[Sca-cooks] OT, OOP Since it is Pennsic I have a totally off-topic rant

Michael Gunter dookgunthar at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 6 13:27:21 PDT 2011

I am getting sick and tired of restaurants advertising something on their menu and not delivering
what they say it is.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a decent Italian restaurant where they had grilled sea bass with
saffron risotto. That sounded great so I ordered it. What I got was a piece of fish with some yellow
rice in a cup shape on the plate. Risotto does not hold its shape and is not long grain rice. They 
just did a saffron rice and called it risotto in hopes none of their diners know the difference.
Last night we went to what I'd hoped was a fairly fancy place for our anniversary. The place was
a bit of a dump but the food looked good. My lady ordered a Steak au Pouivre with Shrimp Scampi.
What she got was a NY Strip crusted in crushed black peppercorns and the "Shrimp Scampi" was
broiled shrimp with some garlic. Her "Parmesian French Fries" turned out to be regular french fries
with a light dusting of parmesian cheese.
For those who may not know, steak au pouivre is usually a hangar (or onglet) steak dusted with
pepper and served in a brandy cream sauce with green peppercorns. Shrimp Scampi is shrimp 
in a butter garlic sauce and usually dusted with breadcrumbs broiled in a small casserole dish.
Parmesian fries usually are lightly doused in a garlic butter sauce with parmesian and parsley.
I kind of blame the "Food Network generation" for some of this. The soccer moms watch this and
see risotto on a menu. Well they saw Anthony Bourdain have this in Italy so they have to have it, even
though they might have no idea what he thell it is. That sweet Rachel Rey says that steak au poivre is
"Yum-O" so they have to have it as well. And everyone just LOVES it when Red Lobster has their
Shrimp Platter with 10 kinds of shrimp and the scampi is so delish! 
The restaurant runs with it and takes the rubes for their cash. It goes back to the whole "the food business
is far more interested in trendy marketing than real food" deal that seems pretty endemic lately. 
Look at the fact that a high end butcher I visited last weekend was selling pork belly for $6.99 a pound
and they told me they can't stock enough. Because all the top restaurants are now considering pork belly
to be the next golden cow and so every soccer mom just HAS to make it at home. And the bacon fad
has gotten to ridiculous extremes.  When I make bacon I go to the local Oriental market and pick it up
for practically nothing. Heck, even Central Market sells it for just $1.50 a pound. 
I still maintain that I can become a millionaire by selling my "Tuscan Chiplote Bacon Panini with East Asian Sauce"
recipe to the right fast food distributer. I think that pretty much covers every catchphrase popular with
the dining public at present.

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