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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, December 2

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« Andersonville Gets a Little Less Swedish Friday Food: Tomatoes »

Random Fri Aug 16 2013

Restaurant Trends that Irritate Me

donut burger.png
I generally don't like to hate on things, but after dining out excessively within the last few weeks, I've realized that a couple of things irritate me about the restaurant industry:

Le Artsiness
I understand that people first "eat" with the eyes, but eventually they eat with their mouth. While I can certainly appreciate an aesthetically pleasing plate, visual presentation should never supersede taste. A shiitake mushroom chip with dehydrated corn and lavender petals makes for a delightful presentation, but food still sucks if it's unpalatable. Sometimes I find myself trying so hard to like the dish for my 140-character Twitter-rave that I forget there's actually no redeeming quality about the food. I think that the best-tasting dishes are simply garnished, use minimal ingredients, or at least have flavor profiles that mesh well together.

Frankenstein Burgers
Culinary creativity is essential in the art of burger-crafting, but there's a fine line between creativity and fucking obnoxiousness. I don't need truffle fries, egg, AND bacon on my burger, nor do I need peanut butter aioli smothered all over my brioche bun. No, I don't want my patty topped with foie or wine-poached pears, and if I wanted my bun to be a donut or hunk of ramen, I would've asked. Inventing avant-garde burgers can be fun, but a great fucking burger consists of the Holy Trinity of ingredients: good-quality beef, a toasted bun, and fantastic cheese.
ramen burger.jpg Bacon and Foams
I can consume gallons of whipped cream and Cool-Whip, but my taste buds refuse to accept watermelon and tomato foams. While they're texturally intriguing and satiate our appetite for expensive and innovative cuisine, they're better for photo-taking than actual consumption. And although I love me some pig, bacon is equally overdone--whether its bacon jam, bacon-wrapped ___, bacon ice-cream, bacon chocolate, bacon donuts, bacon mousse, or bacon vinaigrette, a meal without some form of this fatty pork ingredient would be refreshing. You know what I haven't tried yet though? Bacon soda.
bacon.jpgKobe Beef
I've eaten a lot of domestic Kobe sliders, which seems rather strange as Kobe beef is a strain of wagyu cattle that is raised ONLY in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. In fact, there' only one authorized importer of Kobe beef in the US (Fremont Beef), and you can bet your ass that the average restaurant can't afford these cuts. Most "Kobe-style" beef in the US is actually a crossbreed between domestically raised wagyu cattle and Angus cattle. Now, good-quality beef tastes good to me no matter where it was raised, but the mislabeling of Kobe may dupe naïve diners into paying more than they should.

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flange / August 17, 2013 11:26 AM

joey's soda & snacks near montrose & damen has a "chocolate-covered maple bacon" soda. mostly it tastes like a decent chocolate with a little extra savory flavor. worth trying once, anyway.

(and the store, if you haven't been, is worth going to just to see what's up in small-batch sodas. cucumber is a particular favorite.)

Mare S. / August 21, 2013 8:05 AM

Amen! Thank you, Judy. I detest "small" food (#1) - I need to feel full after I eat.

cb / August 21, 2013 10:05 AM

solid post.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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