It’s another new year, which means it’s time for my annual ranty list of things chapping my hide about our local culinary scene. Normally, I like to keep things positive over here at hopper HQ, but it’s fun to get all kvetchy and cranky once a year. So, let’s dish. (And if you’re wondering why I’m not bitching about juice or subway tile or tweezed foraged purslane, check out previous editions of the bore here.)
- I really don’t want to do this, because I love them, but deviled eggs are just on too many damn menus. Blazes! At least do something really creative with them. (A little chip of bacon on top doesn’t count.)
- I also called this out in my recent (and winning, holla!) Time Out piece, but it most certainly bears some repeating here: bone broth. Why not call it what it is? Which is stock. Stock has been with us for many, many years. Stock is sturdy. Stock is dependable. Stock is made of bones. (Or even call it broth. You know, beef broth. Should feel familiar.) The rebranding of stock as bone broth is too much. (And cafés selling cups of bone broth? Also too much.)
- Thumbs down on all the bad ramen, and when it’s bad, it’s the same everywhere. Weak tonkotsu all over the place. Salty city. Sad noodles. Poorly prepared egg. Bamboo shoots that taste like a can. Chashu that had no love as a child. The list goes on and on.
- Octopus. Why so much octopus? I keep finding little octopus arms on plates all over the city. Let’s give this sensitive creature a break from the menu.
- Chefs who use raw sunchoke or just too much sunchoke, period. There’s a reason its nickname is the fartichoke. Take it easy on us. (And no sneaking escolar on the menu either. Excuse me, butterfish. Whatever you call it, it’s not the nicest thing to serve to diners.)
- Crappy grilled cheese. If you order a Cubano, or a grilled cheese sandwich, or a Reuben, or French onion soup, I want that damn cheese to be melted. Blistered. Runny. Oozing all over the damn place. HOT CHEESE. Like, gonna burn the roof of my mouth off, give it to me. Too many times I find rubbery, unmelted cheese in items that have melty cheese as their foundation. Fail! People will wait those extra few minutes for cheesy perfection. I promise.
- National food days. Who the hell cares if it’s National Pizza Day? It’s National PIzza Day every day in my book. And National Espresso Day. And National Cheese Lover’s Day. When is National Make It Stop Day?
- Rectangular dishes. 1994 called [with some smooth jazz playing in the background] and it wants them back. Unless I am eating maki or something off a skewer or some other elongated food worthy of a horizontal dish, there’s a reason plates are round: they’re easier to eat off of. Rectangular plates are trying too hard—all they succeed in doing is pushing your silverware to the edge of the table and your food off the plate. Square plates, also fired.
- I know, I know, this is about to be the biggest case of #firstworldproblems, but I get annoyed when a delivery person calls me on my phone and says, “I’m pulling up.” Oh yeah? That’s so great to hear. But I am still not getting out of this chair until I hear my front door buzzer. There’s a reason I called for delivery, and it’s probably because I’m in a caftan and my hair is a wreck and I’m barefoot and I don’t want to step foot outside. I’m tipping you well and probably paying an onerous delivery fee on top of it, so just bring the food to my door like delivery people are supposed to do, kthanksbai.
- How many boba and bubble tea places do we need in this fair city of ours? The vast majority of these shops are mediocre at best. It’s like they’re trying to be the next juice or smoothie or frozen yogurt shop that propagated like rabbits these past years. Slow your roll.