July 16, 2019
Oh, the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant. You get to sit at your ease, order whatever you like, not just what you're capable of preparing, and best of all - no clean up!
The word restaurant comes from the French verb "restaurer" which means to restore. The earliest restaurants in Paris were establishments which served a broth made of meat and egg which was said to restore health and vigor.
In America early restaurants were knows as "eating houses" or "victualing houses" and did not resemble the orderly establishments we're used to today. But while we can get much more than a broth of meat and eggs at our modern restaurants, there are still plenty of things to be cautious of; both for our health and our pocket books.
Scroll down for more.
Handy Hints Holly
Email your favorite hints
Visit the NEW and IMPROVED archives
Watch out for the specials
At a lot of restaurants, the special is whatever they need to sell before it goes bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the day. If it contains fish or if it's some kind of 'gumbo,' it just might be the stuff they're trying to get rid of.
Avoid the lemons
Never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. They are just cut up and thrown in your iced tea.
Add "lobster" to any standard dish; lobster mac-and-cheese, lobster-stuffed mushrooms, lobster cakes, and what you're usually getting isn't the expensive lobster meat you think you are. It's often the cheapest claw meat or some type of imitation-meat blend, meaning that you are way overpaying for the coveted crustacean.
This Copper Knife is BEST selling knife and it's ONLY $5
Meals You're Probably Wasting Your Money On
Be wary of any chicken entree that's over $25 because chicken only costs the restaurant a few dollars per pound. Plus, in their attempts to prevent salmonella or food poisoning, chefs often tend to overcook chicken.
You might want to pass on those loaded potato skins or fancy ummus plate. Restaurants do their best to keep main course prices down and they make up for that by jacking up the price of other menu items, namely appetizers. In fact, the price of appetizers has risen at a much higher rate than the cost of food in recent years.
Did you know that restaurants usually make more money off of your fettuccine Alfredo order than they do off the 12-ounce ribeye? Which makes sense, given how cheap a box of pasta is at the grocery store and how easy it is to make. The only exception here would be if the pasta is made from scratch, like at an authentic Italian restaurant.
Sorry KitchenAid, we've got this for under $6... NOT $24.99
'Go Green' Hint: Pass on the shrimp
Americans eat a lot of shrimp. An average of 4.1 pounds per person annually. But the unfortunate fact is that the process that delivers bags of frozen shrimp to your grocery store at cheap prices has devastating ecological consequences.
Farmed shrimp are kept in pools on the coast, where the tide can refresh the water and carry waste out to sea. Ponds are prepared with heavy doses of chemicals such as urea, superphosphate, and diesel. Then the shrimp receive pesticides, antibiotics, piscicides, sodium tripolyphosphate, borax, and caustic soda. Shrimp farmers have destroyed an estimated 38 percent of the world's mangroves to create shrimp ponds, and the damage is permanent.
Wild shrimp isn't a better option because it usually involves the use of deep-sea trawlers, which kills 5 to 20 pounds of 'bycatch' (unwanted species of fish accidentally scooped up by the crawler's net) for every pound of shrimp. Trawling is comparable to bulldozing an entire section of rainforest to catch a single species of bird.