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Menu Items that Need to Die, Already

February 21, 2012

Don’t worry, cupcakes are on my list.

I saw a forum post recently, asking readers to submit their nominations for menu items that need to…well, need to just go away. You know – those items that have outlived their usefulness on American menus. Items that every restaurant fell over themselves trying to create a “signature” version of. Well, my nominations are here.

  1. Cupcakes. I think I’ve said my piece on this subject. But no one seems to be listening; cupcake shops and cupcake buses just keep popping up everywhere, with no end in sight.
  2. Mac & Cheese. White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. Four-Cheese Mac & Cheese. Lobster Mac & Cheese. We get it, we get it. Your “spin on a classic comfort food”. 
  3. Sliders
  4. Grilled/glazed/planked salmon. Enough already. Don’t you know the damage that salmon overfishing is doing to fish populations? Plus, it’s a smelly, fishy fish, and I’m convinced people only like it because they think it makes them seem sophisticated. It doesn’t.
  5. Surf and Turf. That combo went out of style with 8-tracks and macrame.
  6. Wings
  7. Fried Calamari
  8. Caprese Salad, anytime other than tomato season. I mean, really. Who wants to eat slabs of cold, flavorless tomatoes?
  9. Paninis. Everyone makes them, hardly anyone makes them well. These days, anyone with a George Foreman Grill thinks they run a panineria.
  10. Tiramisu. Now, I love tiramisu. I even have my own award-winning recipe. But, it’s such a stupid-easy recipe that it really doesn’t belong on restaurant menus. Challenge yourself, will ya chefs? Plus, the Olive Garden has it on their menu. And you know that ain’t right.

What menu item would you nominate for this list? 

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanne permalink
    February 21, 2012 8:44 pm

    And yet you keep eating cupcakes. 😉

    I hear you on the sliders!

  2. February 21, 2012 11:52 pm

    I disagree with you on almost this entire list – the exception being the salmon, which I agree is a highly overrated fish. Well, and I agree that caprese salad should be served in-season only. And I think tiramisu is gross.

    But other than that, I just can’t see the harm in any of the rest. Personally, I like living in a world where everyone is trying to make an even better mac and cheese, because it means there’s more mac and cheese to eat. Ditto for cupcakes. And sliders. And calamari with fancy dipping sauce. Yum, yum, yum!

    So you go on hating. I’ll eat your share. 🙂

    • February 22, 2012 1:32 pm

      No, there’s no harm in any of them. I myself LOVE macaroni and cheese. I just think it’s overdone on menus – everyone has their own version. That’s what I meant with this list – things that were fine for a while, but have really just overstayed their welcome.

      The only items on my list that I actually DISLIKE are salmon, wings and calamari. Blech.

      Everything else I like just fine. Well…nevermind, you know my true feelings about cupcakes.

      • February 23, 2012 11:34 pm

        Yes, I know your true feelings on cupcakes – public loathing, private love. It’s ok, I’ll keep your shame a secret…

        Oops.

  3. February 22, 2012 9:31 am

    I mostly disagree with this list; with the exception of tiramisu. And, Sarah is so right about serving salade capresse ONLY in season! You seem a bit more negative than usual, Wendy. Let’s see the list of top rated menu items.

    • February 22, 2012 11:01 am

      I’m not being negative…I’m just trying to stimulate conversation through controversy!!

      And, everyone has their own tastes, and I want to hear about them.

  4. williepitt permalink
    February 22, 2012 10:23 am

    Anything with red peppers, roasted or otherwise. There must be SOMETHING else with a decent flavor that can be substituted!

    • February 22, 2012 11:03 am

      (Glad to see you over here, williepitt; I’m a fan of your comments over at Tablehopping. Welcome!)

      • williepitt permalink
        February 22, 2012 4:34 pm

        Good grief! What’s wrong with you? Haven’t you seen how many people on Tablehopping can’t stand to see me say anything?

        Get with the program! 🙂

      • February 22, 2012 4:47 pm

        I’m just layin’ out the welcome mat. Once you’re in the door, you’re on your own. Though, my readers are generally nicer than Steve’s.

  5. February 23, 2012 2:42 pm

    Tiramisu is our #1 selling dessert. If we took it off, there would be anarchy. Agree totally on the Caprese. It just isn’t the same without fresh, garden grown tomatoes. Call me clueless, but the last time I thought cupcakes were hot was in third grade.

    • February 23, 2012 2:44 pm

      Mitch: I know tiramisu is popular (and I do love it). I’m being more facetious than anything else, here. And your version is GREAT, too. I’m just wondering why it’s on every menu, and has been forever. Is it just something that will always be everyone’s favorite dessert?

      And, your cupcake comment has earned you my 2012 “Favorite Comment So Far” award. 🙂

  6. February 23, 2012 5:20 pm

    Pie is the new cupcake!

    • February 23, 2012 11:33 pm

      I agree with you on pie. We have an all-pie restaurant (w/ related food truck) here in DC, and OMG, is it the best thing ever. They offer a bunch of different savory pies and quiches for meals, and a variety of fruit pies and sugar pies for dessert. I’d eat there every day if it wouldn’t kill me within a month!

  7. February 24, 2012 12:02 pm

    You need an addendum to wings. I don’t see the harm in them on the menu because it is a New York (Buffalo) staple but I get a little weary and wary of those trying to peddle “designer” wings.

    Just about everyone and their brother are trying to push garlic-parm wings along with other assorted flavors now beyond the standard Buffalo-style. *yawn*.

    (But I admit to totally loving The Towne Tavern’s Buffalo-Garlic Parm wings. They are pre-smoked and then fried/tossed in sauce. So so so yummy)

    And you wouldn’t crucify salmon if you had it Prime 677. They have it down to a science.

    • February 24, 2012 12:09 pm

      Sionna just reminded me of the local cupcake business making national news with a combo of two “to die” menu items — did you hear about chicken wing cupcakes around Super Bowl time – the ingredients were basic corn muffins with blue cheese icing, topped off with a wing! I think it was Cocodots who dreamed it up –

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