Monday, August 5, 2019

Around the Kitchen Table - Eating Out + book #giveaway



We're back around the kitchen table and today, we're talking about what kind of food we go for when eating out.

LINDA:  I've noticed the recipes we post seem to be all over the map, which means we enjoy a variety of foods. What I'd like to know is, what is your go-to type of food, when you dine out? Of course, we don't always eat in the same or even same type of restaurants. But what's your favorite type of food?
I have to admit, Italian calls out to me. I particularly enjoy trying a variety of pasta dishes, although these days, the pasta needs to be gluten-free. But I can still have fun with the other ingredients. I love to order pasta with clams because I'd never try to make that at home. 
I'm not sure when or why Italian food started playing with my taste buds. It certainly wasn't at home because my mom made fairly standard, plain meals. I make up for it these days though and thoroughly enjoy!


SHEILA A couple of years ago, two local guys (twin brothers) decided to open a restaurant here in Middleboro--something this town really needed. Of course I tried it, and since then I've taken every friend and relative who happens to visit to eat there. Since we're close to the sea, their seafood is local and very fresh. Last week I had a dish of fresh scallops with orange zest and ginger, and they were great. (Wonder if they'd give me the recipe?) I should add that after their first year they expanded into the space next door, so clearly they're doing something right!

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KRISTA: Many years ago I worked for a huge convention hotel. It was so big that it had a cafeteria for employees. Leftovers (like desserts!) from the fancy restaurants in the hotel were also available there. In addition, every employee meeting was catered by the hotel, so there were always pastries and cakes. That's a long way of saying that I was spoiled about eating out at a fairly young age. When my friends wanted to go out for fast food (mostly because that was what our incomes permitted at the time), I wasn't interested. 

I like a lot of different kinds of foods, but when I order from a menu, I usually look for something that I probably wouldn't cook for myself at home. That counts out most pastas and steaks. I'm interested in things like crab ravioli with lobster sauce. Now that would be a lot of work to make at home. Or a whole lobster with drawn butter. Or fresh crab cakes. Or Chinese food! Or Indian! So many spices and ingredients! Or made-on-the-premises barbecue!

By the way, it's worth mentioning that I recently watched a TV program where a restaurant inspector nailed restaurants for really gross violations of the sanitation codes. When asked what he orders when he eats out, he said it's always steak. The meat in the center hasn't been touched by hands (like ground beef has) so it's clear of bacteria and the outside is always seared, killing any bacteria. Something to consider . . .

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VICKI: I used to have what I called a 'life rule': If lamb shanks were on the menu, that's what I ordered.  About two years ago I gave up almost all red meat and now I don't eat shanks. Although I do miss them sometimes.  (Travelling in Scotland and South Africa, lamb was just about ALL I ate).  Like Krista, I like to have something I wouldn't make at home when I eat out. My favourite is probably Indian food. The spices, the flavors, the sauces, the incredible variety of meat and vegetables.  And all so much better than I can make at home. 

Living so far inland I don't get a lot of sea food, so I do like that when I travel. I ate my body weight in prawns when I was in Mozambique. 

Yes, that's a giant prawn on the top

DENISE: Since moving to rural Illinois, my husband and I don't eat out too much. Maybe once a week we'll have a late breakfast after doing our grocery shopping in the big city of Kankakee, but that's about it unless it's a special occasion.

Now for special occasions we like to treat ourselves to something we couldn't, or wouldn't make at home. One of our favorites is to do a five course tasting menu at the Melting Pot. We start out with a cheese fondue, then a salad, then a entree fondue and finish with a chocolate dessert fondue. My favorite is the  CANDY BAR Milk Chocolate | Caramel | Crunchy Peanut Butter | Butterscotch Schnapps | Baileys® Irish Cream. 


LESLIE: As others have said, I relish taking the opportunity of eating out to try something new or savor something I wouldn't make at home. What I chose depends on where I am. Our town -- the model for Jewel Bay in my Food Lovers' Village Mysteries -- is quite small, but blessed with several lovely restaurants, mainly because we've got the tourist traffic to keep them going. But other than the Italian place, which we like a lot, and the taqueria, owned by a family with roots here and in Mexico, the menus tend toward modern American cuisine. Oh, and the sushi place, which Mr. Right is particularly fond of. 

Away from home, especially when I'm in Seattle exploring the Pike Place Market, for fun and for my Spice Shop Mysteries -- I tend to choose international cuisine. On recent trips to the Market, that's meant a visit to the Falafel King for falafel (duh), which is easy to make at home, and dolmates, or stuffed grape leaves, which aren't so easy. Turkish Delight, for more than just the sweets. Farvahar Persian Cafe. The piroshky bakery and the dim sum joint. It's especially fun to explore with Mr. Right or my BFF, who lives in Seattle and calls herself my research assistant, because they'll eat anything and willingly share. I ask questions and learn about spicing, even if  I'm not planning to put the dish in a book. You never know where inspiration will come from, right? And exploring food is truly one of the great pleasures of life. 

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DARYL:  I have to admit that eating out isn't what it used to be for me. Because I need to eat gluten-free, I'm always afraid of cross-contamination. I order very simply. A juicy grilled steak. Green vegetables. I ask for olives as a starter. I can always eat olives. I can't do fried foods, not even french fries, because they are often cooked in the same oil that chicken tenders or something else with flour was fried in. I would love to do what Krista does and order something I wouldn't cook for myself, but alas, it's just not the same.  I don't mind. I enjoy the dining experience. But I don't experiment like I used to. I will say that upscale restaurants that specialize in small portions and use local ingredients are often the kind of restaurants that will accommodate gluten-free diners. They just won't promise a gluten-free kitchen.


LUCY BURDETTE: Count me in with all the folks who eat out what they probably wouldn't cook in. For me this might be something fried like fried shrimp with hushpuppies, homemade crab cakes, fried chicken, Chinese dumplings... For a while I barely ate out because I had to restrict my sodium severely and restaurants use a lot more salt and salty broths than I'd ever use at home. Krista, if I thought too hard about that restaurant inspector's advice, I don't think I'd eat out at all!

Here's something I'd never make at home--pepperoni pizza from Clemente's pizza in Key West! But eating out, I get it sometimes as a treat...


PEG: I'll get on the bandwagon and say that like everyone else, I generally order something I wouldn't make at home.  And like Vicki, if lamb is on the menu, there's no contest.  For some reason the grocery stores don't sell a lot of lamb here in Western Michigan. Sometimes it isn't available at all.  Hubby always jokes that if lamb or duck is on the menu, it's a toss-up as to which I'll order.  We don't eat out very often anymore.  I've lost my taste for fast food (although those fries...) and chain restaurants aren't very appealing either.  We usually save dinner out for an "occasion" (a full moon is an occasion, right?) and go somewhere that's known for good and innovative cooking.  And although I can and have made it at home, Chinese, Thai and Indian food always tastes better out!


CLEO COYLE - Our readers often ask us for restaurant suggestions when they're planning a visit to New York, and Marc and I have many (many!) places that we enjoy. Here are two casual restaurants that we like and usually recommend because they're (1) convenient to the theater district, (2) lots of fun, and (3) easy on the budget. The first is John's Pizzeria of Times Square (literally the largest pizzeria in the country), where you can enjoy New York-style pizza in a beautiful, converted Gospel Tabernacle church. Look up to see the enthralling stained glass ceiling while enjoying pizza made in an 800-degree coal-fired oven. 

Our second suggestion serves THE BEST cheesecake in town, (and when the town is New York, that's saying something). 
Junior's Restaurant began in Brooklyn but now has two locations in the Times Square area, where you can not only get amazing slices of cheesecake but order from a huge, old-fashioned New York deli-style menu that includes authentic egg creams, which (ironically) are made without eggs or cream. The New York Egg Cream is a fizzy delight, a light milkshake that you're bound to love. It's also very easy to make at home, and we're happy to show you how. Click here or on the photo for our recipe, and enjoy! 



GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment to enter to win these three books. 
And remember to include your email in case you win so we can contact you.


Pressing the Issue, by Daryl Wood Gerber
The Diva Sweetens the Pie, by Krista Davis
Marinating in Murder, by Linda Wiken


98 comments:

  1. I have wanted to read all three! Thanks for the opportunity.
    browninggloria(at)hotmail(dot) com

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  2. Taylor R. WilliamsAugust 5, 2019 at 1:49 AM

    Sure love this page for the great posts, the recipes and the contests - thanks ! trwilliams69(at)msn(dot)com

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  3. YUM!! It is sooo hard when I come on this blog at 2:00am. All this wonderful food looks so good that it makes me hungry! LOL...thank you so much for the recipes and the giveaways. I would love to win these books by some of my favorite authors. bentleyboy22(at)comcast(dot)net

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  4. Many of you are smart to order something that you wouldn't normally make at home, I've been wasting my dining on salads. Lol. I just love salad, but it would definitely be smarter to get something more skilled when eating out. Thank you all for sharing, I love learning more about my favorite authors. =) konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. How about the best of both, Marci? A salad you might not make at home, like a Cobb, or a grain bowl with all kinds of veggies. Eating out doesn't have to unhealthy!

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    2. Marci and Leslie - I enjoy salads when eating out, too! The restaurant takes all the work out of cleaning and assembling the veg. Years ago, I was completely hooked on a poppy seed dressing over a grilled chicken salad by a certain restaurant. I literally went back every week (for months!) to eat that salad! (I really should re-create it, haven't thought of it in years and never see it on menus these days.)

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  5. I love to eat out! In my area it’s mostly chain restaurants though which isn’t as much fun as when I can go to a place that has good independent restaurants.
    Bleakney750@yahoo.com

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  6. Please enter me!
    Wendy
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

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  7. Thanks for the chance at these great books. Love reading about what each of you order or don't order when you dine out ( or don't). Vicki nvictoria77(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  8. I love to eat out! If I could, I would eat out all the time. Date night usually means steakhouse. I love pasta, so that is a good go to the rest of the time. We try to go out to breakfast on Sundays. Can't go wrong with breakfast food. Thank you for the opportunity to win!! prockish2013@gmail

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    1. I'm with you, Heidi -- breakfast out is the best! Our village has a FABulous breakfast-lunch joint, though we don't go there much in the summer because it's too busy. But in winter? We love seeing so many friends every time we go there!

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  9. When I go out to eat my go to food is usually chicken, hamburger, lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. I'm a pretty picky person as you can tell, Thanks for this amazingly generous chance. I love reading about the different types of dishes other people like to eat. lindamay4852@yahoo.com

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  10. Eating out is rare so I enjoy a unique meal. Fish for sure prepared in a very special way with roasted veggies. I enjoy your lovely features and the books look special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Traveler, I think that's the thing. I want a unique meal if I go out. ~ Daryl

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  11. Depending on the type of restaurant we go to, I will usually order something that I don't cook at home such as fish & chips, cassoulet, fish stew, shepherd's pie, or a rustic pizza. bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

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    1. Oooh, cassoulet! I have made it at home but ages and ages ago when I still had a lot of energy lol. Now I enjoy it out when it's on the menu. And that reminds me--another favorite is osso buco, which I love but hubby doesn't care for.

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  12. I love to eat out when we travel, but most often order a Caesar salad and whatever seafood is available - scallops being my favourite. I envy you the prawns in Mozambique Vicki! Halifax, Nova Scotia is the best place in Canada for seafood as far as I am concerned, and I will cook when staying with my son, because he has sources of the freshest fish and shellfish. Thanks, Nancy Reid jw.nl.reid@sympatico.ca

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    1. You're right about Halifax, Nancy. So good! Here in Ontario we don't get much that's good and fresh, so its a treat when I travel.

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  13. Ii love to eat seafood, so I chose that most often, Also fried chicken. A good steak once in a while too! Auntiecarol@charter.net

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    1. How I wish I could still eat fried chicken. So yummy. Enjoy, Carol. ~ Daryl

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  14. wow wonderful post today. My husband loves fish. That NY Egg Cream looks fantastic. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  15. Eating out can be such a fun adventure!
    My husband's go-to meal in an Italian restaurant is pasta with white clam sauce.
    I, too, like to 1-try things I'm not likely to make at home or 2-try something I'd like to cook at home and want to see how it's done.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. I had some fabulous spaghetti with clam sauce in Venice! I love it--I make a quickie version at home with canned clams.