What is going on with restaurants who can’t seem to get salads and appetizers out promptly to their patrons? There is nothing that breaks up the flow of a good meal that waiting 25 minutes for an appetizer, then getting the main course five minutes later. A diner should have time to enjoy their appetizer before the main course arrives.
Appetizers should be served at least 15 minutes before the main course.
Salads and soups/chili even more promptly. Don’t even get me started on restaurants which take 10+ minutes just to get drinks to a table.
I have been very disappointed by otherwise good restaurants who can’t seem to grasp this very basic fact of how patrons should be served.
For those who know little about beer, there are two main styles. Lager (Heineken, Budweiser, etc) beers are fermented using a bottom-fermenting yeast which works best between 40 and 55 degrees F. This cold fermentation is called “lagering”, the German for “cellaring”, to ferment in a cold cellar. Ales (brown ales like Newcastle, almost all stouts including Guinness, and pale ales like Bass) are fermented using a top-fermenting yeast that works best between 55 and 75 degrees F. Not surprisingly, beer tastes best if served at the temperature at which it was fermented. This is why the British have a reputation for serving “warm” beer. Most British beers are (at least traditionally…) ales, thus they taste much better when served around 65 degrees F. On the other hand, most German beers are (again, traditionally) lagers, as are most beers brewed in the US. These beers are best served at around 45 degrees F. Fine so far, but what is my rant? In the US, almost no place serving beer, including many microbreweries, has figured this out. While it is true you would never want to drink a hot or even warm lager, it is also true that most of the flavor of a good ale is hidden by cooling it too much. Demand that your ale-style beers be served at the proper temperature!
Have you ever gotten a beer in a bottle, and on tasting it, found that it tasted off, perhaps a flavor best described as “skunky”? The cause of this problem is the reaction of light with the hop oils in the beer. Hops are added to beer in small quantities for both flavoring and as a preservative (this is why India Pale Ales are very hoppy tasting… they had to have enough preservative to make it from England to India in a sailing ship). However, the hop oils react to UV and visible light which breaks them down and creates the skunky smell and taste. This is why beer normally comes in brown or green bottles. Brown bottles are best, however. Even in well stored beer in green bottles, you will be able to detect a skunky taste. For more info, see “UNC chemists figure out what causes ‘skunky beer’” press release. Even though UNC claims to have “discovered” this reaction of hop oils to light, it has been known for many years.
No Chili in Summer Blues …
I gots the blues. I gots ‘em real bad. Why? Because of restaurants who think that chili is not to be served during the summer. Why do they think this? They think no one wants spicy food during the warm summer months, I guess. Well, it’s always hot in the southwest, and guess what? They serve chili there (and much spicier chili than any available in Boone, I might add) year round. Not only that, right next door to one place in Boone that doesn’t serve chili in summer is a place who’s core business is selling hot wings. These wings are far hotter than any chili I’ve had in Boone, yet business seems to have been booming the two times I was there. Both times on hot summer days. Interesting, huh?
To me, chili is a lot like fishing. When’s the best time to fish?
Whenever you have a line in the water! When’s the best time for chili?
Whenever you can get it! I wonder how many times a week folks in the high country request chili in the summertime, only to be told “we don’t serve chili in summer”. A lot, I bet. Especially when these recalcitrant eateries leave this enticing dish on their menus year round, but refuse to serve it from May to September. It’s not like good chili is terribly expensive either. I don’t buy for a second the argument “we don’t sell much in summer, and it ends up getting thrown out”. If you’re not selling much chili, it’s probably because your chili isn’t very good, not because of the month of the year! Also, good chili, properly cared for, only gets better over the course of a few days. I’ve seen the kind of food that is thrown out of every restaurant on a daily basis. A pot of chili thrown out every three days would be lost in the economical noise compared to other such waste.
So to all you restaurants who won’t serve chili in summer, please rethink your decision. If you do indeed make a tasty bowl of spicy chili, you might just be surprised!
Ok, so I was quoted in the Watauga Democrat as saying “We’re not picky about fancy plates and silverware”. While I’m still not picky about plates (as long as they are not styrofoam and are not cracked/chipped), I have changed my mind about silverware/flatware. I am tired of going into nice restaurants, then being forced to eat with the same utensils that I might have used at my high school cafeteria. I realize that many restaurantuers have to cut costs any way they can to stay in business, but please. Stamped stainless forks and spoons from China and Taiwan?
With edges that are barely deburred? And that weigh about 1/10 of 1 ounce each? Give me a break. This junk is only one step away from eating with plastic picnic utensils. One of the factors that contributes to a good dining experience is the feel of quality, heavy utensils. I don’t go to a nice restaurant to eat with the cousin of a plastic fork.
These things only have to be bought once (with lost pieces replaced maybe once a year), after all. Why my change of heart? When we dined at Dan’l Boone Inn, I enjoyed the experience in every way but two: the “country style steak” and the el-cheapo flatware. The plates at the Dan’l Boone are very nice, and deserved to be accompanied by a better class of flatware. The contrast was striking, and sad.`