There’s nothing quite like the nostalgic charm of a diner – neon lights, retro jukeboxes, and a menu boasting an array of comfort foods. However, while we often indulge in these culinary delights without a second thought, there are some items on the diner menu that you might want to rethink.
1. The Bottomless Coffee
Almost everyone cherishes that refillable mug of coffee at diners. However, while you’re enjoying your third or fourth refill, have you wondered how often those coffee pots are cleaned? Moreover, brands like Folgers or Maxwell House, typically used in diners, aren’t known for being gourmet quality. Opt for a freshly brewed cup from a coffee shop if you’re particular about taste and hygiene.
2. “Homemade” Pie
That pie might be labeled “homemade,” but it could have been frozen and reheated. Even brands like Sara Lee have found their way into diners masquerading as house-made. If authenticity is what you crave, consider visiting a specialized dessert shop or bakery.
3. Salad Dressings
It’s tempting to order a salad as a healthier choice, but be wary of those dressings. Many diners use commercial brands, which can be high in sugars, preservatives, and unhealthy fats. Brands like Kraft or Hidden Valley might dominate, so always ask for dressing on the side.
4. The “Daily Special”
Daily specials sound enticing, but they might be dishes made from ingredients that need to be used up quickly. While not always the case, it’s worth considering if that special is truly special or just an inventory-clearing strategy.
5. Cheap Steaks
When you see a steak at a surprisingly low price, remember you might be getting what you pay for. Such steaks might not be the best cuts and could be from bulk suppliers rather than quality butchers. You’re better off visiting a steakhouse for that carnivorous craving.
Diners often offer refillable sodas. However, the syrup-to-carbonated-water ratio can sometimes be inconsistent, leading to overly sweet or flat beverages. Brands like Pepsi or Coca-Cola might seem different in taste at diners compared to what you’re used to at home or from a can.
7. Generic Ketchup
Believe it or not, not all ketchup is created equal. While brands like Heinz have set a certain standard, some diners use generic or bulk-purchase ketchup, which might not have the same rich flavor you love.
8. Free Bread Baskets
That complimentary bread basket might be comforting, but how fresh is it? There’s a chance the bread was recycled from another table or is a day old. It’s not always the case, but something to ponder as you butter your slice.
9. Canned Soups
Many diners advertise their soups as “homemade,” but they might be using canned soups or soup bases. Popular brands like Campbell’s can sometimes be the behind-the-scenes hero of your favorite diner soup. If you’re looking for truly homemade, it might be worth checking with the staff first.
In conclusion, while diners offer a unique and heartwarming culinary experience, being discerning can make your meal even more enjoyable. It’s always a good idea to ask questions, understand what you’re consuming, and perhaps even venture out of the diner comfort zone now and then. Bon appétit!