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Old 12-01-2007, 11:07 AM   #21
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When we go out with friends we normally discuss the type of cuisine we all enjoy or would like to try and depending on where we are (closer to where I live or where they live) we ask the person living in that vicinity for their opinions on the place.

Sometimes our choices of places are driven by our kids. We all have young kids and while most of our kids are adventurous and will try new things we tend to ensure we have something that they will be able to enjoy as well.

I am critical about food - restaurant and even other people who barely put in any effort when they invite you over (in my family we have a lot of them) but I will normally not make a huge ruccus and just go along and learn from my mistakes or feed myself and my kids well before we go to relatives who feed us unedible food.

My husband and I recently went to a popular Italian type restaurant called La Strada that had opened around where we live. The dishes were terrible and each set us back about 40 dollars. We learnt never to go back and that's what we do we experiment, scratch it from our list and move on.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:41 AM   #22
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I detest Appleby's, Red Lobster, etc. But there are a few good franchises out there. I like Bonanza Steak House. The food is good, not exceptional, but good, and they have a pretty good salad bar, withthat humongous block of cheddar cheese that you cut pieces off of. I also like KFC, when the original style chicken is fresh. It's relatively cheap, and the spices are right. Teh sides are marginal at best. There are a few good restaurants in San Diego. I liked Benihana's. The problem there was that the food quality changed with every cook. The first time I went, the meal was very entertaining, with the cook flipping tools and foods with abandon. And the food was well seasoned and cooked properly. The second time I went, as the cook we got that time was juggling his salt shaker, he voersalted everything. The show was still entertaining, but the food left something to be desired. I thouroughly enjoyed many of the fish places on the waterfront. That was usually pretty good food.

One of my bosses loves Appleby's. Every time I have had to go on a trip with him, he choses it. I seem to have no say in the matter. I think there food is terrible. I have told my boss this and he shakes his head. To him, this is gourmet food. It is to many of our local population. I still say I live in an area that suffers from cullinary retardation. And that is not pollitically incorrect as I am using retardation as a descriptive word that conveys a particular trait.

I rarely take anyone to a restaurant around here as I can make anything they make, and make it better in most cases. There is a pretty good Chinese restaurant, actually a couple of Asian restaurants around here. Other than that, don't expect fine dining in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

There, I'm done ranting. Restaurant quality in my home area just infuriates me. It was far better before the fast food and big chain restaurants became so popular. Even the pizza was better in the 60's and 70's. Weve traded our cullinary souls for TV advertised hype and lousy food.

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Old 12-01-2007, 01:40 PM   #23
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Never been to either Applebys or Red Lobster. Don't intend to go. GW, the boss pick sthe restaurants, you just ahve to grin and bear it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:00 PM   #24
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Normally if I am in a restaurant with friends or family it is for the companionship. The food is secondary.

In a restaurant I do not know I try to order something I think may be safe.

When in doubt order the cow. If it does not work out just go home and open the fridge.

When we want to dine we go alone.

This is not a thread on Red Lobster but have been there twice - both times to accomodate.

And the food and servcie were disasters both times.

How the place stays in business is an enigma to me.
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Old 12-01-2007, 03:57 PM   #25
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Goodweed, what was it about Applebee's you didn't like? I've only been there once. I found the food bland, no taste at all. BORING!!!
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:01 PM   #26
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The seasonings were too salty, and not paired well with the foods they were on, IMHO. The food was not cooked well. Some foods that I thought could have been great were, instead, lackluster, even bad tasting. The sauces, like the foods, were heavy on the salt, with little else going on. The meat was tough and as you stated, boring. And it all was pricey for what you actually got.

When you haven't yet tasted great food, places like Applebee's apeal to you. When you have actually tasted great food, the same places leave you sorely dissappointed.

In my opinion, too much money is spent on making wonderfull advertisements, and not enough is spent on food quality.

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Old 12-01-2007, 05:07 PM   #27
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LoL Ok, your Applebee had too much salt and mine had none. :-)
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:20 PM   #28
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LoL Ok, your Applebee had too much salt and mine had none. :-)
Either way, you end up with lousy food.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:36 PM   #29
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Either way, you end up with lousy food.
Thank you for reading my mind, cuz I sure did forget to write it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:34 PM   #30
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Weve traded our cullinary souls for TV advertised hype and lousy food.
and the saddest part of that is that a couple of generations think that Domino's is pizza.... and etc. I agree, Goodweed, that the chains have been America's culinary undoing. Folks choose them because they claim they know what they're going to get. Yes, and in most cases it's way below par.

The only chain restaurants I'd be glad to eat in again are (in no particular order) Roy's, (not Roy Rogers -- the Hawaiian fish restaurants) Morton's, Capital Grille, McCormick & Schmick, Legal Seafoods, Oceanaire, Ruth's Chris. Otherwise......
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:54 PM   #31
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Even the venerable hamburger and hot dog have fallen prey. The old style A&W's or any of the local hamburger joints sold food that was far tastier than our current fast-food places. And there used to be this place called Vick's Chicken, before KFC came to town that had wonderful fried chicken, and the best baked beans on the planet. It was simple, delicious, and was owned by the cook.

There are still gems to be found, like the Grinder, in El Cajon, Ca, or La Cotija, in the same town, just a few doors down. Carlos & Totos has the best fried ice cream I've ever eaten, located in Barstow, Ca. Anthony's Fish Grotto has some great seafood down San Diego way. I had this steak sandwich on Broadway Ave. in San Diego, way back in 76. I still remember it to this day. It didn't cost much, and was made of a grilled New York strip, cooked perfectly medium rare, on a wonderful hoagie bun with A1 Steak Sauce. The steak was about 1/2 inch thick. It was wonderful, especially to a 21 year-old sailor looking for a quick and cheap way to fill his belly. There used to be (and it's still there, but not as good as it once was) a place in Barbeau, Michigan called "The Wigwam Restaurant". When I was a teen, they served all the battered, deep-fried perch you could eat for $1.25. Between a cousin and myself, we pollished off 5 platters of fish, with three side orders of french fries. There were from 7 to 8 pieces of fish on each platter.

Of course, prices are up and I can't eat nearly as much as I could back then. I just couldn't gain weight, no matter how I tried in those days. Wish I had that problem now.

I miss the innocence, and the wonderful foods that were available, not only at local restaurants, but in the grocery stores as well. I remember clearly those great tasting ripe tomatoes, and plumbs that were as sweet as honey, and juicy-sweet oranges, and deep orange carrots, and, and...

I may have more variety now, but the quality isn't the same. And I'll trade quality for a host of low quality foods any day of the weak.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:08 PM   #32
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I have never eaten at many chain restaurants like Applebees,Red Lobster,Olive Garden,Chilis etc.I have not heard good things about RL or Olive Garden but dang the commercials make it look soo good.So whats the word on Outback Steak House?
Ive always said the better the quality of the ingredients the easier it is to make food taste good.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:27 PM   #33
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I have never eaten at many chain restaurants like Applebees,Red Lobster,Olive Garden,Chilis etc.I have not heard good things about RL or Olive Garden but dang the commercials make it look soo good.So whats the word on Outback Steak House?
Ive always said the better the quality of the ingredients the easier it is to make food taste good.
JP,
Outback is pretty good here where we are..I think these type restaurants depend a lot on who is in that kitchen! I've had there steaks, salmon, which I"m not a fan of salmon but this was outstanding, coconut shrimp all very good...Salads crisp and plentiful,soups served hot and good, I like homemade better though...DH has a chicken dish that they make that he loves...of the franchises around here I'll take Outback over most of the others.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:34 PM   #34
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JP,
Outback is pretty good here where we are..I think these type restaurants depend a lot on who is in that kitchen! I've had there steaks, salmon, which I"m not a fan of salmon but this was outstanding, coconut shrimp all very good...Salads crisp and plentiful,soups served hot and good, I like homemade better though...DH has a chicken dish that they make that he loves...of the franchises around here I'll take Outback over most of the others.
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If I ever get somewhere they have one I would like to maybe try it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:51 PM   #35
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Buck and I are fortunate, in that the folks we hang out with are discerning foodies. Most of the time we cook together instead of eating out. But when we eat out, we agree on the restaurant. No chains. We're blessed to have a bunch of fabulous restaurants with a wide range of cuisines in our rural area.

Even so, there are plenty of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc. types. Buck and I have had good meals at them, but never dinner. We don't eat dinner, just lunch, which is usually quite a different menu.

Having said all that, we have an Outback Steakhouse here and have enjoyed wonderful dinners there. Great food, well-seasoned, served beautifully, service perfect. As a matter of fact, that's where we've decided to go for our anniversary dinner later this month.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:33 AM   #36
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Most of the time we cook together instead of eating out.
This is the preference of most of my friends, as well... some of them will buy the groceries for me to cook rather than eating out!

jp.... the Outback nearest my home is one I would not go back to, so what Katie said certainly holds true. However, most of these national chains have central commissaries where all the food is prepped, frozen and sent out to their outposts. so food is often just "reconstituted" by the kitchen staff, who are not chefs in any way... sad but true.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:40 AM   #37
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There are actually a lot of chains that are good. You just need to know what to look for. To be a chain, the restaurant just needs to have 3 locations. That is the only criteria to being a chain. There are a lot of local places that people do not consider chains, but they actually are.

I hate the large chains (for the most part) Like Olive Garden, Applebys, and others like that. I have had good meals at the steakhouse chains though. No always of course, but I never expect any kitchen to always put out a perfect meal. What I don't like about the steak house chains though are the prices and the wait. It seems that if you go at normal eating times you have to wait at least an hour, sometimes at much as 2 more more even.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:50 AM   #38
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Outside of fast food, we don't have that many chain restaurants here and those we do are pretty much family restaurants and are often budget-friendly. What I have found with them is that it is very reliant on what you order as to the standard. The chain restaurant closest to me does pizza, pasta, seafood, chicken and steak. I have heard good things about the pizza but never tried it. The pasta I can miss by several miles - why not, they seem to have! The seafood is the best bit, with the chicken and steak dishes after that. They do a beautiful bowl of chilli mussels for under A$15 and it is freshly cooked to order - well the mussels are, not the sauce. But all of these places it is really a case of eliminating chunks of the menu and then selecting from what's left. Completely opposite to a real restaurant.
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:56 PM   #39
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Thirty pounds per person is 'staggeringly cheap'? Is my sarcasm detector borked again or were you serious?

If you were serious I'd love to have your resteraunt budget... roughly $60 US per person is up there in the 'once a year... maybe... if I'm good and do all my chores...' bracket for me.

Staggeringly cheap would be on the order of $15-20 per person for a nice restaraunt and good amount of food.
I was serious .....the restaurant was inCovent Garden (prices for the tourist trade, or the people who go there trying to be cool, or the really cool but very richrich!) I would have expected to pay far more for good food in that area. My restaurant budget is rarely under Covent Garden pressure in a year! DH and I eat out not so often in UK as when in Italy because of the prices, but I'd rather go half as often and eat twice as well. The same equates for shopping. We find the 'number' we spend in Euros, Dollars or sterling is the same in most places but the currency is different so the value is.

Eating well in England is increasingly available, at a price but generally cost of living in UK, particually the South East is very expensive. In the key areas of London...more again. Our local pub in our village in SW UK (ok its a fairly renowned gastropub but still a pub) would cost at least that for the same number of courses and coffee.

I'm going out with this bunch of people again in the new year...I'm arming myself with suggestions for other places to eat...this time!
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