Lunchtime Poll: What Meal Would Make You Famous?

Sometimes after a meal at a particularly disappointing restaurant, my brain goes into a frenzy/whirl of menuing better dishes. It’s like coming up with the perfect witty comeback hours (or days) later, but with tasty food ideas. Needs a wedge of lime, I smirk. Am I supposed to be impressed by this lurking sweet pickle?

I’ve planned out entire daydream-restaurants after eating something gross (like bitter enchiladas drenched in cold death mole) or something overpriced and overrated (like the trendy organic cherry dessert that tasted like cough syrup and chocolate). My comfort-slash-American-food restaurant would grind Guy Fieri’s into a tiny pile of bacon-y dust. My fusion sushi bar would combine improbable and delicate ingredients to make bite-sized masterpieces.

I also brainstorm along with the competitive chefs on Iron Chef, Chopped, and Master Chef– and I am forced to admit that I am a dang genius with secret ingredients (if you let the fact that I have basically no cooking skills slide).

If you had a restaurant, what dish would make you famous?

I’m torn between my home-style shrimp-n-grits with a crown of bacon and my epic zucchini maki with mint-cilantro chutney.

12 thoughts on “Lunchtime Poll: What Meal Would Make You Famous?”

  1. It seems like I always know how to make one good dish from a particular region or country. I am not sure what dish would make me famous, but my idea for a restaurant is one that has all sorts of different foods like that — Mexican, Indian, Greek, Chinese, Korean — but just one or two dishes from each of these places. There aren’t many restaurants like that are there?

  2. Ooohh, I just made shrimp and grits for the first time this week and while mine were good, I’d love to see your “famous” recipe.

    Btw, grits question. I bought Bob’s Red Mill thinking that they were the “slow” cooking kind but they cooked in about 5 minutes. Any thoughts on slow v. quick cooking grits and brand recommendations?

    1. @brownwynm23: I am, like, THIS close to having an Associate’s in Culinary Arts, so you can be sure that I know almost everything about cooking and foods. So trust me when I tell you this: Buy the cheapest grits. Slow-cooking or instant doesn’t even matter. What matters is the amount of butter you add. Butter is the key to yummy grits.

    2. In some ways, I agree with Caroline– cheap plus the best and tastiest toppings/add-ins.

      But! For some weird weird reason, down in Alabama most of the grocery stores I shopped at did not carry non-instant grits. It was like the southern Twilight Zone. Now that we’re in Illinois, we can get traditional style grits, and we like them a bit better.

      Sometimes we go nuts and get stuff from a farmer’s market that is stone ground– and we honestly get really mixed results. Some of those grits are amazing and creamiest ever, and some are like cook-for-two-hours-still-like-tiny-pebbles gross.

      Here’s what we think about shrimp-n-grits in my house: add cream/half’n’half/whole milk if you’ve got it, but after you cook the grits the regular way (I’m sure cooking the grits with the milks is way swankier, but not totally necessary). We like cheese, and we’ve done goat, aged gouda, cheap cheap cheddar, whatever. Add all the delicious fatty milk products until it’s a teensy bit soupy (or however you like the texture). Salt! Pepper! Maybe garlic or whatever! Saute shrimps with butter, tiny diced garlic and/or maybe shallots, then dump them on top of a bowl full of grits. Bonus points if you want to put some fresh pico de gallo or some Rotel tomatoes+jalapenos (from the can is so easy!) or something else tomato-y or vegetable-y with a touch of acid.

      We skip tasso gravy (which is probably sacrilege) and stab some bacon slices in the grits at the end.

      Now-that-we’re-not-living-quite-as-large and don’t eat a lot of shrimp or bacon: grits plus (maybe) cheese plus pico de gallo/salsa/Rotel/diced tomatoes is really, really good. And maybe some lemon juice, if you’re a fan of tartness.

    1. I had to look up Coebergh! It sounds very good.

      We started making peach schnapps sours once upon a time, and I loved them, but I think I can’t claim that as a genius masterpiece since whatever-sours are already pretty standard.

      I’m not drinking more than sips of other people’s drinks right now because I’m pregnant and not a big drinker normally, but there are some drinks that I would like to like in order to not feel like such a dork when the grownups are having drinkies. Beer, wine, mixed drinks that aren’t margaritas, etc.

      What would you do with gin? It smells so good, and yet… I can’t drink it.

      1. Depends if I’m doing it for a big drinker or no drinker (and sometimes virgin drinks are more fun anyway).

        Expert: perk it up with other strong flavours and one sweet cream or fruit liquor to bind it together. Maybe a small present like a lychee or amarena cherry for fun.
        Beginner: Gin, orange juice, sparkly grape juice.

  3. The one and only dish I can claim as ‘mine’ are these veggie rice burgers that my wife likes. It’s basically just black beans, brown rice, corn, bread crumbs and whatever other veggies and spices I can find in my pantry. It’s definitely not gourmet, but it was created in the midst of a starving-artist bought of desperation. Nothing like having periods of being poor to help with your creativity when it comes to food, lol. =)

    1. See, unlike you and tina6781, I actually don’t make the things I’m all braggy about (I mean, I actually made the sushi, but it wasn’t pretty (just tasty), and acccctually my husband makes the grits, but I dream up ways to make them Even More The Tastiest). I’m jealous of your burgers.

      When I was in high school, I used to develop healthy-food-desperation cravings– because “regular” food like the good sugar-cereal and fruit roll ups and potato chips etc. got demolished by my brothers before I could get a taste. So, raw tofu with lemon juice and soy sauce for me!

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