What Are Your Favorite and Least-Favorite Appetizers?

rsz_appetizersSometimes when I’m talking with my parents it reminds me of Larry King’s Twitter stream. I know that’s a cliche, said many times before… But Larry e-blurts random thoughts every once in a while that kill me. Here are a few recent gems:

  • I don’t see pinky rings anymore.
  • I wish I had a cleft chin.
  • I love Bugs Bunny.
  • I don’t know, lately, I like candles.
  • I wonder what it’s like to have a job in a lighthouse?

On Sunday morning I was chatting with my mom — admittedly about eating in restaurants, so it wasn’t 100% off-the-wall — when she said, “I’ve never liked appetizers.” I laughed, because it sounded exactly like a Larry King tweet, and also because it’s painting with such a broad brush. All appetizers? Without exception?

Afterward, I started thinking about it and realized… I’m not a huge fan, either. I especially don’t like deep-fried vegetables that serve as nothing more than a transport platform for ranch dressing, or some other dipping sauce. I think people believe it’s somewhat healthy, because there’s an emaciated piece of onion underneath all the grease. Blechh.

For the record: my least-favorite vegetable with which to move liquefied fat is zucchini. That’s a bullshit vegetable if there ever was one. I’m not sure where Larry stands on it, but I say zucchini is for the birds!

I also don’t care for wings and shrimp and sliders, etc. Those are main course items masquerading as appetizers. Am I wrong? Deep-fried cheese is OK… but goddamn. May as well just have someone pump fat straight into the chambers of your heart.

Nachos are good, but they’re also more of an entree in my book. I don’t know, I think I’m with my mother on this one. It’s too much, too soon. Just go with a salad, for god’s sake, not a mini-meal before the main meal.

The one exception: loaded potato skins. Oh yeah. If I’m forced into an appetizer corner, I’ll go with the skins every time. Unfortunately, it feels like they’ve fallen out of favor, and I’m often alone in this preference. Everybody wants DISGUSTING mushrooms rolling in garlic, and that sort of thing. I’d rather eat a plate of my dog’s yard biscuits.

And before I turn this most important of subjects over to you guys, I have a couple more Larry-like thoughts on the subject:

  • It annoys me when people call ’em “apps.”
  • Same goes for “I’ll do.” As in, “Let’s see… I think I’ll do the fried zucchini.” Fuck you.

What are your feelings on appetizers? Which ones do you like the most and least? Are you in agreement with your significant other, or is there appetizer discord at the table? Also, let’s try to keep this grounded in the real world, if you don’t mind. I’m talking about standard appetizers found in standard restaurants. I’m not talking about Vietnam, five-star restaurants, or some obscure vegan diner in Long Balls, Idaho. Please try to keep it relatable.

And I’m going to work now. My nipples are exploding with delight!

I’ll see you guys again soon.

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Comments

  1. Jazzbone Swirly says:

    Is Papadum too exotic? I like Papadum. So does my wife. We’re Papadum eaters, we are.

  2. Chips and queso here in Texas. I haven’t met anybody that doesn’t like good queso.

  3. Seriously, first?

    Nachos are indeed a main course, especially in the trough-sized servings common to most mid-range places. Even the appetizer size is enormous!

    The older I get the less I eat, so often will JUST have the appetizer and call it good. In this respect I like ’em, but not before a whole other meal (which I then won’t eat because I’m full on appetizers!).

    • Not first. Took too long to write my fool comment. Sadness.

    • I, too, often eat an appetizer for my meal. Sometimes I order a small salad as my appetizer, then an appetizer for my entree. I’m a rebel like that.

  4. Bill in WV says:

    Lettuce. That is all.

  5. dogberryjr says:

    Sure, the Bloomin’ Onion alwyas seems like a good idea at first.

  6. I don’t object to appetizers in principle, but like Tiff, I usually find the servings too large. Shareable ones are ok. Take nachos, for instance. One appetizer serving for a table of 4 – 6 is just about right for sharing those. But a plateful of fried cheese logs just for me? No thanks.

  7. I usually don’t have an appetizer. If I do, I prefer something not too heavy, so that I’ll be able to eat the meal. Maybe a member of the veg fambly, maybe an eggroll or the like. I do like the seaweed salad you get in Japanese restaurants. Too exotic? And fuck a bag of raw-broccoli-with-ranch-dressing.
    .

  8. There’s a fine fucking science that goes into appetizers. They should make you want to eat more of what you are there to eat. I’ve only ever experienced one properly arranged appetizer. It was at some hoity-toity place in Phoenix. The dinner menu was only a few dishes and each dish had its own specific appetizer. I got some $80 steak dinner. The appetizer was a chewy cracker with some balsamic glaze and the drippings of the beef. It made me further crave the main course that was upcoming and prepped my mouth and stomach for what I was getting.

    It sure as shit wasn’t a whole fried onion before my meal of fiesta-grande-taco-sliders (Cadillac Style).
    I do like some appetizers as a meal. The coconut shrimp at Outback, with that kick-ass marmalade, are always a pleasant gut embiginner.

    I also like any mushroom coated in cheese and oil.

    I don’t care for the general appetizer bits that are just shittier/smaller versions of meals.
    “Here, have some burnt hamburger on small bread!”
    Cheese sticks, while delicious, aren’t appetizers. They’re snacks.

    This is where I think places fuck up. If it’s something that would be served during the NFC Championship game, it’s not an appetizer. It’s a damn snack. If it’s something you would eat in place of a meal because you are watching your weight and a plate of tempura fried eggroles is called an appetizer and is therefore healthier than a hamburger it’s not an appetizer. It’s a large snack at best and a shitty meal at worst.

    —–

    You should get that nipple thing checked out. It might not be delight.

    • johnthebasket says:

      ice,

      It’s possible you’re confusing appetite with capacity, science with marketing, embiggen (the official Simpsons spelling) with embigin (“a developmentally expressed member of the immunoglobulin super family, is also expressed during regression of prostate and mammary gland”) which I suppose is what got you to Jeff’s nipples.

      And what, in heaven’s name, is served during the AFC Championship game? Papadum?

      All in fun of course, because I’m unable to say anything profound about appetizers for the obvious reason.

      best wishes,
      jtb

      • Papadum sounds like some uppity AFC (NE Patriots) garbage.

        However, I have no idea what papadum is and am about to Google that shit.

  9. The wife & I had a deep-fried lobster tail over the weekend at a fancy-pants steakhouse in Atlanta. It was very underwhelming and definitely not worth it.

  10. You think “apps” is annoying? I know people who say “appies” and it makes me want to go postal.

  11. Long Balls, Idaho….LOL.
    I like the cup o’ soup, or better than that, the cup o’ chili. The rest is bullshit, except for the nachos. Now that’s eatin’.

  12. Steve in WV says:

    Long Balls, Idaho. LMAO!

    There are a few places I will visit and order nothing but apetizers. However, like Jeff, I believe most appetizers constitute a full meal. I am a big fan of wings, bacon cheddar fries, and I do love me some bloomin’ onion from Outback. That shit is primo delicioso.

  13. madz1962 says:

    The only time appetizers are good is at the cocktail hour at a wedding.

    They should just go ahead and rename appetizers “bar food”. That’s the only time they seem appropriate. You go out for a few pops, realize the alcohol is starting to kick in, so you and your friends want to eat a little something. Then boom, there’s a plate of potato skins and loaded nachos on the table.

    This brings up another pet peeve. Why is it that all steak houses are a la carte? Isn’t that boolshit? You order a $30 steak and they don’t even throw in a fry or a salad? Steak houses are the only establishment that seems to get away with this.

    • johnthebasket says:

      Weddings have cocktail hours?

      • madz1962 says:

        Yeah, while the photographer is taking those family photos the rest of the guests get to graze.

        • johnthebasket says:

          Geez, only old money hires photographers out here. For the rest of us, everybody just shoots with a phone or digicam. By “graze”, do you mean “drink”? ‘Cause that’s what we do at cocktail hour out here. I guess that’s why I didn’t understand. I used to be bicoastal, but things seem to have changed in the Northwest faster than they changed in the Northeast. . . jtb

  14. I’m a bit of an appetizer whore… This winter I went skiing with 3 friends who all consider themselves “foodies” and the four of us sat down and ordered 4 entrees and 5 appetizer plates. My favorites are the hoity toity ones, though… and caviar is my favorite. Shrimp done right (thinking Ralph and Kackoo’s here) makes a great appetizer. I just now got back from lunch with a few folks at Chili’s and had to get their chips and queso… even if it made me only eat half my food. I can’t stand not having something immediately.

  15. Root 66 says:

    We have a local restaurant here in K’lumbus, Ahia called Schmidt’s and they have the best pretzel nuggets on the planet. I’m not certain how they’re prepared, but they are so good, you’ll want to slap your mamma! I don’t usually go for appetizers, though: I’m primarily there for the main event!
    Oh, and whenever someone says they’ll “do” something instead of “have” or “order” it sets my teeth on edge.

    • Phil Jett says:

      Root,
      If you are talking the Sausage Haus, I agree 100%. Those nuggets are fantastic and a great warm-up for the Autobahn Buffet.

      • Root 66 says:

        That’s the place…The buffet and I are on a first-name basis. They have the best wursts anywhere!

  16. ChuckinBelpre says:

    I just like a nice salad while I am waiting for dinner but if you put a salad in front of me that has kale in it I will beat you into a coma with a panini press. Bear Grylls won’t eat kale and he has been known to make kabobs with hissing cockroaches and rat spleen. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was kale that killed Eull Gibbons.

    • madz1962 says:

      Kale is the devils pubic hair.

    • johnthebasket says:

      Until 2013, the largest buyer of kale in the United States was Pizza Hut — they used it to decorate their salad bar. They weren’t crazy enough to put it on their pizzas or in their salads. Then the kale craze hit, and the uber-hip decided it was edible, ignoring the pleas from Mr. Gibbons’ surviving family who, since his death in 1975, had been saying “Never forget.” We forgot, and now brassica oleracea (my Latin is a little rusty, but I think it means “blowing a racehorse”) is enjoyed by Food Channel lovers everywhere.

      jtb

  17. Up in the great white north there is a steakhouse chain called The Keg (might be some in the states, Tucson comes to mind). Bacon wrapped scallops. The only appetizer I will indulge in. The vast majority of all else blows.

  18. Now this is an update that I can really get behind. My salivary glands are nearly bursting with joy.

    I love me some appetizers. Oh, man do I ever.

    I generally prefer fancy type appetizers though. I stay away from most of the deep fried stuff. Dips are OK. I make a smoked salmon pate’ at home that people rave about. I have a salt and sugar cured salmon recipe that’s also usualy a hit.

    At Chinese restaurants I can really get into any kind of dumpling, preferably steamed.

    Oh, RAW OYSTERS! Hell yeah! I could eat a couple dozen.

    In certain Middle Eastern places around here I also like raw kibbee which is raw, ground lamb mixed wih cracked wheat. Sooo good with olive oil and a bit of raw onion. Humus or babaganoush are also pretty tasty.

    Raw beef is good too; tartar or carpaccio. Tuna tartar is also pretty great.

    Mini quiches are pretty good. Meat and cheese combos are good, like prosciutto cups ricotta and leeks. My brother did something with roast beef ands couple weeks ago that was really tasty.

    I wish I could remember what we had at my wedding. The appetizers were so good my wife and I still talk about crashing a wedding at that place just for the food.

    Feta cheese, kalamata olives and Greek bread with butter is a huge favorite. That might be my choice for a last meal if I were going to the chair.

    I could go on but Netflix calls.

  19. Appetizers. They always make me think of Eric Cartman explaining to Starvin’ Marvin, who was freshly arrived from Ethanopia, that appetizers are what we eat to make us hungry.

  20. On SNL, Norm MacDonald did a killer impression of Larry King looking right into the camera and making those random thoughts. Look it up.

    I dread appetizers when out with the wife. Between that and the rolls, she’s done when the entree arrives. But we do love oysters. Also, chips and salsa usually yield good results.

    Ever get together with a dozen people, and an orgy of appetizers are ordered. Never works out well.

    Now tapas is a whole other topic.

    • A steady stream of tapas and drinks is fine way to spend a few hours. I often enjoy that more than a traditional meal, there are a couple of restaurants in Philly where we just eat tapas, lots of tapas. Damn, now I’m hungry 🙁

      Most grocery store appetizers are nasty, but the Farm Rich brand potato skins are excellent.

  21. PamInPA says:

    “Apps” and “I’ll do” have the same effect on me as they do on Jeff. I especially hate the waiter who says, “Can I get some apps going [or apps started] here?” Apps going/apps started makes me want to dive off a cliff.

    If I do have an appetizer, I’ll usually stick with a garden salad, soup, or a moderate serving of crab-stuffed mushroom caps. Nothin’ too fancy or carb-laden.

  22. revashane says:

    Calamari is the only appetizer we ever get. Started my daughter on it as a babe in New Jersey and she’ll eat it now as a shitty teenager. (the New Jersey reference is a story for another day). Mother in law has been throwing out Kingisms from day one. Sitting on the couch, looks up and says “I like soup” and at a breakfast bar she loudly announces ” I put butter on my bread”. I had to hold myself back from standing up with hands held high ” Everyone!! SHE put butter on her bread”!!!!! The woman was in her late 50’s at the time not even close to losing her marbles. I would hide in the bathroom, call my mom and tell her the latest. We’d laugh our asses off. I used to write them down because they were so out-there but it has become too sad now that she’s aging.

  23. My problem with appetizers is that I’ll fill up on them before my actual food comes. Unless I’m eating them as a meal, I won’t mess with them.

  24. Mookie325 says:

    I’m more of a bread-aholic. I can polish off a loaf of bread while waiting for the meal but have no need to fill up on over-priced bar food. Besides, I pride myself on eating like I want to live another couple years, so I would have to bring home half of my awesome meal in order to eat that crap, and that ain’t happen’.

  25. Apps has been forced upon the masses by the likes of HP and Microshaft in their push to tablets and mobile devices. To quote the HP talking head at one of our meetings “We prefer to use the term apps because…”. And the software geeks at work have adopted it with glee. “We’re working on that app right now”. App? Its a fucking Program… An app as far as I am concerned is a stripper version of the full blown program.

    Apetizers: I hate that fucking term. I look at the menu for what I feel like eating, don’t try the “would you like an apetizer?”… Grrr,

    • “Appetizers” is fine. Do NOT call them “starters” – why the hell would I want to eat a big greasy 12 volt electric motor with a gear on it?
      .

  26. johnthebasket says:

    Calling appetizers “apps” is just faux yuppie hipster talk used by those who have enough money eat in restaurants but not enough prefrontal cortex material to manage anything more than a business degree.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t get up my sleeve when software companies call their small-device application programs “apps”. They do need to be differentiated from the operating systems and associated utilities (system software) on which they run, and I sort of like them differentiated from actual computer application software that has been, you know, tested. So “apps” is OK with me for an application program that runs on a handheld device.

    Actually, compared with the acronymal language that flies around the hand-held Web, “apps” is a sweet blend of Wallace Stevens and T. S. Eliot. LOL and associated horseshit acronyms can piss up a rope and live on the drippings. Hand-held devices have keyboards now. It was in all the papers.

    jtb

    • Yes, it was. Right next to the box scores. How bout dem bums.
      .

      • johnthebasket says:

        Made up my mind
        to make a new start,
        Going To California
        with an aching
        in my heart.

  27. Bloomin’ Onion = Nuclear Heartburn.
    Wings? Nope!
    Hummus or maza plate – good stuff.

  28. randall says:

    I’m deeply disturbed over this green pea guacamole controversy.

  29. Jazzbone Swirly says:

    Soylent Green is made out of people!

  30. Appetizers. And I immediately thought of Office Space.
    ” Or maybe something to nibble on? Some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers, or Extreme Fajitas?”

  31. As long as we’re carping about terminology, let me say this about that: Veggies. I despise veggies. I’ll eat vegetables all day, but fuck a bag of veggies.
    .

  32. The Stripe says:

    beer

  33. Surly Shawn says:

    I could live in Long Balls, Idaho. It sounds cool and rustic.

    • The Qweezy Mark says:

      Rustic like my sweet pimply puckered ass….Hell yeah, I’ll live there any day!!! Wasn’t Napoleon Dynamite in Idaho? If I could live in that movie my life would finally be meaningful. AND I could catch a delicious bass.

  34. johnthebasket says:

    Terunofuji Holds Off Ikioi to Stay Unbeaten!!!

    Terunofuji rolled to his second win as ozeki with victory over third-ranked maegashira Ikioi at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

    Terunofuji, the Emperor’s Cup holder, followed up his opening-day win against Aoiyama by ushering Ikioi (0-2) out of the ring to keep out of the loss column.

    Terunofuji is the first wrestler in 64 years to be promoted to ozeki after spending two tournaments at komusubi or sekiwake. The Mongolian will face komusubi Myogiryu (1-1) on Tuesday as he eyes becoming the ninth ozeki to win the championship in his debut at sumo’s second-highest rank.

    The remaining two yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, got the job done for the second day in a row with wins over Takayasu (1-1) and Sadanoumi (1-1), respectively.

    While Kakuryu made quick work of his opponent who he met for the first time, Hakuho labored through his bout, needing more than a minute to dismiss Takayasu by okuridashi.

    Ozeki Kotoshogiku fell to 0-2 after being slapped down by Myogiryu.