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Doughnuts and doggy bags

I'm still day-dreaming about the snack I had yesterday afternoon: cool, smooth bitter-sweet blood orange juice with a plain sugar doughnut, the sugary crunch of the crystals and lovely contrast to the gentle tartness of the juice.

The other week, the BBC had an article on how British people do not take away their leftovers when they've ordered too much food in a restaurant. Choice quote:
Even a swanky restaurant like the three-Michelin star Waterside Inn in Bray would give you a bag, although it admits it has never actually had such a request.

"If they did ask, the customer comes first so we would do it," says Gina Curtis, secretary to chef Alain Roux.

"I don't think they will ever ask, they have too much money to ask."
I keep thinking about this. Surely it would be more likely that their patrons just wouldn't expect a place which doesn't do takeaway to have takeaway containers? I would think people with "too much money" would be much more likely to ask to takeaway their leftovers at the same sorts of places everyone else would expect to be able to, at least in the US.

I would be rather surprised if many three-Michelin star restaurants in the US stocked takeaway containers for those who over-ordered, frankly. But do enlighten me if otherwise!



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
I have never been to a restaurant with three Michelin stars, but the one and two starred restaurants I've been to have given me considerably small portions than most non-starred restaurants. I would imagine that's why asking for takeaway is uncommon.

I think that people who order more food than they want in Michelin-starred restaurants generally do it by ordering too many courses, and will naturally want to eat some of each course. I wouldn't want little bits of lots of things as a takeaway in the same way that I'd want half a pizza or some curry or whatever.

I'm not sure that lack of takeaway containers need be an impediment. Kitchen foil works well for a lot of things; some places have takeaway type containers to keep bits of ingredient in fridges. Plus places set up to cater for rich people often have someone spare to pop out to a corner shop and buy takeaway containers.
Oct. 19th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
Small portions which have had a lot of thought put into them is one of the things I really like about good restaurants. At many restaurants, I would rather skip the larger mains and have the flavor and variety of starter + dessert if they're substantial enough on their own.

But yes - sampling little things and only therefore having, effectively, scraps left over is a good reason not to bother with restaurant leftovers.
Oct. 19th, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
Small portions which have had a lot of thought put into them is one of the things I really like about good restaurants.

Me too, though curry houses where a meal also gives me lunch for the next day or two are great as well.

It tends to be starters that most excite me most, though I'm grateful for main courses because not all starters contain complex carbohydrates, and I feel ill unless I have those regularly. Dessert I can take or leave - I will always pick the cheese if I only have room for one.

A meal made out of lots of amuse-bouches and starters (some of which contain complex carbohydrates) would probably be my ideal, which is probably why Viajante is my favourite restuarant by such a long way. (That and the fact that I feel the chef genuinely enjoys the challenge of catering for a vegetarian coeliac rather than believing that anyone who *really* appreciated food would eat anything).
Oct. 19th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
The last meal I had at a Michelin-starred restaurant, I was not over-full, but I did skip the cheese platter and turned down a go at the chocolate reliquary. A doggy bag would have been both superfluous and possibly a bit of an insult (plus, nothing would have made it).
Oct. 19th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
Some of my favourite restaurants offer a small plate /large plate choice of portion sizes or sharer plates so you don't end up with unwanted food in the first place.

The place where we had our wedding lets you choose your steak size before it gets cooked and the home made pies come in child, mini and standard sizes. They're also cool about sharing puds and starters or having starters as main courses.

I'm not sure how practical doggy bags are if you're not going straight home to a fridge -say if you're away for the weekend or on holiday which is when we do most of our eating out. There's also the doggybags themselves which will end up in landfill.

Oct. 19th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
I feel certain I have been offered takeaway containers of the rest of my meal in this country in situations where I had no fridge or freezer to store them in.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 20th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've only asked for leftovers in non-takeaway restaurants in the UK twice and both times they where swanned. The first was some leftover cakes from afternoon tea at the National Portrait Gallery. The second was the carcass from a whole roast chicken at a gastropub (which had a bit of meat on it still but was mostly for stock).
Oct. 19th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
I haven't really had a meal here that wasn't already in takeaway boxes that warranted it - it's not like the US, where restaurant portions are ridiculously large. The few nibbles left on the table from a reasonably sized meal are hardly worth taking away (and if I ordered it and didn't eat it, it's a pretty good sign it's not worth taking in another way!)
Oct. 19th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
It's mainly that UK restaurants don't serve food in large enough portions! If I leave food here its because it was vile...
Oct. 20th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
That is wierd, leftovers make a great lunch at work the next day!
Oct. 20th, 2011 06:49 am (UTC)
I regularly take left overs home, but it tends to be from Asian restaurants. When I think hard about it I realise that it's mostly that "English" food really isn't the material of left overs. Roast potatoes are not that great cold. Meat in a gravy congeals nastily. All the "recipes" for left overs with English food tends to involve mincing it into rissoles, no one suggests just reheating it because it dries out.
Oct. 24th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)

I concur that [small] portion size is largely responsible for lack-of-leftovers: either there's nothing left, or there is so-close-to-nothing left that leftovers are impractical.

I would not let that stop me from asking, however, even if only, say, a palm-sized portion remained -- in previous years, for example, I have taken my/our straggly raven-picked remnants from Pizzeria Uno, boxed them, and given them to the first homeless gent(s) who cross my path.

-- Sven
(and no, Uno's is not a high-class restaurant in my view)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )