Enjoying Great Restaurants

A Vegetarian’s Guide To Chinese Food Takeout

If you’re a vegetarian, then you know how tricky it can be when you order food at a takeout restaurant. This holds true for Chinese food restaurants. Some things are obviously a no go (beef and broccoli, pork fried rice) but other things are a bit more subtle. For instance, there are many meals that are cooked with fish sauce, or with beef broth, that might look like they are vegetarian friendly. Vegetable lo mein, for example, is made using fish sauce. So, with that in mind, here are some meals you can order that are not made with any meat or fish. Vegetable Egg Foo Young (Without The Gravy) Egg foo young is a type of Chinese omelet. You can get a vegetable version, or a mushroom version. Typically egg foo young is made with a gravy sauce. This is what you will want to ask the restaurant to remove. The gravy is made with beef or chicken stock. Instead of a gravy, you can use soy sauce, duck sauce, or a ginger sauce. Vegetable Steamed (or Fried) Dumplings These are great vegetarian appetizers. They are filled with cabbage and other steamed vegetables. They are made by rolling out a thin dough, stuffing the dough with cooked vegetables, and then either frying it in a wok or steaming it. They are then served with a sweet ginger based soy sauce. Buddha’s Delight This dish is an obvious choice for vegetarians because it was designed for vegetarians (particularly Buddhist monks). The dish is made of steamed vegetables and tofu. The dish doesn’t have any rice, so it’s also great if you’re on a low carb diet. The common ingredients are water chestnuts, baby corn, carrots, bok choy, black mushrooms, and of course tofu. General Tso Tofu This is a great vegetarian version of the infamous chicken version. The dish is made by frying tofu until it is crisp. Then the tofu is covered in a sauce made with soy sauce, sugar, mild chili peppers, and garlic powder. The dish is served with fried rice. Broccoli and Garlic Sauce This is a great side dish to add to your dinner. The broccoli is steamed and the served with a thick garlic sauce. While the dish is called “garlic sauce,” it is not too overpowering. It is made by reducing soy sauce, sugar, peppers, and garlic into a thick sauce with cornstarch […]

Wine Etiquette At A Fine Dining Restaurant

To have the full fine dining experience, learn as much as you can about fine dining etiquette. An important aspect of fine dining etiquette is wine etiquette. Following proper wine etiquette will not only impress those you are dining with, but will also increase the chances that you will find the perfect wine for you. Determining If You Will Be Drinking Wine When you arrive, the host may tell you that you can order whatever you want. If this is the case, go ahead and order wine if you’d like. Or the host might tell you that there is wine on the way. If that’s the case, you’ll be enjoying wine. If you aren’t sure because the host hasn’t clarified, follow the lead of the host. The Host Is Served First The host at a fine dining restaurant is always served wine first to make sure that the wine is the correct wine and that the wine is sound. Ladies are served before gentlemen. The wine is poured by the host unless the host directs someone else to pour the wine. Ordering Less Expensive WIne For those on a budget, a common approach for ordering wine is to order the second cheapest wine on the menu. This is done to save money while also not appearing as if you are cheap. However, the second cheapest wine on the menu will not necessarily have the characteristics you want. Instead, tell the server about the characteristics that you like in a wine and ask him or her to point you towards wines that have these characteristics. Then, suggest the wine that the server points out that is the least expensive. This way, you will have an inexpensive wine that is also closer to what you are looking for. Choosing The Wine Select a wine in a category that you are interested in. Once you have made a selection, ask the server for his or her opinion on the wine. Not only will this guide you through the process of finding the perfect wine, but it will also be much more polite. Enjoying Your Wine When holding the wine glass, always hold it by the stem. Do not hold it by the bowl because the warmth of your hand will cause the wine to not stay cool as long. A cloth napkin is used when pouring the wine to wipe excess drips from the […]

Tips For Creating The Perfect Pizza Crust For Your Family’s Pizza Night

Pizza is a family dinner favorite and a traditional dish. Whether you like to make pillowy deep dish pizzas, crispy, thin, all-about-the-toppings pizza or anything in between, the foundation and ultimate secret of a good pie is the crust. If you’re just learning to make your own pizza, you may find that the crust can be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you deal with some of the common problems you might face. Dealing With Stickiness The key to a pizza crust that’s light, airy and tender is a soft, sticky dough. Unfortunately, if the dough is too sticky, it can be tough to work with. You might be tempted to add a little bit more flour, but you shouldn’t do it, because extra flour on the work surface or in the dough is going to make it denser and drier, ruining that delicate texture. Instead of flour, coat your hands and the work surface with olive oil. That way, the dough stays workable without losing that texture. Preparing The Crust For The Pan Fresh pizza dough can be tough to work with when you’re rolling it out thin. Not only will it spring back as you work it outward, but the raw dough can be tough to get onto the pan once you’ve rolled it out. If you want to get a truly thin crust, put the dough between two pieces of oiled parchment paper to roll it out. Once it’s rolled out to the thickness you want, let it rest between the paper for a few minutes. That lets the dough settle into its new position. When you’re ready to put it on the pan, pull the layer of parchment off the top of the dough. Put the pan upside down over the crust, then flip the whole thing over so that the dough is on the pan. Pull the remaining piece of parchment off and you can top the pizza crust as you like. Preventing Soggy Crust Few things can torpedo your efforts at a thin, crispy pizza crust like leaving it on the pan when it comes out of the oven. When you leave it on the pan, the radiating heat from that pan will cause condensation that essentially steams the crust on the pan. This creates a soft, soggy mess. To keep that crispy finish, put your pizza on a cooling rack as […]

Eating Italian: 3 Wonderful Italian Ingredients To Introduce To Babies

Introducing your children to a variety of different cuisines and dishes early on will help establish good eating habits and also expand their palate. It can also dictate the eating path that they’ll choose to follow later on in life. In fact, recent studies show that babies that were introduced to lumpy foods and solids between 6 and 9 months had a more varied diet and less feeding problems by the age of 7 than the babies who were introduced later. If you’re thinking of introducing your baby to Italian food, here are 3 wonderful ingredients you should work with or look for on the menus of Italian restaurants. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Extra virgin olive oil is often found in many Italian dishes, and for good reason. These oils are known to contain omega 3 and omega 6 in proportions similar to breast milk, which makes it easy for babies to digest. Look for dishes that drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil and not much more when you’re at an Italian restaurant. This oil will aid in the myelination of nerve fibers and brain development. It is also easy on the stomach, as it aids gastric functioning and will prevent constipation and colic. Extra virgin olive oil also contains many essential vitamins and minerals that aid in other developmental areas as well. In short, it’s a really good ingredient for your baby. Pastina Pasta is the way of life for many Italians, so you’ll definitely want to find something similar to introduce your baby to. While pasta is not necessarily a good option as it can be difficult to chew, pastina are a great alternative. Pastina are small pieces of pasta shaped into itty-bitty stars. They are often used to make baby food, as it’s small size makes it easy for babies to swallow. Pastina adds a bit of texture to the food. If pastina is on the menu at your local Italian restaurant, you can most definitely feed some of it to your baby. Pastina added to low-sodium soups are also great for babies, and most Italian restaurants are willing to quickly whip something up to accommodate your baby if you ask ahead of time. It’s even better if the pastina is drenched in extra virgin olive oil. Parmigiano Reggiano Italian pediatricians recommend feeding Parmigiano Reggiano to babies as their first food when transitioning from milk to […]

Three Trends To Be Aware Of In Fine Dining

When you go to a fine dining restaurant, it’s about the experience as much as it is about the food you eat. Thus, when you consider which fine dining restaurant deserves your patronage, you need to consider what type of experience you can expect from a restaurant. Be aware of at least the following few criteria as you consider restaurants. Casual Fine Dining If years past, fine-dining establishments had at least an unofficial dress code. Thus, part of the cost in going to a fine restaurant was buying or renting a tuxedo and evening gown. While some people enjoy dressing up for a night out, others see it as not necessary in order to have a fine eating experience. While some owners of high-end restaurants still preserve an elevated environment in their restaurants, others allow a casual dress code and atmosphere, which will help those who don’t have room in their wardrobe or budget for a tuxedo and gown.  Michelin Stars Those who are new to the fine dining scene might be interested in a way to gauge restaurants before making special plans to go to any one restaurant in particular. Michelin stars can be helpful in judging quality. It is important to note that Michelin stars are awarded solely based on the quality of the food and that the price, environment, service, etc. play no role in the rating. In any case, Michelin uses a scale of one to three stars to evaluate restaurants. To even receive one star is difficult; to have three makes a restaurant truly superb.  Restless Palate and Aroma Forks The ambience is a third criteria that you can use to determine the quality of the experience you will have. Restaurant owners are aware that many of their patrons are looking for a new culinary experience and to this end, they are looking for new ways to entice customers to enter their doors. The way the furniture is arranged, what plants are featured in the restaurant, what sounds are audible, and even the way the forks smell can be used to finely tune the dining experience. Thus, when you consider visiting a restaurant, you should consider how the ambience plays into creating your dining experience.  While the criteria for judging a restaurant’s quality will differ from person to person, the above criteria can at least help someone who is new to the fine-dining scene to […]

How To Eat Healthier When Eating Out

One of the most difficult aspects of trying to get healthier by watching what you eat is being able to go out to a restaurant. Many people who are dieting or eating healthier will either avoid eating at a restaurant like  Adventures Pub & Spirits altogether or simply resign themselves to the fact that eating out will destroy their diet for that day. However, there are two ways that can help you eat healthier when you visit a restaurant to minimize or eliminate the impact to your diet or healthy eating habits, such as the three listed below. Beverages The most dangerous part of eating out and trying to be healthy are the beverages. While soft drinks and alcoholic beverages can often be quite delicious and can complement your meal very nicely, they can also wreak havoc on your diet. This is due to the fact that many of these beverages will contain a lot of sugar and empty calories that can greatly increase the overall calorie count of your meal.  If you do plan on eating out and want something more flavorful than water, try to keep your beverages to unsweetened or low-fat options. For example, skim milk or green tea can both provide a tasty addition to your meal without piling on the calories, fat, and sugar. Portions Another dangerous part of eating out when you are trying to be healthier are the portion sizes. While the portion sizes that many restaurants are attractive due to the value that they provide for your money, they are often way too large to be good for you. As a result, you will want to do whatever you can to lower those portion sizes as much as possible. One method for limiting your portion sizes is to ask your server to instruct the kitchen to cut your meal in half, with one half coming to the table and the other half going into a container so that you can take it home. This method is useful because it limits the damage that clearing your plate can do to your diet or healthy eating plan. In addition, the second portion can provide you with a nice future meal.  Another easy way to limit your portions is to avoid multi-course meals. This can be quite difficult as many restaurants are offering an appetizer, main course, and dessert combo for a single price in order […]

Smallwares You Will Need When You Open Up A Pizza-Focused Italian Restaurant

It can be extremely exciting to open up an Italian restaurant, especially when you decide to make it focus on pizza. However, when you decide to operate it yourself, things can get overwhelming. To begin with, you will need to make a list of the equipment that is necessary to run the business, including a dough mixer, pizza oven, refrigeration and even a pizza preparation table. However, it goes beyond that, as you will also need smallwares. This is where things get begin to get a bit ill-defined. Here are some of the smallwares that a pizza restaurant like Tony & Joe’s Pizzeria will require: Storage Tools Scales – To produce dough balls in accurate size and weight, it is imperative that you have a scale. This helps to eliminate waste and ensure that all customers are provided a consistently-sized product. Ingredient Bins – When making pizza, you will have a lot of dry ingredients, including yeast and flour. These bins will need to be able to seal tightly to ensure insects don’t try to make their way inside. Food Pans – These are necessary for the pizza line and will be used to prepare pizzas ahead of time. Preparation Tools Cheese Graters – You must have cheese graters in your pizza restaurant to save time and your mind. To speed up the process, consider going electronic. Meat Slicers – For pepperoni slices and if you decide to offer sandwiches, you may want to consider meat slicers. This will ensure that you always have fresh slices of meat that are consistent in size. High-Volume Produce Slicers, Choppers and Dicers – From onions to peppers, high-volume produce equipment like this will ensure that you always have onions, tomatoes and peppers at the ready for toppings for your pizzas. Baking Tools Pizza Pans – You will need these for when you make thick, deep dish and hand-tossed crust pizzas. Pizza Screens – These are necessary for when you bake thinner pizzas. The screens increase the amount of heat that reaches your dough. It helps to create a crispier crust. Pizza Stones – If you don’t use a stone deck or a wood oven, then you may want to use pizza stones to give your pizzas a similar crustiness as to what they would receive if they were prepared in a brick or wood oven. Pizza Peels – You need something to get […]

Men Who Can’t Eat Meat But Love Mexican Food: Try This Easy Fish Enchilada Dish

If you’re a man who loves Mexican food but can’t tolerate beef, chicken or pork, try fish. Sometimes, the digestive system has a hard time breaking down meat proteins because of how you eat, cook or prepare it. You may also have a digestive system condition, such as Crohn’s disease or IBS, that makes eating meat painful. Fish is an alternative protein that a number sources recommend eating in the place of beef, chicken and pork because it’s easily digested by your system. Here’s an easy fish enchilada dish you can prepare and eat now. What Type of Fish to Get for Your Enchiladas? The best type of fish for your enchiladas includes flounder, red snapper and whiting. These types of fish have light textures that cook up flaky and moist when you prepare them. For your enchilada dish, you can choose either fish above and still obtain the protein and flavor you want in your Mexican dish.  The fish also contains very little carbohydrates and fats. For example, grilled flounder contains 0 carbohydrates and about 2 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving. To achieve the health benefits of your fish, it’s a good idea that you cook it on a countertop grill or on a regular outdoor grill. You’ll also need the following ingredients for your dish: 3 or 4 large flour tortillas 1 large green, red and yellow pepper 1 medium-sized sweet yellow onion 1 small garlic clove 1 teaspoon of Mexican tomato-based bouillon seasoning 1 teaspoon of mild chili powder 1 tablespoon of light olive oil 1 small bunch of cilantro 1 cup of your favorite cheese You can leave out the chili powder if the seasoning irritates your digestive system. You can substitute the chili powder with chipotle, which has a mild, smoky flavor. After you have your ingredients, it’s time to get started. How Do You Prepare Your Fish Enchiladas? Follow the steps below to make your Mexican enchiladas: Clean and grill your fish according to the food preparation instructions on its packaging. Preheat your oven on 325 degrees. Remove the fish from the grill when done and slice it into long strips.  Rinse and cut your onions and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Dice your garlic into tiny pieces. Place your chili pepper or chipotle, garlic, olive oil and tomato bouillon in a small bowl, then mix the ingredients together.  Turn your stovetop to low, […]

3 Tips To Generate Business At Your Family Restaurant

Attracting customers is obviously the goal of any business owner. If you’re a restaurant owner, you generally have to contend with a lot more competition than other retail industries. Unlike an upscale French restaurant, for example, the family restaurant owner has to appeal to everyone, and that includes the children. Here are three ideas to help you get both adults and kids to want eat at your establishment. Create A Family-Friendly Atmosphere You could create an atmosphere with the focus on appealing to children, with arcade games, birthday parties and recreation areas, but then you would likely be alienating your customers without school-aged children. The goal is to strive to have a balance between kid-friendly and adult-friendly. Try the following tips: Offer mini-packs of crayons and coloring pages for children. Make up snack packs of toasted oat ring cereal and oyster crackers for hungry babies and toddlers. This will help keep them occupied until their food arrives. Create a “Treasure Chest,” much like those seen at the dentist’s office. Allow school-aged children to pick a trinket at the end of the meal if they have behaved. Instruct the hostess to seat families in larger booths so they have more room to spread out. Additionally, seat families in strategic locations, away from businessmen trying to have a quick working lunch, for example. Implementing ideas like this will make dining at your establishment comfortable for everyone. Offer A Kid-Friendly Menu That Will Make Mom And Dad Happy Most family restaurants have a separate menu for children. Children eat smaller portions and tend to have less sophisticated palates. Be sure to have some of the usual favorites like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Consider developing a few additional dishes that offer health-conscious parents other options. For example, a “snack” plate with fresh fruit, vegetables, dip, cheese, sausage, and crackers is great idea for parents who want their kids to graze on a variety of foods. Add Extra Incentive Going out to eat isn’t cheap for a family. Reward their loyalty by designating a “Kids Eat Free” day. Or you could offer free desert, such as a scoop of ice cream. Show you care about the future generation and your community. Have a promotion for kids who get A’s on their report card. With these tips, you can’t go wrong. After all, the children that visit you today will be tomorrow’s adults. Create a […]

The Abcs of Transforming A Mundane Banquet Center Into A Teen-Friendly Party Venue

That banquet hall may be ideal if you have a business meeting in the works or a family event, but chances are, if you have a teen birthday coming up, a banquet hall will be the last place that you consider as a party venue. Even though a banquet center may not be your initial venue to investigate, it could easily be one of the best with a few simple changes. There are a few simple rules you can follow to transform a mundane banquet hall into an exciting venue for a teen-friendly party.  Arrange for a deejay or other music at the banquet center.  Believe it or not, most banquet halls and centers do actually welcome live music as long as it is kept at a respectable volume. Therefore, adding live music with the help of a disc jockey will be a crucial step in the process of making a banquet center more teenage-friendly. These spaces, commonly a part of hotels, are often already built to be sound proof, offer large enough space for many guests who want to dance, and may even have a sound stage available. Bring in your own lighting.  Traditional banquet center lighting will likely be little more than a few fluorescent tubes running across the ceiling. If you want to make the place more inviting to a bunch of fun-seeking teenagers, it is best to make a few alterations when it comes to the lighting. Bring in some cool neon disco lights that will dance across the floor, color-changing LEDs for the tables, and maybe even a spotlight for the cake table just for fun.  Create an interesting perimeter for the party.  If you want to create a teen-party-worthy atmosphere, boring walls with the occasional painting will not be ideal. Change up the perimeter of the banquet hall space by investing in inexpensive foil-fringe curtains or tulle drapes to hang around the room. You can even create cool backdrops on the walls with large sheets and smart phone projectors streaming photos or images.  At first glance a regular banquet hall may look fairly boring and uninteresting to teenagers, but with a few simple changes, you can have an all-out teen-friendly party zone that every guest will enjoy. Be sure you get more fun party ideas from the banquet hall manager when you start looking for the best location for your next big teen party {like Lucarelli’s Banquet Center}.