The Bore

No More... (my annual kvetch)
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Yup, all done. Photo by avlxyz (via Flickr).

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for my annual bitchfest about things I’d like to see disappear (or changed) in our local dining scene. This little snarky tablehopper tradition has been going on since 2007, so before you start wondering how on earth I failed to complain about all the reclaimed wood, check out these previous editions of the bore.

  1. Juice. All these fresh- and cold-pressed juice shops are like our new fro-yo, breeding like rabbits all over the city. How many juice shops do we really need? (Don’t get me started on all the people broadcasting that they’re on a three-day juice cleanse on Facebook and complaining about it every day. #firstworldproblems) Sure, I like to get my green drink on, but usually I’d rather spend the $12 on a cocktail with some fresh-squeezed juice in it instead, thanks.

  2. Overpriced street food. Sometimes I do a major double take at the prices of some of the plates coming off of food trucks. And when the food is mediocre? Or skimpy/precious? What the hell. Nothing like standing in a line so you can eat pricey and undelicious food in the cold wind to make the novelty of food trucks wear thin.

  3. The death of SF’s dive bars is really beginning to bum me out. Yes, those liquor licenses and their real estate are highly coveted and precious things, but cities need grit, damn it. A place where you can hide out or hang out over a $5 drank and meet characters. If you’re going to take over a divey neighborhood bar, gut it, and start doubling the price of drinks, at least try to put some heart and soul into it. Honor what (and who) was there before. Some folks are bar owners, and others just act like business owners—your patrons know the difference.

  4. Spring mix. A writer pal was complaining on Twitter about what a cop-out it is, and I have to agree. Sandwich places are the worst offenders. “Let’s just add this spring mix with a gloppy balsamic dressing on the side.” There are so many other interesting lettuce options out there, ones that won’t rust and wilt so easily. Mix it up, yo.

  5. I am not a fan of places that serve slightly complicated food and expect you to eat off a lounge table. It’s impossible to dine with any semblance of grace—have you ever tried to twirl pasta at a knee-high table? You end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame as you hunker over your steak. If you’re going to have low tables, offer food that’s easier to pick up and eat.

  6. Okay, so last year I vented about unisex bathrooms (and even worse, the ones with no toilet seat covers, ugh). There is one thing I failed to include in that rant: the need for a damn coat hook or purse hook. A table does fine, thanks, but if there isn’t a hook or a table in your bathroom, can you please work that out? Like right now? And no, the door handle is not the answer.

  7. As someone who dines out about six nights a week, I encounter all levels of service, and I find there are some overzealous servers who make it impossible to carry on a conversation with your tablemates. Unnecessary interruptions about whether you’d like more water (just pour it—my glass is almost empty and it’s free), if I am enjoying my meal (whoooa Nelly, I’m still chewing my first bite, gimme a second), whether I’m finished or not (my plate is clear, my silverware is in the 4 o’clock position, yeah, I’m pretty done), or inquiring if I need anything else (you’d know if I needed anything else, I’d ask you) are just superfluous questions that distract guests from their time together. Often the best service is seen but not heard.

  8. I’m tired of people visiting a restaurant during their opening week and bitching about what they didn’t like on Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook (and who most likely didn’t tell the manager what wasn’t working, so the restaurant didn’t have the opportunity to fix it). Ease up on the passive-aggressive complaining, folks.

  9. Bad restaurant music. Dear restaurant owner, you fretted over the fabric for the chairs, the linens, the menu font, the flatware, the water glasses, but how could you so completely miss the boat on the music? You can tell when a place has carefully chosen the music (instead of mindlessly allowing Pandora or some other channel to run it for them; or even worse, letting the staff take turns playing their iPods). Don’t know what you’re doing? Hire a music stylist. And playing LCD Soundsystem full blast doesn’t help create a lively vibe in your dining room, only frustration since your diners can’t hear each other. We aren’t working in your kitchen, we’re eating in your restaurant.

  10. Programs. Cocktail programs. Drink programs. Wine programs. Beer programs. Charcuterie programs. Cheese programs. I’m as guilty of using the word “program” as the next food writer or publicist, but it has officially been stricken from the tablehopper record henceforth.

And that’s a wrap!

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Put a fork in it. Flickr photo from jcarlosn.

Ah yes, it’s a new year, when it’s my annual tradition to kvetch and complain about those annoying little things that got caught in my culinary craw over the past year. I wish there were a shortage of things to write about, but what can I say, this thing practically writes itself.

And before you start wondering where my rants are on choice items like “farm to fork” or truffle oil, you’ll probably find them in previous installments of the bore.

  1. Our city is starting to look like a coffin made of reclaimed wood. Look, I’m glad you’re not sawing down precious redwood for some two-by-fours for your flooring, but is that reclaimed barn floor from Kentucky really the only design material we have access to?

  2. Subway tile. (See previous.)

  3. Mason jars, Weck jars… All these canning jars holding everything from wine to flowers to pickles. It’s all so twee. I am beginning to feel like an extra on Little House on the Prairie. (Can’t wait for the locusts to come.)

  4. Changing centuries now, let’s look at our current state of lukewarm food. I blame all this damn overcomposing on the plate. There needs to be a coup d’état to overthrow the tyranny of tweezer cuisine. It’s like being served a terrarium: a little soil here, some foraged flowers there, some sponge cake, a dollop of foam, a swath of puree, and voilà, here is your lukewarm plate of food with 15 ingredients, madame. For $29! I am so honored. Look, I’m not against making the plate pretty, but let’s not forget people are eating the food and not just looking at it.

  5. Servers who greet a table of women with “Hey guys!” This happens far too often. I’m cool with being casual, but we have smarts, beauty, excellent intuition, and bleed every month, so please, show some respect.

  6. The ampersand. Local food businesses are beginning to sound like a law firm of animals (Animal Firm?): Hog & Rocks. Hops & Hominy. Beast & the Hare. Craftsman & Wolves. Pig & Pie. Unless it’s milk & cookies, let’s give it a rest.

  7. I sometimes wonder if chefs and restaurant owners have eaten recently off their own plates, with their dining room’s flatware? Because then they would see how the entrée plate is so ginormous that there’s no easy way to rest your knife. I had a bowl of soup with edges that were so high that it was hard to spoon into it—I wondered if it was a joke (nope, it wasn’t). I have also been served desserts with a spoon when the dish clearly required a fork. All I’m asking is this: chefs, look at how your food is being served before you serve it.

  8. Chef bands.

  9. Live tweeting. Whether you’re Anthony Bourdain live tweeting one of your shows—or almost as bad—Perez Hilton live tweeting your French Laundry meal, please, enough with the navel-gazing and just focus on the task at hand. Watch your show. Eat your dinner. Shut the eff up.

  10. Coed bathrooms. Really, they are the worst. And when they don’t have toilet seat covers? Makes me want to bust out a Sharpie and write all over the walls: “A clueless man designed this bathroom.”

Whew, okay, time to put a sock in it. Did I forget a big one? Do you feel like bitching too? Go ahead and email me. XOXO!

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Flickr photo by Mr. T in DC.

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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% 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.)

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All of the items on “the bore” list need to end up like this pig.

Or to hell. Whatever, it’s a new year, so let’s just give these things a rest, shall we?

  1. As a dedicated and daily espresso drinker (addicted? Who, me?), nothing chaps my hide more than receiving a bowl of those cursed cubes of light brown sugar that take, oh, five minutes to dissolve into my espresso. Look, I’m all down with you using some natural/non-bleached/non-C&H refined sugar, but let’s use one that dissipates before my freaking coffee gets cold, okay? Damned hippie sugar. Granulated is good. (And don’t even get me started on the random twists of lemon rind that sometimes appear alongside my espresso. What the hell? Save it for my cocktail—because you are driving me to drink.)

  2. While we’re on it, dear servers, please stop offering me a cappuccino after dinner. And did someone really just offer me a latte at 10pm? Yeah, nothing like a big, steaming glass of hot milk and two espresso shots after a five-course dinner. The Italians have it right—save the hot milk espresso drinks for the morning (exception: artists, DJs, and other late-night types who wake up late).

  3. Restaurants that blatantly announce or promote their secret menu items. Uh, where’s the discovery in that? And you get zero cred for that move, I mean, come ON. Unless you’re In-N-Out, I don’t need to know about your BIG SECRET MENU ITEMS unless I become a regular and you’ve been open for at least a year. So zip it.

  4. Nom. Nom nom nom. Noms. Nomz. (Oh yeah, and “sammies.” What is this, Foodie Romper Room?)

  5. Sliders. Just seeing that word makes my skin crawl.

  6. Pop-up. Another one that is beginning to bug, partly because of the misuse and omnipresence of the term. The next thing that’s gonna pop up is my middle finger. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these temporary “one night only” business appearances. And I guess that’s why people say “pop-up,” because it’s quicker than saying “temporary” or “one night only.” I have no answers. I’m just bitching. Next!

  7. Uncomfortable seats. How am I expected to sit through a meal on a cold metal bench, a cushion-less wood banquette, a small wooden barstool with hard edges, or worst of all, those damned vintage Tolix metal chairs that dig into my hips and are only meant for skinny French bitches? I know they look cool. But in actuality, they’re the worst: they’re made out of cold metal, and they make my ass look big. Uh, thanks.

  8. The Ike’s saga. Jesus H. Christ. It’s open. It’s closed. It’s open. It’s moving. It’s staying. It’s opening elsewhere. Ahhhhhh! It was like the the Wikileaks of the local food media scene. Can’t believe Ike’s is in “the bore” yet again this year. Make. It. Stop.

  9. Restaurants constantly retweeting compliments from guests about themselves. So tacky. Unless you are revealing some insider tip about your business through said retweet, let’s lay off all the tweets that start with a “Thank you!!!” and then end with the remaining 140 characters of self-flattery. Yeah, we get it, someone thinks you’re freaking great. Why don’t you just forward all these compliments to your mother? Oh wait, she’s probably the reason you’re needing all this additional approval from everyone. Whatever, go get more therapy and cool it on the self-congratulatory RTs.

  10. Useless restaurant websites. I can’t believe I have to go over the basics, but here goes:

  • no flash intro (thanks for wasting my time for 20 seconds, can I just get the information I’m looking for?)
  • hell, no flash at all (how do you expect all these iPhone/iPad users to look at your website?)
  • um, why the eff don’t you have your hours listed?
  • LIST YOUR GODDAMN CROSS STREET—why are you making me go to Google Maps to find you? (Rude.)
  • no music (you hear me? Stop it! No one likes that song but you. It sucks. I don’t care if there’s a stop or pause button for it. You’re not a DJ or music label, so lay off the tunes. I mean it. Someone is gonna get a spanking.)
  • phone numbers that spell something (just give me the digits, yo—you’re not a cab company I’m trying to remember when I’m drunk)
  • old menus (thanks for sharing that menu from 2007 with the Chilean sea bass on it)
  • menus without prices (shady)
  • and I know this is a pet peeve for some: PDF menus. But I disagree on that one—if it means the menu stays current and up to date, PDF away. I know, website maintenance is a pain. Really, trust me, I know.

Whew.

Rant. Over.

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Flickr photo of yawning (fanged) kitty from Sara Heinrichs.

At the beginning of every New Year I have my annual snark about ten things I think are overexposed, overdone, and, quite frankly, I am over. But when I was writing this year’s list, sure, there are some things we’re seeing a bit too much of, but, for example, do I want to see the end of renegade food vendors with Twitter accounts? Or pizza? No, I certainly don’t. So below is a somewhat couched version, kind of a “rant lite.”

  1. Handmade pasta. So, I understand if you’re an Italian restaurant. And I’m the first to agree, pasta is delicious—especially the handmade stuff. But must it be on more menus than not? Why does everyone think they can make good gnocchi? I find I’m more disappointed than not. The last strand of linguine for me was when handmade pasta turned up as a course at The French Laundry. Basta!

  2. And yes, let’s talk about pizza mayhem. Trust, it really is one of my favorite things to eat. And it sure is recession friendly. But it’s getting out of hand and crazy hyped. My rule has been one great pizza place per neighborhood, maybe two if they’re pretty different—and that’s it! Let’s pause on the pies.

  3. Okay, I have absolutely no qualms to squawk about ultra lounges. Sure, they are somewhat effective in magnetizing the people I don’t want filling up my preferred bars and clubs, but come ON. This is San Francisco, not Vegas.

  4. The insane line of people at Ike’s. People, WHAT THE EFF IS GOING ON? Are they sprinkling some shake on your Backstabber? Or is it the thrill of ordering sandwiches named Menage a Trois or MILF? I like Ike’s sandwiches, some of them are really good, but the sidewalk scene on a Saturday afternoon just boggles my mind. It’s like an Academy of Art jitney bus dropped off a gaggle of starving skinny jean-ed hipsters. I’m not sure when to go to get my sandwiches there anymore.

  5. I know some people are waaaay over the butchery of an animal carcass as a centerpiece for food events. (Especially the vegans.) But Ryan Farr rocks, I heart meatpaper, and the OPENrestaurant event at the SFMOMA was one of the most intense spectacles of the year. Discuss.

  6. And here’s another complicated one: street food. There are some mighty talented people in this town, all armed and ready with Twitter accounts, cooking up some good vittles on the fly. And besides, this city needed more food served on carts, trucks, and, uh, bike baskets. But like Ike’s, the LINES of people for some of these vendors is beyond my comprehension—you’ll see people waiting for more than an hour for the novelty of taking a bite of flatbread while outside on the street. Really? I blame the media for the overexposure. Oh right, I guess I’ll need to take some responsibility for some of that. Duly noted. Next!

  7. Okay folks, we’re officially in 2010. So wassup with all the music that still permeates restaurant websites? Whether it’s loud screechy singing, an accordion, or a circa 1998 easy house track, the only thing music on a website impels me to do is find the STOP button. Immediately. Trust me, visitors who are trying to cruise your site surreptitiously while at work will thank you if you cut out all the racket. Shhhhhh. Leave all the noise for your restaurant, right?

  8. Wine bars show no signs of slowing down around town. And many of them don’t seem to like serving wine at the proper temperature, or leave the bottles open for too long, and still get away with charging $14 a glass. When I see “we have 50 wines available by the glass,” my eyebrow shoots up. Yup, there they are, just sitting on the back bar getting warm. I’m not one for additional bureaucracy, but I really wish there was a wine bar certification program.

  9. There are enough places to get a burger around town, can we stop now? Where’s the beef? Uh, everywhere!

  10. And last but not least, can we all take it easy on the cologne, perfume, and (most importantly) secondhand smoke? This applies to everyone: servers, hosts, chefs, and guests. I may like smoked salmon, but smoky server who just had a cigarette break? Not so much.

Okay, my little annual rant is done. Let’s get ready for a year of sandwiches, porchetta, and bakeries. Love and kisses!

  1. I am so blowing the whistle on cupcakes. Yes, it’s great to have a few shops in each city, but we don’t need more than a few. And really, what is up with the LINES of people (mostly ladies) waiting at some of these places? Ri-donkedonk. Now, I would queue up for a true Parisian croissant… but unless those sprinkles on said cupcakes start coming from happy pills, the frosting on my cupcake is of an unhappy face.

  2. Since we’re on dessert, what is up with all the salt ending up in my sweets? Salted caramels, lovely. Salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite, bring it. But when I start crunching on large flakes of salt in my chocolate dessert and suddenly need to order more water, I gotta draw the line. Please keep the monster flakes o’ Maldon away from my Madagascar chocolate.

  3. You didn’t think I was going to skip fro-yo, did you? Hells no. See, it’s the exact same cycle that happened back in the 80s: too many yogurt shops open at once, the city gets flooded with fro-yo, and then suddenly every place closes shop and we end up with none. It’s a runaway train of fruit-named knockoffs breeding like rabbits. And hilariously, the City doesn’t even have a Pinkberry, the mother ship of them all.

  4. Ahem on mixology mayhem. Now, I love my cocktails as much as the next boozehound. And we’re blessed to have so many pros in San Francisco who can make a spectacular cocktail—I dig the “kitchen notes” in a lot of drinks that make them pair well with food, or help my cocktail do double duty as an appetizer, heh. But more and more I find myself glazing over when my drink starts to sound like something I should be eating in a haute French restaurant, with a detailed description of each and every ingredient and the techniques used to make the darned thing. Can we dial this back to five, or six? (The hype, and the minutes it takes to make it.) Let’s get back to having the folks behind the stick be bartenders first, mixologists second. Which is why I am finding myself back on Manhattans. They’re quick, because yo, I’m thirsty. And it better not cost $14.

  5. I know I’m gonna get some heat on this one, but the cocktail consulting thing at local restos also needs some reining in. A good cocktail list does not a good restaurant make. Yeah, the cocktail program reads great on the restaurant’s press release, and it’s all dandy during the opening when the startenders are there, but what is going on with those drinks a month or two later? That quality control thing is tricky. I’d prefer simpler drinks (see above), less fanfare.

  6. This one is a cautionary tale: bacon. I totally dug the pigwich at Orson, and the bacon with apple and maple donut from Dynamo was an item whose time had come. But folks experimenting with bacon better stop acting all OCG (Original Culinary Gangster) because look around, everyone is doing it. Bacon is totally jumping the shark.

  7. Ditto on poached eggs. Breakfast, it’s what’s for dinner! Not. I eat far too many eggs every week; they’re definitely going with me to the desert island. But man, can we take it (over) easy? Eggs are making appearances on dinner menus everywhere. Unless the chef is doing something really unique, like Seis Kamimura at Postrio, who is soft-cooking an egg inside a Wolfe Ranch quail, wrapping that puppy in San Daniele prosciutto, then deep frying it, and glazing the quail with a maple Banyuls vinegar gastrique—otherwise, can we just leave the poached eggs to the brunch places, truffle season, pizzas, and bistros serving salade Lyonnaise?

  8. Large plates, but small tables, and even smaller portions. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Communal tables, especially the big ones that are so wide you can’t hear your friend sitting across from you, especially with all the other people around talkin’ loudly. So much for communal. Yes, they are a clever way to seat single diners or a random group of folks who don’t have reservations, but find me anyone out there who brightens up when the reservationist says, “No, we don’t have any tables available that night, but we do have first-come, first-served spots at our communal table!”

  10. Did I just hear that woman at the table next to me ask if the salad was local? Yeah lady, the menu says it’s from County Line Harvest, relax. The intense local / sustainable / organic policing that is happening at restaurant tables is making my head hurt. It’s like the Inquisition! These are fine questions to ask of your salmon, your beef, and your tomatoes during that pesky scare, but what’s coming under the microscope next, the garnish in your drink, and the chocolate shavings on your dessert? Why even eat out?

  1. I love pork as much as the next guy, but all this pork belly nonsense is getting out of hand (and getting us fat).

  2. I am so stanca (tired/fatiguée) of panna cotta and its rainbow of flavors. It’s like last year’s crème brûlée, and the cavalcade of bread pudding before that. Can I just have some pie?

  3. 35 wines by the glass, that’s great, but do they have to average $12 each? Jeez. I’m back on the bottle.

  4. Since we’re on wine, what is up with all the wine bars opening? It’s becoming a joke. We have a wine bar in each neighborhood, I think we can stop now. Well, unless yours is going to be really cool and you’ll serve killer wines in correct stemware and at the right temperature. (And pizzerias are coming up close on wine bars’ heels. We’ll be seeing them on this list in 2009, mark my words.)

  5. Ok, this has become my biggest pet peeve: servers and bussers who say, “You still working on that?” What am I, a hyena gnawing off the last shreds of meat on a wildebeest thighbone? That phrase needs to be banished from restaurant lexicon. Be the change.

  6. Hey, I dig salts. It’s why I have at least ten at home I like to play with. But offering four kinds on the table to sprinkle on your buttered bread, or listing them as an ingredient in certain dishes is, uh, trying too hard.

  7. Why are open kitchens continuing to be a “hot” design trend? They are noisy, and there’s a lot I don’t need to watch (or see, yikes, you did not just drop that towel on the floor and then pick it up and use it again?). Unless it’s a gorg kitchen like, say, Myth’s. Perhaps bacar started a trend by covering theirs up.

  8. Another thing cropping up in restaurants that pains me is flat screen TVs. Unless you’re a sports bar, I think they are ugly, distracting, and playing art house films doesn’t really constitute good décor.

  9. Saketinis and nasty soju cocktails are usually so wrong. I’m sorry you don’t have a liquor license, but do you really need to create a list of eight saketinis, and for $9 each? Just do some good Champagne cocktails instead—and they taste a hell of a lot better.

  10. It’s gotta be said (and it breaks my meat-loving heart), but salumi has become a runaway train. Some people know what they’re doing, but many of these entry-level efforts need to stay home. Just because the meat didn’t rot doesn’t make that coppa a success, and let’s not even talk about the fact you’re selling it off at $14 a plate. tablehopper

What I Don’t Want to See More of In 2007

  1. No more variations on tuna tartare. Basta, please.

  2. Enough with the silly amuse bouches. Unless you’re busting out something special or exquisite, say, with caviar. Otherwise, I am no longer amused.

  3. Will the tyranny of crème brûlée flavored with [insert trendy ingredient here, from tea to yuzu] ever stop? And the mini trios of them, lord help me. Oh, and let’s not forget bread pudding. It’s become the new flourless chocolate cake.

  4. Pinot Noir. Yes, it’s a lovely varietal that pairs wonderfully with food, but I say be a contrarian and start ordering Merlot like a maniac.

  5. Bottle service. ‘Nuff said.

  6. While we’re on booze, will everyone lay off the Fernet abuse already? Try something new, like Averna, or even Amaro Montenegro.

  7. Truffle oil. Don’t even get me started.

  8. Kobe beef. Unless that steak tartare or 6 oz. filet is $150 and it’s really from Kobe, it’s just Wagyu, or Kobe-style beef, not the real deal. I wish diners and servers would stop talking about it like it’s true Kobe beef, because that Prada bag is fake, baby.

  9. Braised short ribs. They’re almost like truffle oil in this town i.e. everywhere.

  10. Hamachi crudos. Lemme guess, with yuzu, or a special salt?