Yup, it's another year, which means it's my annual opportunity to gather some grist for my cranky mill. Nope, no 2011 recap of my favorite meals here, nor a hot trend prediction recap ("This year is all about MARSHMALLOWS! And flax! And Peruvian food (again)."). It's time to talk smack!
And before you start wondering where are my rants on food trucks, pizza, pop-ups, or cupcakes, you'll probably find them in previous installments of the bore.
- My, my, there sure is quite a bit of foraging going on out there. A little too much. Going out to your restaurant garden and cutting some rosemary isn't foraging. That's faux-raging. Picking up ingredients at the farmers' market? Nope, not foraging. That's called shopping. Unless someone at your restaurant is out in the forest or fields or seashore pulling some Connie Green-esque culling and getting some dirt under their nails and poison oak on their person (hopefully not in the bathing suit area, oy), let's take it easy on touting the foraged ingredients.
- Farm to fork. Farm to table. And the winner: farm to glass cocktail program. You know when McDonald's starts (ab)using "farm to fork," it's time to quit. Can we all agree to make these little Farmville catchphrases stop before I scratch my eyes out? Thanks.
- Let's take a look at one of my ongoing menu language peeves: "Organic ingredients used whenever possible." Look, it's actually possible all the time. Seeing that on the menu immediately makes me visualize the Sysco truck pulling up in the back of the restaurant instead of the chef having Om Organics or GreenLeaf on quick dial. Unless the menu gives the diner an actual percentage ("85 percent of our ingredients are organic!") or name-checks the organic purveyors, it's better for all of us if that murky line is taken off the menu.
- Okay, let's continue with the menu ranting. This is a can of worms for me to even bring it up, but let's just say I'm tired of all the Healthy San Francisco surcharges and percentages on menus and receipts. Yup, it's a complicated issue, and it's still being figured out. I'm glad our city's workers have access to healthcare. I understand why restaurateurs are angry that it's cutting into their already compromised bottom line. But I am not going to engage in a discussion with my server about the topic, nor call over the GM to discuss tableside (unless I'm being charged tax on the surcharge). Can't we just bury that cost somewhere like a mafioso with a body in their trunk?
- Is it 1986? Based on the lines of "food cocaine" I keep seeing on plates (salt, seasoning, pepper, sesame, etc.), I guess that's our new cheap (and legal) thrill. But wait, I'm still hungry. And I actually feel kinda sleepy. What the hell was the point of that line?
- How many more times do we need to see Edison bulbs in restaurants and bars? Here's a bright idea: figure out some other cool lighting options.
- Paninis. I cringe every time I see this. It's time for an Italian lesson. A panino is one sandwich. Panini are two or more. Panino, panini. Va bene? No more paninis! Or I'm going to fit you for some cement shoeses.
- Food writers! Bloggers! Yelpers! Can we plllllllease stop with the mouthgasms? The foodgasms? The orgasmic food? Describing a dish as an orgasm in one's mouth doesn't particularly make me want to swallow.
- Everyone needs to slow the eff down with all the izakayas, ramen, and barbecue. And pizza continues to be a runaway train. Yes, these are things that were missing from our dining landscape, but does everyone have to do it? I guess it's all gonna come down to survival of the fittest. In the meantime, why the hell don't we have a decent souvlaki space in this town? Anyone? PLEASE EXPLAIN! Le sigh.
- Can one of these online reservation sites please come up with an alternative to the phone callback reservation confirmation? I just love having to access my voicemail, call back the number that is invariably NOT the number my cell phone registered, and getting stuck in some endless restaurant automated voicemail phone tree for three minutes until I can leave a message and say, "Yes, my ass is coming tonight! I am not flaking!" My dentist and my seven-person hair salon have an email confirmation system. It's flawless. No phone calls. Let's get it together out there.
Did I forget a big one? Do you feel like bitching too? Feel free to email me your additions. (Unless it's about Healthy SF -- like I said, can of worms.)
Follow Marcia Gagliardi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tablehopper