i used to love eating out to dinner. when i was a child, it was one of my favorite absolute favorite things to do. i would beg my parents and whenever we would go, i would take my sweet time poring over the menu and deciding what i wanted (not a huge surprise, i would usually end up with a bacon cheeseburger, no matter what restaurant we were at).
while i still enjoy dining out and testing new places and cuisines, especially now that we are back living in the city, it does not provide nearly the thrill it used to. one reason for this change of heart is linked to dan’s and my growing love for and ability to cook lots of foods for ourselves. i frequently find myself at a restaurant, eating something and thinking, “i definitely could have made this at home and it would have tasted better.” the other reason is that eating out is not usually conducive to a healthy eating lifestyle. most restaurants put butter and oil in everything (including vegetables) to make it “taste better,” which means unnecessary calories and fat in a dish i would have probably enjoyed plain at home.
all that said, however, there are a few dishes that i get really excited to see when i’m out to eat. so …
1. duck. i don’t think i have ever purchased duck and cooked it at home. so if i see it on a menu, i usually order it (even though duck is usually pretty fatty and not that great for you!)
2. salmon. even though i make this for myself all the time, i know that generally it’s a pretty safe choice, health-wise. i always ask them to grill it and use VERY little oil and no butter. i actually enjoy the taste of the fish, so i honestly prefer to eat it that way.
3. bloody mary. dan and i have done a lot of experimenting with this beverage, and will continue to hone our recipe. we love to try out other people’s versions and steal ideas for our own devices.
4. unusual pork items. pork belly, bbq pork, pulled pork … we don’t make this a lot at home, so i generally reserve my pork consumption for dinners out.
5. really ANYTHING unusual. i like to go for things that are out of the ordinary in general. weird combinations, odd offerings … again, the theme is – dishes i wouldn’t make for myself at home and perhaps concepts that we can steal ideas from. that’s why we go out to dinner now, i think.
what kinds of things get you excited on a restaurant menu?