Things We Hate

Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas toast should be kicked back to the Lone Star State

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM

You might as well not put anything between the slices of bread.
  • Flickr: cdharrison
  • You might as well not put anything between the slices of bread.
I'll start with a confession. I've never had Texas toast in Texas. And maybe that's why I don't understand the phenomenon of double-thick slices of buttered or margarine-d bread that plagues menus across Kansas City. I always suspect that the Wonder Bread on steroids is simply hiding a dodgy ingredient — limp bacon, frozen burger patties — like a mammoth offensive line obscuring a shifty, diminutive running back.

Texas toast is a scourge - a doughy weight throwing off the entire meat-to-bun ratio of otherwise respectable sandwiches. But what about the Dead Texan at Swagger, some of you may cry through a chewy mouthful of the yeasty loaf. That grilled cheese-cheeseburger mash-up would be just as fine with thick slices of sourdough or potato bread. Texas toast is as adept as soaking up booze in one's system as an egg batter for French toast, but that doesn't mean we have to settle for the carb equivalent of a spatula. Especially in a town that does bread as well as Kansas City.

If you think you've got a sandwich that can shift my carb biases, I'm all for it. Until then, I'll root for the day when we can be free from the yoke of fat-fingered bakers.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Season creep means it's already fall inside your fridge

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Just get a spoon and have at it.
  • Flickr: Kuljuls
  • Just get a spoon and have at it.
It used to be a big deal in my house when Cadbury creme eggs started showing up in stores. We watched for the first egg — eaten in the parking lot like an urchin in Oliver — and celebrated its arrival as the true coming of spring. Excitement was a quaint thing in those eight-bit days. It was close enough to Easter that by the time the holiday rolled around, I was still looking forward to eating the sugary, chocolate eggs. Although by May, I couldn't wait for them to disappear back to whatever factory across the pond employed bunnies to make chocolate.

These days, creme eggs are a six-month affair, typically peeping their heads on store racks not that long after New Year's Day (I've written before about holiday creep), but I think we have a bigger problem on our hands these days: season creep. The food and drinks we're eating right now are telling us that it's fall even as summer-stupefying heat attempts to rob our brains of the power to resist.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can I just eat in #%&*@ peace, please?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM


I was dining at a restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas, last weekend -- a mellow, Asian restaurant on Massachusetts Street -- and was ready to get up and leave after five minutes. Now, I usually don't care what kind of music a dining venue plays -- Muzak, Tubular Bells, old-school country and western, Lawrence Welk, Lady Gaga -- as long as it stays in the background and isn't dominating the dining experience. Is that too much to ask?

But at 2 p.m., this dining room was practically vibrating from some loud, headbanging, totally obtrusive soundtrack. Loud enough that I couldn't even focus on the menu. It was almost like having an uninvited guest at our table: a visceral presence that was unmistakably there. One has are two options in this kind of scenario: get up and leave or ask if the music can be turned down. Way down.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tipping on to-go orders and that moment of regret

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I'm mad. But I still love you, Winstead's.
  • I'm mad. But I still love you, Winstead's.

Money saved is money earned. And money tipped, well, that's money gone. And, Winstead's, I wish I had my $5 back.

I get it. I asked for 12 sandwiches. That's a large order. That's why I was glad to leave a tip. However, that was before I had to tell my father-in-law that he didn't have a burger because we were one item short. I didn't check the bag. That's on me. I left you a tip. That's also on me. But the regret I feel? That's all yours, Winstead's.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Scarrots are a treat just asking for a trick

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:37 AM

  • Boo.

How would you feel about getting baby carrots while you were out trick-or-treating? What if they were scary carrots?

Meet Scarrots -- baby carrots in a Halloween-themed

bag. They're a treat perhaps only Bunnicula could love. You might as

well put a sign on your house that reads: "Please egg us." This may be

worse than giving out pennies or a toothbrushes. The only thing saving Scarrots is that they come with glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Patio interlopers

Posted By on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 10:00 AM

An empty patio seat is not an invitation to sit down.
  • An empty patio seat is not an invitation to sit down.

The sun is shining and diners are enjoying the chance to eat outdoors. But at restaurants across the city, servers are forced to shoo away people who are not dining out.

Today, one server gets a chance to take aim at people who see restaurant patios as public spaces. It'll be anonymous, because these types of rants are often followed by a manager explaining that the server's last paycheck will be

mailed home. Below are situations our server has encountered, the excuses he hears ad nauseam and the responses he'd love to give. 

But I'm just waiting for the rest of my party... Then go in and talk to the hostess like you would at any other restaurant. I don't need to enjoy your half of a cell phone conversation as I attempt to recite the daily specials. 

We're just snapping a quick picture.... You're not Ansel Adams and this is not a national park. Save the cheesecake photos for at home, so my guests don't have to struggle to keep down their meal while watching your attempts to look sexy.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

National food holidays don't make sense

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM


While there are an endless number of food holidays -- today is apparently National Hazelnut Cake Day -- most of them have no real connection to the day on which they fall. It's time for that to change. With three simple steps, America can have a definitive set of food holidays that will provide more fodder for food blogs and better highlight some of the uniquely American foods.

Trim the Fat. We need to get rid of extraneous food holidays and clear marketing gimmicks. Instead of making every day a food holiday, I think we're looking at somewhere between once and twice a week. National Hazelnut Cake Day, you won't make the cut. Especially when tomorrow is National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day.

America has a lot of different foods, but how many are worth their own holiday? Asking the simple question, "Am I excited to eat this today in the name of celebration?" should provide a simple answer.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Let's keep that line moving, alright?

Posted By on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Cashiers aren't the problem; it's all of us that are waiting in line.
  • Cashiers aren't the problem; it's all of us that are waiting in line.

I spend time in lines every day. It's one of the few occupational hazards of being a food blogger. And because most lines end with a single cashier (except for the multi-headed cashier monster at QuikTrip that is the single most efficient checkout in the universe) that means I have a lot of time to think about how things might go more quickly.

Truth is that we -- customers -- are the problem. Though we have nothing but time to prepare for the exact moment of ordering, it still seems to fluster so many. There are those of you on the phone, who seem genuinely shocked that we are occupying your mobile office while you check e-mail. Some of you suddenly discover you don't know what you want. Others, perhaps out of Midwest politeness, refuse to move forward despite an open register and a slight head nod from the cashier.  

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fake cream with coffee? Spare us.

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 11:00 AM

It's creamy, but isn't cream

​Fat City reader Lorraine likes cream with her coffee.

Real cream, she says, not the little containers of unrefrigerated God-only-knows-what. She was particularly irked about a restaurant such as Eggtc. at 51st and Main, which aspires to be a high-quality breakfast joint but wouldn't give Lorraine the real stuff -- you know, from a cow.

I prefer my coffee black, but even if I wanted something milky in my brew, you couldn't get me touch the mysterious white liquid in those little plastic tubs. I mean, it's about as natural as mascara: mostly sugar and vegetable oils ... and sodium caseinate to give the product "a creamy look and feel." According to one website, sodium casienate "is obtained from fresh and pasteurized skim milk by acid coagulation of the casein, neutralization with sodium hyroxide, and drying in a spray dryer."

Isn't that how they make paint?


(Image via Flickr: bearbacksnack)

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Prom season: Corsages and bad tips

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Glamour night: Dinner at Red Lobster, then Prom!
​When I look back on my career as a server, it seems as if I waited on more sweet, adorable young prom couples than bratty ones.

My favorite prom customer was the cocky Shawnee Mission East kid. His date was beautiful -- her hair teased, curled and sprayed into something resembling the Himalayan mountains -- and they were dining with three other teen couples. All the other young patrons ordered soda before dinner, but when it was his turn to order he lowered his voice and said, "I'd like a rum-and-Coke, please."

I asked to see his I.D. and he blushed. His date giggled nervously and the rest of their party grew silent. Without missing a beat, the teenager looked up at me and said in a much less-theatrical voice: "Do you have chocolate milk?"

But there are always the exceptions, such as the expensively outfitted pair who left me a thirty-five cent tip on a $70 tab. I followed them outside and threw the tip tray at them; it gave them a good story to tell at the after-party, I guess.

Most servers I know, past and present, have a prom night story to tell and most of them are pretty funny. But that doesn't mean they were laughing at the time. In fact, I used to cringe when I saw the hostess escorting a prom couple to one of my tables. I would glimpse the petals of the girl's corsage and think, "No tip from this deuce." And I was usually right.

(Image via Flickr: tobyotter)

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