As any longtime tablehopper reader knows, the end of the year means it’s when I put on my crankypants and talk some smack about things irking me about our local culinary scene. If you’re sensitive to the words “fuck” and “shit,” you may want to hop along to another section right now. In other words, don’t write and complain to me about fresh language like some lady did last year. Hilarious.
Before you start wondering why I haven’t ranted about tired items like reclaimed wood and juice bars, you’ll most likely find them in previous installments of the bore.
And if you’ve got your pitchfork out with me and you’re all ready to throw toast on the bonfire of bitching, well, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not going to carp about toast. Toast is safe, for now. If anything, I’m just tired of everyone complaining about the pseudo ubiquity of bougie toast, or that $4 toast (which in actuality is $3.50 at the oft-cited The Mill, but whatever) is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with San Francisco right now. What’s wrong with San Francisco is greater than toast, and we all know it.
- Macarons. These little rainbow shits have become the new cupcake. So many places make and sell them in all their oh-so-whimsical colors and flavors, but they usually taste like Technicolor sawdust, all crumbly or too dense or too sweet. Unless you’re going to make Pierre Hermé’s eyes widen in sheer delight, please, leave the macaron experiments in your kitchen. I’m in no mood to taste the rainbow.
- Restaurants, can we please stop with the naming of your business after a street address number, or adding the number in your name? All those name-number combos are taken up now. Come on, you can do better. (And I’m watching you, don’t start looking at ampersands.)
- Since we’re on restaurant names, what’s up with all the dirty lately? Dirty Habit. Dirty Water. Dirty French. Ooh, so edgy. So cheffy. Dirrrrrty. Let’s keep the dirtiness between the sheets, and not at the table. Sweep it up.
- Ingredients plated on the far side of the plate. This lopsided action is beginning to make me laugh. What’s wrong with plating at the center? Does everything have to be on one side? No, it doesn’t. And it doesn’t make it more artistic or visually interesting. Find your center.
- Okay, more plating kvetching. If you are making a smear on the plate, chefs, please pause for a second and make sure it isn’t brown, or orange-brown, or anything that is going to make me think for even a second that I have a skid mark on my plate. LOOK AT YOUR DISH. DOES ANYTHING LOOK LIKE BABY POO, EVEN A LITTLE BIT? YES? THEN DON’T SERVE THAT SHIT.
- Did I really just get served a dessert with a mint sprig and a halved strawberry? Wasn’t that outlawed in 1987? It’s the parachute pants of garnishes. Stop it, right now. And put down that squeeze bottle, I see you’re about to squiggle some chocolate poo on there. Just don’t.
- Servers or somms (shudder) or winemakers who touch and tap the mouth of a wine bottle with their hands while talking about it. What’s with the patting of your hand over the rim of the bottle? I see this all the time at wine tastings, and I cringe. That’s so grubby. I don’t want to even think about what and who your hands have been touching all day. Knock it off.
- What the hell is going on with all these lukewarm espresso drinks? I have never had so many tepid cortados, and who said it’s okay to ruin a macchiato with a 1:1 ratio of barely steamed milk? Does anyone even know what macchiato even means? It sure as hell doesn’t translate as “cold-ass milky shot of espresso that feels like someone forgot about it on the counter for 10 minutes.” I don’t know who decided it’s de rigueur to flat white-ify everything, but any Italian or Cuban would kick these fucked-up tepid drinks to the curb, and I’d be happy to help them do so. Baristas, please, keep them to yourselves, because lukewarm milk sure doesn’t make me appreciate the nuances of the espresso more, and I’m tired of the cocked eyebrow if I ask for the milk to be hot.
- Crappy sushi places. I can’t believe how they keep breeding, like farmed salmon. Many of us are out here trying to eat sustainable sushi and attempt to show the ocean a little bit of respect and then yet another crap sushi place comes along and serves enough shitty sushi in one night to wipe away a year’s worth of one’s efforts to eat sustainably. Don’t patronize these cheap places, people, it’s like fast-food devil sushi.
- Uni. Trust, I love the stuff. A lot. I order uni all the time. But does it really need to appear on everything? It’s like the new runny farm egg.
And…scene. Until next year!
Hey you, on the side of the plate. I see you. Photo: © tablehopper.com.