- Cakes that look deceptively like other foods. — The Daily Meal
- A man posing as a Food Network chef fooled 300 people at a fake event. — Eater
- Smile: these foods are proven to make you happy. — TLC
- Why those trendy (and pricey) whole-animal feasts are actually a deal. — Grub Street NY
- Find out which cities eat the most fast food. — So Good
- On the rise of the jacketless cookbook. — The Food Section
- Best all-natural sodas when you're craving the sweet and sparkly. — KitchenDaily
- Why you should be tipping 20 percent all the time. — Squid Ink
- Just how does meat tenderizer work, anyway? — Food Republic
While I consider myself to be a savvy traveler, the topic of tipping is perpetually tricky, even close to home! Regardless of the eventual destination, always do your homework before leaving (especially on international trips) and keep easily accessible small bills, just in case.Over my years of travel, I've picked up several tips (ha!) so you can learn from my mistakes:
- Know the exchange rate — Whether you get money prior to departure, at the airport, or right when you arrive to town, familiarize yourself with the rate when facing foreign bills. It 's confusing to remember how many pounds or rupiah equal $1 when fumbling with money to treat someone for their services. When at the bank, ask for small change, too, so you're at the ready when you reach the tipping point.
- Know the value of a dollar — Another tricky situation is when that bill you're offering up goes a long way . . . like a day's wages. In addition to recognizing the value of the peso or baht as compared with the US dollar, brush up on how generous and appropriate it is.
Learn three more tips that are useful even stateside when you read more
- Would you eat this Daniel Craig Popsicle?
- Would you eat this Daniel Craig Popsicle? — Eat Me Daily
- Are you buying less organic milk? — Serious Eats
- Tipping rules for takeout and delivery. — Bon Appétit
- Flank steak salad with arugula is hearty and delicious. — Chow
- Top Chef season six has wrapped filming in Las Vegas. — Eater SF
- Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali talk everything from cupcakes to Food Network. — Grubstreet
Earlier this year, we broached the question of whether it was fair for establishments to impose a built-in surcharge for large dinner parties — and many of you were strongly opposed. But how would you feel if taxes and gratuities were eliminated altogether?
Frank Klein, owner of San Francisco's Fish & Farm, thinks the idea has potential to succeed in times like these. According to San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer, Klein will remodel Fish & Farm, reopening with a new menu that has all-inclusive prices.
The restaurant's new tabs will have "no surcharges, no extras, no nothing above what it says on the menu. We are going to become the anti-surcharge restaurant." The waitstaff will still be adequately compensated because the computer will automatically deduct sales tax and 18.5 percent gratuity for every check.
Although this isn't a new concept — it's standard in many countries like France — it's uncommon to see in America. At a time when many Americans feel nickel-and-dimed, does this strategy have the potential to succeed — and catch on in other restaurants?
We've all been in crazy situations, and I want to know how you handle entertaining fiascoes and bad restaurant behavior. I'll present a situation and you tell me what you would do. Here's today's scenario:
You and a friend have sidled up to the bar at a small French bistro famous for burgers. You share the burger and a bowl of mussels, which are so good, you want to enjoy them to the last bite. But before you're finished eating, the waiter starts accosting you with polite, yet passive-aggressive questions like, "May I take your plate? Are you done with that?" You're still working on the mussels, but the shell plate — and all your silverware — get cleared without asking! After a few attempts to finish your meal sans utensils, you finally throw in the napkin.
Following the aggressively rushed service, you receive your bill, and want to tip accordingly. That's when you realize that the bistro's lone server is standing over you, watching you fill in the gratuity on the bill. What would you do?
To find out what I did — yes, it happened to me at a San Francisco hot spot! — read more
In a recent article in the New York Times, restaurant critic Frank Bruni discusses yet another quandary facing restaurants during the recession. Not only are people dining out less frequently and reducing spending, but they're also tipping less. This puts servers in a particularly vulnerable position. The trend doesn't surprise me at all; however, the recession has actually inversely affected my tipping habits. Even though I eat out less, I tip more than I used to, knowing that my favorite places may be on the verge of collapse.
Tell me: Have you been less generous with the bill lately?
Of all cities in America, New York is certainly one that's suffered severe economic blows — yet it has the highest cost of living in the country. To protect its diners from sky-high gratuities, the city's Department of Consumer Affairs has instituted a policy preventing parties under eight from being charged automatically for tip.
Big Apple blog Newyorkology set the record straight: New York restaurants may impose gratuities only for parties of eight or more. Even in those cases, the fee must be 15 percent or less, and diners must be forewarned with a listing on the establishment's menu in font that is 10 point or larger. Despite these strict guidelines, the New York Post uncovered a dozen restaurants that were breaking the local law; those violators are hit with fines ranging from $50 to $500.
In a city where a good percentage of the denizens make a living waiting tables, I can understand the pressure for higher gratuity. But I also feel that diners need to be protected against rising costs — if not, there won't be anyone dining out at all. What do you think about the predicament? When dining out with friends, do you mind getting a built-in service charge?
The idea behind tipping is that it improves service by rewarding good waiters and punishing bad ones. But advocates for eliminating tipping say this logic is false, and they believe working for tips discourages teamwork. What's your two cents?
We've all been in crazy situations, and I want to know how you handle entertaining fiascoes and bad restaurant behavior. I'll present a situation and you tell me what you would do. Here's the latest scenario:
You're at a small (but popular) restaurant that sells burgers and sausages to go. When you place your order you're told by the abrasive girl at the counter that your wait will be at least 15 minutes.
Ten minutes into your wait, she suddenly cries out to everyone present:
Hey, listen up everybody! The tip jar is right here, and if you could make a generous contribution that would be great . . . dollars only, please!
What would you do?
To see what I would do in this situation — and it happened to me! — read more
The City of Brotherly Love is also the city with the most-tipping love. Based on Zagat's newly released Philadelphia survey, the city's residents leave a generous 19.6 percent tip on average, compared to the countrywide average of 19 percent. Diners in New York — long considered the most expensive place to live in the US — only tip equal to the countrywide average, while those in Los Angeles tip below average at 18.4 percent.
Do Philadelphians really possess more love for their fellow citymen? Or is it because of Philadelphia's large number of BYO restaurants? I'm most surprised by the fact that New Yorkers tip such a meager amount. When I lived in Manhattan more than five years ago, it was considered standard to tip 20 percent due to the high cost of living there, and the fact that so many New Yorkers make a living in the service industry. Do these numbers surprise you? Are they in line with what you would normally tip, given decent service?