If you don't know the ins and outs of food service, it can be difficult to identify huge problems before they become huge problems in your tummy.
The smallest, most innocuous things--or even things that may seem like they're too good to be true--can really take a toll on your wallet, your stomach, your health, or any number of things later. Diner, beware!
Here were some of those answers.
I Don't Wanna Know What A Sneezer Even IsGiphy
If employees try to argue with you about food quality in order to dissuade you from sending something under cooked back, just leave. It means they have a cook who can't take criticism and your chances at getting a sneezer are greatly increased.
A Pleasant Surprise
I remember my trip to Malacca, Malaysia. We walked up to a stall where an elderly lady was squatting down just in front of the sidewalk with a plastic basin and washing the dishes in it. Stray cats were coming in from the alley and licking at dishes.
My first question was "is this a restaurant?" Upon closer inspection: yes, it is.
My second question was "who on earth would eat here???" Then our guide brought us inside. Looks like: we are.
Food was amazing and delicious and despite fearing the worst, nobody got sick.
Morale Is Important
Pastry chef here. As much as people say avoid specials, I can't speak for everyone but at least in desserts/breakfast pastries, if you see something new it's worth trying. Chances are it's something the chef has been working on for weeks on their own time, there's a lot of love and effort put into it.
Also, the standby if the menu is a book, it's probably not great.
The biggest thing to keep an eye on though imo is the staff. If there's pissed off people, get out as fast as you can obviously. If everyone is kinda apathetic and not talking to each other much, get out. That's also a sh*tty environment, everyone is probably really passive aggressive, and that's going to show. If people seem genuinely good with being there even if it's busy or if there's playful ragging going on, that's where you want to be. The better the staff gets along, the better everything in the place runs.
Can Carpet Just Die
Not a chef but worked in food a lot.
Carpet. Yeah it's quieter and doesn't get slick, but it is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. I saw them pull it up when they remodeled (and put in more carpet). Vacuuming only goes so far in a restaurant and I know they never, ever shampooed it.
More Concise, Please
If a restaurant has a one-page menu that's usually a pretty good sign, it means their line cooks have become specialists and can usually nail all the dishes listed.
Conversely, if a restaurant has a giant, multi-page menu that's a gigantic red flag. The longer the menu the better the odds that you're paying to eat a boiled bag frozen meal.
The first thing they told us in culinary school when you're learning the basic rules for food safety standards is if you enter a seafood restaurant and smell fish, leave.
All From Waitstaff
I've worked in restaurants for over a decade. A couple years in the kitchen and the rest as FOH.
If your server's response to "how is the [item]" seems disingenuous, that's a big red flag. We know what goes on in the kitchen, we know the complaints, and we know which items to stress over when we deliver them. Servers who pause or seem uncomfortable with that question generally equates to a menu full of stuff we wouldn't eat even as a free shift meal.
A GOOD sign is when servers hang out and eat at the restaurant post-shift. Generally we are getting a discount but not free food - if we are spending our nightly tips on it, it's worth it.
This Is Why Presentation Counts For 25% On Chopped
Waitress here! if you see any food coming out that's messy and theres sauce all over the rim of the plate, etc, it's likely to mean that the chefs aren't putting much effort into their meals and they therefore will not be very good. All the chefs at my work find it SO important that everything is presented well and I agree, so if they miss something I'll check the plates and point it out which they always appreciate as it reflects well on them.
Yikes On Capitalism
Businesses with a bunch of signs/specials out front. "Lunch special: 4.99$!", "free appetizer from 5-8pm weekdays!", "BOGO main course Wednesdays all day!" That kind of thing. Usually means they're going under and are trying to drum up business. Unless they're a chain.
Regular lunch/dinner restaurants that start to offer brunch. #1 brunch service is the worst, chefs hate it, and are usually disgruntled, #2 brunch is a money maker, companies charge over the top for thin pancakes and orange juice with a splash of 4$ champagne. Sudden brunch means the place is trying to make more money, charging double and using chefs that don't want to be there.
Reviews where the owner is arguing with the reviewer. I saw an argument on yelp where a lady complained her chopstick or something was moldy and gave them 1 star. While it was super unfair to give a 1 star over something they didn't do, the owner got into it with her and they started fighting on Facebook. Owners that are willing to yell at people who are spending their money are likely to treat their staff the same or worse. Meaning their employees are either pissed, or the turnover is high and no one is trained well.
The Final ListGiphy
I've done bartending/waitressing for a few years, here's my list:
- First of all, ignore the bathrooms/kitchen thing, the people in charge of the kitchen generally aren't in charge of the bathrooms, and it's normally the servers job, if the restaurant area is busy we're gonna skip that when we can, but we'll probably give it a quick tidy if we use the toilets.
- Most places opt for paper menus, because they can just be chucked away afterwards, it's cleaner this way, however if the table is sticky (and the restaurant area is quiet) then there's probably a few other sticky areas.
- Check your cutlery, most cutlery barely gets washed, it gets rubbed with soap, sprayed with water and chucked in a dishwasher, it's then meant to be polished with hot water when it's brought to the table set up area, this is where we actually check it for leftover grime. If your cutlery is gross, chances are your wait staff aren't doing their job properly.
- Don't order fish on Sunday's, most places get their fish deliveries on a Monday and on a Thursday, fish goes off fairly quickly and on a Sunday it's really not great.
- If your server has long hair and it's not tied up check for hair in your food, kitchens tend to have really strict rules on their staff and you rarely see them with hair down and makeup on, if there's a hair in your food it's probably from your waitress.
- If your (hot) food is out quickly your chef was probably a microwave
- If your server visibly has a cold and is still working, don't eat there, they're either not paying their staff enough to have days off or they're forcing staff to work in conditions where they shouldn't be handling food, the kitchen staff probably get the same treatment and probably have the same illness
A Greasy Good Time
This is late but I clean kitchen exhaust systems. If you walk in a restaurant and can smell grease walk out. That means the place isn't clean. From the exhaust system to cooking equipment.
We clean some places where grease drips off the hoods onto cooking surfaces.
It's Like A Red Flag Parade
Please god be clever about ordering. If the place is grubby (such as table not cleaned) staff are just sat down in the restaurant, you hear insane shouting from the kitchen etc don't order sh*t like lobster.
I've worked in the industry for 10 years and a year ago went to Spain with my boyfriends family. They all decided on a restaurant they wanted to go to. The restaurant was in a busy area but was quiet (red flag 1) the menus were dirty as were the cutlery already laid out on the table (red flag 2- and yeah I asked for replacement cutlery) the there were more waiters than customers and most were sat down one was drinking at the bar (red flag 3) there was about 50 dishes on the menu (red flag 4) and I saw flies all over (red flag 5) i ordered a vegetarian salad because I didn't trust meat from there at all and told my boyfriend he should do the same. He didn't listen, nor did the rest of his family. They all decided to go for chicken or seafood. They spent the next 2 days vomiting. I enjoyed the next 2 days in the sun.
If there are to many items on the menu. If you have 50 combo choices, man you know half that stuff is frozen, old, canned etc. Nothing is gonna be great like an In-N-Out burger. It's all gonna be 'meh'
A National StandardGiphy
One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet: the amount of ServSafe certificates posted on their wall.
ServSafe is a national food safety training course that all managers have to take and pass to become managers. It is required in all food service establishments and for every ServSafe-certified employee, there should be a certificate visible to customers(similarly to health inspection).
So basically, the more certificates you see, the more employees that work there who truly understand food safety. It's an incredibly tough test and you have to actually understand the material in order to pass.
Check your dishes, cups, cutlery.
Mood of staff.
If it has an open kitchen it's probably half decent.
Cleanliness of place, clutter, etc.
If your plate is hot it doesn't mean your food was microwaved. Every restaurant I've worked in has kept their plates in a warming drawer or oven to keep them hot.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Not a chef but from personal experience: if its a small chinese restaurant and they have a tank holding live seafood -- BUT THEY DONT CLEAN IT -- that place is definitely going to give you a brutal case of food poisoning.
If you insist upon eating at such a place I suggest you tip heavily (if ordering to-go) or heavily flattering the waitstaff and/or asking about what's fresh (if dining in).
Love is crazy. I've finally come to that conclusion. And marriage, you take your life in your hands and just throw caution to the wind in hopes of survival with that step.
When love falls apart, things can get real messy, real fast. And I've always been stunned by people's behavior when love subsides.
More often than not, it's like they become different people. Sometimes people are beset by tragedy and grief and sometimes people smile wide and move on. It's a coin toss.
But my favorite post divorce personality has to be the sudden super villain. Oh honey watch out for them!
Redditor u/hyperyog wanted to hear all the tea from the divorcees out there by asking:
Divorced Redditors, what is the craziest thing you or your former spouse did after divorce?
I once had a friend who burned her ex's house down when he wasn't home. He had started seeing someone almost immediately, so she thought, lemme set their sparks. Yeah, she wasn't well. Whatever happened to just a quick goodbye?
Swipeddean winters crying GIF by MayhemGiphy
"She removed the retaining clips for my windshield wipers, but put the wipers back on the arms. First storm after I got my car back from her, driver side wiper flew off the car on Interstate 40. Good times."
"He wrote suicide notes and put them in my kids backpacks for them/me to find. Then he turned off his phone and went to a coworkers house to play crib and have drinks.. all the while knowing I would be freaking out searching for him thinking he was in danger or worse. Thankfully my kids didn't see the notes and didn't know what was going on. This was just one of the many, many crazy things he did. Two years out and he just recently stopped showing up at my work and driving by my house at night."
A Sad End
"Died of a drug overdose. To be fair, her drug addiction was the reason for the divorce, so maybe that isn't too crazy."
"That's so incredibly difficult to have gone through. I unfortunately know the depths of this kind of pain, and while I'm sure the circumstances surrounding it are different, the loss that still happened is a tragedy. My condolences."
"Stalked me for 5 years. Would make fake social media profiles to try to follow me (which I would block endlessly) and would try to find where I worked so she could talk to me. This lady cheated on me with 7 different men 2 months after we were married. I kicked her a** to the curb and made her sign the court papers."
"When we had our day in court she cried in the judges office while I just wanted to get this crap done. After, my dad was with me and he threw 50 dollars at her and told her to "change your freaking last name." Good guy Pops. I haven't seen or heard from her in about 5 years, thank goodness."
Take it All!skin care spinning GIF by Primal Life OrganicsGiphy
"I had an ex-boyfriend go through my apartment and take back every gift he had given me that he could find. Then he went in my bedside table and took the condoms. And the vibrator he had given me."
See now, when I'm out... I'm out! I don't want to see you, hear from you or know you. I wish you well in life, but please live it far from me. Anyone agree? Clearly not the people here. Let's continue...
For the Boybicycling father and son GIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"All I wanted was custody of my son, I gave her everything else except one of our cars. She fought me through 5 hearings, I won. She never came to see him again."
"My ex cheated on me the week my mom died in the hospital. She spent a year and a half trying to get in touch with me. She would call my old work and make fake accounts trying to message me on FB. It was insane. She later sends a certified letter explaining she was sorry that she did what she did and that she aborted our child."
"Wanted me to meet her somewhere so she could apologize face to face. She already married some other guy that she had children with and was still trying to get in touch with me. I never understood her."
"After years of telling me she wanted a child, that she wanted to be a mom, that her life's dream was to be a stay at home mom, she got pregnant with the first guy she slept with while we were getting divorced and put the kid up for adoption even before it was born. This was a long-standing thing with her, she always wanted something (car, house, dog, cat, marriage, etc) and the second she got it she immediately hated it."
"Called me and pretended he had been hit by a car while we were talking. He even tried to voice the crowd that had gathered around his "body." God-awful acting, but pretty funny listening to him try to mimic a woman's voice. Points for trying to be inclusive, I guess."
"I think he was trying to get me to re-live my trauma of being on the phone with a friend who actually HAD been hit by a car while we were talking. Too bad he didn't realize that hearing the real thing is worlds different than hearing a dumba** try to act it out."
"I was sending 600 dollars a month to support my daughter because she's the only thing I give a sh!t about. My ex texts me and tells me I need to be sending 1200 a month because she's broke and can't pay her bills and I should feel guilty about it. She left me for another guy while I was on deployment I told her to go screw herself--call my lawyer."
Pop OffTom Hanks Drinking GIF by The Good FilmsGiphy
"Took the sodas from the fridge as he walked out the door. Dumfounded."
See, I blame Alanis Morissette and her "Jagged Little Pill" album. All I'm going to say is... the secret song. I think she gave people ideas. (I love that song) Y'all, seek therapy if you can't shake people. When it's done, let it be done.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is highly regarded for his delicious plates, his ability to run a solid restaurant, and, let's face it, his stage presence.
He's also a foul-mouthed Brit who is all too willing to dismantle people's self-esteems and compare them to livestock animals.
Alas, as watching all reality television goes, we love to see the crashing and burning.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if you were the one being torn into by the sailor of all chefs, Mr. Gordon Ramsay.
Wondering what horrible dishes were lurking in unknown kitchens all over the place, Redditor FalloutSl*t413 asked:
"What's something you made that was 100% delicious but Gordon Ramsay would slap you for anyway?"
Some people talked about those purely functional meals that are just perfect for piling on enough protein and calories to get through the day.
"My mom used to make us 'Volcanoes.' Mashed potatoes topped with ground beef with some ketchup. I still tear it up to this day."
Quick and Easy
"I make weeknight 'enchiladas.' "
"You stick frozen taquitos in a casserole dish and cover them with canned or frozen chili and cheese. Bake them until everything's hot, serve with a dollop of sour cream. They sound disgusting but they taste amazing, and they take like, five minutes to prep."
"I know it looks like, smells like, and probably tastes like cat food but potted meat sandwiches. Look, when you're poor as hell and you can make 3 sandwiches with one little can that cost like 20 cents, it's pretty good."
"While I'm at it, Treet and bologna are pretty great. I have the taste palette of a raccoon and I like it that way."
"When I was younger I would make this thing where it was a patty melded of:"
- "a can of tuna"
- "two eggs
"And I would eat that almost daily, pan-fried, for lunch. Just slap me now and lets get it over with."
Others shared the recipes they make to feel fancy despite being totally trashy.
A Nuanced Process
"I call them 'chicken puffs.' Some par-cooked chicken (white or dark meat, either works) with sauteed serrano peppers and onions and garlic."
"All wrapped in crescent roll dough in little balls (a bit smaller than a baseball), put in a casserole tray filled juuuuust above the top of the little dough balls with cream of roasted chicken soup. Baked to completion/safety."
"Overly indulgent and delicious."
A Famous Side
"I consistently make a box of pastaroni angel hair and herbs as a side with meals I prepare for people. EVERYONE always asks for the recipe LOL please don't tell my secret"
Just a Couple Additions
" 'Fancy Ramen' Ramen made normal. Don't mix seasoning. Drain water. Add Mayo. Then mix in seasoning. And Volia. A lot of people question it. Until they try it."
Others outlined the things they eat that combine some ingredients it may seem disgusting to mix together.
Throw An Egg On There
"Fu** it lasagna, alternating layers of bread and shredded cheese (your choice which, I use cheddar) then crack an egg on top and put it in the microwave. Old depression meal, but it still holds up."
Hard to Wrap Your Head Around
"As a kid I would eat a banana with a cheese slice. Haven't tried it in years but it might hold up" -- Send_it_to_me
"Let's not" -- Sea-Entertainer-4974
"When I was younger I would make toast with peanut butter on it, then add pepperoni. Delicious then but I cringe thinking about trying it today"
The truly horrifying thing? There are so many more recipes out there that would leave Ramsay trembling.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
People love to talk about food. There are blogs, books, television shows, conversations in bars and farmers markets. In all likelihood, there is a recipe swap happening right this second in some deep corner of a suburb somewhere.
But sometimes talk is a lot of hot air. And the topic of food sure isn't immune to that criticism.
You can't get through a day without some telling you what "you gotta try."
The problem is, talking about food is often far more exciting than the food itself.
Redditor anicaodha asked:
"What food is overhyped?"
Many people were angry about garnishes. They hated the way restaurants try to entice people to eat certain menu items by slapping some kitschy ingredient on there.
A Very Expensive Burger
"Anything with gold flakes, absolutely pointless." -- Spend_Total
"ugh, i just remembered throwing up gold flakes from goldschlager, yuck!" -- spaceygracie12
"Aka how to add a crunch to your dish like a douche." -- CakeBot_TheReckoning
Catches the Eye Though
"Any rainbow food, rainbow grilled cheese, rainbow smoothie..."
"Just a cheap money grab."
No Breath On My Meal Please
"Dragon's breath/ nitro puffs or any dessert that contains liquid nitrogen to make it look cool." -- throwjango
"This stuff exists? God, I'm out of the loop." -- -The-Magic-8-Ball
"Truffle oil, usually doesn't contain a single truffle." -- BlckontheMoon
"The 1 thing I love about Truffle oil is I've never seen someone use it on a cooking competition show and not lose." -- igotmadshirts
Some people talked about the big trends that they just never could quite figure out.
That Almighty Nectar
"Remember when people were treating Nutella like it was the second coming of Christ?" -- Grapezard
"I had an Italian friend once invite me to his birthday party in high school. His mom made a Nutella pie and it was one of the greatest desserts I've never had the pleasure of trying again. It was so simple, like a soft flaky dough covered with Nutella."
"I don't want to come out of the blue and ask this kid for his mom's recipe 15 years later so I'll just suffer I suppose." -- JupiterTarts
"Red velvet is literally a red chocolate cake that has nowhere near enough chocolate and to much red food coloring. It literally was invented when done dudes chocolate turned kinda red when he added vinegar to the chocolate cake mix."
"Friends loved the color, but it was finicky to get the red color without changing flavor of cake, so he decided to use red food coloring."
"Fu**ing Avocado Toast.
"Avocado is a buck. Toast is few cents. Avocado Toast is $10+"
And some discussed the things that people insist are fancy and delectable, but are really just run of the mill entirely.
Meat is Meat?
"steak is good, and I'd even say a high quality steak can be very very good. But people act like it's better than busting a nut and that's just not true. It's just meat"
"Lobster. It's good, but poor value given it's almost always the most expensive protein available."
"Plus most places just drown it in butter, which again, fine, but if all you taste is butter, why spend that much?"
Depends on the House
" 'Housemade' ketchup. Give me the damn Heinz and get your banana aoili mess away from me." -- peanutbutterallytime
"I live in Pittsburgh and I have seen multiple restaurants try and fail to make housemade ketchup work. Every single time they go back to Heinz." -- HooBoy401
So if you find yourself tired of hearing people go on and on about something you don't go wild over, know that there are others fuming too.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
It's not easy to always do the right thing.
Which is why most people don't usually do the right thing. Doing the right thing involves a lot of thought, empathy for others, and a self-awareness of your place in the world. You're not making a choice just for yourself, you're more often than not doing it for someone else. This, in itself, presents a difficult hill for most people to climb so, usually, they feel it's easier to make the selfish choice.
Doesn't mean people always do. They can surprise you sometimes.
*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
What's the hardest moral decision you've ever had to make?
Even when the choice amounts to something small, it can still matter to someone else.
How Dare You Make Me Morally Astute?!
"This is small potatoes compared to most of the people on this thread but many years ago I was travelling and had very little money. I went to a stall at a market, handed them a 10 dollar bill. Item cost 5 dollars but instead of handing me a five dollar note, the handed me a 50."
"I was walking away from the stall when noticed. My first thought was BONUS. But I had lately been hanging out with a bunch of people who were really into karma. So I stormed back to the stall, slammed the 50 down on the counter and told them off for making me make moral decisions. Lady behind the counter was like "ahhhhhh, thanks"
Didn't Believe The First Time, But Can't Deny Visual Evidence
"I told a co-worker his wife was cheating on him. It ruined our friendship for a good amount of time, until he caught her himself."
"To bad he couldn't just believe you."
Owning Up To The Mistake
"Fessing up to an error I made at work that cost the company 5k. I was a manager and misinterpreted a sales promotion. I almost lost my job, this is the one time that telling the truth actually saved me. It's true what they say that the cover up is usually worse than the crime. Lesson learned.."
Doing something morally correct when it comes to family can be tricky. On one hand, you don't want to ruffle the feathers of the people you're going to be related to for the rest of your life...which is how family works.
On the other hand, do the right thing.
Making The Best Call For Your Children
"Removing the mother of my two sons out of their lives completely as she was unfit and abusive while I was on deployment. They were 3-4 years old then and now they are 17 and 15 with their mother never attempting to come back into their lives which I would prefer at this point."
Because They're Going To Be Sad Later...
"My grandmother died, and I lied to my parents about it."
"My grandparents were 95 and my parents hadn't had a vacation in 30 years. So when she passed away with only 5 days remaining on their vacation, my family decided not to ruin it for them; instead, we'd plan the entire funeral and if my mother wanted to make adjustments when she returned, we'd arrange it for her; there was nothing they could do to get her back."
"Having to decide on the DNR (do not resuscitate) order for my father who had been victim to a massive stroke..."
"I know millions have done it before and millions will again but to me it was devastating....."
"As a health worker, you did the right thing by your father. I've come across families of patients who keep them alive for their own peace of mind while the patient themselves is tired and in alot of pain mentally and physically from the constant treatments and would rather rest from it all. Don't feel bad for your decision."
Never doubt your actions when it comes to protecting children.
"Calling CPS on a student's family after she begged me not to. CPS did an investigation and she was pissed at me for months until the vice principal had a talk with her and explained that I only did it because I care and didn't want her to get hurt."
"That VP is awesome. I sat in his office while he coached me through the call, since it was my first time calling CPS."
Standing Up For Your Friend, Even When No One Else Will
"I was in high school and my best friend was being bullied on the bus. She brought a knife to school and had previously mentioned a list of people. I cried a lot when I went to the principal to turn her in. I knew I was ruining her life but I wanted her to get help. I didn't want anyone to get hurt because we were all just kids. She was expelled and forced into therapy. We had been friends since we were 11."
"My mom listened on the phone line when I was trying to comfort my friend (while absolutely not admitting it was me) and my mom jumped on and told her I'm not allowed to be her friend anymore. I had told my mom I had turned her in and she had no empathy for this girl. Because I had been bullied and stood up for myself and never "did anything like that". My friend was getting cornered on the bus by 4 people whereas I was normally taunted in public and was lucky enough to always have an upperclassmen or school employee around to help me out. I felt guilty about turning her life upside down for many years but would do it again because she did get help."
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/