I Didn't Order a Side of Bacteria with That!

As I get older I am definitely more conscious of germs, bacteria and other pathogens. From being in the food biz I've taken too many classes on cross contamination, hand washing and how to keep patrons from getting sick. Maybe this is why some things I see in restaurants & bars really bother me. Here are a few of the violations I see too frequently:
  • Bottle opener in the pants. The standard uniform for female bartenders of happy hour places are the ubiquitous black stretch pants and a revealing top. Neither of those options provide a sanitary place to tote a bottle opener. Too often I see it tucked in the side, against the bare skin of the bartender. That is why I will only order draft beer or mixed drinks when I see that. Gross. Also note: pockets are also not acceptable places to carry bottle openers.
  • Check holder in the pants. I saw this one just the other day. You know that sleek black folder that usually has a credit card logo on the front that your check arrives in? I usually only open these with a napkin. Too often I find them tucked into the pants at the lower back of a waiter. In the violation I witnessed this week, the waiter also had pants that were too low, so I saw the holder stashed immediately touching his underwear. Luckily he wasn't my server or the manager of that establishment would still be talking about the scene I caused. Gross.
  • Refilling fountain beverages with used glasses. This one is not as obvious, but - if there is a glass that has been sipped from, it should not be placed anywhere near a fountain soda dispenser or beer tap. It's the same as going back to a buffet with a dirty dish, just an easy way to spread germs. I know it can burden a restaurant to use fresh glasses all the time, but I'd soon rather be given a disposable cup than think about what germs my glass encountered on that trip. This is made even more gross with a used straw sticking out of it.
Stay tuned for more to come. What do you see that bothers you in restaurants?


More Pizza Pizza

"Never trust a round pizza." - Todd English

Yes, I've been on a pizza kick. It's cheap, takes to fridge leftovers and is delicious. After seeing this slide show on SLICE I had to give the grill a try. I finally grilled pizza for the first time! True, I'm not reinventing the wheel - but what a revelation. Now I don't have to fret about keeping the oven on 500 for 3 hours while I heat my stone and bake away in the summer!

You need to have all your ingredients ready to go. There is no running back in the house for something forgotten. In this case, I made the dough and let it rise while I prepped the 4 kinds of cheese, pepperoni, broccoli, quick tomato sauce and some smashed garlic in olive oil to brush on the dough.

Using my 25% whole wheat dough, I made 4 large pizzas. One white because the Hubby loves white pizza. I smeared ricotta and shredded provolone and Asiago and sprinkled broccoli florets and drizzled that all with the garlic oil.Another was smoked Gouda with grilled pepperoni. That's right, I grilled pepperoni before putting dough on the grill. The result? Salty/crispy deliciousness. I didn't dare try to grill tiny round slices of pepperoni so I had to cut it in a more grill friendly shape. It paired well with the smoked Gouda but we found ourselves eating all the pepperoni off that pizza all throughout dinner. Another was a traditional margherita with fresh mozzarella. The fresh mozz was a mistake, giving off too much water when it melted gently. In a 500 degree oven this is not a challenge - but on a grill it does not fare as well. The last pizza had traditional low moisture mozzarella and my quick sauce of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano. Did you know that it is loads of oregano that gives pizza sauce it's distinctive taste? It's too much oregano that gives frozen pizza that unbearable flavor - as well as sugar.

Pizza grills very quickly. Trying to capture photos while still on the grill led to some extra charring. Not having a larger table to set the finished pizzas on as well as my camera led to an interesting setup on the hood of my car. My neighbors were intrigued at the smell of a bread oven coming from my driveway and thoroughly amused at the setup on my hood - conveniently not pictured!