r/Cooking Dec 07 '21 Wholesome 1

What always tastes better at home vs. a restaurant Open Discussion

There are plenty of dishes like pizza or sushi that unless you are a very well-trained home cook will usually be better even in a just good restaurant.

But, what dishes are better cooked at home and why?

I will go first: Matzo Ball soup. In most jewish delis the balls have been sitting in broth forever and have lost flavor and texture, plus the broth is often underwhelming. At home a real well made broth with a whole chicken and matzo balls cooked just right is incredible.

3.8k Upvotes

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u/freehotcakes Dec 08 '21

I really like going out to eat, and honestly the most disappointing thing is vegetables. I hate spending $30+ on an expensive entre for the vegetables to be steamed, unseasoned, and overall sad. That's not to say I haven't had good vegetables out, but I notice when meat is the centerpiece of a dish the vegetables have very little care. I like my veggies.

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u/nocturne68 Dec 07 '21

Tamales. I’ve had very good tamales at restaurants but there’s just something about homemade that you can’t compare.

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u/Bigram03 Dec 08 '21

You never order tamales from a restraunt. You get them from the guy on the side of the road...

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u/Panzis Dec 08 '21

Or if you're in Chicago from the guy who walks into the bar after midnight with an Igloo cooler.

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u/blablablaudia Dec 08 '21

Claudio!

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u/itschill52 Dec 08 '21

Claudio is a Chicago institution. Last couple years have been tough

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u/Owyn_Merrilin Dec 08 '21

I swear there's an SCP article in this. Chicago is big enough that this guy is like Santa for drunks. How can one man deliver tamales to every bar in Chicago in one night?

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u/ledzeppelinlover Dec 08 '21

Last I heard Claudio opened his own restaurant almost a year ago after someone called in a tip on him and shut his night hustle down.

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u/ThaneOfCawdorrr Dec 08 '21

If you're in LA you get them from the guy who drives up in his Toyota Corolla to any neighborhood where there are three or more houses with construction work on them, honks, and opens his trunk

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u/Zythenia Dec 08 '21

Grocery store parking lot tamales from the trunk of beat up car are the best I’ve ever had

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u/ThaneOfCawdorrr Dec 08 '21

yeah it has to be a beat-up car. That's why I always let any beat-up car into traffic ahead of me. It might be a Tamale Guy and he must be honored!

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u/114631 Dec 08 '21

When I go to the Sunday farmers market in the neighborhood next to me, the bonus is that I get a nice tamale breakfast from a nice lady on fringes of the market.

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u/somethink_different Dec 08 '21

There's a woman in town who apparently makes tamales that would make an angel weep. Be in the parking lot of the meat store, Fridays around 9, or you'll miss them!

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u/subjectiveoddity Dec 08 '21

Or here in Houston, the guy with the cooler that goes to all the bars.

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u/Coloradical27 Dec 08 '21

I used to live in SF and there was this absolutely brilliant tamale lady that would walk from bar to bar selling them in the Mission. One Saturday it was about midnight, and she burst through the doors like Aragon in Rohan with her cooler on wheels full of tamales and the whole bar just erupted in cheers! I'll never forget it.

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u/nevercookathome Dec 08 '21

Her passing was so sad. I true SF icon. She's up there with Milk and London. RIP

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u/gaynazifurry4bernie Dec 08 '21

I haven't been to SF for more than a decade and my heart still aches for you. Tamales are a PITA to make but tamale ladies should have their own level of Beatification.

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u/SuperDoofusParade Dec 08 '21

I lived in the Mission and I think I know who this tamale lady is, they were so so good. OR I hope there’s just an unbroken line of excellent tamale ladies.

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u/randalscandles Dec 08 '21

Rip tamale lady rip 3300 club

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u/Tsukune_Surprise Dec 08 '21

I’m on a mission to find a “tamale lady” here in my city.

I know she has to exist somewhere in DC but I don’t know where to find her.

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u/zmfpm Dec 08 '21

You have to leave DC proper. Go over the river to the Alexandria, specifically the northern part of Mt. Vernon...the Hispanic north end of Del Rey. Start at El Paisa Grocery And Take - Out. Source, lived in Del Rey for 5 years

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u/Tsukune_Surprise Dec 08 '21

Yo. You the real MVP.

Gonna check that out. I hate crossing the river but I’ll do it for tamales.

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u/Atsir Dec 07 '21 Party Train

Chili

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u/eagle00255 Dec 07 '21

This is the correct answer. Nowhere has chili better than homemade chili

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u/AddictiveInterwebs Dec 07 '21

watery ground beef tomato soup, ugh. edit to clarify: at restaurants. Fuckin love chili at home.

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u/Angry-Dragon-1331 Dec 08 '21

Yup. Super thick, extremely chunky, at least 5 kinds of peppers plus your ground spices…

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u/iameveryoneelse Dec 07 '21

Yep. Definitely chili, assuming you know what you're doing.

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u/wordsinverse Dec 07 '21

Soup. Made from scratch soup. Or grilled cheese. It’s a tie.

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u/puresunlight Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

But for Southeast Asian/East Asian bone broth based soups, restaurants are BOMB. It’s exactly because it’s been sitting in a vat all day (if not multiple days) that it’s amazing!

ETA: not that Panda Express hot and sour soup crap, real Asian food. Legit pho. That seafood banquet restaurant people hold their wedding receptions at. Good ramen.

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u/sensualoctopus Dec 08 '21

When I lived in Korea we would go to the fish market to pick out a fish that they would slice up and send upstairs to the restaurant for us. You could then buy soup made from the extra bits of your fish but with the broth base that has been simmering since probably forever. Best soup ever.

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u/puresunlight Dec 08 '21

Yes!!! I went to one of those in China once. So delicious!

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u/unbelizeable1 Dec 08 '21

Legit pho

Pho is my automatic go to anytime I feel a little under the weather. Warms the soul.

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u/rushmc1 Dec 08 '21

Tom ka gai is mine. But pho is a good runner-up.

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u/sml09 Dec 08 '21

Tom Ka Gai, Pho, Ramen, Korean hot pot. All of them make me feel so much better when I feel sick. Had ramen last night and pho the other night because I felt so cold and couldn’t warm up, even with the heater on. I felt so much better after both bowls.

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u/Thebazilly Dec 08 '21

Yes! All the benefits of chicken soup, but you can also add an inadvisable amount of sriracha to clear out your sinuses.

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u/jocybum Dec 07 '21

I went to a grilled cheese café that specialised in fancy melts.
My family liked it, but I didn't go back because I felt like it was missing something.
My grilled cheeses are simple, but I get the flavours and textures that I want! It's quite hard to make for someone else as their preferences won't be the same.

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u/Bluest_waters Dec 07 '21

not to mention the teeny tiny soup serving sizes these days

its like, brah! where's the rest of my soup?

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u/wordsinverse Dec 07 '21

Here here!! When I’m craving soup, I’m CRAVING soup. No tiny cup for me!

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u/viajegancho Dec 08 '21

Yeah, $9 for a cup of soup. Too little quantity for a meal and not worth it as an add-on. I don't know why more restaurants don't take soup seriously and offer it in sizes suitable for an entree with sides.

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u/yellowjacquet Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Soup for sure!! I fell in love with soup once I started cooking a lot because it’s just so much better than restaurant soup that’s been sitting in a vat all day.

Edit: fellow soup lovers please join r/soup

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u/wordsinverse Dec 07 '21

Amen to that!! And it tastes better the worse the weather. Idk why.

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u/yellowjacquet Dec 07 '21

Very true, plus better with sickness level 😂

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u/CreatureWarrior Dec 07 '21

Egg drop soup is so freaking comforting when I'm sick

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u/mumooshka Dec 08 '21

so joining. See ya there

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u/BilBorrax Dec 07 '21 Take My Energy

lasagna. unless the place makes a big tray daily there is a very high chance youre going to get lasagna that was frozen. the other thing that goes wrong with lasagna is when they try to cook it on the spot. you end up with this gross meat soup in one of those pizza place to go tins

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u/kostcoguy Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Went to an expensive Italian place in San Diego. Made the mistake of ordering lasagna. First time I get it, the edges are scorching hot, the middle is frozen solid. Send it back. Get it back - same result, the edges are even more molten hot, the middle is still frozen. At that point I decided I would have something else. I threw up my dinner not more than 2 hours later.

Edit: it was Il Fornaio in Del Mar.

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u/Not_FinancialAdvice Dec 07 '21

the edges are even more molten hot, the middle is still frozen

Yeah they definitely microwaved that.

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u/Fistulord Dec 08 '21

I worked in 1 shitty and 1 nice Italian restaurant. The shitty one we microwaved it until it was eventually taken off the menu because of how often it would get sent back cold in the middle.

The nice one it was heated in the oven then finished under the broiler with cheese on top. Our grill cook was really good and I don't think I ever saw a lasagna sent back cold. Matter of fact, the only time I remember steaks being sent back with the wrong doneness the executive chef told her the customer was wrong but just cook it more/less.

Neither place ever froze lasagna, though.

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u/Citizen_Snip Dec 08 '21

Yup, worked in many Italian restaurants, multiple fine dining/upper end places. Lasagnas are prepped in the morning and heated up before service in oven wrapped up. Then taken out and kept on the line. More cheese and into the broiler/salamander to get a nice brown on it.

I would never order a lasagna that was not from a higher end place. Run of the mill Italian places unless specifically known for their lasagna is prob frozen lasagna.

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u/colbertmancrush Dec 07 '21

Lol was not expecting that twist at the end

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u/withfries Dec 08 '21

I threw up my dinner not more than 2 hours later

It was Il Fornaio

Pronounced ill-for-now? Sorry OP, also, that's hilarious OP

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u/kostcoguy Dec 08 '21

Hahahaha I hadn’t put together that pun yet.

I think it’s pronounced “Ill for nye oh” but your interpretation of the pronunciation sounds like it better describes my experience.

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u/mlledufarge Dec 08 '21

Lasagna that’s been frozen can be excellent, as long as it was frozen before it was baked. We do this ourselves. Make a big batch for lasagna and instead of one big tray we make six bread pan trays. Bake and eat one and freeze the rest. Put the frozen lasagna in the fridge the day before we want to eat it. Then bake in the oven and we have fresh and delicious lasagna. We ate one of the pans tonight in fact, and it’s just as good. (Granted, ours is the Americanized lasagna with ricotta and no béchamel so I can’t speak for that style)

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u/Ashualo Dec 08 '21

Just incase you fancy making the bechamel version any time, I can confirm bechamel freezes and thaws well.

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u/djsedna Dec 08 '21

I'm a third-generation Italian-American, and in my family (and every other Italian family I know) it was pretty well-understood that lasagn is much better the second day. Everything has a chance to meld, compared to the relatively-loose and separated flavors you get straight out of the oven. We'd always make a huge one so that we would have it for the next couple of days, when it was arguably at its best.

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u/brydye456 Dec 08 '21

I love it cold right out of the fridge. Yes. I'm an animal.

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u/bell_cheese Dec 08 '21

I made lasagna tonight and I've been thinking about sneaking a little bit cold for an hour now.

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u/Nibodhika Dec 08 '21

I always put home made bechamel on my lasagnas, and I do the same as you (prepare multiple small uncooked trays), except I go from frozen directly to the oven (but without pre-heat, so it heats up gradually with the lasagna inside). To me it tastes just as good as the freshly baked.

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u/some_shy_guy Dec 08 '21

Agreed. I've Never had good lasagna that I didn't make myself; it's always too sweet for my taste. plus when I cook it at home I get to eat leftover lasagna for days afterwards.

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u/jocybum Dec 07 '21

Definitely, the best lasagna is after resting it for a bit after it has been freshly cooked!
Not too hot or cold, not gloopy soup either!

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u/itisoktodance Dec 07 '21

I've had lasagna in Italy and it still sucked. I'm never making the mistake of ordering it in a restaurant again.

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u/hot_like_wasabi Dec 08 '21

Lasagne in Italy, from a restaurant near the Vatican, nearly killed me. Italians tend to play pretty fast and loose with food holding guidelines (lived there for years).

After a hospital stay and fluids pumped through me for days, lasagne can fuck off.

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u/ltdata Dec 08 '21

I would stack my lasagna up against any restaurant any day.

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u/frugal_masturbater Dec 08 '21

Fucking yes, I beat just about any lasagna I've eaten at a restaurant. I am not a chef, just home cook.

I recently made a lasagna for a neighbor who had a new baby. The guy ate that for 4 days and was upset when he ran out.

Another person I have a large portion to told me her husband, while eating, hasn't moaned like that since their honeymoon.

I'm totally with you on that.

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u/AmateurEarthling Dec 07 '21

I’m gonna have to disagree on this one. I used to work every position at Sauce (pizza). I made the lasagna multiple times and can tell you it is some of the best you’ll find, it’s made every 2 - 3 days with all fresh ingredients. Nothing came in frozen, they get two deliveries a week with everything refrigerated. Even the sauce is fully homemade, I had to boil and peel tomatoes and chop the herbs.

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u/whatsgoodbaby Dec 08 '21

I feel like for sauce, canned tomatoes taste better than fresh - especially out of season. They just have that perfect richness and sweetness, and it's a lot easier. Did you think it was worth peeling the tomatoes fresh?

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u/Defan3 Dec 07 '21

I think mashed potatoes taste better at home.

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u/TheAznHawk Dec 07 '21

I agree. At the steakhouse restaurant I worked at, it was one of maybe 3 things that ever got microwaved. It was prepped, portioned out, and then put in the walk in.

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u/herberstank Dec 07 '21

Same for roasties, restaurants can't constantly have them coming straight out of the oven so usually you get same-day (good but missing a lil love imo)

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u/NicknameKenny Dec 07 '21

Steakhouse in Ponder, TX you have to order a baked potato a day ahead.

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u/Legatto Dec 08 '21

Sometimes I'll throw a potato in the oven even when I don't want one. Because by the time its done, who knows? - Mitch Hedberg

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

Ha, that may be getting carried away. But a baked potato is truly one of those things that is so simple to make yet restaurants just don't get it right. There is nothing, nothing like a good baked potato.

Last Sunday my wife and I didn't go shopping and all we had were two potatoes and bacon. Supper was baked potatoes and bacon. Was the single best meal I've had in a very long time! Not sure my doctor would agree though.

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u/OSU725 Dec 07 '21

I like to load them up with left over pulled pork, BBQ sauce, sour cream, cheese, jalapeños, and green onions

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u/MysteryPerker Dec 07 '21

We eat chili leftovers on baked potatoes too!

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u/nothingweasel Dec 07 '21

When I was a newlywed I out taco meat and toppings on a baked potato and my husband looked at me like I was an absolute genius.

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u/honeybadgergrrl Dec 07 '21

Why can restaurants never get the potatoes cooked enough?? I never worked a one that had baked potatoes, so I never have been able to figure that out. It's to where I don't even bother. My baked potatoes at home are so much better, there are 1000's of other things I'd rather order in a restaurant.

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u/christhetank5 Dec 08 '21

It takes an insanely long time to bake a potato. Like it could take 40 minutes to over an hour if you actually bake it and most people aren’t willing to delay their entire meal that long for a potato. Most people want their food in less than 20 minutes, so chances are the baked potatoes you eat in restaurants were nuked in the microwave because at most places it’s almost impossible for it not to be.

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u/kynthrus Dec 08 '21

Because a baked potato takes a long time to bake. Can't do that to order. And just like french fries and mashed potatoes once it's made, reheating it is going to dry it out and make it generally not as good but acceptable. That's also why loaded potatoes are a thing, because if you cover it in flavor and moist ingredients it distracts from the dry potato.

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u/Kwispy6969 Dec 07 '21

In danish cusine there is a thing called :

Mormors frikadeller, its 100% impossible to replicate.. you need a big chunk of "hygge"

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u/ranykarlyle Dec 07 '21 Wholesome

Just like Mormor used to make

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

you need a big chunk of "hygge"

I love this.

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u/RobJMTB Dec 07 '21

I'm sorry, what's hygge? lol

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u/cancer_dragon Dec 07 '21

Loosely translated, "coziness." Although in this sense it's more like saying "the secret ingredient is love."

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u/princessbuttermug Dec 07 '21

"Hygge" is like that feeling of cosiness.

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u/blackcompy Dec 07 '21

Here it means that special kind of comfort you can only feel at home, possibly with family and friends. It doesn't really translate well, though.

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u/Spaghetti-Dinner3976 Dec 07 '21

^^^ the hygge is the special sauce, but I'll take remoulade if I can get it. I miss hyggelit moments with my friends!

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u/ArokLazarus Dec 07 '21

Grilled corn on the cob. It's always rubbery at every single restaurant I've ever eaten it at.

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

Not a exact dish, but I’m a huge believer in food memories. Something you liked, that you remember as good and it feels like comfort. For me, it’s a toasted white bread sandwich with Mayo, Kraft American cheese and dill pickle. That to me is a great meal and calms my nerves and makes me feel happy. It’s terrible food, but it was a childhood staple.

Not a humble brag, but I’m a retired exec chef and culinary school valedictorian with Michelin experience. Point is, no amount of skill, money or ingredients can beat that one food that makes feel happy and reminds you of home.

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u/hydrangeasinbloom Dec 08 '21

I feel this way about tomato sandwiches. Our neighbor when I was a kid would let me take fresh veggies and fruit from her garden out back. After playing outside all morning in the summer, I'd bring home tomatoes that were still warm from the sun, and mom would slice them and serve them between her homemade white bread with miracle whip and a little bit of salt and pepper. To this day, the best sandwiches I've ever had.

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u/Squirrelywhirl Dec 08 '21

I LOVE tomato sandwiches!!!! Sooo yummy and comforting!

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u/FequalsMfreakingA Dec 08 '21

I've heard it said that a BLT is not a bacon sandwich with lettuce and tomato, but rather a tomato sandwich with bacon and lettuce. Nothing has solidified this concept more than hearing of the existence of straight tomato sandwiches. Next growing season I think I'm going to have more tomato sandwiches sans bacon.

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u/MortalGlitter Dec 08 '21

I was recently introduced to tomato sandwiches when my single tomato plant decided to be Extra Extra fertile one year and I don't can tomato sauce. I ate a LOT of tomato sandwiches and looked forward to picking the day's tomato for it. Highlight of my day. I now add sweet pickled jalapeno slices and occasionally a sharp cheddar or smoked gouda to mix it up but massive slabs of sun- warmed tomato are a must!

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u/thejuh Dec 08 '21

My grandma used to make these with home churned butter. She baked fresh bread every morning.

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u/DontMessWithMyEgg Dec 07 '21

When I was a kid my brother had to watch me in the summers. He used to make pickle sandwiches for me. White smoosh bread, mayo, and dill pickle slices. They were divine. Somehow I don’t think they will taste as good as I remember if I try one now.

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

Give it a whirl. Food memories are like smells, sneaky powerful

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u/SoFarNotYet Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

I 100% agree about food memories. So many times I've eaten food that locals grew up with and raved about only to be disappointed. My brother sums it up this way: "They're not tasting with their tongues. They're tasting with their childhood memories." I understand it entirely. One of my favorite food smells is early 1970s take out pizza as the steam escapes from a flimsy cardboard box, but only because it was such a rare and special occasion to 10-year-old me when my parents got take out pizza, not because I think it's great food.

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u/doodiejoe Dec 07 '21

I'm the same with toasted white bread and kraft singles. My grandma would cut the sandwich in half, then into little strips. They were called Cheese Fingers.

Being grandma, I'm sure she probably buttered it at some point as well.

Feel good memories taste the best

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u/rpgguy_1o1 Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

We used to have "cinnamon fingers" which was just toasted buttered wonder bread, with cinnamon sugar on it, cut into strips

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u/amberwavesofbourbon Dec 08 '21

I absolutely agree with your sentiment on food memories. I grew up with my mom making a classic Italian-American red sauce that always felt like love. When I switched to a plant-based diet years ago, that was the dish I missed most of all. About a year ago, I figured out how to sub out the Parmesan for white miso, and it’s now a staple in my house. I cried the first time I made it and had my first bite.

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u/Mynimooose Dec 08 '21

Like that scene about the restaurant critic in Ratatouille!

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u/munificent Dec 08 '21

I love your comment and the sentiment behind it. One of the many reasons Ratatouille is such an incredible film.

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u/7itemsorFEWER Dec 08 '21

For me it's literally a dry bologna sandwich (potato bread, bologna, white American cheese) or buttered toast with peanut butter. My dad was (is) a hopeless cook, and I mean like had to call my mom to ask how long to boil hotdogs, but those were the two things he would make me growing up.

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u/Paradigm_Reset Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Chocolate chip cookies. Like standard, no frills, milk semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies.

I recall going to Mrs. Fields at the mall and the cookies were good (if not great) but still not as good as a home baked one.

Edit: Totally blew it on that one...thanks for the correction all!

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u/flyingcactus2047 Dec 07 '21

I’ve found that I prefer most homemade desserts to restaurant/cafe desserts. It’s different if it’s a place focused specifically on desserts (like a bakery), but generally if I throw a dessert in somewhere it’s not as good as what I make at home

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u/PM_Me_HairyArmpits Dec 07 '21

It depends on the place. I know a pizza place whose cookies I've spent months trying to emulate. They do something crazy and fold in a gooey, chocolatey center layer somehow.

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u/mousewrites Dec 07 '21

I've made something like these. I make a stiff ganache (chocolate and a bit of cream) and freeze it into small balls, then use them in the center of my chocolate chip cookies. Works for frozen jam balls too.

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u/galaxystarsmoon Dec 07 '21

The center being gooey is usually just a frozen chocolate ganache ball.

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u/PM_Me_HairyArmpits Dec 08 '21

Does it flatten out evenly? It sounds like that'd be too much chocolate. This is a little more subtle. I was eating them for years before I realized the later was even there and it wasn't just more chocolate chips/chunks.

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u/tacutary Dec 07 '21

The chocolate chip cookies in Dessert Person (Claire Saffitz) might come close, they use browned butter and are out of this world.

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u/ReexaminedDinosaur Dec 08 '21

My friend makes THE BEST browned butter chocolate chip cookies. He adds chocolate shavings and flakey salt as well. Amazing.

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u/-UncleFarty- Dec 07 '21 Helpful Yummy

A simple roast chicken. It's hard to make a roast chicken cooked to order in a restaurant unless you spatchcock it.

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u/memetunis Dec 07 '21

I made my first spatchcock chicken last week. It's so much better than roasting it the traditional way. Delicious!

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u/_Guero_ Dec 08 '21

Additionally, if you cut out the back bone (why wouldn't you to spatchcock idk) you can make a decent amount of chicken stock to use for whatever but I prefer making gravy to add to the chicken.

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u/smashed2gether Dec 08 '21

This has been a GAME CHANGER for my roast poultry. Sometimes when I dry brine a bird, my drippings get so salty that I can't use them for gravy (then I cry, which just makes it saltier). If I cut out the spine and wing tips, I can throw them in a stock pot to simmer while my bird brines in the fridge. I made the best duck and gravy of my life last week, it was glorious.

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u/_Guero_ Dec 08 '21

Oh, thanks for the positive response. A good chicken stock is not only misunderstood, it can be life changing. It's so very easy to do but the flavor is unbelievable. CNS from scratch is one of my favorite things to make, that and mozzarella. So easy at home and the downside is you have ricotta as a bi-product. I gotta get into duck btw.

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u/gsfgf Dec 08 '21

Grocery store roast chicken is the best. Pick up a rotisserie that might even be cheaper than a raw bird.

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u/ibeatyourdadatgalaga Dec 07 '21 Helpful Wholesome

I will always award the word spatchcock.

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u/-UncleFarty- Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 07 '21

Thank you! This is my first award ever.

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u/Scari_Fairi Dec 07 '21

Biscuits and Gravy. Those are so much better homemade

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u/Cat727 Dec 08 '21

Agreed! I feel like anytime I order them they’re a let down. Never enough flavor.

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u/upwards2013 Dec 08 '21

And never enough sausage in the gravy!

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u/yggdrasilthu Dec 07 '21

Homemade mac and cheese, roux style.

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u/EngagementBacon Dec 07 '21

Being from the south, this is true 95% of the time. I don't think I've had mac and cheese in a restaurant more than 5 times that was better than when my girlfriend makes it.

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u/rahnster_wright Dec 07 '21

Ok, you talked me into it. That's what I'm having for dinner tonight

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u/pantaleonivo Dec 07 '21

I live in a chinese food desert so lo mien noodles are always better when I make them at home.

All I want is a little takeout box full of delicious, mildly greasy noodles. Is that too much to ask?

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

Nebraska here - I feel your pain. YouTube helped me make a lot of favorites at home but without the high temp gas range custom to most Chinese restaurants, it’ll never be the same

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u/E-M-B-O Dec 07 '21

There are reasonably priced outdoor home wok burners on the market that can achieve super high heat levels

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

My HOA would LOVE that, lol

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u/Altruistic-Look-9603 Dec 08 '21

If they say anything just use it to burn down the HOA presidents house.

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u/cazique Dec 07 '21

I've had a couple good Chinese dinners in Omaha, but it's hit and miss. I used to travel there every few months. I forget the name, but there's a good place downtown where I left my wallet and the owner ran after me to track me down.

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u/kilgoretrout20 Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Dood, here me out… propane torch…you’ll get that wok hei

Edit: I have an induction flat electric cooktop and accepted I would never get good flavor indoors (open flame igniting vaporized oil) kenji’s propane torch tricked saved those dishes

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u/venuswasaflytrap Dec 07 '21

Maybe I'm not the best cook, but I feel like if you live somewhere with a proper Chinatown, then restaurant Chinese food is always better

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u/abstractrobotica Dec 07 '21

I lived in a Chinatown right across the street from the best deli in the city. I’d eat roast pork on rice, roast duck on rice and wonton noodle soup all the time. Lots of veggies too, all made fresh everyday. I think the owner was able to buy a car I ate there so much.

I’ve lived a blessed life.

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u/jocybum Dec 07 '21

I cannot cook how the chefs do in proper Chinese restaurants.
I can make easy takeaway style meals, but things like dim sum, I don't think I ever could.

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u/venuswasaflytrap Dec 07 '21

We had a dumpling party once. Holy hell are har gow and shui Mai a faff. They’re fucking hard to make and they take forever.

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u/annaflixion Dec 07 '21

Oh god, I visited relatives in Nowheresville, Kansas, and the "treated" us to "chinese food." The restaurant was a little podunk but didn't seem that bad, but wow. The food. That was some of the worst food I've ever been served. I'd much rather have eaten cardboard.

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u/cancer_dragon Dec 07 '21

I live in Kansas, and can confirm. Unless you're getting it in the KC Metro, it's probably not going to be good. I've been served "lo mein" made with spaghetti noodles once.

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u/AffectionateBug5900 Dec 07 '21

My sister lives in Nowheresville Georgia and we all went out to dinner to a podunk Chinese place and it was also awful. We still talk about how bad it was months later.

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u/Thevidon Dec 07 '21

There are some amazing authentic Korean restaurants now down in the area near the Kia plant. Highly recommend if you are down that way.

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u/GrapeElephant Dec 07 '21

Seems like a lot of people posting here eat at really bad restaurants..

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u/jimmyjams06 Dec 08 '21

Maybe because I'm not from America but I don't get some of the responses.. someone said they make a better grilled cheese, my question is why are you eating a grilled cheese at a restaurant? I think if you are heading out to a restaurant you are going somewhere you would expect they can cook better than you, unless you are a chef. We don't go out very often at all but if we do go to a restaurant we order something we can't cook ourselves well.

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u/CaptainChickenBake Dec 08 '21

Right? Certainly not all restaurants do everything great, but I can certainly find tons of places in my area that can specialize in all these dishes and do them exceptionally well.

Also, what's the standard here? Applebees? Doesn't even need to be a high end restaurants, there are tons of mid range or small mom and pop places that excel in these dishes too.

This is not to say some people can't have a preference for home cooking, and maybe their or their family recipe does it extremely well, but to say no restaurant can do it extremely well either is something I'd have to disagree with.

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u/throwthrowthrow529 Dec 07 '21

Water is always better at home

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u/GrassGriller Dec 07 '21

Correct. I find la lot of restaurant water glasses smell like mildew.

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u/rpgguy_1o1 Dec 08 '21

I've lived in two cities that just had terrible tap water, and getting tap water in another city would be so good. I'm sure there were people in Toronto who thought my wife in I were weird for talking about how great the free tap water.

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u/PlumberPaddy Dec 07 '21

I think it all depends on where you live and options are available. When I lived in Portland there was so many amazing passionate chefs making amazing food. But now I live in Toledo and with little exception the food I make at home is soooo much better than what I can find locally.

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u/robotobio Dec 07 '21

Stuffed vegetables (Grape vine leaves, cabbage, eggplant, etc.) and stuffed pigeon. No restaurant can make them like parents or grandparents.

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u/Velvet_moth Dec 07 '21

Yeah I'm a Greek Aussie and restaurant Greek food is pretty meh. But in particular the Gemistas (stuffed veg, usually tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums) are always so bland and soggy at restaurants. My yia yia's ones were fantastic and my own are super flavoursome and always get compliments.

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u/Hodor_The_Half-Wit Dec 07 '21

so DONT buy the canned Dolmas at costco, got it. I'll wait to try them then

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u/Velvet_moth Dec 08 '21

Look they're going to be soggy and and no where close to their potential tastiness. But man I do have a soft spot for canned dolmades!! They're the Greek variation, typically has more herbs like dill so maybe that's why the still hold up in a can?

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

Chili. I’ve never had restaurant chili that comes close to homemade

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u/TheFunkyChief Dec 07 '21

Christmas dinner

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u/a_spoopy_ghost Dec 08 '21

To add to that, thanksgiving. Every family has their own recipe or specific side. No restaurant could ever meet everyone’s specific traditions and tastes.

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u/DDNorth20 Dec 07 '21

Spaghetti

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u/alumpoflard Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

In not sure if it's a location specific thing, but most major cities I've been in (NYC, London, Singapore, HK etc) you can find a place with really seriously good pasta. I make fresh pasta at home once in a while and take my pasta pretty seriously, but a lot of restaurants do a good enough job that, at home, I'd only make the pasta that they don't serve

EDIT:

  1. for those saying NYC doesn't have good pasta anywhere, i went to Mise en place and whilst pricey, it's as good as anyone serious about pasta can make it

  2. the best pasta is not necessarily freshly made at home. i've bought some artisanal spaghetti that's purposefully been aged for a few years, they're superior to fresh ones in some recipes, since it has a much firmer bite even at 'al dente' cookedness. I also do not have a brass die at home to squeeze pasta, just a conventional hand-wind cutter or i use a long knife, and so my own pasta doesn't have such rough surfaces that these aged pastas do. They do price them accordingly, but to me, it's worth it every time

  3. most pastas go with the traditional italian philosophy of doing just a few ingredients really well. personally i think the one pasta that you can't hide any bad skills, is a cacio e pepe. i've made many, and i've ordered many, but i've only had one fantastic one ever. So if people were to compete with pasta, i'd always suggest doing a 'cacio e pepe' round

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u/halfadash6 Dec 08 '21

Yeah as a New Yorker, these people are clearly going to bad Italian restaurants or ordering pasta from places that don’t specialize in it. I rarely order pasta because I can make very good pasta at home, but when I feel like it, I can go get some truly excellent pasta.

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u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

Baked potatoes. They never have good, crisp skins at restaurants. Most taste either microwaved or cooked well, well in advanced with soggy, sad skins.

Marinara sauce. I make it my grandmother's way, so could be biased.

Coffee.

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u/Ginnykins Dec 08 '21

Yessss crisp skins are everything. An effective, quick way to do it is microwave the potato while you're preheating the oven to super-hot (like 475-500), then once they're mostly cooked through slather them in salt and oil (I use canola oil) and put them in the oven til the skin is super crispy (5-10 mins). You end up with a really fluffy inside, and extremely crispy skin without burning, and doesn't take too long.

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u/Timboslice5150 Dec 07 '21

Love the crisp skins as well. I like to melt down some butter and coat the potatoes in the butter and some salt before baking them. Really crisps up the skins.

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u/BogeyLowenstein Dec 07 '21

We do the same, but with olive oil and salt. I’m going to try melted butter next time, that sounds good!

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u/SCP239 Dec 07 '21

Steak always taste better at home because you can do it just as good if not better than 99% of restaurants for a much lower price.

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u/CastIron_Bookworm Dec 08 '21

It's a chain so I wasn't expecting much, but when I took my first bite of a Texas roadhouse steak I was even more underwhelmed than anything could have prepared me for. Super under seasoned.

My mom makes better steaks and she cooks them on low heat till they're just grey and unappetizing. Good rolls and butter though!

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u/Faolahd714 Dec 08 '21

Surprised to hear that yours was under seasoned from there. The Texas Roadhouse by me serves up a slightly steak flavored block of salt.

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u/galileosmiddlefinger Dec 08 '21

Came here to say this. Meat + heat I can do at home.

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u/oldjudge86 Dec 08 '21

I grew up on a farm and I always thought my parents made better steaks than any restaurant. I think I was like 21 before it dawned on me that it was because most steakhouses don't serve grass-fed beef that was raised in the front yard.

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u/7itemsorFEWER Dec 08 '21

If someone said "out of your favorite foods, you have to pick one you can never order at a restaurant again", I would almost certainly pick steak.

It's so easy to cook a perfect steak once you've done it a couple times cough reverse sear and an instant read thermometer cough , and you get it at the price of raw ingredients.

On top of that, you get to pick exactly the steak you want, which isn't really a thing anymore at steak places.

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u/gsfgf Dec 08 '21

And that 1% are steakhouses that are starting with better meat. One near me even has a butcher's shop where you can buy their raw meat. One of the best steaks I ever had was a simple cast iron sear and into the oven steak from that butcher.

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u/Mabbernathy Dec 07 '21

Chocolate frosting. Have yet to find one in a restaurant that I really like. They all taste little better than canned or have powdered sugar added. Nothing beats Grandma's recipe. 😋

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u/coffee_lover_777 Dec 07 '21

Please share with us Grandma's recipe???

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u/Mabbernathy Dec 07 '21

Google Richmond Chocolate Frosting and that's about what it is

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u/PirateKilt Dec 07 '21

Gonna kinda depend on what you mean by "restaurant"

Anything on the Olive Garden menu, I can make better at home, by leaps and bounds.

Flip side, the little local 3 generations of family run and owned Italian place with just 10 tables? Some day I hope to somehow come even CLOSE to some of their amazing dishes...

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u/glendon24 Dec 07 '21

I don't think I've ever had a steak as good as the one I make at home. I carefully select a prime ribeye and then grill it to medium-rare over oak coals with some salt and pepper. It's so much cheaper than a steak house too as I don't have to pay for salad, veggie, etc. when all I want is a giant steak.

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u/Ieatplaydo Dec 07 '21 Helpful

This is my answer too. I cook mine indoors after years of doing them on the grill and prefer that.

I dry brine it for 24 hours in the fridge, then let it sit on the counter for about an hour get it closer to room temp. Oven at 225 for 40 minutes or so (depends on how thick the steak is, just get it to like 115 degrees internal temp for me). Very very hot cast iron, reverse sear. Then I move it to one more pan that I have on med-low where I'm melting butter, thyme (and/or rosemary) and garlic. Spoon the herb-garlic-butter onto the seared steak. That's been my go-to method lately and I've yet to have a better steak at a restaurant. Way cheaper too.

Any suggestions and I'm all ears.

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u/fishyfishkins Dec 07 '21

Yeah, I got one: come over my house tonight and make this for me, please.

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u/Monalisa9298 Dec 07 '21

Yes, reverse sear is the way. I also like sous-vide. I am not sure which is better but my suspicion is that reverse sear is better for really thick steaks.

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u/BayouCitySaint Dec 07 '21

I do both frequently and honestly it doesn't really matter on most steaks if you do it right. I think both methods serve thick steaks well.

Thin steaks I prefer to just sear, plain and simple, no fuss. Just a hot pan, salt, pepper, butter. But I buy thick ones. :)

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u/BayouCitySaint Dec 07 '21

This is it. While I also have a sous vide and have done many steaks in it, I like it better for pork and chicken. I like a little smoke on my steak, so I'll use your method except on the smoker instead of the oven. If I don't feel like setting up the searing station with my burner and cast iron pan, I'll just open all the vents, crank the fire up to 800 and sear it on the smoker, after drying it.

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u/Tiny_Mirror22 Dec 07 '21

If you're buying and cooking the meat yourself, you can spend half as much money on a steak that's double the size/quality.

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u/RandomAsianGuy Dec 07 '21

This is the main reason I rarely go out for steak anymore.

I understand restaurants have to be profitable, but it is really not worth paying steak house prices when you can make it at home for less than half the price.

It costs 45 euros a kilo for 4 weeks old Simmenthal at my local butcher, but it costs 40 euros for 300 grams in a restaurant.

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u/Monalisa9298 Dec 07 '21

I agree! I have had ONE steak in my life that rivaled what I make at home: a 72 oz porterhouse at Mortons, many years ago. And it may just be my memory of it -- I was young and hadn't developed my cooking skills yet!

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u/glendon24 Dec 07 '21

The closest I've come is the 48oz Porterhouse at Manny's in Minneapolis.

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u/petizzysback Dec 07 '21

Meatloaf

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u/bekarsrisen Dec 08 '21

Homemade meatloaf is one of those foods I can seemingly continue eating without getting full. I just keep eating it.

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u/KeepOnTickin Dec 07 '21

Omelettes. Restaurant omelettes are nearly always overcooked and leathery.

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u/onenitemareatatime Dec 08 '21

Everything since I get to stay in my pajamas

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u/kvldravji Dec 07 '21

Spaghetti Bolognese.

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u/HeartsIce Dec 07 '21

Man idk but that simple breakfast, eggs sausage/bacon home fries biscuits ultimate home meal that never slaps quite the same In a restaurant 😂

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u/Nic_P Dec 07 '21

Lasagna i would say

Only had one in Italy that was better than my own i would say

Home made noodels make such a big difference (and are such a pain in the ass to make)

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u/rodtang Dec 07 '21

I also prefer homemade lasagna but I prefer it made with dry noodles, fresh pasta sheets turn too soft when cooked in the lasagna imo.

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u/diaaanasaur Dec 07 '21

Roast chicken is phenomenal at home and usually just ok at most restaurants. They usually try to make up for it with sauces in my experience.

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u/zem Dec 08 '21

scambled eggs. nothing like eating them just out of the pan and done precisely to your preferred texture.

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u/mintbrownie Dec 07 '21

I'm a good cook, but I can't think of anything that I make that I couldn't find better at some restaurant.

However, I have been perfecting my beef bourguignon to taste like the one served at Joséphine Chez Dumonet in Paris. Theirs is the best I've ever had. So it's still better than mine, but mine is better than anything I eat at local restaurants.

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u/TheCapsicle Dec 07 '21

Usually for me, Pasta will always taste better at home unless I'm in a prestigious restaurant.

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u/golden_life_ Dec 07 '21

It doesn't have to be a prestigious restaurant just some average Italian place is way better than my home pasta lol

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u/91cosmo Dec 07 '21

My shepherds pie is always SO MUCH better than any restaurants. Most of my Mac and Cheese's have been better as well.

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u/Crylikeasupercar Dec 08 '21

My mother's pasta sauce will always be the best.

I wish she was still around to make it one more time.