What would you like to do?

Why did you delete my negative comment on your Facebook page?

My Facebook page is there to inform my FB friends/followers of restaurant news, and to help drive visits to RehobothFoodie.com. My Facebook page is not the forum for negative opinions. The place for that is RehobothFoodie.com (at the bottom of each restaurant review is a button that says “Post your Comment” Have at it!).

I cordially invite you – in fact, I encourage you – to post any and all comments, negative AND positive (except ones that complain only of menu prices!) – on the appropriate review article at RehobothFoodie.com. That IS the forum for restaurant commentary.

Sadly, I regularly receive inappropriate posts that are almost surely posted by competing restaurants or friends/family of restaurant owners. I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing that; a comment with high praise for an obviously mediocre restaurant – or a comment with almost hysterical condemnation of a good or very popular restaurant; all of these are suspect. If you write one of those – or harp on price and only price, it might not be posted. I invite you to curb your enthusiasm and try again.

I love the posts, but they need to be as accurate and objective as possible.

Why didn’t you post my complaint about high prices?

Commentary on price isn’t relevant to the quality of the food or service in a restaurant. Price/affordability is more of a personal issue for each individual guest to decide.

That being said, it is a fact that seasonal resort restaurants tend to be more expensive than non-resort restaurants. There are several reason for this: (1) Rents are much higher in a seasonal resort. Downtown Rehoboth, Lewes and Dewey restaurant often pay TWICE the rent that they would pay anywhere else. (2) Seasonal resort restaurants only make a reasonable profit in the summertime when the city is full of vacationers. Though many of them stay open year-round in order to keep their help, their profit margin is much, much lower for those 7 or so winter/off-season months. So seasonal resort restaurants have to adjust their prices higher to account for this disparity and still cover the costs of rent, food, supplies and labor. Basically, they rely on the 4 or so months of in-season/summer business to cover their entire year of costs.

In order to stay in business, restaurants set their prices somewhere between covering their costs (including rent, labor, etc.) and still attracting customers. If those prices are too high and they price themselves out of the market, then the restaurant will go out of business. If they are too low, they will go out of business because they could not cover their costs. With brand new restaurants, that remains to be seen after the crowds have settled down and reality sets in. Especially in the off-season.

Where can I get sushi delivery?

The words “deliver” and “sushi” should never be used in the same sentence. Sushi and sashimi (or any raw protein, for that matter) are much too prone to food-borne pathogens and temperature-related spoilage to be subjected to that no man’s land in some guy’s Toyota between the restaurant and your home.

Imagine a plate of sushi sitting on Rt. 1 in the middle of July in traffic. And sitting. And sitting.

Sushi needs to be delivered from a sushi bar within sight of your table in a restaurant. And even then, that sushi bar must be spotless, and manned (or womaned) only by experts.

Stay safe!

How can you be objective in your reviews if restaurants advertise on your radio show?

Up to this point, I have been fortunate to not have to deal with that problem. The restaurants that have been kind enough to advertise on my radio show happen to be restaurants about which I wrote generally favorable reviews long before I had the show. These restaurants are run by professionals and are consistently good. Repeat visits bear this out.

The radio show grew out of the popularity of RehobothFoodie.com, so I would never compromise the objectivity of my articles. Visitor feedback suggests that this is the main reason so many people use the site regularly. Of course, I will never accept restaurant advertising on the website, since, unlike the radio show, all the reviews — positive and not-so-positive — are right there.

Where’s the Black Friday Gift Card List?

I’m sorry to say that the Black Friday gift card list, which I have published for the last 4 years, was and is an exercise in futility. Other than 6-7 specific restaurants, many of the places offering deals either publish them only on Facebook as a single post, or don’t publish them online at all; relying on signs and table tents in the restaurant to publicize the deals.

This is because many restaurants see this as a deal they want to extend to their regular customers and not to the general public. I get it, and that’s their prerogative, but it makes it almost impossible for me to chase down each and every deal. On top of that, the terms of some of these deals change with the wind. This year I posted the terms of several deals, and two days later the restaurants changed them without notice. Of course I got indignant emails. Enough already.

There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do the gift card list properly, and I’d rather not publish it at all than publish one that is incomplete or incorrect.

Check the websites, Facebook pages or onsite signs at your favorite restaurants. Or call. The phone numbers are on my Cheap Eats/Specials list. Enjoy!

How come I can’t print out your Cheap Eats/Specials list?

Because of the interactive nature of the Cheap Eats list, it is not designed to be printed. There are just too many moving parts. Keep in mind that the list changes daily as updates and new specials and hours come in. So a printed copy would quickly become obsolete anyway.

Note that you can also access the list on your smartphone by going to Cheap Eats on the site or you can access it from the Rehoboth In My Pocket smartphone app by tapping “What’s happening now?”

I asked for bread, and the waiter told me that they don’t serve bread any more. Why?

Interesting question, and I get it a lot.

The word I get from restaurateurs I have spoken to about this is that 50-70% of the bread they put on the table is not eaten. Quality restaurants know that that bread has to be thrown away (once something has been on a customer’s table, it cannot be reused — or at least it’s not supposed to be…).
They blame, (1) the plethora of fad diets that have made people fear carbohydrates, along with, (2) those who decide they are not going to eat gluten for no stated reason other than being seen as “healthy” (no truly scientific basis for any of that, except of course in the event of an actual diagnosed medical allergy or sensitivity due to celiacs disease).
Many restaurants (Matt Haley’s SoDelConcepts restaurants and Touch of Italy, for example) bake their own bread so they can control not only the cost (in-house bread doesn’t have to be delivered) and the amount they serve/make in the short run. Other restaurants charge a very small amount for their bread so only the people who want it will order it. An example of this is the cornbread at Po’Boys Creole & Fresh Catch in Milton.
Quality restaurants survive on making you happy, but many chefs and owners are frustrated with the hundreds of dollars they throw in the trash. Some will  pass the savings onto the customer by controlling menu prices, others will simply enjoy the few hundredths of a percent increase in profit. Either way, it’s better than throwing untouched food in the trash.

I saw a Sysco truck in front of my favorite restaurant! Some people say that only mediocre restaurants buy from them. Am I wrong?

Beware of the faux “anti-Sysco” (or anti-U.S. Foodservice, or anti-whatever) attitude that is perpetrated by certain restaurants that try to capitalize on “buying locally,” “organic” and all that feel-good talk rather than just putting out consistently good food. I can tell you from 100% experience (I have owned or been part-owner of 5 eateries) that the local restaurants that demonize companies like Sysco will most certainly have a Sysco (or U.S. Foods or whatever) truck in front of their restaurants some time during the day, just like everyone else. It just makes sense when purchasing certain items in bulk.

What many people don’t know (or don’t bother to find out) is the the local Sysco warehouse that services southern Sussex County buys much of its in-season produce from local MD and DE farms. It just makes sense from a business point-of-view because the expense of trucking refrigerated items across the country (often the case with non-in-season items) is a huge part of the cost. And they bring the product to the restaurateur’s door.

Restaurants that crow about going to local farmers’ markets are generally ending up with the same produce, except that it’s cheaper for them to drive to a farmers’ market rather than pay Sysco (or, again, whomever) the additional costs associated with delivering it to them. And Sysco, like your local grocery store, offers a wide variety of the same “organic” items that local restaurants try to make you believe are something unusual or peculiar only to them.

Another fact that many people don’t know is that Sysco, again, like your local grocery store, sells many different levels of quality in order to service the widest possible range of restaurants. So a local restaurant that says that a product sold by Sysco is inferior is trying to fool you into thinking that their product (whatever it might be) is superior, when in fact they could have just as easily purchased the better product from Sysco (or, I repeat, ad nauseum, any food purveyor).

It’s important to remember that Sysco is primarily a warehousing and trucking operation. The great majority of their products are available (at all levels of quality) for purchase by its customers in the same way that a range of products are on the shelves at the grocery store available for you to buy. If you buy a cheap, inferior ham, for example, you don’t blame the grocery store — you should blame yourself for not buying the higher quality (and, by definition, more expensive) product. There are people who can only afford the cheaper product, and so it makes sense for the store to offer it to them.

People often overlook the fact that the amazing range of in- and off-season products available at restaurants is due directly to large companies like Sysco, US Foods and the like. The very fact that you can get guacamole at your favorite local Mexican joint in January is due, in part, to this. Am I trying to make you think Sysco or the other purveyors are better than buying from a produce stand or farmers’ market? Of course not. What I’m saying is that in many cases it’s pretty much the same thing, except that you are having it delivered to your door at a naturally higher cost.

So thanks to huge operations like Sysco and the like, local customers have a wider array of products from which to choose, which, if they actually know what they are doing in the kitchen, can translate into better dining for us all. The ones who don’t measure up would rather blame the trucking company that brought their food rather than their limited culinary talents. Too bad. And some people actually believe it.

Where are the Indian, Korean and Vietnamese places?

Resort dining is a strange thing. Restaurants depend on a regular flow of customers to survive, and unfortunately, that is only guaranteed during the 3 or so months of the summer season. Off-season dining has to appeal to as many people, and to as wide a cross-section of tastes as possible, or the restaurants will fail.

Good news, however! As of mid-2017 we now have Indigo Indian restaurant on the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth, and Minh’s Bistro Vietnamese restaurant at Rt. 24 and Coastal Highway. So things are looking up.

Lily Thai does a pretty good job and they are open all season. They survive on a very good lunch special. Confucius is another place that does a consistently good business with upscale Chinese food. They also offer a Sunday dim-sum brunch that is quite popular.

Saketumi, Cultured Pearl and Stingray also survive year-round with good “locals’ specials” and a fairly diverse menu. Note that you can get tasty Middle-Eastern items at Semra’s Mediterranean Grill on Rehoboth Avenue. Semra’s stays open year-round.

The silver lining is that New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and D.C. are not that far away, and all are meccas for good ethnic dining.

What about healthy, gluten-free and fat-free foods?

Of course it’s better to limit your fat and carb intake. It’s a proven medical fact that these things promote health. But when it comes to gluten (other than for those with celiac disease — approx 1 in every three million people), you have fallen for a marketing trick. And people who actually pay attention are starting to wake up to this fact as scientists discover that it’s all just hype.

In spite of what you are being told by those who profit from it, gluten-free foods will not help you lose weight and are not any healthier than other foods — again, unless you happen to suffer from celiac disease. In that case you must avoid gluten at all costs. But there are also unfortunate souls out there who are allergic to mushrooms or celery, but that doesn’t make mushrooms or celery unhealthy — unless you happen to be an advertising agency trying to make your clients’ celery- or mushroom-free food appear to be better than somebody else’s. And therein lies the scam!

Another example: Some restaurants have jumped on this bandwagon by touting their french fries as “peanut oil-free.” That is certainly a good thing for people who have peanut allergies, but it’s not the peanut oil that’s the problem, it’s the allergy. Everybody knows that fries taste and look better when they’re cooked in peanut oil. People with peanut allergies should of course avoid the fries at these places, but peanut oil doesn’t make the fries any more unhealthy than if they were cooked in any other kind of oil. Other than minor differences in the amount of saturated lipids, oil that is liquid at room temperature is just oil. Don’t buy the hype.

There are even restaurants who tout their, say, pizza dough, as being “fat free,” and their tomato sauce as being “rich in lycopene.” Oooo, now doesn’t THAT sound scientific! But there’s the hype again: They’re simply trying to fool the misinformed into thinking that their, say, pizza, is healthier than the other guy’s. The truth is that ALL pizza dough is virtually fat-free. And ALL sauces that contain tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Not just theirs. It’s all just marketing hype targeting the gullible. Don’t buy it.

I had lunch the other day with a young woman who was complaining that her gluten-free cookies tasted like cardboard. I asked her if she suffered from celiac disease. She said, “no,” but that she wanted to be healthy. She had fallen for the hype, as her cookies crumbled into a pile of dust on the table. Some people will believe anything.

Many of the problems in this country today stem from people blindly accepting pretty much anything they are told. Don’t do that. If you are allergic to peanuts, you must certainly avoid peanuts. If you suffer from celiac disease, then yes, gluten is off-limits. But if you don’t, don’t be fooled into thinking that gluten- or peanut-free products, or pizza with “fat-free” dough or sauces filled with lycopene are unusual or automatically more healthy. They’re not.

In the immortal words of the late comedian and contemporary philosopher George Carlin, “It’s bull**it, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s bad for ya’.”

Recent studies (NOT conducted by companies that manufacture gluten-free products) have repeatedly shown that the original information about gluten was incorrect, and that the only people who should avoid it are those who suffer from celiacs.

In my humble opinion, we need to spend more time monitoring our fats, cholesterol, sugars and sodium (PROVEN dietary concerns) and less time creating fake “sensitivities” that draw attention away from (and diminish the credibility of)  people who do, in fact, suffer from celiacs disease. Thank you. Now pass the bread, please.

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