the (angel food) cake is Sandra Lee. She promotes "70% storebought, 30% homemade" as if it's a virtue. People who don't have much knowledge of how good fresh food is and who see convenience foods used on TV might be inclined to think, "It's on Food Network- it must be good cooking!". They might conclude that chain dinnerhouse food (like TGI Friday's or Tony Roma's) is good, too.

Julia Child wanted to make people feel comfortable cooking good food at home. Yes, she did use a few shortcuts now and then. But I'd hate to see her legacy degrade into Sandra Lee's approach.
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #14 of 21
Phatch, I'm sorry.....as I typed it all I could like about was the Campbells cream of------that my sil uses. She grew up in Provo and jello was a standard salad, they think herbs are exotic, bland is the word of the day.....I had the chance to visit Utah several while my brother was in college and every restaurant I chanced into was pretty milk toasty.
I'm the first to argue about generalizations, guess I stepped in it.
And yes all the Mormons that have gone on missions have alot of worldly food knowledge.....
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #15 of 21

You made me laugh Shroomgirl

Shroomgirl, I assume that on your many visits to Utah you had the wonderful opportunity to eat at the buffet named "CHUCK-O-RAMA"? (no joke all...that was the name of a restaurant).

And true, the casseroles all start and end with Cream of [insert flavor here].
post #16 of 21
i have so been there. insist that it's your turn and have an alternate ready that you know won't blow them out of the water. people whose sole measure of good food is 'they give ya a lot!' aren't going to be impressed with 'nouvelle dabs of crap with a chive knotted on top' type places. folks whose idea of spice is cocktail sauce won't be up for thai. you gotta think ahead.
post #17 of 21
Phatch, maybe it's a marketing problem. During the olympics it seemed every story featured Green Jello. Utah has more to offer. My brother in law used to cook in ski lodges our west every winter. He loved Utah.

Tony
post #18 of 21
You were out with friends live with it and drink another bottle of red.
Turn me over for I am cooked on this side.Saint Lawerence
Reply
Turn me over for I am cooked on this side.Saint Lawerence
Reply
post #19 of 21
I have to agree with Pete.

Just as a spoonful of sugar will make the medicine go down, a cocktail or two can make a poor meal, if not acceptable, at least tolerable.

And you are there with friends or relatives whom you like, I hope.

So enjoy the company and try to ignore the food.

Have a number of times had to go to restaurants I knew in advance I did not like, but tried to order the safest meal (when in doubt order the cow very rare, as you will get it medium well at best).

Or a few appetizers, or the soup and a desert, after all you had a big lunch, "right?".

I am talking about moderately priced restaurants here. If the restaurant is a very pricey place, I would demure and make some excuse.

There are a few restaurants I will not go to, even if the person who wants to go had donated a kidney to me (just kidding).

But most of the time I go with the flow.
post #20 of 21
There's no accounting for what some people feel is "great food." When in doubt, I always order the "half roast chicken" and hope for the best. If I'm in a horrible Italian place, I stay away from the spaghetti because it will be waterlogged and bland. I usually just look for the safest bet and enjoy the company.
Food is sex for the stomach.
Reply
Food is sex for the stomach.
Reply
post #21 of 21

sucky food??

unfortunately, good food is good food if you like eating it.

i have lots of friends who love some of my more "off the menu" items i cook and can't wait for an invitation to come over to the house for a meal. since i do all my own fishing, it isn't often one can get a grilled salmon steak that was marinated in a lemon/yuzu/balsamico and finished with a mango/jalapeno chutney where the salmon was swimming three hours ago. talk about fresh! but i can't stand the smell or taste of it even tho they are begging for more. i just sit there eating my sauteed spam chunks in cream of mushroom and sausage gravy. (no kidding ... i love it over buttered rice!) to me, the salmon is sucky food, to them, they wonder how i can keep the spam down. who is right? hard to swallow as the facts are, if a restaurant is staying alive after a few years, enough people think that food is where it's at!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › What do you do when................