Welcome to the New

YouTube | Twitter | FB Profile | Tumblr | Pinterest | FB Page | FB Group | Google+ | Myspace | Instagram |LinkedIn |


Your Headline

By EelKat Wendy C Allen

In the past week I have had five separate restaurant start-up ventures ask me what I thought of their projects (I'm a food critic, so that's why they sent these questions my way.) I've sent each of them a detailed opinion of what I thought of their specific plans and menus, etc.

But as I do get these questions from time to time, due to my being a food critic whom restaurants hope will show up at their place and give them a glowing review, I'm going to grab several of their questions, toss them together and answer them here, to give future restaurant question askers a general idea of what kind of things they can expect me to look for in their restaurant.

The question below came from the five restaurants in question:

"We are starting a restaurant. What does a food critic look for?"

"Thinking of a new bar & grill in the Portland area, how important to you are the following menu items: ...menu removed... "

"How important are vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and gluten free options on a menu? Do I need them?"

"What kind of beer do you want on tap? What kind of beer do you want in the bottle? What kind of non-alcoholic beverages do you want available?"

"What do you look for in a family restaurant?"

"What kind of sausages would you like? What do you like on your hot dog? (condiments, relishes, chili etc...)"

"How important are reservations?"

"Organic ingredients: Not at all important, Somewhat important, Very important, Deal breaker/must have? What about locally sourced ingredients?"

1. Why do you go out to eat? Why do you go out to eat? * 2. How often do you experience different culture cuisine ? How often do you experience different culture cuisine ? 1. Once a week 2. Once a month 3. Occasionally * 3. Ethiopian food is served on a big platter and you will be sharing from common platter at the others at your table with your hand. How do you feel about eating with your hand? Ethiopian food is served on a big platter and you will be sharing from common platter at the others at your table with your hand. How do you feel about eating with your hand? 4. On a scale of one to ten how spicy would you like your food? On a scale of one to ten how spicy would you like your food? 5. What is your favorite meal of the day? What is your favorite meal of the day? 1. Breakfast 2. Lunch 3. Dinner 6. Ethiopian cuisine is consist of vegetable and often very spicy meat dish, how often do you include vegetable on your meal? Ethiopian cuisine is consist of vegetable and often very spicy meat dish, how often do you include vegetable on your meal? 1. More often 2. Often. 3. Sometimes 4. Never 7. How much do you typically spend on a meal when you go out to eat? How much do you typically spend on a meal when you go out to eat? 1.0 to 20 2. 20 to 30 3.30-50 8. How important is price to you when choosing this type of service ? How important is price to you when choosing this type of service ? Extremely important Quite important Moderately important Slightly important Not at all important 9. Would location matter to you over quality/service? Would location matter to you over quality/service? Extremely likely Very likely Moderately likely Slightly likely Not at all likely 10. How often would you come to a restaurant that has a cultural night with traditional music and dancing a certain night a week? How often would you come to a restaurant that has a cultural night with traditional music and dancing a certain night a week? 1. More often 2. Often 3. Sometimes 4. Only on occasions 5 never

These are things which I look for or consider when I'm eating at your place and planning to write a review of your restaurant:

Not knowing your plans, couldn't say. Personally I would want to see more Asian food, that is actually Asian food. Go to a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc restaurant and there is no actual Asian food on the menu, it's all "Americanized" what people "think" is Asian food, but not what you would actually get if you went to the country itself.

More seafood dishes, less red meat dishes, less bird dishes. More clam dishes. More places like The Clam Bake, Ken's Place, Bailey's (all three in Pine Point)

Why does no restaurant in Maine serve Moxie? It's the state drink. I love Moxie. I drink Moxie every day. If there were 2 restaurants each with the same menu, but one served Moxie and the other did not, I'd eat at the Moxie one.

Iced tea is what I order most places.

Little known fact: people who are gluten sensitive AND people with sunflower allergies are allergic to most Pepsi products esp Pepsi diet and Seria Mist Natural is a life threatening allergy for some. Pepsi products contain an "all natural flavor" that is derived from lupine seed oil, a relative of the sunflower. People with peanut allergies are also affected by this (not specifically listed on the label) ingredient. If you offer Pepsi products, you need to offer allergy-free alternatives. Offering ONLY Pepsi products can lose you a lot of customers who simply are unable to drink these drinks due to an allergy that could kill them in a matter of minutes.

Best restaurant in the entire state: The Golden Rooster in downtown Saco. I give them 5 stars in my reviews. They are one of only 4 eat out places in Maine, I have ever given a 5 star review. (I'm a food critic.) You want to get a 5 star menu at your place, go to the Golden Rooster every day for a week, order a different dish every day. Try the garden omelet with lobster. It's to die for. This is what really good food tastes like. Their chef is an artist. He cooks food to perfection. In this place it's not the menu as much as it is the passion this chef puts into cooking perfect dishes. Get a head chef in your place who is an artist and you'll do good no matter what you serve.

Hot dogs and topping? tofu dogs? soy dogs?  sour dill pickle relish, hot yellow mustard. Sausages: vegan by Morning Star.

More vegan food. It sucks when half the family can't order anything but salad because salad is the only meat-free item on the menu. It really limits where we can eat. We used to eat at The Tin-Tin in Biddeford a couple times a week, for years and years, than last January they changed the menu - NOT ONE SINGLE VEGAN DISH! Closest is mac&cheese and mashed potato, but even those have cheese/milk in them. Even the salad has fish or chicken in it! Who in their right mind puts meat in a salad, do they even know what the word salad means? Guess not, not if they are tossing meat in it. Ain't a salad no more once you've added meat to it. It's like calling red stew "chowder" when the word chowder means "white stew".

You mention salads and soup as a major part of your menu. Let me tell you something about salads and soup, something very few restaurants even consider.

KNOW what is and is NOT a salad. Look up the root words. Know what the actual WORD salad means.

KNOW what is and is NOT a chowder. Look up the root words. Know what the actual WORD chowder means.

Get this wrong and you lose credibility with people who a major foodies who DO know the meaning and history of the names of the food they eat. You can laugh and think it's not important, but let me tell you: if there is chicken in your "salad", you are NOT eating a salad, no matter how many fast food take outs tell you other wise, and if your "chowder" is any color other than white, you ain't eating chowder, a TRADITIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN DISH made from potatoes and milk, sometimes with fish or corn added to it.

FACT: If you sell red "chowder" you will lose every Native American customer in the area who will loudly boycott you as someone who is racists against them/us (I'm Kickapoo). The invention of "red" chowder came about as a way to poke fun at "savage red skins" and is viewed as a highly offensive dish, while calling a red stew a "chowder" is seen as a racial hate slur against Native Americans. Serve it as "tomato fish stew" you'll have no trouble, serve it as "red chowder" you'll not get any Native American customers in your place.

I'm a chef, I know food, and I'm an English major I know what words means. I'm also a food critic, I write 2 advice columns AND a food review column that does impromptu (unannounced) eating out at than reviewing local restaurants. I get so pissed off when restaurants call any dish with lettuce in it a salad and red stews "chowder" just because they added fish to it. If you want me to believe you're credible, don't call food by names that do not match the meanings of the names! It's a mistake I see way too often in restaurants and it makes me question the creditability of a chef if they can't get the names of their food dishes right. Maybe it's not a big issue for most eaters, but for me, I've got some serious food allergies and I can't put my health on the line for a chef that can't get the names of their food right (learned that the hard way, by being told the food was one thing and turned out it was another thing, which I found out by ending up in the hospital as a result of a life threatening food allergy) it's enough of an issue that I am likely to write a bad review of the restaurant based just on that fact alone. So whenever a restaurant asks for advice, I always tell them: make sure you know what the name of your dish ACTUALLY MEANS - look it up in a dictionary. A salad NEVER has meat, fish, or chicken in it. EVER. It's no longer a salad if it does. Chowder is ALWAYS white. It it ain't white, it ain't chowder. Don't believe me? Consult a dictionary.

I know I focused on salad and chowder here, but apply this to everything you serve, no matter what it is. I once went to a restaurant and ordered a "Boston Cream Pie" which is a yellow cake with a vanilla custard filling, glazed with chocolate ganache. Is that what was brought to my table? No. I was given a Chocolate Cream Pie, a whipped chocolate mouse, poured into a pie crust and chilled. I asked why they gave me Chocolate Cream Pie instead of Boston Cream Pie, and they were clueless to the fact that a Chocolate Cream Pie was NOT a Boston Cream Pie. Asking farther questions I learned that the cook's grandmother had always called this frozen mouse dish a "Boston Cream Pie" and he had no clue that she had gotten it wrong. Don't follow a tradition blindly. If the recipe is great, use it, but make sure your grandmother had the correct name for that dish.  The pie was wonderful, best Chocolate Cream I ever had - I gave the pie a 5 star review, but not the whole restaurant, but it was not as the menu said it was: Boston Cream. It's a mistake that could get some folks quiet angry, and in cases of food allergies, you could actually kill a person if they ordered a dish, thinking it was one thing, while you had the wrong title on what the food was.

What do I wish to see less of? Less restaurants serving beer/wine/etc. Damn, even Pizza Hut now? It won't be long before you can get beer in a cup at McDonald's! Families have children. Children don't need to be exposed to drunks disturbing their meal. If you got alcohol on the menu - you ain't a family restaurant. Period. It really annoys me to go to a "family restaurant" and find alcohol on the menu.

I will admit, I am not your target audience. We're Mormons, we don't even drink coffee (a lot don't even drink or soda), and guess what? There are more than 3,000 Mormon families in York County, 2,000 Seventh Day Adventist families, a large Mennonite Community, a large Quaker community, the largest Salvation Army Community IN THE WORLD due to their headquarters being in Old Orchard Beach, the largest Irish/Scottish/Welsh Traveller Gypsy community in the Eastern USA (15,000 families) most of those families have 4 to 8 children each. Most families of these religious and cultural backgrounds won't even set foot in the building if they know alcohol is served. Same goes for meat - these religions and cultures preach meat free living (not all members practice it, but many do.) Lack of vegan menus is why these cultures generally avoid eating out. I'm not sure that it would be possible for a bar to successfully market to these cultures. Both my race and my religion put me squarely outside of your target group.

Myself I am less strict on the going to places that serve alcohol, partly because I am a local food critic (one of the columns I write is a restaurant review column). Alcohol on the menu won't keep me out, but lack of non-alcohol options will. Being a Mormon I'm also the one college friends look to to be the designated driver if they need someone to  get them home. Not having vegan options will make me less likely to be there, and no vegetarian options is a 100% deal breaker. A place that ain't got vegetarian options is not going to get my vote of confidence or a 5 star review.

They are actively looking for true alcohol-free FAMILY restaurants.

I just plain love food. I am one of those people who would be very happen to eat all day long if I didn't get full and have to stop. LOL!

I'm known to drive 5 or 6 hours just to eat at a restaurant I like in Boston or Bar Harbor or Vermont. I'm like that. I drive an hour to get to food trucks in Portland.

I like food and I like driving. If I really like the food, I'll drive there. I drive all over the state to festivals and events just so I can eat the local foods at them. I'm a major foodie, of course I'm also a chef and a food critic (one of the columns I write is a local restaurant review column that also awards "best of Maine" plaques to the best restaurants of the year), so you know, chefs and food critics both tend to really love food, and being a food critic it is my job to drive all over the state seeking out new places to eat.

I always go with my family though. Family is very important when it comes to why I eat out.

And you know what the #1 thing I personally look for in a family restaurant? The ability for my family of 7 to sit together in a single booth at a single table without the restaurant having to pull over an extra table and a set of extra chairs. The average family in the USA has 2 children, but this is Maine where the average family has 4 children. Mormon families have 4 to 18 children PER wife, some have 3 or 4 wives, where will you site them? Mormon, Seventh Day Adventists, and Mennonite families in Maine average 6 children. I got an uncle here in Maine with 15 children, if he came to your restaurant, where will you seat his family?

My family we are Mormon and Voodoo. Family is the #1 most important thing in both traditions so you know it's VERY important to us, that our family has room to all sit together when we go to a restaurant. If you can't seat big families than it's a good thing you are not in Utah where the average family has 8 children.

Don't tell me you are a family restaurant unless you can actually seat a real live family complete with 4 to 8 children, because guess what, when I come rolling in to review your restaurant, I bring the whole herd with me and you better have a place to put us at one table or you will not get a 5 star review. Being able to seat your guests TOGETHER is something I look at when I review you.

Another thing I look at - waiters and waitresses RARELY like serving a family with a lot of kids. Families with children and teenagers typically get really poor service, just because the wait staff wants them to leave fast. This can get your place a 2 star review even if you have 5 star food. How you treat my family, makes a HUGE impact on how I review your restaurant.

And I don't announce I'm coming, and unless your restaurant staff actually knows who I am (and they NEVER do), I'm the last person they'd expect to be a food critic there to give your place my stamp of approval. I've had wait staff refuse to seat us because they said we looked like "ragged white trash welfare bums" and told us we were not dressed befitting of their decor. Yeah, well guess what, I happen to be the area's top food critic, those shiny plaques you see hanging on walls saying they were a top rated eat out place in Maine - I'm the one who awards those - I'm the one who decides which resturant gets them, and if your wait staff is so stuck up and snobby that they won't let my family even sit down because of the way I dress - you ain't never going to see one of those shinny plaques hanging on your wall!

Yes. I have eaten at restaurants that served this way before, and at home I'm one of those people who rarely uses utensils, I am of a "minority" culture and we don't follow "American" traditions when it comes to eating. I am not sure but I believe the Ethiopian traditions are very similar to mine.

I am a Scottish Traveller Gypsy and look "white", but my grandmother was a Kickapoo Native American, and her grandmother was a "black slave" (country of origin unknown), thus I am not "white" but rather "mixed race" consisting of "red", "white" and "black". Voodoo tradition has been passed down in my family and I am myself both Voodoo and Hoodoo (as well as Christian/Mormon). And as I said, food served on a platter and eaten with hands is part of my own family's tradition, through our Voodoo connections passed down from my grandmother.

And as you mention Ethiopian food, perhaps I should mention I am a Damballa (Voodoo) Priestess from the House of the Lansquin, my rank is Medsen Fey, I am Marji Lwa (married to/the bride of) Papa Damballa Weddo (which is why his symbols are painted on my car) I am also a servant of Erzuli Freda, thus why the rhinestones, beads and marbles or glued to my car. It is also why on certain days you will see me wearing white robes, white headwraps, sequined robes, gold embroidered kimono, a 200 year old African Kente cloth/robe passed down to me, or orange kimono - depending on what day it is (in respect to the days of the lwa)

Being the bride of Damballah my diet is greatly restricted, for he is the lwa of purity and requires this. Thus I do not eat meat of mammals or birds and only eat fish on rare occasions. My diet consists largely of white foods with lots of milk, eggs, and rice. My diet consists largely of rice, milk, cheese, eggs, fruit, and vegetables.

Spicy food can be an issue for me, because of an allergy I have. It depends on what ingredient it is which makes the food spicy. Being the bride of Damballa my diet is greatly restricted, for he is the lwa of purity and requires this. Thus I do not eat meat of mammals or birds and only eat fish on rare occasions. My diet consists largely of white foods with lots of milk, eggs, and rice. I only eat spicy food on days of Damballah DuFlame petro when he is in his Petro state.

Ads by Google

More Posts Like This One:

World Building For Authors

  1. World-building In The Quaraun Series: Creating a Fantasy World
  2. In what order do you create your world?
  3. Twerking Dragons? The Joys of Writing your Novel with A Voice Recorder
  4. Creating A Magic System
  5. How would resurrection effect society?
  6. What The Ocean Gives Me (How Things In Your Life Affect Your Writing)
  7. How would you explain your Fantasy world to a stranger?

Character Creation For Authors

  1. Should You Stop Writing About Drug Addicts For Fear A Reader Will Start Drugs After Reading Your Novel?
  2. What is an Elf?
  3. How to Handle Writing Fantasy-Horror That Features Violence Against Children
  4. How to Write Hot Sex - Tips For Erotic Romance Authors
  5. Elves Faeries
  6. Albino Characters
  7. Transgender, Transsexual, Transvestite, or Intersex: What Is Quaraun?
  8. Elves, Drugs, and Opium: A Look At The Drug Use In The Quaraun Books
  9. Writing Disabled Characters

NaNoWriMo & Script Frenzy & Big Fun Scary

  1. NaNoWriMo 2016: National Novel Writing Month, Recorded Live
  2. NaNoWriMo Overachievers: How did you do it?
  3. How Long is 50,000 Words?
  4. Why Write 50,000 Words In 30 Days?
  5. How long does it take to hit 1667 words?
  6. Average Typing Speed
  7. I’m "evil" because I write books? WTH? Anyone else ever get this?
  8. The Script Frenzy Plot Machine Outputs. Hilarity ensues . . .
  9. Top 25 Clichés in YA novels (A NaNoWriMo Post)
  10. NaNoWriMo 2009 Rapunzel Plot Started
  11. 2009 Half Way Mark Report For Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary
  12. How To Write A Stage Play Script Frenzy 2010 RE: Dirty tricks Cheats and Writing Dialogue
  13. Script Frenzy 2010 Updates: I’ve started work on “The Alien Bible”
  14. SCRIPT FRENZY 2010: I WON! & Psycho Stalker Attacks
  15. When Unpublished Writers Stalk Authors or My response to the craziest email I've ever gotten: You Stole My Idea - I wanted to write a book, but you already wrote it 10 years ago!
  16. KBoards, The NaNoWriMo ML Rumor & The Stalker Who Hacked My Accounts
  17. Hacked: My Website Was Hacked! Have Information? The FBI Wants To Know

Web Building For Authors

  1. Our Primary Site Topic Is Small Penis? Reaching #1 on Page 1 of Google. 
  2. How many pages does a SBI site need to be?
  3. Keyword marketing
  4. What url structure should I use? 
  5. What Keywords Do I Use On My Site?
  6. How To Place KeyWords On Your Page
  7. Tom Addams and The Warrior's Forum, Come Back For A 3rd Attack
  8. Flamboyant Nipples - Tom Addams & The Warrior's Forum Returns
  9. Bad Reviews Are Good for You - Tom Addams & The Warrior's Forum 2013 Edition
  10. Google Flagged Your Site! What To Do?
  11. Spending Money To Make Money Online
  12. Online Income: The Reality vs The Fantasy
  13. Create Original Content
  14. People are not interested in long winded copy?

Top 50 Most Visited Pages

  1. Medieval Servants: Their jobs and their place in historical fiction.
  2. Amphibious Aliens: The Story of Etiole & The World's Most Haunted Car
  3. On being a handicapped CosPlayer at PortCon Maine 2017
  4. Flamboyant Nipples: The KKK's New Gay Hating Site About Old Orchard Beach
  5. The GoldenEagle: An Auto-biography of the World's Most Haunted Car
  6. How Long is 50,000 Words?
  7. Writing Mute Characters
  8. Autism, Asperger, PTSD, & Mad Cow: What is wrong with Quaraun? (Writing A Clinically Insane Character Accurately)
  9. Writing Dares Random Generator
  10. Stephen King's The Thinner and The Gypsies Of Old Orchard Beach, Maine
  11. The Saco River Curse
  12. Don't put flyers on people's cars...
  13. Our Primary Site Topic Is Small Penis? Reaching #1 on Page 1 of Google.
  14. Why Crude Adult Comedy and Pink Humor Yaoi Is Not Erotica
  15. Quaraun Free To Read Online Complete Chapter Index In Chronological Order
  16. Albino Races - Moon Elves In The Quaraun Series
  17. Help FBI End Anti-Gay White Power Terrorist Attacks of Old Orchard Beach
  18. Autism, Asperger's, And The Danger of The Self-Diagnosis
  19. 600 Pages: Epic Big Super Sized Novels and Why You Should Never Write One
  20. The Jiggler & The G-String Teddy Bears | The Adventures of Quaraun The Insane
  21. Spell Casting Side Effects: Magic In Quaraun's Universe | Author Interview
  22. Necromancy: Fact Vs Fiction; Or How Can You Be A Necromancer In Real Life?
  23. The Dazzling Razzberry aka EelKat's Autism Awareness Car
  24. The Gypsies of Old Orchard Beach - page 1 (Online Release of Banned Book)
  25. Markiplier Jacksepticeye and Pewdiepie Play Resident Evil 7
  26. What Type of Music Does A Gypsy Listen To? My Top 10 Favorite Bands
  27. World's Most Haunted Car Merchandise
  28. Is It a Novel, a Novella, a Short Story or Something Else?
  29. I Am Not GhoulSpawn | Excerpt From Rose Garden of The Pink Necromancer
  30. BoomFuzzy Chapter 1 (Novel Excerpt - Quaraun The Insane)
  31. Psychedelics In A 'High' High Fantasy World (High Elves Getting High)
  32. World-building In The Quaraun Series: Creating a Fantasy World
  33. City of The Slushies | Chapter 7 | Quaraun The Insane
  34. How to Handle Writing Fantasy-Horror That Features Violence Against Children
  35. How To Write A Stage Play Script Frenzy 2010 Writing Dialogue
  36. Quaraun GhoulSpawn and The Lich Lord's Lover: The Lover's Triangle
  37. An Elf Gone Mad: The Rise of The Pink Necromancer
  38. A Field of Poppies On The Road To Witch Pond | Summoner of Darkness
  39. The Banshee Sisters: Bean-Nighe and Ben-Neeyah In the Swamp of Death
  40. Amphibious Aliens: My health since the stroke and Etiole . . .
  41. Beware of White Men In Gypsy Clothing: Fake Psychic Scams
  42. Online Income: The Reality vs The Fantasy
  43. OtherKin: My 30th Anniversary of Being Transgender
  44. Autism and the Stigmas - Why Can’t You Accept Me As Me?
  45. Old Orchard Beach Hate Crimes
  46. Suicide, Rape, and Abuse In The Quaraun Series
  47. Writing Racist Characters VS The Ku Klux Klan In Old Orchard Beach, Maine
  48. A Gallery of Fetish Shoes
  49. Custom Leggings - Designs By EelKat
  50. EGL: Elegant Gothic Lolita

Where to get ideas

  1. Story Prompts & Writing Dares
  2. Ideas, Ideas, Ideas (Where Do You Get Them?)
  3. Daily Writing Prompts June 2017

Life In Old Orchard Beach

On Writing The Quaraun Series



The Quaraun Series On Amazon:

I am wondering why has Amazon moved the Quaraun books to the category "Transgender Romance" and also "Gay Erotica"? The base story is a deeply depressed, suicidal, drug addict Elf who's lover commit suicide and he's trying not to do the same. It's an old Elf in a tavern, monologuing a lot of flashbacks and back story scenes of his youth. These stories are dark, bloody, angsty, full of drug use, murder, rape, Medieval torture, mental/physical/emotional abuse, and references to depression and suicide - no romance in it, unless you count the occasional (and usually brutally violent) rape scenes that show up in nearly every volume - sorry - no clue what Amazon is thinking or why they moved these to Romance and Erotica, but these books are NOT even close to being Romance or Erotica on any level at all. When I published these books I put them in "Dark Fantasy" and "Yaoi". If they show up in any category other then "Dark Fantasy" and "Yaoi", it's because Amazon put them there without my authorization or approval.


The Autism Awareness Articles

Think you know what it's like to live with Autism?

You might be surprised how little you really know.

A look at REAL Autism and the myth spread by those with a self-diagnosis.

Ads by Share-A-Sale

Got An Autism Related Site Or Blog?
Want To Embed These Quotes, Memes, and Fact Sheets On Your Site?
Here's How:

  • Step 1: Go to this Pinterest Board:
  • Step 2: Click on the pin quote/meme you want to use.
  • Step 3: Click the 3 dots   "..."
  • Step 4: Click the word "embed"
  • Step 5: Select the pin size (I'm using size "medium" on these pages, in case you were wondering.)
  • Step 6: Highlight & copy the html code.
  • Step 7: Paste code into any html block on your blog or website.
  • Step 8: Save & publish your blog or website. And you're done!

Still can't find what you're looking for?
This site has 6,000+ pages on it. 
Try the search button...

Custom Search