Skip to main content

Pet Peeve: Bad Meals

There are very few things that bother me more than a bad meal.  Especially one in which I've spent some time thinking about it.  I remember, every Sunday waking up on Garth Road and knowing i was going to have a bagel from Scarsdale bagels.  Most often it was a sesame or an everything, with Philly cream cheese, Nova Scotia lox and a big thick slice of tomato.  Perfection.  Always lived up to the hype. 

When my mother cooked dinner, regardless if it was moussaka or breaded chicken cutlets, I knew it was going to be stellar.  When I go to Piper's Kilt, I know the burger will not let me down. I know the chili will be delicious and the nachos (especially now with real cheddar), will be exceptional.  This is not always the case and in terms of going out, it can be a monetarily devastating blow.

On Saturday, I was out at the Quarry in Tuckahoe.  I decided to have the White Clam Flatbread.  I hoped it would be good and it was very good.  I was thrilled.  Later that night, I ended up at Roma's and while the night didn't exactly turn out the way we planned, the pizza was very good, as it always is.  So today, I was hoping for the trifecta.  I'd heard mixed things about the place I was going to, but I figured, It's a cheesesteak, how can they really screw it up.  Well, if you don't add salt before you cook steak, you don't bring the juices out of it.  If you use lean beef, you need the salt even more.  Then you don't season the onions and the thing just tastes like wet paper towel.  The fries were ghastly.  Bacon, chopped onion and ranch dressing was advertised, but there might have been about three bites that contained the first two and there was no dressing.  The cheese was only in the center and the fries were mushy.   Overall one of the worst eating experiences I've endured recently.  Johnny Rockets was better and I got ill from that place. 

People say I'm overly and too openly critical of eateries, but the bottom line is, my $15 lunch should taste better than my six dollar lunch.  Maple Street deli makes a Philly Cheesesteak with bell peppers, onions and garlic, with melted cheese (your choice) and tops it, if asked, with a pico de gallo sauce, for about $6.00.  It's 100 times better, there's more meat and it's nearly 1/3 the price.  I don't mind paying, but I want it to be good.  When my steak dinner at Smith & Wollensky's was "as good" as Outback, I wasn't happy paying $175 for it.  When my steak dinner at Peter Luger cost me $225, I was more than happy to pay for it.  And it's not just restaurants....the person I'm most critical of is myself. When I cook, I'm always angered when I ruin something or a dish is lacking.  I once bought pork chops and ruined them.  They were like show leather.  The next time, they were undercooked, but within another minute, I had mastered them.  Every time after they were perfect. 

There is something magical about food. That first bite of a great burger.  Saving the uni for the last delectable bite while dining on sushi.  That combination of flavors, when you get the perfect bite of a Cobb salad or the sweet deliciousness of a perfectly cooked duck.  It can range from the simple pleasure of an avocado, lightly salted on an English muffin to the complex melding of flavors of a perfect paella.  This is important to me.  When I go into a store that has the name of what I am buying, I expect more than mediocre.  When food expectations are met, it matters.  When they are exceeded, it's magical.  When they fail, it is like a tragedy, because with a little care, a little passion, they could be incredible.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

11 Rules of Life - Bill Gates?

I read this on Facebook this morning.  A friend had posted it and said that every child should have to receive this. I of course read it and started to think.  I immediately wondered who really wrote this, as I rarely see things like this attributed to the proper person.  I immediately found it was written by Conservative Charles J. Sykes when he wrote a book about how America is dumbing down our youth.  I read it twice and started to wonder how true it was.  Below is a link to the actual picture I saw.





So let's look at each of the rules and analyze them.

Rule 1: Life is not fair — get used to it! - Life is not fair in that we are not all afforded the same opportunities based on race, creed, color, socio-economic background, but in general, those who are afforded the same opportunities to succeed are very often rewarded for their individual efforts.  Sure there may be underlying circumstances, but hard work is proven to pay more often than not and those who strive for success, migh…

Out Of Options

Two winters ago, I was in a bad place. Physically, financially, but especially emotionally. Life, which has rarely been anything I could view as fair, had really begun to weigh me down. I was living in a motel room, paid for by my brother while awaiting a move to another state. A little late research revealed my soon-to-be new home was a bit of a nightmare. Think of Melrose Place with meth and hookers. The idea of flying halfway across the country with my cat, Swag, and less than $200 in my pocket was scary. Leaving everything I knew wasn't what scared me, it was knowing deep in my heart, I'd never return. 
It's always easy to put off keeping up with people when you're close, but as I've learned over the last four years, distance tests friendships, even those we view as true. One can't imagine the alienation of being broke, physically unable to walk, and having to rely on a motel staff's daily pleasantries to remind yourself you're alive. At times I que…

In Memoriam

For Shane

Yesterday, I sat in the library, thinking of you. As I pored over vegan recipes, tales of medieval monks, and descriptive biography of Yasujiro Ozu, I thought about you more. Who else could I call and discuss all three? Who else would be able to add insight to my last meal, movie, and chapter? I was tempted to walk, arrive work sweaty, but feeling accomplished, but a bump in the rode arose and I found myself driving. You'd have scoffed, claimed I took the easy way or accused me of always avoiding the circuitous route, in favor of ease. I'd agree, then buy you a beer.

Last night, I thought about us twenty-five years ago, maybe more. Rows of six dimes stacked on the bar. Cold Schaefer puckering our lips. Commenting on the old-timers, of which I am now one. You're not here to share those moments, that repartee or the serious moments we often shared. With every meal, movie and mountain life throws at me, I miss you more. There were years where we only spoke once. Thi…