1

votes

Restaurant menu questions/concerns addressed

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 20, 2012 at 5:02 PM

I am developing a freely available online resource that will provide detailed information of restaurant menu options/modifications and ingredients in the DC metro area. The idea is to conduct all the investigative work up front for the community such that they can reliably identify where they could dine and what they could order without worrying about compliance or their safety. As I generate the content for this resource I want to make sure I am as comprehensive as possible.

If you were going to utilize a resource like this, what kind of menu/ingredient questions would you like answered and what concerns would you want addressed?

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 10:10 PM

@Matt, I cringe for some reason when I hear canola oil, so thanks for the reassurance. As long as we are informed as to what oil they are using and whether or not they are willing to modify, I consider it a win.

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 08:22 PM

I agree, knowing which items are packaged and which are made fresh is key. I figure you can pretty much count out anything that is packaged but at least with fresh they may be able to modify. I'll also make sure to include information about food sources - good suggestion, thanks!

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Great suggestions thanks! I overlooked thickeners and I agree it would be nice to know whether soups are bouillon based or real stock.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 20, 2012
at 07:50 PM

@DC Healthy Bites, canola is probably the best refined seed oil you could consume, not paleo, but not terrible. High oleic sunflower works as well.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on December 20, 2012
at 07:37 PM

The ingredients in their recipes. All of the ingredients, sparing spices. Or a list of strict paleo items and a list of the recipes that contain non-paleo items and what those items are. Then you could choose if you want to consume that and know exactly what is non-compliant? I doubt there are many restaurant dishes out there that are Paleo at all, due to the oil in which they are cooked. This resource would be great though.

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Would the use of preservatives also be of of concern? MSG is an obvious no, but are there any others that I should be inquiring about?

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I definitely agree with the oil question. I am finding some restaurants use olive oil/canola oil blends. Yikes.

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4 Answers

3
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 20, 2012
at 05:43 PM

What kind of oil they cook with would be very important to me.

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 10:10 PM

@Matt, I cringe for some reason when I hear canola oil, so thanks for the reassurance. As long as we are informed as to what oil they are using and whether or not they are willing to modify, I consider it a win.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 20, 2012
at 07:50 PM

@DC Healthy Bites, canola is probably the best refined seed oil you could consume, not paleo, but not terrible. High oleic sunflower works as well.

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I definitely agree with the oil question. I am finding some restaurants use olive oil/canola oil blends. Yikes.

1
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on December 20, 2012
at 06:40 PM

This probably isn't one of the bigger issues, but if someone was ordering soup, they might want to know if it was started with bouillon or "real stock." It would also be good to know how it was thickened -- flour? Cream? Same thing with basically anything like sauces and condiments -- kind of oils used, sugar content, and thickeners/stabilizers, if any. Some restaurants actually do make their own salad dressings, so you never know. You might stumble upon a few that aren't loaded with soybean or cottonseed oil.

Most restaurants that use local meats usually proclaim it proudly, so depending on how hardcore you are about local and/or grassfed, that's an obvious one to want to know about.

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Great suggestions thanks! I overlooked thickeners and I agree it would be nice to know whether soups are bouillon based or real stock.

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on December 20, 2012
at 06:52 PM

I would be interested in knowing what portions of the menu are fresh and what portions are bought packaged.

There are two Italian restaurants in my area. Once makes everything (including the sauces and broths) from scratch -- Everything. The other, while not a chain, orders a lot of their supplies from a restaurant supply chain.

At the first restaurant I can ask for just about anything to be added/changed and they can do it. At the other I've found out there is a limit to what they can do. As I started to explore why they cannot make certain changes to the menu, I realized that there's a lot of other crap in the food. Like their ragu and the salad dressing have soybean oil (think about that, the oil/vinegar salad dressing at an Italian restaurant comes packaged with soybean oil), the calamari come breaded (so naked is not an option), etc. Even though they say they only use 100% Olive Oil (and THEY do), many of their products do not.

Going beyond that, I would love to know the source of their supplies. If I order calamari, where are they coming from. Are the tomatoes from a local farm or just brought in on the bus, etc

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 08:22 PM

I agree, knowing which items are packaged and which are made fresh is key. I figure you can pretty much count out anything that is packaged but at least with fresh they may be able to modify. I'll also make sure to include information about food sources - good suggestion, thanks!

0
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on December 20, 2012
at 05:58 PM

First, which items are gluten-free, then what kind of oils or fats used in cooking, and also what kinds of sugars are added (if at all) to foods.

6486826b269cf5b9578f947b5b645fc4

on December 20, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Would the use of preservatives also be of of concern? MSG is an obvious no, but are there any others that I should be inquiring about?

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