Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sweden Bans Smoking In Restaurants

Sweden Bans Smoking In Restaurants

Much to the annoyance of my partner Eva, who is Swedish, Sweden will introduce a ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants midnight tonight.

A recent poll showed that 85% favour an end to smoking in restaurants, and 77% support a ban in bars and clubs.

As of June 1 Swedish diners will have to go outside to have a smoke, which will be very unpleasant in winter when temperatures drop to -20 degrees.

Establishments will only be allowed to permit smoking indoors if they build a separate, closed-off section with specially-designed ventilation. However, no food or drinks can be consumed in the special area.

This is expected to boost sales of snus. This is Sweden's centuries-old tradition of placing a form of moist snuff placed under the lip. It is used by more than a million Swedes.

Snus comes individually packaged in portion sizes, wrapped in a thin layer of paper which is placed under the lip and sucked on for several hours. A pack of 20 packets is sold in a round, plastic pillbox.

The only problem being, that the EU banned the sale of snus in 1992; citing research that said it causes cancer, but granted an exception to Sweden when it joined the bloc in 1995.

Some Swedish bars and restaurants plan to place "snus-trays", instead of ashtrays, in their establishments.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

Full marks to Gordon Ramsay's new show "Kitchen Nightmares", which was screened on Channel 4 last night.

In this show Ramsay descends upon a failing restaurant, and tries to turn it around.

Last night he highlighted a problem that is seemingly becoming endemic in many middle ranking eateries.

Namely that of "reheating".

These failing establishments believe that they can con their customers by serving reheated food which has either been purchased from the local supermarket, or prepared from a packet.

Message to these establishments:

We, the customers, are not that stupid; and can more often than not tell when we are eating reheats.

It is time that this disgraceful practice was stopped.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Poker and Food

Poker and Food

In what I would say it a novel innovation, New York may be on the verge of legalising the playing of poker in bars and restaurants.

State Senator John Sabini has introduced a bill that would expressly legalise poker for businesses, that are licensed by the state alcohol beverage control law, provided that these businesses apply for a new "social poker" license.

The bill would limit stakes to being no more than $50 buy in, and a winnings cap of no more than $100.

Don't hold your breath though, there is still a long way to go.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Disney Lands In The Soup

Disney Lands In The Soup

Disney has managed to get itself into hot water, over its plans to serve dishes such as shark's fin soup, sea cucumber and abalone in its hotel restaurants in its new theme park in Hong Kong.

Clarus Chu, of the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong, said:

"Promoting these marine species is not responsible because they are not sustainably harvested. Disney should have the social responsibility to promote responsible consumption...Serving these in wedding banquets will also make the bride and groom feel they are not doing something right."

The Chinese consider these dishes to be a sign of affluence.

Disney is quoted as saying that it will serve the dish "upon request".

Quote:

"Hong Kong Disneyland takes environmental stewardship very seriously and we are equally sensitive to local cultures..It is customary for Chinese restaurants and 5-star hotels to serve shark's fin soup in Hong Kong as the dish is considered as an integral part of Chinese banquets."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Veggie Burgers

Veggie Burgers

Kellogg Co. said Tuesday its Morningstar Farms unit will make a vegetarian "burger". This veggie burger will be sold at Burger King restaurants in the United States.

Burger King is the only fast-food restaurant to offer a vegetarian burger nationally in the USA.

Fast-food restaurants have been increasingly offering more health-conscious menu options like salads and fruit.

McDonald's does sells a vegetarian burger in some places, but has not announced plans to expand it nationwide.

Burger King has approximately 7,700 mostly franchised restaurants in the United States.

Burger King also recently launched another new product in the USA, an Enormous Omelette Sandwich.

The sandwich has one sausage patty, two eggs, two American cheese slices and three strips of bacon.

The calories content of this gut buster works out at 730 calories and 47 grams of fat; this is more than a Whopper sandwich, which has 700 calories and 42 grams of fat.

Question, do Americans really need to add calories to their diet?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Veg Out In Salt Lake City

Veg Out In Salt Lake City

Andrea Mather, the author of "VegOut" a vegetarian restaurant guide for Denver and Salt Lake City, has proclaimed that Salt Lake area restaurants are more vegetarian friendly than at first supposed.

In addition to vegetarian meals, they also offer vegan options (made without meat, eggs or dairy products).

Quote:

"The vegan consciousness in Salt Lake far surpasses the Denver-Boulder area...It's a great food town; it's easy to eat your way through it, which is what I did."

Her top Salt Lake City Vegetarian restaurants, as listed in her book, are:

-Bangkok Thai, 1400 S. Foothill Drive
-Blue Iguana, 155 S. West Temple
-Bombay House, 1615 S. Foothill Drive
-Cafe Shambala, 382 E. 4th Ave.
-Caffe Molise, 55 W. 100 South
-Frank Granato Importing Co., 1391 S. 300 West
-Ginza, 209 W. 200 South
-Mazza Mediterranean Restaurant, 1515 S. 1500 East
-Noodles & Company, (downtown, Murray, Sugar House and Layton)
-Oasis Cafe, 151 S. 500 East
-One World Cafe, 41 S. 300 East
-Pinon Market & Cafe, 2095 E. 1300 South
-Red Iguana, 736 W. North Temple
-Morning Ray Cafe, 255 Mountain St., Park City
-Royal India, 10263 S. 1300 East

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

StreetSmart

StreetSmart

Over £16K has been raised by restaurants in Edinburgh for a number of homeless charities, under the StreetSmart initiative.

Diners made donations, in the form of a tip, towards the charity.

Thirty-one restaurants in Edinburgh took part in the scheme, which raised funds for several homeless charities in the city.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Wine Doggie Bags

Wine Doggie Bags

The Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, will this week grapple with the thorny question of whether wine doggie bags should be allowed.

In other words, along with the unfinished food, should diners be allowed to take their unfinished wine home with them.

The current law prohibits restaurateurs from allowing customers to keep partially empty bottles of wine. The law is, rather tenuously, intended to reduce the chances drink driving.

I don't think that it is that likely that if you can't finish your wine at the table, you are then going to take a swig a few minutes later at the wheel of your car.

Granholm will probably sign the bill, but wants to see all of its provisions before making a decision.

Under the measure the wine buyer, or a restaurant worker, would have to reinsert the cork so that the top of it is level with the lip of the wine bottle.

The restaurants would have to be licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Iffy WiFi

Iffy WiFi

Much like the annoyance that the use of mobile phones in restaurants arouses, it seems that laptops are destined to become equally annoying.

There seem to be some diners who, for reasons best know to themselves, choose to bring their laptop into a restaurant.

Sad bastards!

Good manners dictates that both mobiles and laptops should be turned off when dining. However, there are those selfish individuals amongst us who choose to ignore the feelings of others.

Several restaurants in Silicon valley, where else?, have decided to cater for these techno nerds; and are now offering a haven for them, and their laptops.

The Trapeze Restaurant offers a wall down one side of the restaurant for the diners and their laptops, whilst the Burlingame restaurant offers WiFi service.

Others are set to follow.

This is bad news for those ordinary mortals amongst us, who go to a restaurant for the food and atmosphere.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Health Warnings For Top London Restaurants

Health Warnings For Top London Restaurants

It is reported that health inspectors have made criticisms of some of Britain's most prestigious restaurants.

These criticisms were made in confidential reports, obtained by the media under the Freedom of Information Act.

The list reads like a who's who of celebrity chefs and restaurants, it includes; Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc, the Ivy, Sketch and Momo, the Cinnamon Club and Nobu Nobu in Mayfair.

The criticims generally relate to minor health issues, and should not be a major cause for concern to the average diner.

I would venture to suggest that if all restaurants were subjected to a health review on the same day, at least 80% of them would receive some form of criticism.

What the customer doesn't see, won't hurt him!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Swedes Favour Smoke Ban

Swedes Favour Smoke Ban

The majority of Swedes favour the country-wide ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants, which is scheduled to take effect next month, according to a poll.

It is reported that 85% of Swedes said they favoured a total ban on smoking in restaurants, and 95% said that they expected to go out to eat as often or more often once the ban goes into effect.

67% of smokers questioned said they agreed with the ban.