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Rules On Eating Out ~ Guest Post by Michael

 

Hello, There. Michael here, Laury’s husband. I thought it was about time I made an appearance on the blog.

 

Laury hasn’t been feeling too great this week, so she asked me to do a guest post for her today. We thought you might be interested in some tips I got from my latest read, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, based on a recent conversation we had about the book.

It’s no lie that I love to eat out. When Laury and I started dating she never ate out. She didn’t really like to until we started experiencing some amazing meals together. Knowing my wife it had a lot to do with eating healthy. Although she makes the better choices when we go out to eat, and advises me to do the same, I have gotten her to lighten up a little  from how anti-restaurant she was when we first dated almost 10 years ago.

The first real dinner date I took her on was at one of my favorite restaurants, The Capital Grille. Laury was a pescatarian back then, this was before I persuaded her into eating steak for the first time in eleven years. I am a salesman. Now she knows my antics all too well (her meat eating lasted a brief couple years of  ‘Organic Grass-Fed steak’ for her- I had to point out as per her request). She has since sworn off all animals, except some fish (which makes things easier when I want to enjoy a meal at my favorite restaurants), and I respect her decision. It’s not for me, but I can understand how strongly she feels about it. As long as she doesn’t try to make me live on tofu, I am supportive of her choice. We make it work.

 

For me, I  just enjoy good food. My wife is particular about having healthy options, and I am particular about good quality food in general. If I find a chicken bone in my grilled chicken breast, that restaurant is off the list for good. If I don’t like the looks on the person preparing food at the deli counter when I order a turkey sandwich, I walk out and go elsewhere. Some call me weird, but I think it’s reasonable. The chapter in Anthony Bourdain’s book titled “From Our Kitchen to Your Table” brought my outlook on restaurant eating to a whole other level. It may do the same for you as well.

 

Rules of Restaurant Eating by Anthony Bourdain:

If you have a weak stomach, read at your own risk.

 

NEVER eat at a restaurant that has filthy bathrooms. They let you see the bathrooms. If they can’t be bothered to keep it clean, then just imagine what the refrigeration and work spaces look like. Bathrooms are pretty easy to keep clean, kitchens are not. If the chef is spotted at the bar with a filthy apron, half shaven with his finger up his nose, he’s probably not handling your food so well. Common sense, right?  Same goes for the waiter. If the management lets your waiter walk around looking like he just rolled out of bed, hungover, then who knows what he’s doing with your food.

 

Never order fish on Monday, unless you are going to a 4 star restaurant where you know they are buying their fish directly from the source. Most seafood is about 4 or 5 days old by Monday!If you were to walk into a nice 2 star restaurant on a Monday night and see they are running a special that sounds fantastic, the two word that should leap out to you are “Special” and “Monday.” Don’t do it.

Anthony claims that he doesn’t eat mussels in a restaurant unless he knows the chef personally, or sees with his own eyes how they store and hold their mussels for service. Most cooks are less than scrupulous in their handling of them. He says that more often than not mussels are allowed to wallow in their own foul smelling urine at the bottom of a reach in. Some restaurants may pack them in special containers, with slotted bins, allowing the mussels to drain while being held–and maybe the cooks at these restaurants carefully pick through each order mussel by mussel making sure every one is healthy and alive before throwing them in a pot. But don’t bank on it. Again, if you are going to a 4 star restaurant with a lot of turnover you may be okay. Laury ordered mussels in a red sauce a few months ago (before I read the book) and 90% of them were closed. She of course sent them back and told them not to bother with another batch. It was an experience that backs up Anthony’s claim.

How about Seafood on Sunday? Sometimes, unless it is an attempt to offload aging stuff like seafood salad vinaigrette or seafood frittata on a brunch menu.

 

Speaking of Brunch…

 

-Brunch menus are the perfect opportunity for chefs to save money. They are loaded with random leftovers from Friday and Saturday nights or scraps from the normal course of business.

 

Hollandaise sauce. It’s loaded with bacteria. I know a lot of Laury’s readers may not be ordering this at a restaurant, but pass the word to your husbands, boyfriends and friends that enjoy it. Hollandaise must be held at temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Unfortunately it’s usually held at lukewarm temps which is an ideal environment for bacteria to copulate and reproduce. The chef claims that no one he knows makes Hollandaise sauce to order, so beware. He calls is “a veritable petri dish of bio-hazards .”


 

Beef Parmentier? Shepards Pie? Chili Special? Sounds like leftovers.

 

-Think again when ordering Swordfish. Anthony claims that his seafood purveyor will never eat it out due to seeing one too many of those three-foot-long parasitic worms that riddle in the fishes flesh.

 

Chilean Seabass? More than likely arrives at the market frozen solid still on the bone.

 

Discount sushi? He talks about his experience with Fulton Street in NY and fish that is left to sit all day in the middle of August, right out in the open. What isn’t bought early is sold for cheap later. At 7:00AM the Korean and Chinese restaurant buyers, who’ve been sitting  at local bars waiting for the market to be near closing, come in and buy up what’s left at rock bottom prices. The next buyers to arrive are the cat food people. When you see a sign for discount sushi, remember this story.

 

Chickens are the filthiest animals. They eat their own feces, are kept tightly packed in cages and in most restaurant situations they will cross contaminate other food. Laury traumatized me for a minute when she forced me to watch Food Inc. with her, and anyone that has seen the film knows all about chickens. In a restaurant situation, you are better off staying away from it. Unless it’s my favorite, Chicken Parmesan. Or the grilled chicken on the menu is the only healthy choice for me (that I like). In that case, as long as it looks OK, I don’t think about it. I know that my wife is disgusted by chicken for good. She won’t ruin it for me though when I go to eat it and “forget” what I’ve seen. I still ask her her clean my chicken breast to cook at home which thoroughly grosses her out. She reluctantly agrees because she knows I won’t do it. That’s love.

 

Laury eats mostly a vegetarian, or “veganish” (as she calls is) diet, with fish maybe once a week, and it’s pretty limited to salmon at this point. After I read her most of the chapter she said: “see, that’s why you shouldn’t eat animals! “If you want me to continue to eat out with you, it’s not wise to ruin fish for me too.” Well, guess what? Vegetarians have it the worst, according to Anthony Bourdain. She didn’t like what I told her next. I won’t repeat all the shots he took at vegetarians and vegans; Laury was pretty offended when he called them “the enemy of everything good.” She informed me that between her and all her vegetarian blog friends, and all the meals they think up, that statement could not be further from the truth. That doesn’t mean that it’s the cleanest option when eating out…

 

Vegetarian eating in restaurants: Think about this-Amoebas are transferred most easily through the handling of raw, uncooked vegetables, particularly during the washing of salad greens and leafy produce.  Telling her this kind of put a damper in going out for her favorite salad that night (it sort of scared her away from fish too), but I thought she should know that meat isn’t the only thing to get a bad rap.

 

Sorry, guys. I am just the messenger here.

 

Laury will be back tomorrow, and she promises not to ruin your dinner. Thanks for having me and taking the time to read my post.

Munchkin says hello:

 

 

 

 

 

-Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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41 Comments

  • Reply Sharon

    Michael, thanks for the guest post! We hear about you all the time, it was so good to actually hear FROM you. Uh… when is Munchkin going to do a guest post? 😉

    This is all VERY interesting stuff. I’m a freak like Laury – it’s nice in the blog world because I don’t feel like a freak at all. I’ve never liked eating out. I’m getting better at it but in general I’m not a fan. Thanks for ruining it again for me ;). Just kidding, I’m glad to know… although sounds like there’s not too much that I can do (I’m vegetarain).

    April 6, 2011 at 5:52 am
  • Reply Sophia @ Raven Waves

    Great post, Mike! Hope Laury feels better soon! I had no idea about fish on Monday…yikes! Some of these things are pretty scary!

    April 6, 2011 at 7:27 am
  • Reply Keri

    Michael, you did a great job!! Laury~I hope you are feeling better!

    April 6, 2011 at 7:34 am
  • Reply Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

    Great post, Michael! And super informative too. I actually just wrote a restaurant re-cap of a local spot I visited, where I mentioned that I am a creeper and like to check out the bathrooms (because in this restaurant they were fancy and worth talking about). Laury actually commented and mentioned you always check them out too! Thanks for the other info on the book – sounds like a great read!

    April 6, 2011 at 7:55 am
  • Reply Mare

    What should I order out then!? Haha I love my seafood.

    April 6, 2011 at 8:18 am
    • Reply laury

      Just don’t eat fish on Mondays at a restaurant!!! Wed, Thurs, Fri should be fine. Stay away from swordfish too 🙂

      April 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Healthy Diaries

    Hi Michael! Thank’s for the guest post! I hope Laury feels better soon.
    You really opened my eyes. I’ll definitely watch out for everything you listed!

    April 6, 2011 at 8:33 am
  • Reply Stacy

    Well, ok, that pretty much leaves me to eat bread and water unless I’m dining at 4 star restaurants all the time. Yikes!

    April 6, 2011 at 9:10 am
    • Reply laury

      haha, Anthony Bourdain said he WILL eat bread in a restaurant. Even if he knows it’s not made there fresh so you are def safe there…

      April 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm
  • Reply Rose

    brother- you did a great job! all I can say is lady at WAWA that makes the sandwiches! YUCK!
    Looking forward to seeing you guys on Friday!

    April 6, 2011 at 9:14 am
  • Reply Jennifer @ Evolving Well

    Wow, Michael! Great job! Learned a lot here from you….and I love love love Anthony Bourdain…he’s great all-around. I love that you’ve added a very balanced male perspective here that isn’t often heard with all us women talking about this and that. Thank you for giving Laury a break and exposing her to the art of fine dining!

    April 6, 2011 at 9:30 am
    • Reply laury

      Michael appreciated your comment, Jen 🙂

      It is fun to hear his perspective on things. I mean, I hear it all the time but to share it with you all was fun!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply Shanna, like Banana

    Super informative post — thanks! Luckily I actually don’t really eat any of the above so it all works out. But I do eat chicken out maybe once per month. I’m mostly vegetarian but am no enemy 😉

    April 6, 2011 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Holly @ The Runny Egg

    Michael I think you did a great post for Laury! I need to pick up that book, I love Anthony Bourdain.

    April 6, 2011 at 10:07 am
  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Wow, makes me never want to eat out again. =O This was informative, as being one who doesn’t order meat but started recently ordering bits of fish. Seafood sounds like it’s out.

    I will note your post the next time I see someone ordering an eggs benedict.

    April 6, 2011 at 10:44 am
    • Reply laury

      Only on Mondays!!! And swordfish, and the other big fish!!! Make sure it’s fresh and you’re good! Just depends on when the restaurant gets it from the purveyor!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply Chelsea

    I really agree with the bathroom rule, and I also never order chicken when eating out. I am also really picky about fish too. I usually eat vegetarian when eating out, and I have a hard time eating at new places or picking something else off the menu. Ah, I am soooo picky, I didn’t realize this!

    April 6, 2011 at 10:46 am
  • Reply Katie

    I reaad that book years ago and I haven’t ordered fish since. Not that I really like fish to begin with, but it definitely scared me off restaurants in general for a long time!

    April 6, 2011 at 10:57 am
  • Reply Morgan

    What? Is this Laurys other half? You DO exist! All I have to say to you is that your wife is cheating on you with me via veganish blog love affair. HAHAHA
    Ok, the swrdfish stuff made me throw up in my mouth. Literally. That is so disgusting! This post was SO informative! It kind of scares you away from wanting to eat out at all! I am a total foodie though. I am like you, I love to eat out, love going to my favorite restaurants, and if it is great service and I am treated well and the food is awesome, than I am so overly loyal and will keep coming back. . For me it is the atmosphere of eating out and having time to just sit and share food with my hubby and have good conversation. He usually gets to enjoy his meal while I explain to him what percentage of puss is in the dairy he is eating, and I think he is so used to my talky talky talky in his ear that he can just tune me out and enjoy every blissful bite before getting back to his “vegan cashew nooch” cheese for the week. LOL
    Great post! Going to make the hubby read it. A few of Mo’s words of wisdom to get you through the next few days…
    *rub the feet of the mighty pregnant one several times per day
    *Make dinner for her tonight consisting of …1/2 package cooked whole grain pasta, Drain. Then add zest of one lemon, juice of one lemon, few Tbsp. of capers, a few Tbsp olive oil, and a huge handful of fresh basil (roll up like a cigar and then cut in thin strips.) Add some S & P to taste. Dont tell her I told you so, just do this, take all the credit, tell her it came straight from your own brain, and then watch her fall even more insanely in love with your hunkyness.
    *Do what “the situation” does and lift up your shirt and point to your abs and smile really huge, nod your head and say “yeeeeeeaaaaahhh” while she is in labor. It will de stress her and give her wonderful thoughts all day long. Do some gym tan laundry while shes recovering.
    *DO NOT, i repeat DO NOT make her eat the hospital food. It is not Laury approved. Be her knight in shining armour and bring her lots of fresh fruit, good magazines or books, and some freshly made smoothies after Ella Mo arrives.

    You are about to become a Daddy any second now and I am so excited for you guys! You are going to be lucky to have two beautiful girls to chill with all the time.
    Peace out Mighty Mike

    April 6, 2011 at 11:43 am
    • Reply laury

      You are the best, lover.

      I am replying for Michael 😉 This comment made me laugh out loud and I think he took your advice without saying anything. We are making pasta with roasted veggies right now and he came in and said he would do it all. The chopping, cleaning and roasting! So I have to thank you 🙂

      LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

      LOL @ “do like the situation does…..” priceless. That will surely distract from the pain!!!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm
  • Reply jennifer

    I agree about the bathrooms, also having worked in restaurants and fast food ones when younger I know how some people can treat food in a bad way. I don’t eat fish, I do eat some meat but am very picky. I was taught to clean poultry very good, its the one meat that can make you very ill. We wash ours in salt water and when I see other people just take it out of container and start cooking it gross’s me out. This is how my nana taught my mom. I also get really paranoid about cleaning everything including my hands that was anywhere near said chicken which you should always do any way. I may over clean my hands but hey I know I’m being safe, not long ago touching raw chicken grossed me out so I’m getting better. I will not touch fish and can’t stand the smell of it ethier, so hopfully my future husband won’t be a big fish eater. Alot of people also don’t know to wash frozen fruits and veggies and I myself sometimes forget to do so. You never know how that food was handled before it came into your hands so as a rule its always a good idea to clean it. Munchkin is thinking I also don’t want fish thats been sitting out all day, I agree I don’t think animials should be fed any diffrent then our own standards. My cats are just plain spoiled but thats the way it should be lol!

    April 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm
    • Reply laury

      I like that tip with the salt water. Like Michael said, I still thoroughly wash his chicken even though it grosses me out BIG TIME! But yes, people that just open it and cook it…yuck!!!!!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Melissa

    Great post!!! Gives me lots to think about and pass along!
    Hope Laury feels better soon and you get to see your precious daughter soon too!!

    April 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Madison

    Funny how this book reconfirms that cooking your own food and eating at home is perhaps a lot safer. Most definitely a lot healthier. These restaurant tips are good to know. Anthony B kinda rubs me the wrong way for some reason but the guy sure does knows a lot about eating out.

    April 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    • Reply laury

      After he knocked vegetarians he was rubbing me (Laury) the wrong way too!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Thanks for the tips Michael—-I had no idea about the fish/Monday thing!

    April 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)

    What a great post Mike!! I too am just like Laury in the sense that I don’t eat out at restaurants hardly ever (unless forced by an occasion). I would much rather eat something at home that I know what goes into it. I’ve never watched Food Inc before but now I don’t think I’d ever want to!! I eat a lot of chicken haha If you haven’t seen the show Kitchen Confidential based off Bourdain’s life you two definitely should! It’s hilarious! 😀

    April 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

    Thank you Mike for taking the time to write this! 😀 It was AWESOME!

    April 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply susan

    Great post Michael and nice to meet you too. It’s nice to hear your outlook and tips on eating out in restaurants. Hope Laury is doing well today and you’re looking after her well. Have a great day and well done on the post.

    April 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm
    • Reply laury

      Michael says thanks 🙂 I am feeling much better today!!!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm
  • Reply Amy

    Very informative post, Mike! I, too, am a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain. He won me over when he featured the French Laundry on one of his shows.

    By the way, this is Amy, Dan’s girlfriend. I added Laurie’s blog to my blogfeed yesterday and have been meaning to say hello. (“Hi Laurie! So happy to hear about the baby on the way! : )”)

    Anyways, this post was hilarious. I think Dan can relate to your steak story and restaurant experiences. 🙂

    April 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm
  • Reply Amy

    eep! typo. I meant: “Hi Laury! So happy to hear about the baby on the way!”) 🙂

    April 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hi Amy! Laury here…so glad you added my blog!!! I hear you have some great jewelry, I will have to check it out!!!

      April 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm
      • Reply Amy

        Thanks Laury! I’m loving your blog! It’s so inspiring. 🙂

        April 7, 2011 at 9:21 am
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    Feel better Laury! Thanks fro the book review Mike! Maybe I’ll have to have my hubby do a guest post on my blog. I like hearing the man’s perspective when their wife is an uber healthy eater. Ps. Even if restaurants can serve contaminated greens…I’ll still always pick the veggie option over the meaty option!

    April 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm
  • Reply Jennifer (The Gourmetour)

    Thanks Michael!
    That was really informative, even for someone who prides themself in food education.
    I’m always shy to grab that type of book because they always seem extreme and one-sided, but I am going to try to pick this one up and give it a go!
    Thanks!

    April 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm
  • Reply Tiffany @ Simply Shaka

    Awesome post, I forgot how much I love that book! Srom some bad experiences with supermarket sushi, I’ve definitely become a sushi snob. I never knew that tip about fish on a Monday which is definitely good to know. We have Capital Grille across the street from my work building and I am kinda tempted to go for lunch tomorrow.

    Thanks for the guest post!!

    April 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm
  • Reply Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food

    how nice of you to do a guest post!

    I read bourdains book which was a lot of fun especially as a new line cook. he def speaks the truth about restaurant kitchens!

    April 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm
  • Reply What A Mighty Good Man

    […] was so flattered by your comments on his post yesterday. He wanted me to say thanks you all. He was a little nervous about posting on such a sensitive […]

    April 7, 2011 at 5:02 am
  • Reply Shayla

    Awesome post Michael!! It was so nice to hear from you on such a fascinating topic, and you write so very well too, great job!! And I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better today Laury! 🙂

    April 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm
  • Reply La.

    Thanks for sharing Mike!

    April 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm
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