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Tuesday, August 17. 2010
Small plate dining seems to be all the rage these days. I like it. I am not the sort who can, or who likes to, eat 8 lbs. of food at the Outback Steakhouse.
Most middle-aged people do not eat, or want to eat, as much as they used to - most of the time. We just want it to be tasty, and we like variety.
Sushi was always small plates, and tapas were too. However, now it's taking over in all nice restaurants. It doesn't have to be just appetizers: you can make a meal of them. Gael Greene picked up on the trend in 2008.
Like Bird Dog, I have had small plate Venetian dinners in New York, also small plate Turkish, Indian, and northern Italian and, of course, many small plate dinners of tapas and sushi. I'm not sure whether American cooking, whatever it is, lends itself to the small and tasty format.
Posted by The Barrister in Food and Drink at 14:28 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
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As a 69 1/2 year old senior (those half years are becoming more important as I approach my second childhood) I love large plate meals. I can take home the left overs, which sometimes amounts to one or two additional meals. That makes the initial cost pretty reasonable, when it is amortized over the number of actual meals consumed.
Bring it on!
I am almost 48, female, and I still like three square meals, although my squares are a bit smaller than they used to be. I feel best eating that way, and I am not a snacker. Plus, I need protein at every meal.
FWIW, the only pig-out things at the Outback (based on my half-dozen expereinces over the past decade) are the appetizers and the desserts. The entrees are quite reasonable in terms of portion size. I mean, you can go there and get a small app and a 6 ounce filet mignon with a potato and some broccoli and you're just fine. But I can do it better at home.
This is psychological - and VERY cultural.
Here in Israel (as in other places around the Mediterranean) this would be unheard of, an insult, incredibly tacky.
I remember the time my Israeli hi-tech employer took my team and their spouses out for the traditional annual thank-you-for-letting-your-spouse-work-those-crazy-hours dinner.
My boss selected a swanky French restaurant in Tel-Aviv. We got a fantastic tasting menu of something like 7 courses. But all anyone talked about was the small portions...
There's reasonable sized portions, and then there's idiocy.
And idiocy is the 1980s fad of "nouvelle quisine" where you came out of the restaurant more hungry than you went in because the portions were miniscule.
Going into a restaurant and paying $150 for a 1/2 ounce steak, a pea, and half a boiled carrot was not uncommon.
Cafe Annie - Houston. Big price. Minuscule portions... but OH! is it pretty.
Tasting menus can be interesting but it can get to be a drag to eat one scallop, then one bite of tenderloin, then one bite of chocolate mousse, especially if they're all really good. It's especially aggravating if all the wine is in half-ounce portions, too.
And then of course there was the issue JT Wenting brought up. We all had that experience.
American food could certainly be done the same way. There's always a way to contain something into a small portion. Meatloaf becomes a meat ball. Mini tartlets. Deep fried mac and cheese nuggets. Whatever. :) Name a food, I could make it small and tasty. ;) Little bit of soup (or anything messy) in a flat-bottomed chinese soup spoon.
I have been to a couple of these tapas places. Instead of humumgous portions for too much money, you get miniscule portions for too much money. But at least you feel more trendy than you do at Applebee's.
Which reminds me of my experience of Chinese restaurant buffets, where you can get all you want for under $10: "All you can bear to eat."
If you guys shrink the ribs my wife and will quit visiting the US. Cheers from Down Under.
My husband and I have found that some wonderful restaurants in town will allow us to enjoy soup and an appetizer in lieu of ordering a whole entree. But then, we old folks can get away with this if we have been faithful patrons over a period of years. What fascinates us is the increase in size over the years of what is considered a dinner entree. And the American Public wonders why Americans are getting fatter every year. WE'RE EATING LARGER PORTIONS, FOLKS. At least we are until we get into what is considered advanced old age.
I clearly remember the first time I had a McDonald's hamburger. I was in my 30s, and the hamburger was served on what would be considered now a small bun. It had one meat patty, a slice of American cheese and a slice of onion on it. In all, it was only slightly larger than what is now called a 'slider.' I thought it was very good, although a little too large.
This was back in the late 1950s. Take a look at today's hamburgers. They are so grossly large that one cannot get one's mouth around them, and they ooze all sorts of nameless unattractive things.
There's a program on the Food Channel called Diners [somethingorother] and Dives, hosted by that bleached blond Guy Fieri. He goes all over the country visiting diners and checking out their food, and I have to say, a more unappealing array of slop piled on slop is not available. Oh yes, some few of the 'joints' visited seem to have a grasp of what is appetizing and looks tasty, but not most of them.
I'd far rather have a Ploughman's Lunch ina good Brit pub.
Marianne, McDonald's REGULAR burgers in the '50s were 1/4 pound... I remember the advertising. Then they shrank to 3oz then to the 2oz regular size. Then, VOILA! They 'announced' the 1/4lb burger for a larger price. By that time Burger King, Wendy's, Whataburger were all touting their 'regular size' 1/4 lb hamburger. (Aside: since Dave died, I think Wendy's hamburgers have gone from passable to tasteless. I had one last Saturday and wondered where the flavor went.)
Still, I love those grossly large hamburgers. Mimi's. Fudrucker's. Mom's cafe up the block. All 8oz monsters.... they do me for the whole day.
In my mother's later years (ie in her 90's), she loved to go out, so we visited quite a number of nice restaurants. Mum always went for the full three courses - appetizer, main, dessert. And always, always, she had leftovers (so did I). What went home was her dinner for the next day or two. It gave her a break from her nightly stir-fry (Caucasian style), we shared some great meals, and my husband had interesting lunches the next day.