Things I expected or knew.
1. The serving sizes are HUGE.
Look at the size of these chicken wings! They were massive. Must have some huge chickens around!
And the serving of Mexican food.
And this ice cream from an ice cream parlour straight out of Grease. This was the “small” serving. I should have bought the tiny, and shared it with Mr S.
Mr S got the large. Look at it again! It is the height of 2/3 of his torso!!!
2. There’s a lot of deep fried food.
3. There’s a lot of meat.
Mr S’s paella had a huge lobster tail.
In the restaurant called Texas, Mr S’s steak came with a side of chilli beef and The Dreamer’s main dish was chicken with a steak. (OK, we’ll occasionally serve up several kinds of meat – at Christmas and BBQs, but I’m sure we don’t do it in restaurants.)
4. Salads are served before your main course. Unless you having salad for your main course. The main course is called an entree. Entrees are called appetisers.
Things I didn’t realise.
1. Creamy style dressings are the go. For salads. For chicken. For everything. Add some more fats to your deep fried food! And lots and lots of cheese and cheesy sauce with added cheese on pasta.
2. The food is sweeter. Hurt your teeth sweeter.
I had a Thai beef salad. It was lovely – except could have done with half the very sweet dressing. By the end my mouth and teeth were sore and I had to give up on the lettuce. Now I know why people in movies ask for the dressing on the side. I wouldn’t dare ask for that in France, where they have a light hand.
3. The fancy supermarkets are beautiful. And huge! Look at this fruit and veg display.
And how clever to have a kitchen set to display the kitchen items?
4. The sourdough bread is actually sour.
5. All the drinks come with masses of ice. In one restaurant, my Coke was like a slushy; the ice towering over the rim of the glass.
6. Soft drinks are refilled for free. Sugar overload or what?!?
7. I know there is a lot of people but the restaurants are HUGE. And there are a lot of them.
Look at this Mexican one.
Americans eat out more than we do. There were always queues outside the restaurants as people waited for a table. Places didn’t seem to take bookings as we do here.
Mr S’s cousins hardly ever cook at home. They did not cook at home the whole time we were with them. Mr S actually cooked three times for them. (Partly as a thank you, partly to show them how easy it is to cook at home and how homecooked is much better.) They say it is easier and cheap to eat out. I disagree. Which brings me to the next point.
8. Eating out is not cheap. Even without the state tax and the mandatory tip, it isn’t cheap. I can eat out cheaper at home. Maybe the restaurants are factoring the continuous soft drink refills? We paid $100AU for four burgers with chips, two beers and two cokes.
I really became to resent the expense of eating out by the end of our trip. The food just wasn’t worth the cost. I wasn’t enjoying the experience.
9. Americans can’t cook chips, or fries, or French fries, or whatever you want to call them. Either over cooked or powdery in the middle. Often flavourless.
10. A lot of the food is soft and mooshy. Like the Mexican above. Or like the soft buns on Maccas burgers. And messy in presentation. The places our cousins chose seem to go for quantity, not appearance. Look back at the ice creams! How are you meant to eat them? With a lot of mess, that’s how; they flop over the glass and run on the saucer. It was yucky and I gave up. Never again!
All up, no wonder they have an obesity issue. And no wonder I saw a massive dialysis centre, a multi storey block only for kidney dialysis!
We talked about doing a return trip, next time to Southern California with the cousins. I will have to make it clear that while I am most happy for them to eat out once or twice a day, Mr S and I will not. We will buy the beautiful fresh foods and pack sandwiches and snacks when out and about.
The smoked salmon was divine. The fruit soooo good. Lovely cheeses.
11. There are interminable questions from waiters as there are unending list of choices – sizes, dressing, how the meat is cooked, accompaniments. No just saying, “I will have the chicken salad and he will have the burger.”
One last thing
My favourite dish, and Mr S’s favourite, was a a bowl of chilli. I swear it was like I used to cook it before Mr S said he didn’t like my chilli beans to be so sloppy. Anyway, we had several bowls and will experiment with different recipes at home. I bought some chilli vegetable soup from a supermarket. It was soooo good. Our supermarkets do not sell hot, ready to eat vegetable soup. Oh, the power of a large market!
Last meal was a “light lunch” at the Texas Roadhouse, where you crack open free peanuts and drop the shells on the floor! (Took me quite a bit to do that. Just seems so wrong.) Anyway my light lunch was a salad and bowl of chilli. And unlimited sweet bread rolls with cinnamon butter.