Why we hate the tableside pour-over coffee service

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When pour-over coffee first became "a thing," it seemed like a breath of pure oxygen amid the slowly fading '90s coffee culture of no-foam, half-caf, and whipped cream-topped. Its process is transparent, allows for control over a number of variables, and can easily be adapted for a single drinker.

We're lucky to have a number of coffee shops who specialize in the single-cup, pour-over thing including Blue Ox, Spyhouse, and Parka, and though we're still fans of the actual coffee this method produces, a growing number of us at the Hot Dish are finding frustration with pour-over as the weapon of choice for restaurant coffee service, particularly at brunch. Scoff and moan, but here are our four most salient points in the case against Chemex.

See also:
Why we hate "his and hers" cocktails

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Surly responds to proposed beer tax increases

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Surly speaks out against proposed beer taxes
On Tuesday the folks over at Surly Brewing Co. took the time to issue their response to the proposed tax increase on Minnesota-made alcohol. In a lengthy blog post that details their multiple issues with the proposed excise tax increase, Surly makes it clear that this legislation can only hurt Minnesota's currently booming beer business.

Surly is currently in the works of developing their $20 million "destination brewery" which is going to allow them to increase their productions levels up to 100,000 barrels a year. This would still keep them under the affected volume, but they note that brewers like New Ulm's Schell's Brewery and St. Paul's Summit Brewery will both be affected and should Surly continue to grow, they too will eventually be impacted by the increases.

See Also:
Surly confirms Prospect Park for new brewery location

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Chino Latino apologizes, reworks offensive advertisement

Categories: Complaints, News
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A change of heart: Chino Latino's new ad
Last week we ran a story about Chino Latino's offensive ad campaign for its latest Indian street food-themed menu and the outcry it prompted in the Desi community, as those from the Indian subcontinent refer to themselves. A Facebook group, "Hipsters Against Parasole," quickly formed, and a very vocal spokesperson, Christy Spillman George, took charge of the cause and contacted us on behalf of members of the Minnesota Bollywood Association. She expressed her disappointment in the "unfunny references to hurtful historical events and reinforcements of ugly stereotypes" in Chino Latino's ad, asking that the company rework the copy and issue an apology.

Considering the company's history of inflammatory slogans, billboards, and marketing ploys, it seemed the odds were not in her favor, but a follow-up with Spillman George proved otherwise.

See also:
Chino Latino's ad for new menu: Is it racist?

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Grilled cheese and other foods not worth ordering at a restaurant

Categories: Complaints

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.

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OpenTable causes some diner confusion

Categories: Complaints

How do you approach restaurant reservations? Do you go freestyle, sans reservation? Call ahead? Or do you use OpenTable? Almost 200 metro-area restaurants use OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation service. So something's obviously working, but there are some quirks to the system that have some local diners confused.

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Menu pet peeves

Categories: Complaints

I was on Mischke's show yesterday discussing this list of "9 Phrases to Ban from Restaurant Menus" from the Chicago Tribune.

--"Grilled to perfection"
--"World famous"
--"Kobe burger"
--"Shrimp Scampi"; "Eggplant alla melanzane"; "With au jus"
--"Garden Fresh"
--"Homemade [anything]"
--"Melt in your mouth"

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Burger Grease Art just an Arby's ad?

Categories: Complaints


We sort of got all excited and mini-inspired when we saw what we thought was a real live genuine artist ordering a bag full of burgers and taking it back to his "studio" to make art. And ok, yes, things did get a little fishy when we saw that said "artist" elected to take what seems like such an unusual concept -- burger grease art! -- to merely create a Mona Lisa rendition. But so what, it's ART we thought, and we suspended our disbelief in the name of ART. Then we noticed the "artist's" web address and thought "Hey, we'd like to know more about this artist. Maybe his other stuff is more edgy, cause it seems like he's kind of on to something. Maybe he knows Banksy," we thought. And maybe we're just super gullible, but seeing what "burger grease art" is really all about was really sort of crushing. And also a little embarrassing.

129 cardinal sins of service

Categories: Complaints

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I've been having some less-than-stellar service experiences lately...First, there was the Great Soy Sauce Spill of 2009, when my server spilled a vast inky puddle all over our table, somehow without noticing, and then neglected to wipe it up after several return visits. Then there was the Information Gap Incident, in which the server was unable to identify a major component of a dish, even though that item was listed in the menu description. And finally, was the Takeout Travesty, in which the server told me the kitchen was "closed" for 20 minutes during the early part of regular dinner service hours with no further explaination or apology--and she said this as she carried plates of hot food out to other diners. Sigh.

It seemed appropriate, then, that I noticed the Strib ran the list of "129 Cardinal Sins" of service compiled by Le Bernardin's maƮtre d', which was published last fall in Eric Ripert and Christine Muhlke's On the Line: Inside the World of Le Bernardin. Anything else you'd care to add?

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"Barack Burger" coming to a joint near you?

Categories: Complaints


People are all fuh-reaking about Barack Obama's "burger incident" last week. Those weighing in seem to fall in one of two camps: They're either 1) foaming at the mouth about just how elitist it was for him to have his burger without ketchup and to ask for Dijon on it instead (some are calling it "Dijon Derangement Syndrome") or 2) sneering about the opportunism stemming from the incident, which includes businesses capitalizing on it (which, c'mon, duh!), and hence "Barack Burgers!"

May I introduce a third camp? 3) Thank you, Obama. Finally. Ketchup is gross. It is merely a vehicle for sugar, plus it is weirdly slick and shiny. You can practically see your reflection in a pool of Heinz. That is not ok. Burgers with mere mustard (and all the other fixings, including tomatoes -- real, live tomatoes) are superior. When is everyone else going to realize this? Bulldog? Blue Door? I could see you doing a good Barack Burger! Can you will you? Capitalize away!

Bottled water is b.s.

Categories: Complaints


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that Minnesota needs more than $5.4 billion in the next twenty years to repair and maintain the state's water infrastructure. And it's probably no surprise that budget cuts have pushed public water further down the list of funding priorities.

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