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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Restaurant Review - In A Pickle Restaurant

Not only do I love eating food, I love to read about it.  Anyone who describes himself or herself as a foodie should read the trilogy of books by Ruth Reichl.  She describes food so well, your mouth will water reading about why you should eat sushi, even if you didn’t like sushi to begin with.

Some books about food are better than others.  One of the better books is one I am reading now called Eat My Globe by Simon Majumdar.  For those who don’t know who Mr. Majumdar is, you might recognize him as one of the judges in “The Next Iron Chef.”

Essentially, this book is about the time that Majumdar decided to eat his way around the globe.  The book is very funny and very enlightening on different food around the world.

The chapter I am reading right now is when he is in the U.S.  As I was reading, the following quote caught my eye: “…but the restaurants I did visit came well recommended by locals and were packed to the rafters with diners who seemed happy enough.  The meals, though, were ordinary and fitted neatly into the identikit mold of midrange American dining.”  This is how I felt after eating at In A Pickle Restaurant in Waltham.

Look, I am loath to write anything that is not complementary about anyplace that does anything for gluten free diners.  But if I am to have any credibility with you – my readers – I guess I have to.

I chose this restaurant because they had gotten four stars in Yelp.  That being said, I noticed a lot of reviews ranging all over the place.  One would say the service was horrible, the next one would say the service was great.  One would say the servings were small, the next one would say the servings were huge.  When I looked at the menu, they had a lot of interesting omelets, but what really caught my eye was the buckwheat pancakes.  After double-checking to make sure buckwheat was gluten free, I felt we should give this place a try.

So off we went.  When we arrived around 8:30, there was already a line outside and we had a twenty-minute wait.  Usually a good sign.  We were eventually seated and our waitress came over right away with fresh coffee.  So far so good.

My wife ordered the regular waffles, loaded with berries and whipped cream.  Our friend ordered the buckwheat pancakes the same way.  I am a purest.  Just give me a plain waffle that I can put butter and syrup on, and I am a happy guy.

Now, I should say that I make waffles at home.  Before I became gluten free, I found a recipe on food network called Waffle of Insane Greatness.  After I had to go gluten free, I simply substituted King Arthur’s gluten free flour and some xanthan gum and they come out great.  And before I had to go gluten free, the waffles I would order out were always very good, so I was excited to see how good it was.

The waffle was ok.  There was nothing bad about it.  It tasted fine.  Bit there was nothing about it that made me go, “Wow!  Really delicious!”  It was a little soggy in fact.  No crispness, and by the way, there was no crispness to my wife’s waffle either.

I also ordered something called the Supreme Omelet.  It sounded fantastic.  It had ham and bacon, and mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes and broccoli.    I took a bite.  Again, there was nothing wrong with it.  But it was just ok.  As Darrell Sheets from Storage Wars would say, “There was no wow factor.”

Now, I do want to say that there are some very funky things on their menu that sound quite interesting and I would love to try them if I could.  Things like the Snicker cakes, which are pancakes that have Snickers cooked into them.  Sounds good to me!  Just can’t have them.

So while I would love to say I would go back again and again, I think I will stick with the Waffle of Insane Greatness.

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