Don’t you just hate it when…

By Louise Liebenberg

WE all get irked by lousy service and sub-standard food, but here’s my list of top 10 foodie irritations. Feel free to send me yours, or comment on our blog!

1. Spelling mistakes and typos on restaurant and cafe menus. Maybe it’s because I edit for a living but spotting one of these – like tomatos or potatos – gives me instant indigestion. If you’re going to invest hundreds of thousands in a restaurant venture then at least use the spell checker or get someone to proof-read your menu for you.

2. Speaking of spelling, if you can’t spell cappuccino then please don’t call it a flat white. A flat white is exactly that, flat. Like a cappuccino it’s espresso with steamed milk, but without the generous milk foam than you would get with a cappuccino. Kind of like a Spanish cafe con leche, or a cafe latte.

3. This one goes more for home cooks than restaurants… but why, oh why, would you want to kill perfectly decent food with spice mixes loaded with additives, packet sauces and the like? If a steak is good quality, grass fed to boot, don’t go and ruin it with rubbish; ditto farm fresh veggies swimming in sugar and marge, or doused in packet mixes.

4. On the marge topic, don’t you just hate dining at a restaurant and having margarine brought to the table instead of butter along with the bread basket? C’mon guys, diners expect more and we CAN tell the difference.

5. Can’t stand that thick, artificial-looking orange spice lavishly sprinkled over restaurant or cafe chips without you asking for it. Leave us to salt or spice our own chips, please.

6. People who break their pasta into pieces before putting it into the pot for boiling, or else cut their cooked pasta into tiny bits on the plate, really get my goat. The Italians would’ve made spaghetti in 2cm strips if that’s how they wanted you to eat it.

7. Another restaurant no-no – warm white wine or rose. The bottle must be pre-chilled, even if there is an inviting ice bucket waiting for it at your table.

8. Am I the only one who is sick, sick, sick of sweet chilli sauce? Why can’t we just keep it for Asian dishes as intended? I can’t wait for the novelty of serving it with everything from breakfast eggs to boerie on the braai wears off, but will that day ever come?

9. You cook a great meal, invite some guests over and then someone practically covers their plate in salt without bothering to taste the dish first. If I took the trouble to cook for you, I would surely have taken the trouble to check the seasoning. My way around this? Not a salt cellar in sight unless guests ask for one.

10. Ever notice how some people will insist on having artificial sweetener in their tea or coffee, but will then order a giant, whopping slice of cake to wolf down with it. That one takes the cake – literally!

We want your comments! Send us your pet peeves when it comes to cooking, dining and entertaining.

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2 Responses to Don’t you just hate it when…

  1. Max says:

    1. Why is it that some restaurants seem unable to cook a without cheese and cream. I have been to restuarants that have served up gourmet meals without all the dairy additives.
    2. I hate the way you become “invisble” when you try and get the attention of waiters. Many of them have developed the fine art of avoiding eye contact with customers to perfection.
    3. I agree with you about loading, or should I say killing food with spices and sauces, especially aromat. The day I put tomato sauce on anyone’s food, you know it is bad.
    4. Whatever you do don’t give me food with fingerprints on it. I don’t go to restaurants to admire someone’s hand-i-work on my plate.
    5. Why is it that some restaurants cannot time it that everyone’s food arrives at the same time. Ever been in that situation when everyone has eaten, before your food arrives…..grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
    6. When I say I want my steak well done, it is because I like it that way. If it is still raw when it arrives, it goes back.
    7. I hate it when rolls are served already buttered. I like them plain.
    8. I love finding spelling mistakes on menus. I photgraph them and blog them. “Union rings” was a classic from Nieuwoudtville and “sweat treats” from the shop next to the Mannetjies Roux Museum in Victoria West.
    9. The menus need to be specificic. I once ordered the only fish dish on the menu that was not advertised with a sauce over it. When it arrived it was covered with a milky sauce. When I queried it the waiter said they covered all their fish with this sauce. When I pointed out that the menu decribed it as grilled he did take it back. I now make sure my perculiar idiosyncrasies are well communicated to the waiter, like plain baked potatoes…….
    10. It really irks me when I order something on the menu, only to be informed that it is not in stock. This is made worse in those circumstances when you disappear from the waiter’s radar and have time to study the menu and have set your heart on some rare treat.
    11. It has happened that our order was taken and then promptly forgotten. Let’s just say that we did not pay for the meal we eventually received.
    12. By the way I love chopping up my spaghetti in to small pieces. It is easier to eat that way. It also goes to show that not all Italian designs are good.

    What I look for in a restaurant is one that will cater for my need for a low cholesterol diet and lactose intolerance. I am happy to say that I have found many that do – but some just don’t get it.

    • Thanks Max, this list is FABULOUS and we are so with you on these irritations! You are very welcome to send us something on the trials and tribulations of cooking without dairy – it could make a great post!

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