When we go for a dinner out we expect a fine meal. The truth is we should be getting exactly that. But, are we? Are the foods we eat at restaurants and dining facilities so ideal and perfect? Is organic food really organic? Is meat really nutritious? Are veggies really germ-free? Here is a list of the 5 foods-offenders to avoid at restaurants, to save yourself from food poisoning, outrageous markup, or germ minefields.
The majority of us believe that a fast-food restaurant’s best-selling items have high turnover. Having served the fast-food sector for many years, I know that fast-food restaurants pre-make their top-sellers to keep up with the demand. This means that employees wrap and bag foods way before they are ordered, which gives food-borne illnesses a good chance to develop. Of course, pre-making and packaging food is not only a fast-food restaurant’s characteristic. Anyway, according to CEO of Restaurant Expert Witness, Howard Cannon, it’s best to order food that are more likely to be prepared to order, such as the less popular options. The less an item sits in holding (usually covered with sauce or mayonnaise), the better.
2. Iceberg Lettuce
One of the biggest rip-offs in the industry is the iceberg wedge salad. We all know that iceberg lettuce consists mainly of water (98%) and is marked up 20 times, at least. That aside, it provides a welcoming environment for germs, with all these cracks, edges, and corners, where they can hide. Such salads are simply filthy. You may say that restaurants usually do wash their greens. You may be right, but the lettuce is often served soggy. If this is not an enormous red flag, then what is? Lukewarm mayonnaise-based dressing and standing water is a killer combination, whose effects could be very unpleasant for us.
3. Meat (with the Bone in)
Chicken breast, bone-in pork and other small cuts of meat are more difficult to cook thoroughly because their outside can easily scorch and char. What does this mean to you that order it? Crispy meat on the outside, and, most likely, raw on the inside. At this point, you may say that there are many people that like their food undercooked, so why not have meat with the bone in served that way as well? The answer is that undercooked beef, for example, such as a steak tartare or a rare burger, do not cause food-borne illnesses. On the contrary, chicken and pork do, which makes them highly dangerous when undercooked. And this is not just us talking from the top of our heads. This is a piece of information coming from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention itself. That aside, when you order bone-in meat, you end up eating significantly less portions of meat.
Note: Speaking of chicken, here is something to consider, next time you want to order one. If you are ordering outside the box, chicken is just a chicken. Nothing unique in terms of preparation that can be that worthy of your attention on the menu. Plus, it is a cheap meat that is substantially marked up. So why not be bolder than that?
To begin with, meatloaf cannot be considered meat. It is more filler than anything else. However, restaurants have developed this concept that if they drown the dish on seasoning and sauce, they can pass it on to you as meat. How could you not notice? If for anything else, your belly will start complaining that you didn’t get enough food! And, to make things even worse (and sell meatloaf further) many menus use such insulting descriptive words, like “home-cooked”, “homemade”, “|Mom’s”, “Home-style”. Come on. It is an offense to our mom, after all! Give yourself more credit and just order a steak or burger, instead.
5. Gourmet Food
Don’t get me wrong here. Gourmet food is great. The objection is to the restaurants that cheat customers into believing that they are getting highbrow fare for a considerably low price, just because these restaurants are working in one expensive ingredient, like fois gras or truffle oil. They claim to work on that ingredient in small batches, which is the reason for the overpriced dishes. But, you should know this: Most commercial truffle oils are nothing more than a mix of lab-produced chemical with olive oil. An interesting survey held by Esquire magazine has shown that truffle oil is one of the 8 most overrated fine dining ingredients, according to chefs that shared their experiences regarding botched US dining.
Food for Thought
If you are seated in a table that is already set with a carafe of water, you are probably risking health hazards. Water can be one of the most dangerous items in a restaurant. Any item sitting between 40-140 degrees for a while has increased potential to develop bacteria. So ask the waiter for nothing less than ice-cold water to be handed to you after you order.
Specials with Sauce
Restaurants tend to order more food than they really need, mainly to avoid running out of ingredients. This means that any surplus from one day (that has not expired) is easily turned into the next day’s special. How? With sauce. You should be wary of meat that has been cut and used in a soup, stew, or pasta dish, or any other item that is used in a way that is reducing its flavor.
Free Bar Snacks
A whole lot has been said and written about consuming free bar snacks but turning your attention to them once more can only do good. You may not have thought about it, but munchies, pretzels, and nuts are free of charge, which means that the bars and restaurants offering them won’t throw the remaining ones away after a customer has finished their drink or meal. Instead, they use what is left to serve the new customer. And, at the end of the day, the just dump them back into a container, to serve them the following day. So, bottom line, you never get a fresh serving. If only you could imagine all those hands touching the nuts you are served for free and the germs they carry, you’d be blown away.
Taking into consideration all the above, be very picky when on a dinner date. And, if you want some amazing romantic restaurants to take your other half and enjoy excellent cuisine, check out the Top 10 most Romantic Restaurants in Toronto! Now, if you want a real taste of excellent gastronomy, the Mediterranean cuisine is unquestionably an excellent option. Here is a list of the most popular Greek dishes that will give you a mouthful of taste, healthy eating, and fresh, locally grown ingredients, to please your palate and tick all the boxes!