Grilled cheese and other foods not worth ordering at a restaurant

Categories: Complaints

GrilledCheese.jpg
Grilled cheese: It's what's for dinner...at home.
Since everybody and anybody has his/her/its own "day" these days, April 12 is the one chosen to honor the humble grilled cheese sandwich.

Most cheese sandwiches aren't something particularly worth celebrating, but grill one up and suddenly simplistic turns spectacular: The bread's buttered crust cracks open to reveal a soft, spongy side saturated with melted cheese. The filling doesn't even have to be sharp cheddar--hell, it even could be American. The process of heating cheese to a semi-liquid state even makes Velveeta palatable.

But while grilled cheese is certainly delicious, it's not something to order at a restaurant. Unless you are an out-of-options vegetarian or a religiously observant kosher-keeper, or a penny pincher in a situation where you feel socially obligated to order a meal, grilled cheese is a food to make at home.

Why? Grilled cheese requires hardly any ingredients, none of which is extremely perishable, expensive, or hard to procure, and are often kept on hand. It requires no special equipment to make, and, so long as you keep an eye on the pan and don't let the sandwich burn, making a grilled cheese requires hardly any skill. (There are exceptions to this last statement, of course. I also thought making tuna melts required no skill until I watched a friend butter the inside of the bread.)

Okay, so sometimes you're out and you just feel like ordering a grilled cheese, or oatmeal, or scrambled eggs and toast, or other highly marked-up no-brainer meals...fine, go ahead, we've all done it. It's just that good restaurants offer many things most home kitchens don't--including an insanely stocked refrigerator/pantry and employees with serious culinary skills who know how to cook things that you don't--and not taking advantage of those aspects feels like a missed opportunity.

What other foods do you feel aren't worth ordering at a restaurant?

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15 comments
GnarlyDavidson
GnarlyDavidson

Similar to your friend buttering the inside of a tuna melt, I was blown away when I found my roommate marking "grilled" cheese by baking them in the oven.

Derrick
Derrick

Chicken sandwich, Im sure there are some very good ones out there. But the cast majority are all the same. Nothing you can't do at home with a good bun, fresh chicken, and good seasoning.

Eric
Eric

Soup.

It is really hard to find any soup in a restaurant that I could not make better at home, in my sleep.

mo-town
mo-town

you obviously haven't had a grilled cheese sandwich from Don's Cafe in Morris, MN. Best. Grilled cheese. Ever.

Honestly
Honestly

Huh, today is also the 50th anniversary of the day humankind went into space and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, but I guess grill cheese is pretty important... Heh.

Seriously though, I was told once that --for most places-- pasta is a real money maker because, unless they're particularly good at what they do, it's just a simple, cheap concoction (I'm not talking about more advances spots like Bar La Grassa, etc; more like regular ho-hum restaurants you might find yourself going to in a pinch).

vitajex
vitajex

The only thing I wish to add is to remind Rachel of this fact: It's 2011.

The vast majority of the populace under 30 has been trained to NOT be able to cook something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich. This approach is integral to the continuing vicious cycle that is American consumerism.

It's better for corporate America if every little piglet in the country is suckling at the company teats- especially if that "milk" comes with a massive mark-up.

Aaron
Aaron

Macaroni and Cheese - I hate buying this for my kids at restaurants where they charge $5.00 for what amounts to half a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, but at least I know they will eat it.

Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

That's amazing, and hilarious!

In your roommate's defense, I suppose if you were making "grilled" cheese for 12 or something, it's be easier/faster to do 'em in the oven vs. two at a time or whatever in a pan, assuming you don't have a flat top at home...But I'll bet you don't get nearly the buttery crust as you would from putting the bread in contact w/hot metal.

GnarlyDavidson
GnarlyDavidson

Honestly? Pho from Pho Tau Bay or Quang? You can do better in your sleep? Flame war sucka!

Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

No, I haven't been to Don's, but do tell: what's the grilled cheese like? What makes it so special?

Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

Yes, dried pasta with an inexpensive, easy-to-prep sauce certainly tends to have one of the greatest profit ratios. Though, interestingly, the restaurant's gross can be greater on big ticket items like steak and lobster, because, even though the markup percentage is less, the total, in terms of sheer dollars, is more.

GnarlyDavidson
GnarlyDavidson

Who is training people NOT to cook? I would understand if they simply weren't training people to cook, but teaching someone how not to do something seems ridiculous. I enjoy how you somehow turned an article about how grilled cheese is easy to make into a rant against corporate America, well played sir.

pH
pH

Disagree. Food is blowing up and people are cooking more. Everyone cooks.

I get the anti-consumerism thing, trust me I do, but chill.

GnarlyDavidson
GnarlyDavidson

He is definitely only making one or maybe two at a time. It is a great source of amusement for me because I get to correct him everytime he talks about making grilled cheese and tell him he is making baked cheese. The biggest sin is that we have a well seasoned cast iron skillet, which is the only way to go for grilled cheese in my opinion.

Eric
Eric

Admittedly, pho is an exception, and and exception I make regularly. :-)

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