Food I don't cook myself.



Yeah, I'm prejudiced. So are you. So are we all. That said, there are some things that I find to be total turnoffs, or occasionally, turnons.

Turnoff: Squirt Bottles

Fast food joints use squirt bottles to clean tables. This is quick, easy, and lets people with no sense of cleanliness clean tables by rote. Unfortunately, it also puts a fine mist of soapy water and other people's gunk all over everything nearby, including you and your food. The health department isn't interested because, officially, soap in the food isn't harmful. The fact that it kills your taste buds and gives you a queasy stomach isn't important to them. It is, however, to me. Far as I'm concerned, any place that uses squirt bottles when there are customers eating is a fast food place, and shouldn't charge more than $5.00 for a meal.

Turnoff: Things I Won't Eat

This is more a problem eating at a friend's house than at a restaurant, but it occasionally happens in restaurants, too. Folks, please keep in mind that not everybody can eat everything.

I really can't stand liver (except chicken liver, which I merely dislike), Brussels sprouts, cottage cheese, and broad beans (except as an accent with, for example, succotash.) No, I won't eat it to be polite. I don't care if the recipe came from your great- grandmother. I don't care if it hurts your feelings. I ain't gonna eat it. This is well beyond simple dislike — these taste so awful that I can't force my throat to swallow them.

I am very sensitive to onions — my reaction to them is similar to the symptoms of food poisoning (let's just say extreme gastric distress and leave it at that). I can eat them if they've been cooked until dead, but it's hard to gauge this in somebody else's cooking. Oddly enough, I can eat scallions and garlic.

With all the fuss about food sensitivities (allergies is a medically loaded term), you'd think that restaurants would be better at listing all the ingredients. My sensitivity to onions can put me in a fetal position for twelve hours or so; others can die if they eat the wrong things. Not to mention religious restrictions (Kosher, Halal, Hindu).

Turnoff: Indian Food

The only problem with Indian food is that it all seems to consist of interestingly- seasoned onions — and I can't eat onions. They give me the same symptoms as food poisoning. Onions are so ubiquitous in Indian cooking that they don't seem to realize that they're putting them in. They're not listed on the ingredients on the menu and they often can't leave them out because they're cooked in.

It all smells wonderful, though.

Turnon: Ducks

When you're going to a Chinese restaurant, it's a very good sign when you see ducks and other roast meats hanging in the window. It means that they cater to the local Chinese population.


Hollywood East Cafe

2312 Price Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902-4640, US
Phone: 301-942-8282; Fax: 301-946-8821

2621 University Blvd. West, Wheaton, MD 20902, US
Phone: 240-290-9988; Fax: 240-290-9989

Both sites open for lunch and dinner.

Our neighborhood Chinese hole- in- the- wall. Run by a family from Hong Kong, it's the best Chinese restaurant in the DC - Baltimore area. It's fun to take people there and watch their eyes light up like little pinwheels when they taste the food.

The "whatever over rice" dishes are the best lunch deal around.

Parkway Deli

8317 Grubb Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301-587-1427
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A New York Jewish style deli. Only Jewish style because they aren't kosher. This is where all the NYC expats go for a taste of home (don't try to get in for Saturday or Sunday lunch unless you're willing to stand in line for a while).

I really like the idea of a restaurant on Grubb Road.

Red Dog Cafe

8301-A Grubb Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301-588-6300
Open for breakfast Tuesday - Friday. Closed Monday.

The newcomer on Grubb Road. Nice upper- class hangout, with a front that opens in warm weather and a little outdoor area that is dog- friendly.

The food is a lot better than you'd expect for a neighborhood hangout. Turns out the chef is from Red Sage, one of the DC area's finest restaurants. Everything I've tried there has been excellent (be sure to ask about the daily specials) except the macaroni & cheese, which has been underseasoned and grossly overcooked. The cesar salad dressing ain't so hot either.

Warning — the pictures on their Website were taken with a really wide angle lens. The place is really narrow.

Sergio's Ristorante

8727 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, MD
Phone: 301-585-1040
Open Monday - Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner only.

Silver Spring's high- class Italian restaurant, in the basement of the Silver Spring Hilton. Just plain all-around good, for a surprisingly moderate price.


Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2007 Stephen G. Smith. See the Legal Stuff for details.

Last updated: 2007-10-01 04:47:04Z