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What You Might Have Missed: 2012 in Eat/Dine

What You Might Have Missed: 2012 in Eat/Dine

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There's a lot of great content that gets published on these pages every year, and we understand if on occasion you miss an article or two. But all is not lost: we went back and found some of our favorite articles and slideshows from the Eat/Dine section from throughout 2012, so you won't miss a thing.

Clear your schedule for the next hour or so; you’re about to dive in to the deep end of a pool filled with culinary awesomeness.

10 Best Non-Burger Fast-Food Dishes: When it comes to fast food, there’s plenty more on the menu besides burgers and fries. There are the best ones out there.

America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food for 2012: Who’s rewriting the rules, shifting the paradigms, and affecting how, where, and why we eat? We tracked down the top 50.

The 101 Best Restaurants in America: Quite simply, the finest places to eat in the country today.

America’s 10 Most Romantic Restaurants: It takes a lot more than roses and a string quartet to make our list of the most romantic restaurants in the country.

The Strangest Packaged Foods of All Time: A cheeseburger in a can? Really?!

15 Food Jingles You’ll Never Forget: The marketing department’s easiest way into a consumer’s heart? Through a catchy jingle. Here are some of the best of all time, sure to be stuck in your head all day.

America’s 15 Best French Fries: The fry: so much more than just a fried potato. A perfect balance of crispiness, saltiness, and a fluffy interior, this is a countdown of the country’s finest.

When Did Pizza Meet Red Pepper Flakes? It’s such a natural pairing that we don’t even give it much thought: red pepper flakes on pizza. But what pepper is it, exactly? And how did this tradition get its start? Our intrepid Executive Editor Arthur Bovino answers all your (mouth-) burning questions, and learns a few life lessons along the way.

America’s 28 Most Expensive Restaurants: Feel like dropping a couple thousand bucks on dinner this weekend? Here are a few worthy options.

19 Ice Creams You’ve Never Tried: Did you know that bagel-flavored ice cream exists? You do now.

The Great American Fried Chicken Roadmap: The earliest published recipe for fried chicken comes from 1828, and countless varieties have appeared since then. Our guide traverses the country, city by city, sleuthing the experts’ opinions on each town’s finest.

Most Popular State Fair Foods of 2012: With summer in full swing, we took a look at the State Fairs across the country to find the wildest, most popular food items available.

America’s 35 Best Pizzas: Like the humble French fry, a pizza is much more than just the sum of its parts. Bread, cheese, and sauce combine to form what many consider to be the perfect food, and we found the best that the country has to offer.

52 Best Colleges for Food in America: College food isn’t what it used to be. From on-site gardens at Virginia Tech to over 30 eateries at Cornell, to farmer’s markets and luaus at USD, college campus eating has certainly evolved beyond greasy pizza in the dining hall.

The Top 50 Cupcakes in America: ‘Nuff said. We searched the country for the finest cupcakes, and found 50 that are drool-worthy.

101 Best Food Trucks in America 2012: The food truck zeitgeist has taken America by storm, and what was once associated with only hot dogs and Halal food has now become a bastion of democratic eating, popping up in just about every city (and lots of small towns, too). We took an exhaustive look at the 101 finest on the road.

‘Uni’ Pizza Napoletana, Manhattan’s $8 Slice: We think we might have actually made history with this one: We found a high-quality pizza Margherita and topped it with uni, the fabled, love-it-or-hate-it sea urchin roe. The results? Read on to find out.

America’s 12 Best Donut Shops: Biting into a fresh, sticky donut is one of life’s finest pleasures. And while a couple on our list are mega tourist destinations, most are just quietly turning out simple, fresh, delicious little rounds of sweet fried dough.

Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers

The Worst Day of the Week to Eat at a Chain Restaurant

When you have a hankering for Olive Garden breadsticks or just can't wait to enjoy some appetizers while you sip on drinks during happy hour at Applebee's, it can be hard to wait in a long line to satisfy those cravings. Even worse, the day you choose to eat at a restaurant can even impact how much money you pay and how fresh your meal will be.

Yes, there really is a bad day to dine out! (If you happen to stay in and cook a meal for yourself, be sure you're trying out the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)

Weekends are typically the busiest time for restaurants, which might make you think Saturday or Sunday is the worst day to dine out. But as it turns out, because weekends are so busy, many restaurants keep an all-star team ready to handle the rush. Also, restaurants often get deliveries of fresh products on Thursdays and/or Fridays in preparation for a busy weekend.

As such, your food will likely be better prepared and fresher if you dine on the weekend, although you might have to wait a bit longer to be seated and you'll likely miss out on savings like happy hour and lunch specials, as these are often weekday promotions to lure in more business. Looking for more helpful tips? Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

Po'boy Sandwiches

Julie Dermansky/Contributor/Getty Images

The idea behind a po'boy sandwich is to heap a baguette (French bread) with a large helping of whatever is plentiful. So you might see turkey and dressing po'boys around Thanksgiving Day, crawfish po'boys, or maybe that local favorite, the shrimp po'boy.

Legend has it the original servings in New Orleans went to unemployed workers during the Great Depression. Beggars couldn't be choosers.

The Mississippi version also is worth trying, especially if it is brimming with shrimp, which is the state's most bountiful seafood product.

As you might have guessed, this is not a meal you'll eat with a prim and proper approach. Po'boys are sloppy, and you'll probably have to extract some of the shrimp from the baguette prior to that first bite. Sometimes, a po'boy is dressed with lettuce, onion, and mayonnaise. Yellow mustard and hot sauce are commonly at arm's length at places serving the sandwich.

In Gulfport, Louisiana, Blow Fly Inn Restaurant serves six kinds of po'boys. Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, and Emeril Live both have introduced the restaurant to their respective television audiences.

The 8 Easiest Ways To Cut Your Food Budget in Half

We all lead busy lives. And it’s too easy to throw money at “quick” food solutions because we’re too tired to figure out a better way to function. But time and time again, when I work with clients we find that the food budget is the single-easiest way to reduce expenses AND derive more satisfaction out of everything you eat.

Tactics To Eat More Cheaply AND Healthfully

I don’t particularly like to cook. But I have seen the results both in my health and finances by making an effort in this budget area. Here are the 8 easiest ways I have found to cut your food budget in half:

1. Become vegetarian. There are a lot of reasons to eat a plant-based diet, and I like Leo Babauta’s post A Guide to Eating a Plant-Based Diet for laying out the reasons. Meat is expensive and although I like a good pot roast every now and then, I am equally happy eating rice and beans and other vegetarian options as the main staple of my weekly routine. You only need 4-5 recipes to alternate.

2. Limit alcohol. I dated an alcoholic for a few years and after that time quit drinking almost completely. I rarely keep any alcohol in my home unless I am having friends over or planning a special occasion. No one “needs” alcohol in the home all of the time and if you do, you might have bigger issues than budgeting!

3. Quick buying ready-made solutions. I have a friend that is maintaining a gluten-free household so I know how expensive a gluten-free loaf of bread can be. But if she makes it herself, it costs only a percentage of the retail price. This is true for almost anything you can buy pre-made (although you won’t catch me baking my own bread any time soon!). If you use a lot of something, try and figure out how you can make it yourself in volume. It’s cheaper for me to buy bulk steel-cut oats and cook at pot of it for the week than to buy instant.

4. Plan menus 2 weeks out before grocery shopping. Carve out time in your schedule (about 30 minutes) to plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for the next 10-14 days. Start by checking your kitchen cabinets for what you already have on hand and build your menu to use up cans of soup and other staples. Maybe you’ll also like keeping a folder of recipes you want to try. Once you have a completed menu, build your grocery list. Remember to go to your bathroom to check on toothpaste and other sundries so you don’t come back and suddenly notice the ONE THING you absolutely need!

5. Grocery shop 3 times per month and stick to your list. People who eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies always hate this tip. I eat lots of veggies and fruits too, and I have found that if I bring them home and prep them immediately AND keep them in airtight containers, most stuff easily lasts 10 days.

6. Designate a “Meal Prep” day. Every ten days or so, I spend 3-4 hours cooking big batches of stuff—rice and beans, morning gruel, root vegetables, a casserole to freeze, etc. I know that if it takes me longer than 45 minutes to prepare a weekday meal, I’ll go rogue and order takeout. So I pre-cook a lot of stuff to throw into salads, stir-fry or just having something I can pull from the freezer the day before.

7. Keep a list of what’s in the freezer. I might have something really yummy in my freezer but totally forget I have it! So I keep a list on the fridge that I update every 10-14 days when I am planning my next round of meals.

8. Keep comfort food ready to go. There are times when I just don’t want to eat as healthy. When I am driving home after a long day, nothing sounds better than some take-out! So I keep fixings on hand for things that sound BETTER to me than take-out, like a grilled cheese sandwich or Beecher’s Mac & Cheese.

How To Make This Work For You

To implement lasting change, I recommend keeping the following in mind:

  • Don’t go 100% on anything at first. You can’t just flip a switch and make all of these changes whole-hog I see a lot of people make HUGE strides forward and then fall of the wagon because they tried to take on too much change at once. Strive for small implementation first, and then build on that initial success.
  • Focus on health, not dollars. It’s actually more motivating for me to maintain these practices as a foundation for healthy eating than it is to think of it as cutting back. So I don’t really focus on the specifics of the money I am saving I just know that I am.
  • Reduce frequency of expense instead of dollar amount. Instead of saying that you’ll cut take-out from $200 per month to $100 per month, commit to going less often. If you’re going from getting take-out 4x per week, just cut back to 2-3x per week. If you go out to restaurants 3x per week, cut back to 1-2x per week. It’s easier to focus on the behavior than the dollars when trying to change.
  • Shoot for compliance 9 months out of 12 months per year. I give myself permission to cut loose and enjoy myself more during the warm summer months and at the end of the year. These times tend to be more social, so if I get off track I don’t beat myself up for it. There will always be times of expansion in your budget, just set a date with yourself to get back on track.

For me, the key to maintaining these practices has been celebrating incremental improvement, being consistent and not beating myself up about it if I get off track. With even a few of these tactics, you can see a vast reduction in your monthly food bill and a significant increase in health.

Courtesy of Shake Shack

Sometimes, you just want to bite into a burger, and Shake Shack is here to save the day. This meal kit comes with a steeper price tag, as it's $49, but you get enough to serve eight people their own ShackBurger. The kit serves up eight patties, slices of American cheese, the signature ShackSauce, and Martin's Potato Rolls, so you can add anything else you might have in your kitchen to them to make the dish your own.

Top 10 Underrated Restaurants

With an all-you-can-eat buffet for a mere $25 a person, chef Marisela Godinez's Interior Mexican brunch service is legendary. And the fabulous fresh options for vegans, omnivores, and the gluten-free make it the perfect place to take everyone from your meat-and-potatoes mom to your persnickety dad. Both will marvel at the spread's massive platter of guacamole.

2) Burger Tex 2

The signage outside may be slightly ramshackle and the dining room a bit rough around the edges, but the campus mainstay's Bulgogi Burger is without a doubt one of the best burgers in Austin. Take the plunge and order it spicy, pair it with one of the many fried sides, and then head over to the salad bar to dress it just the way you like it.

3) Moonlight Bakery

Not a restaurant proper, but still infinitely worthy of a shout, Moonlight Bakery is one of the most unpretentious and enchanting bakeries in South Austin. With an ever-changing array of pastries, tarts, breads, muffins, and kolaches, Moonlight is an absolute must-stop to grab a treat on your way to work. Don't miss the tiny chocolate chip cookies. They might be petite, but they are mighty.

4) Texas French Bread

The classic Austin name has slowly reinvented itself for the past few years. Under the direction of owner Murph Willcott, TFB has transformed from a quiet neighborhood bakery to a low-key fine-dining restaurant. With some of the best service in Austin, a unique wine selection, and French-inspired cuisine sourced from local farms, TFB is the place to go for an intimate, subtly fancy meal that holds its own with Austin's finest.

5) Pueblo Viejo

One of Austin's great mysteries is why Pueblo Viejo doesn't have a long line. With cheap, made-to-order tacos and deliciously fiery salsas that will leave you with tears in your eyes, Pueblo Viejo is the perfect place to stop after a night of drinking. The breakfast tacos are not to be missed, no matter the time of day.

6) Tokyo

The location (a shopping mall off Bee Caves Road in West Lake) may be unfashionable, but their udon and amazingly light tempura would be a hit anywhere. Besides, it does you well to branch out once in a while &ndash especially if you're looking for a calm meal that will leave you stuffed to the brim.

7) Luke's Inside Out

I've written about Luke's before and I'll write about Luke's again. These sandwiches are some of the best in town, and it's just the kind of food you want to eat when totally sloshed. From the generous portions to the unpretentious and fast service, Luke's has it down.

8) Dai Due

I'm not a fan of New American cuisine, mostly because this usually means eating expensive dishes that would have been better off with less pomp. But Dai Due gives New American a good name. Unfailingly delicious, refreshingly unpretentious, and talked about far too little (at least in some publications), Dai Due is the rare place you don't mind returning to again and again.

9) Licha's Cantina

From the hilarious bartenders to the busy, festive atmosphere, Licha's is always my go-to recommendation for out-of-towners and insiders alike. In addition to their fine selection of mezcal and tequila, Licha's has a great happy hour and the meanest, tastiest brunch in town.

10) Syriano Shawarma

Located in the parking lot of Spider House, Syriano Shawarma is one of the only spots in town to get authentic Syrian food. All the food is created and cooked by Fadi, the pleasant and kind owner who whips up delicious and inexpensive baba ghanoush, homemade hummus, amazing fresh falafel, as well as Syrian-style shawarma. Additionally, the quantity of food you can get for $8 can easily feed two hungry people, and don't miss the fries &ndash they're some of the best around.

The Screening Room Cinema & Eatery

435 Queen Street, Masterton

A state-of-the-art cinema with an eatery or a contemporary eatery with a cinema – either way, The Screening Room Cinema & Eatery in Masterton certainly combines the best of both worlds. Led by chef Travis Clive-Griffin, the eatery’s menu is based on small tasting plates which are designed to be shared. The flavours and ingredients used to reflect local seasonal produce and the chef’s Lebanese heritage. Go for brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee and cake or a glass of local Wairarapa wine and some tapas. A movie afterwards is optional but recommended.

Destination Dining: 10 Recent Out-of-Town Openings You Might Have Missed

In the chaos that was 2020 you might have missed some of the new openings on this list – or not yet had a chance to visit them. Each of the dining and drinking destinations below is a short(ish) drive from Melbourne and worth building your weekend away or day trip around. Enjoy your dinner, lunch or drink with a side of coastal views, winery landscapes or produce practically right out of the wheelbarrow – or boat.

Attica’s Ben Shewry has set up Attica Summer Camp on a Yarra Valley property once home to Lillydale Estate winery. It’s here for a good time, not a long time, but he sees it as an antidote to a horrible 2020. “I wanted to create something that was really fun and energetic and felt good something that was super kind,” he told Broadsheet. “We’ve all been through this terribly difficult time, but now we have something better to look forward to.”

It’s only an hour away from the city, and the food is comforting and fuss-free but with typical Attica pedigree. The setting, meanwhile, is verdant and lush. Expect a cosy, conservatory-like indoor dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, views across the paddocks to the dusky hills and a pergola dripping in greenery.

To eat there’s charcoal-grilled chicken, and hasselback potatoes scored right the way through, slathered in butter and cooked rotisserie-chook style. Whole King George whiting and baby abalone are also done on the grill, and a big barrel smoker turns out hot-smoked king salmon and pastrami (served with hot sauce). It’s like the best barbeque you’ve ever been to.

Dessert is a big thing here – so big, in fact, it’s wheeled around on a trolley. There’s Cherry Ripe-inspired ice-cream you’re given a tub, two spoons, and told to go for it. You’ll also find Tim Tams made with Four Pillars Breakfast Negroni (i.e. marmalade) and an exceptional lemon tart.

Tacos y Liquor, Geelong
This compact 40-seat taqueria – in the former Cabinet Bar site on Little Malop Street in Geelong – is by chef Aaron Turner (Igni, The Hot Chicken Project), whose experiences of taco trucks in LA and bodegas in NYC have shaped his approach here. The space and the menu are snug. There are just four tacos (three meat and one veg) and a burrito (for customers who are especially hungry or ordering takeaway).

The al pastor taco is made with pork belly, and the chicken tinga taco has shredded chicken in a tomato, onion and chipotle sauce. Vegetarians can hook into tacos crammed with mushroom and huitlacoche, a fungus found on corn that’s also known as Mexican truffle.

Side dishes include street corn, chicken-fat rice with beans, and regional specialties such as birra (a beef consommé with shredded beans). And Turner’s left the tortilla-making to Melbourne’s peerless La Tortilleria.

As the name suggests, drinks are the other half of Tacos y Liquor. Find Margaritas, Palomas, mezcals and tequilas on high rotation. Beer and wine (red and white field blends from SA’s Vinteloper) are on tap, poured into rustic half-litre jars.

Tedesca Osteria, Red Hill
Brigitte Hafner and business partner James Broadway (of the now-closed Gertrude Street Enoteca) are behind Tedesca Osteria in Red Hill, amid the Mornington Peninsula hinterland. It’s one of the best – and most unique – dining experiences in Victoria. Ensconced in an early 20th-century weatherboard house overlooking 27 acres of lush farmland, the restaurant seats between 30 and 35 diners for intimate, slow-paced lunches.

The relaxed, five-course set menu is seasonal and changes fortnightly, but you can almost always expect fresh handmade pasta, and seafood and meat done in a woodfired oven. The wine list focuses on natural styles by local growers (there’s also a biodynamic vineyard on-site). Cocktails are made using native botanicals and rainwater.

In 2020 the fit-out was awarded Best Restaurant Design at the prestigious Eat Drink Design Awards. Raw timber is the focus – the jet-black kitchen bench, bar and private dining table are all crafted from ancient river redgum.

Moonah, Connewarre
The coastal wetlands of Connewarre, where you’ll find Moonah, is around 90 minutes from Melbourne. The tiny diner opened in late 2020 and is by chef Tobin Kent, who spent two years working at Brae in Birregurra (before he left he was chef de partie).

The dining room fits just 12 guests at a time and the maximum group size is four people. “This allows us to create a very relaxed and intimate dining experience that we believe is very special and something not common enough,” Kent tells Broadsheet. He also suggests planning about three months in advance if you want to dine here. The restaurant releases bookings three months in advance on the first day of each month.

The current nine-course menu includes hand-dived sea urchin with preserved orange and midnight pearl potatoes crayfish tartare with fermented tomatillo and kakai pumpkin seeds 21-day-dry-aged Great Ocean duck with salt-marsh vegetables and walnut ice-cream with wild apples and saltbush. All with panoramic views over the surrounding billabong.

Coda, Lorne
Last January, Flinders Lane Euro-Vietnamese diner Coda swapped the city for the surf, with a summery pop-up on the top floor of the Lorne Hotel. In December, it opened permanently in the same spot.

Coda Lorne is part of a three-in-one venue, with Movida on the ground floor, the pub on the second floor, and Coda up top. The restaurant is huge: 120 seats with sweeping views of Louttit Bay and the town of Lorne – and a deck where you can take it all in.

The menu is different to Coda’s city counterpart. It’s seafood-heavy and strictly Asian (the original mixes in French techniques and ingredients).

You might get an Appellation oyster with spanner crab and nam jim dressing Goolwa pippies with lemongrass, mint and coconut curry roasted barra with jungle aromats or Spencer Gulf kingfish sashimi with olive, tamari and chrysanthemum.

Ocean Beach Pavilion, Sorrento
This family-friendly spot in Sorrento is laid-back without skimping on the stuff that makes going out special: excellent atmosphere, a space you’ll want to linger in, and a menu full of hits.

It’s by Jerome Borazio (the “Jerome” behind St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, as well as Ponyfish Island and Back Alley Sally’s) and specialises in the type of killer Asian feasts easily accessible in the city, but a little less so in Sorrento.

The indoor-outdoor space – in a former brewhouse on Ocean Beach Road – has a ton of room. There’s a spacious, coastal-inspired mess hall a sunny deck dotted with palm trees and an easy-breezy lounge area (with a playground to keep the littlies occupied).

Celebrated restaurateur Teage Ezard (Gingerboy, Ezard at Levantine Hill and the now-closed Ezard) is behind the spin-off restaurant Gingergirl. His hawker-style menu includes steamed prawn-and-ginger dumplings with green nam jim Wagyu beef dumplings with smoked Korean red-chilli dressing master-stock pork belly bao with spiced hoisin and cucumber and salt-and-pepper chicken spare ribs with Korean barbeque sauce.

The star of the morning menu is a breakfast banh mi with pork, a fried egg, hoisin and pickled carrot and daikon. And out back is Prawn Stars, a prawn shack where you can pick up buckets of fresh Mooloolaba prawns – at wholesale prices – for takeaway only.

La Cantina at Common Ground Project, Freshwater Creek
Common Ground Project is a social enterprise and community farm from the Mulberry Group (Liminal, Dessous and Hazel in Melbourne, and The Beach House in Geelong). And La Cantina is its new on-site restaurant.

It’s helmed by husband-and-wife team Lolo Hanser and Glenn Laurie, who both worked at The River Cafe in London – one of the world’s most famous Italian restaurants.

The Italian menu changes with the seasons, and leans on produce grown at Common Ground. It’s structured traditionally: there’s an antipasti section of cured meats and cheeses to start a primi section comprised of handmade pastas a secondi list of larger meat, fish and vegetable dishes and a number of sides. Think pumpkin, mascarpone and ricotta ravioli in sage butter stracciatella-starring spinach risotto grilled lamb leg with chickpeas and salsa verde and a simple lemon, parmesan and rocket salad.

Levantine Hill, Coldstream
This destination diner in the Yarra Valley reinvented itself in 2020 after chef Teage Ezard left and the Jreissati family, which runs the winery, took over. It now has more of a cellar-door vibe gone are the white tablecloths and the split between fine diner and all-day bistro. The focus is on food that matches the area and estate’s wines – “Yarra Valley medium-bodied, balanced-form wines,” according to chief winemaker Paul Bridgeman he says they have “that food-friendliness”.

The menu draws on the Lebanese heritage of the Jreissati family. And Broadsheet editor Chynna Santos says the seasonal snack plate shows it off best. It might include potato flatbread sprinkled with za’atar and sesame chickpea crackers with hummus, black-garlic baba ganoush, and tahini labneh or lamb koftas with polenta chips.

Each item on the sharing menu is listed alongside the wine it pairs best with. The kingfish ceviche with bush-tomato baharat (a Middle Eastern spice mix) and macadamia goes with the estate’s 2013 Blanc de Blanc. The rich truffled goat’s curd cappelletti with raisins and pine-nut burnt butter matches with the 2017 Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay.

Jayden Ong Winery & Cellar Bar, Healesville
For the past decade, Cumulus Inc co-founder Jayden Ong has been making wines in the Yarra Valley. And in 2019 he was named one of the top 12 best young winemakers in the Young Gun of Wine Awards.

He and wife Morgan Ong have just opened the doors to their very own winery and cellar bar in Healesville. Pull up a seat in the expansive space (with an 8.2-metre centrepiece limestone bar and impressive floral installation) or nab a spot outside in the sunshine.

On pour are wines from each of his four ranges – Moonlit Forest, One Block, La Maison de Ong and Jayden Ong – as well as from other top Yarra Valley producers. A tip: book a $20, five-wine tasting led by Ong himself.

Food-wise, the largely charcoal-fired menu is sourced from neighbouring producers where possible. It might feature friggitello peppers, lion’s mane mushrooms on bay sticks, duck meatballs with fresh plum, or figs with curd and honey.

Love Shack Brewing Co, Castlemaine
This new brewery in Castlemaine, by two ex-Stomping Ground brewers, opened at the end of 2020 – with a beer garden that can hold 300 at the rear of the art deco, 1850s-built Theatre Royal. But it’s also set up for the colder weather ahead: “We just turn all the taps on inside, put the table-tennis table out, light a fire out the back – it’s a super flexible space,” says brewer and co-founder Conna Mallet.

There’s a bandroom and a roomy main bar – and taps throughout pouring Love Shack’s core range of lager, pale ale and IPA, as well as specialty options, which at the moment include a basil-and-strawberry sour and a low-alcohol red IPA (it has just been brewed and will be ready in a couple of weeks). The menu involves around 15 different Roman-style pizzas from the Theatre Royal and beer-friendly bites such as fries.

Additional reporting by Jo Rittey, Max Veenhuyzen, Tomas Telegramma, Chynna Santos and Ruby Kraner-Tucci and Holly Chamberlain.

This Convenient Dining Perk You Loved May Be Gone For Good

No doubt going to restaurants looks different right now. As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise into the millions, safety is the number one priority for restaurants. Of course, things like buffets and salad bars, condiments on the table, endless water refills, and even plastic menus, will be missed, but there's another amenity that might not make its return.

The CDC is recommending that everyone dining in at a restaurant park their own car. Yep, right now is not the time to utilize valet survives (if the restaurant even offers it).

The luxurious perk, while convenient, means someone else has to get into your car to park it and to bring it back to you when you leave. While restaurant employees wear protective gear while at work, interacting with so many people as well as their vehicles could be risky for you and for them.

In Dallas, valet services are popular at restaurants. The city not only has several large valet companies, but many eateries are outfitted with the service. In Las Vegas, the main valet services at the Encore and Wynn hotels aren't operating. Valet employees are out of work and don't know when (or if) they will get their jobs back in a world where staying in your car is deemed safer.

Restaurants in some cities are shutting down dining rooms and going back to offering carryout and drive-thru orders. Walmart recently opened up some of its parking lots to drive-in movies. Online grocery orders are growing, and some supermarkets will bring your groceries out right to your car's trunk.

For now, it's best to park yourself. Similarly, it's best to wear a facemask and sit outside when you go to a restaurant. Here are 6 Things Restaurants Do That Increase Your Coronavirus Risk.


Michelle H on May 31, 2019:

Hi! My 15 year old daughter had jaw surgery one week ago and I found your post. It&aposs so helpful, especially now that we&aposre trying to get calories in her!

In the waffles recipe above, you mention that you made the waffles. Is there any chance you could share the recipe? The thought of getting 500 calories in her for breakfast sounds great to both of us!

Thank you so much for your help!

emilybee (author) on May 27, 2019:

Hi Karen! Thanks for stopping by. I&aposm glad you find these ideas useful! Best of luck to your husband during his recovery.

Karen W on May 25, 2019:

Thank you for sharing your ideas. My husband had surgery on his lip yesterday and we had do idea he was going to be in the shape that he is in. Clear liquids for the first few days, and your ideas are brilliant! I&aposm sure we can do better than home made chicken broth with garlic powder and salt!

emilybee (author) on March 08, 2019:

Hi Dawn! I know how hard it is. at the beginning especially. I never dreamed people would find this article, I made it just to document my surgery kind of as a journal. But I&aposm so glad that it is helping people after their own surgeries. Best of luck to you during this time!

Dawn E on March 07, 2019:

I&aposve been placed on a full liquid diet following a stomach surgery, I stumbled across your page looking for smootie recipes. I am intrigued with your blended meal recipes. Definitely going to try some. I&aposve been worried how I am going to be able to get all the proteins and nutrients I need to function. I&aposm hoping to have found the answer. Thanks you for taking the time to create this page, and for helping find hopefully yummy foods for a not so amazing diet!

emilybee (author) on March 07, 2019:

Hi Jim. I&aposm so glad that this article helped you have some ideas. I know how tough it is but I think flavor is the key ingredient. Much easier to drink and get your nutrition when it&aposs something tasty. Best of luck to you and thank you for stopping by and commenting!

Jim K on March 02, 2019:

Im a recovered throat cancer patient. Still eati g blended meals due to hard to swallow. Haven eaten for 1 1/2 yrs. Your soups is what i have lived on and blended vegs.raw. lots of carrot juice. Lots of shakes

But you burger and pizza gave me ideas! Tks.

emilybee (author) on June 13, 2018:

Hi Deanna- Wow, that brisket sounds good! Thank you for sharing my article with others. I am glad it has been a help!

Deanna Friel on June 13, 2018:

Thanks again for sharing, we&aposve tried brisket with BBQ sauce & a little broth and chicken with broth, he liked both. I also shared your website with the mother of another patient at his surgeons office, she said she made pancakes the way you did the waffles & her daughter said they were really good. Thank you for sharing your blog. If you interested to know more information please visit

emilybee (author) on May 28, 2018:

Well, try any you feel comfortable with. I&aposm sure there is something on here you may be okay with. Good luck! They really were not that bad :)

Amy on May 28, 2018:

I am so nervous to try these! And I don’t know why.

emilybee (author) on January 20, 2018:

Hi Rachel! I&aposm glad you found this helpful. Best of luck to your husband during his recovery!

Rachel on January 20, 2018:

Thank you so much! My husband just had jaw surgery and im trying to find more things for him to eat besides broth and ensure shakes!

emilybee (author) on December 22, 2017:

Hi Ann! Thanks for the nice comment. Best of luck to you! I could only take so much Ensure and Boost until I needed to try some other foods. I hope you try these and enjoy a couple of them! Thanks for stopping by !

emilybee (author) on December 22, 2017:

Hi Emily! Best of luck to your grandmother. I hope she tries some of these recipes! When I was hungry after surgery I really tried everything on here. Good luck!

Ann W. on December 21, 2017:

My jaw surgery is in two weeks - so grateful you put this together! I&aposve started practicing with my new vitamix and this will be so helpful. Thanks for helping me feel less overwhelmed and more hopeful!

Emily on December 20, 2017:

Thank you!! My grandmother suffered a stroke which affected her throat. It also affected the muscles used to chew. She is very stubborn and did not want to be tube fed so here I am looking for food to blend. I can&apost wait to try them.

emilybee (author) on October 19, 2017:

Hi Donna! Thanks for the nice comment. Glad to help. Hope your recovery isn&apost too bad!

Donna on October 19, 2017:

Thank you so much for your post, I had a surgery where I to have be on liquids for 6 to 8 weeks and Im already tired of everything I can buy ay the store. Thanks again!

emilybee (author) on September 09, 2017:

Joanne on September 09, 2017:

I want to say thank you. You have saved my sanity

emilybee (author) on August 25, 2017:

Hello! Thanks for stopping by to visit by hub. Best of luck to you in your recovery. I&aposm glad you found my recipes helpful!

Manal on August 25, 2017:

Hi. I totally feel you and had my jaw surgery a month ago and all could I have is liquid food ..with ur help now I can some delicious food rather than the plain boring things ..well I must go on like this for another 2 months

emilybee (author) on May 31, 2017:

I had a 10mm overbite. I literally was unable to close my mouth fully and it also caused some jaw pain. I elected for the surgery as it was the only option to fully correct the problem-( I had braces twice and the bite issue wasn&apost addressed) . I didn&apost have a liquid diet for too long - it was frustrating for sure though. Especially the first few days home but you&aposll feel hungry so really try blending up some stuff if you can! Add lots of flavors and it won&apost be too bad. You&aposll lose weight so don&apost worry about calories - if you have to just blend up some tasty high calorie desserts! I hope you are recovering and feeling better soon.

Jessepcurran on May 24, 2017:

I just recently got my jaw wired shut due to a fracture. Everything I consume is through a straw for at least the next few weeks. What happened to you that you had to eat a liquid diet for so long? And how difficult would blending/trying to eat those whole dinner meals be? In just a little over a week I&aposm very sick of just shakes, juices, and soups.

emilybee (author) on March 22, 2017:

Emily-Yes that is fine! Thanks!

emilybee (author) on February 26, 2017:

Hello! Thanks for stopping by! definitely try these recipes and don&apost be afraid to experiment too. Hope he heals quickly!!

JH/DH on February 26, 2017:

My son had his mouth wired shut to allow a jaw fracture to heal. He is drinking mostly Ensure, milkshakes, yogurt smoothies, and fortified juices. He keeps asking for waffles or pancakes. I was so happy to find this information. Thank you, we will try them all!!

emilybee (author) on February 19, 2017:

Hi Maria! I hope it goes quickly for you - but yes, enjoy your waffles and pizza! It really helped me to try blending many difrenrt foods so I wouldn&apost get bored . Good luck !

Maria on February 18, 2017:

How wonderful of you to share your experience. I just had an esophageal procedure and have to be on a liquid diet for two weeks and then small cutups for two more weeks after that! Not as lengthy as you but thank you for the recipes. I was a cook in the Army and I make my own waffles from scratch! I&aposm tickled pink that later I will be able to eat that and my homemade pizza as well in blended form! Yay!!

emilybee (author) on October 30, 2016:

Hi! I&aposm sorry he had a rough start but glad you figured out some ways to get him some nutrition! It&aposs true, most everything can blend up - some won&apost taste the best, but trial and error works great and desserts will be tasty for sure :-) I lost about 10 pounds after surgery but did get most of it back. Sorry I didn&apost see this sooner- hope he is healing well.

emilybee (author) on October 30, 2016:

Yes I made them all! Enjoy :)

Snorkler8 on September 21, 2016:

My son just had upper and lower jaw done 6 days ago. We had a really rough start as they had to go back in because the lower right screws popped out completely the day after surgery. He&aposs doing much better now that he is stable again.

I used to work as an oral surgery assistant back when they wired you shut for 8 weeks. I remember my boss telling his pts to put EVERYTHING in the blender. So we have been doing that with some success. My son is on the thin side so I bought a half gallon carton of half and half. ( Costco has it)It goes into all his milk shakes to get some calories. His favorite so far is a can of raviolis, he liked the home made split pea soup also. You have to have a good blender but you can get most every food smooth enough. Thanks for all the suggestions here! Waffles are on the list to try!

emilybee (author) on July 22, 2016:

Hi! Yum! Both of those sound delicious! It&aposs interesting how many people find my article when going through surgery themselves. Glad I could help by sharing some ideas!

Chiliqueen on July 21, 2016:

Thanks again for sharing, we&aposve tried brisket with BBQ sauce & a little broth and chicken with broth, he liked both. I also shared your website with the mother of another patient at his surgeons office, she said she made pancakes the way you did the waffles & her daughter said they were really good.

emilybee (author) on July 12, 2016:

Hi! I had the surgery in 2011, it&aposs hard to remember but it wasn&apost too long. Maybe a month. First few days were awful but it gradually gets better. Best of luck to him!

Chiliqueen on July 12, 2016:

What a great article. My son had jaw surgery last Friday & I was searching for ideas on things to give him, this will be a big help. I am curious how long you were on a liquid diet. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

emilybee (author) on July 10, 2016:

Hi Amelia - Yes, I really do. I&aposm not one to go hungry. I know it was so difficult at first, smelling awesome food cooking that my family was eating, but I just couldn&apost do without! Yeah it&aposs not quite the same thing. but somehow it helps! Make sure it is tasty and you&aposll be fine. At first I wasn&apost adventurous and just did blended desserts - but seriously the waffles were good blended up! It&aposs been awhile since I went through this list but I did have every thing on here. Good luck !

Amelia on July 03, 2016:

Oh. My. God. Fantastic article. So glad I stumbled upon this--I just got upper and lower jaw reconstructive surgery last Tuesday, and for the most part it&aposs been absolutely awful. You really do recommend blending regular food options? You found them tasty? Again, thanks for the article! Cheers to my fellow jaw surgery victims!

Teresa Morgan on May 04, 2016:

emilybee (author) on July 30, 2015:

Laura - I would suggest you make something flavorful :) I remember being so hungry and smelling delicious food, but as long as whatever I was drinking for dinner was tasty I could handle it. Don&apost worry too much about high calories, for me at least, I had lost a good amount of weight and needed the calories post-op.. (2500 cals/day I was recommended to consume), soup is always good too, blend it up if it&aposs too thick and dilute it. Whatever his favorite meals are try to blend it - add juice or tomato sauce or another liquid but remember you&aposll need a lot of liquid to purify it. Desserts are always fun blended anyways. Good luck! :)

Laura Whitlock on July 30, 2015:

dA friend is having jaw surgery as I write and I want to put together a post surgery basket but can&apost really find any good ideas. After reading this blog about your liquid diet experiences after surgery, I thought you might have some suggestions. Since he will be on a liquid diets for awhile not sure what to take him. I plan to try some of you suggestions when he is able to come for dinner. Thank you.

emilybee (author) on February 27, 2015:

Hi missbettymorgan! Im so glad to hear your husband enjoyed the waffle shake! And adding bacon! Yum. Glad these recipes are getting used and people are still visiting this article after all this time ! Thanks and hope your husbands recovery is quick and painless!

Missbettymorgan on February 27, 2015:

Emilybee-My husband just went through another round of dental implant surgery today and is back on a liquid diet again for a few days. He just asked me if I would make him a blender waffle shake for dinner from the recipe we got from your list above. He had one of these for breakfast every morning for 3 weeks last fall and really got to like them! My twist was to zap 2 slices of bacon in the microwave, slice them up w/scissors and add them to the other ingredients before blending. Thank you so much for your very helpful and surprisingly tasty suggestions!

emilybee (author) on September 16, 2014:

anoan - Enjoy! Let me know how they work out for you and if you can be a bit adventurous go for it. I know you&aposll feel a lot healthier and won&apost be missing out as much on delicious foods :)

anoan on September 16, 2014:

You&aposre my hero. I&aposve been on a liquid diet for almost 2 months from debilitating jaw pain and am so tired of it I&aposm basically eating (drinking) milkshakes and boost. Thanks for some awesome suggestions!

emilybee (author) on August 11, 2014:

Hi Emily B! My advice to you is don&apost be shy about trying new things. The more adventurous you are about adding new ingredients to the blender the better you&aposll feel and be more nourished ! Thanks for stopping by!

Emily B. on August 11, 2014:

Thank you for these recipes! I had jaw surgery about 3.5 weeks ago and was getting really sick of drinking the same things every day. I&aposm slowly trying all of the recipes and so far so good!

emilybee (author) on July 22, 2014:

Mike, I understand your hesitation, but the hungrier you get the more adventurous you probably will get. Don&apost be afraid to try things and yes, tomato juice or apple juice are great liquids to mix in with appropriate foods. I was so hungry - and smelling my family eating Chinese food and pizza was not happening for me. So I blended it up :-) Good luck!

Mike on July 21, 2014:

Going through jaw surgery now. About a week post op. Definitely trying these tomorrow. I was iffy about trying full foods blended but never thought of blending tomato soup in with them. Will try!!

Camilla Stone from Oceanside, California on August 27, 2013:

You&aposre a brave woman blending some of the things you did. I couldn&apost stomach it - I&aposm 15 weeks post op with surgery. I ended up creating a list of foods that wasn&apost too different from their original consistency. I hope it can help someone!

emilybee (author) on March 19, 2013:

Hi Laura! I was thin to begin with and lost 10 pounds after- and probably only gained back about 7 of those. Not bad though. It&aposs hard getting the necessary nutrients when on liquid diet. Pizza and coke sounds interesting ) Pizza and tomato sauce really was not bad at all, you could try it if you&aposre trying some recipes out, and the blended waffles were delicious. I thought so at least. my family, well, not so much, (I had them sample all my creations )) Honey/ ice cream in these recipes helps for dessert drinks, tomato sauce or apple juice are good for meal drinks. Thanks for the comment, votes and for reading :)

Laura Schneider from Minnesota, USA on March 19, 2013:

First, ChrisMdDade8 I hope your surgery came out great and you&aposre doing well!

Emilybee, you are amazing! I had a friend who had jaw surgery and was on a liquid diet. He was thin to begin with skeletal after he could finally eat. He was doing okay on the liquid diet, but pizza was his downfall. After so many Carnation Instant Breakfasts, he couldn&apost take it any more and pureed a piece of pizza and a can of coke. He said it looked like cardboard (the crust) floating on top of muck of some sort, and it tasted terrible (he was desperate enough to try it anyway!). Wish he&aposd had your recipes. I&aposm not having surgery or anything, but I&aposm curious so I&aposm going to bring out the blender and try some of your ideas, especially blended waffles. How great that you&aposve published these here for us to "enjoy" (or hate) whether we need a liquid diet or not. I noticed a theme. honey (one of my favs) and donuts (with sprinkles, another favorite of mine). I&aposm sure many people on liquid diets right now are thanking you even if they don&apost write in comments. Cheers! Voted up and etc.

emilybee (author) on January 16, 2013:

Chris McDade- It sounds like you&aposre prepared for your surgery. If all else fails remember just use your blender and make up some treats :) Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Christine McDade from Southwest Florida on January 16, 2013:

Wow. I&aposm facing surgery next week that will have me eating soft foods for a while. I&aposve purchased the usual soups, yogurt and jello. Your hub has provided some interesing alternatives. Great work!

emilybee (author) on March 28, 2012:

I know what you mean, Jamie, the first few days I drank small sips of Ensure and cranberry juice, that&aposs it, for fear of vomiting and because I was so pissed I couldn&apost eat, and blended food wasn&apost going to happen, initially. But I got sooo hungry. You must have lost SO much weight from only drinking chocolate milk!! I ate a lot of food, but because of the first few days not eating, in all I lost about 10 pounds, most of it I gained right back. Thanks for the vote up!

Jamie Brock from Texas on March 27, 2012:

Great hub, Emily! I just couldn&apost do the blended food.. I eventually just drank chocolate milk and stuck with that. It was the only thing that tasted normal to me. This is a great hub and very useful.. voting up!!

emilybee (author) on March 24, 2012:

Hi Doug! I bet you could do it, if you had to. Sometimes you just don&apost know what you are capable of, until the time comes, everything is arranged, and you have to do it. Thank you for commenting.

emilybee (author) on March 24, 2012:

Hi Prasetio! If you need liquid diet recipes, I promise these recipes I mentioned are very nourishing, and pretty tasty, too. I love strawberry smoothies. Great for whenever but I&aposm looking forward to having them in the upcoming summer months! Thanks for the comment!

Doug on March 23, 2012:

This is a fantastic hub, you went through a lot I don&apost think I would have been able to do it!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 23, 2012:

My friend, you have nice information about diets and I really enjoy your recipes. I can&apost wait to make it soon. My favorite is smoothies with strawberries. Rated up (useful, awesome, interesting). Have a nice weekend!

emilybee (author) on March 23, 2012:

Hi RTalloni! Thank you! I hope that it is helpful for people. I remember prior to surgery I was so glad to find a couple good milkshake ideas but besides that, I didn&apost really know what to expect to be eating a lot of. Thanks for commenting!

RTalloni on March 23, 2012:

Interesting to read about this! This hub on liquid recipes for weight loss or post surgery needs should be helpful to many people.

emilybee (author) on March 23, 2012:

Hi Kittythedreamer! I agree, weight loss with a liquid diet does not seem healthy, but I typed liquid diet into google and that was what came up! So I guess people do that sometimes? Maybe, maybe not. If you pureed a fast food burger I really doubt it would be tasty, but a real good burger with quality ingredients is excellent blended, and it looks just like tomato soup, but tastes so much better ) Thank you for the great comment!

emilybee (author) on March 23, 2012:

Hi Victoria! Let&aposs just say that liquid food isn&apost something I would have if I didn&apost need to, but it&aposs really not bad. It just takes more time to eat - I had to have 4-5 small meals a day, so I felt like I spent the whole day eating. Plus, it can be discouraging when you REALLY want to bite into a big brownie or something, lol but one thing is true - it was genuinely tasty. Thank you for commenting so quickly!

Kitty Fields from Summerland on March 23, 2012:

I&aposm sure you would lose weight on many liquid diets, but it&aposs probably not the most healthy way to lose weight. For post-surgery diet, it is necessary in many cases (such as yours). I have a hard time believing that pizza and cheeseburgers tasted good pureed however, like Victoria said, if you say it did than I&aposll believe you! Great hub, though. Wonderfully informative. :)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 23, 2012:

Oh, my! Amazing you blended all those things, even cheeseburgers! And amazing that they tasted good! I&aposve worked in a nursing home, and pureed food kind of grosses me out, but if you say it&aposs good, then I believe you! ha Very useful hub. Will come back for future reference if I need to! Awesome. Voted up! Sharing!

Watch the video: JUST ATE: Feature film FULL MOVIE Young chef struggles with bulimia (July 2022).


  1. Uli

    a Charming answer

  2. Johanan

    I can speak a lot on this issue.

  3. Huy

    It doesn't make sense.

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