What you thought you ordered?

Jan 31st, 2001, 04:36 PM
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What you thought you ordered?

So, when did you think you ordered one dish at a restaurant and discovered something VERY surprising? This is off the Smile and Language thread...

My contribution, when at 17 I was the only one who "knew" german, in Berlin, translating a menu for a group of other 17 year old 4-Hers, and chaperone. One of them got steak tartar with raw egg. OOPS! Bless his heart, he ate it, saying it was part of the experience. I've always thought of him with a smile.
Jan 31st, 2001, 04:50 PM
Too embarrased to say!
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OOOOOh, the worst, the very worst...
My husband and I were on our first trip to Europe. To this halfway point in our three weeks in Italy we had been doing very well with food and drink...
With the pensione manager's recommendation, we set off for a nice little restaurant. It was well-liked by the locals, he said.
After a charming bottle of wine over with candlelight and music, what was the recommendation of the waiter when we asked for a local dish?
TRIPE! We had never heard of TRIPE before, thought it sounded kindof
"fishlike" and thought we'd give it a go...
My husband and I stared at the dish for several minutes and because we "had" to eat the local cuisine, tried it.
Anyone who knows what this is can only imagine it slippery and covered with marinara!
We still laugh to this day about that meal!
Jan 31st, 2001, 04:54 PM
Too embarrassed to say
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I forgot to say...we did NOT finish the meal!
But, the vino was superb.
Jan 31st, 2001, 04:58 PM
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I ordered Cochinillo at Candido's, the popular restaurant by the Aqueduct in Segovia. I knew it was pork; what I wasn't aware of is that it was served looking like a fully intact baby pig, laying on the plate like if it was taking a peaceful nap. I almost croaked in horror. My husband was laughing at the situation so hard, that he got me even more upset. Determined to prove myself, I digged in. Wouldn't you know it was delicious, and of course, well cooked. Go figure.
Jan 31st, 2001, 04:59 PM
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One time at the cafe portion of Cibreo in Florence, we ordered what we though was stuffed chicken breast. Well it was definitely chicken, but it was a stuffed head and neck. The beak was a dead giveaway! Good stuffing though...
Jan 31st, 2001, 05:07 PM
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In the Cinque Terre, we stopped for lunch in Camogli. Charming little piazza with outdoor tables. We couldn't get enough calimari, so ordered an appetizer that we thought was a little sample of local seafood. Yes, it was! They brought us NINE different platters of every kind of seafood prepared in every way. Our favorite was tiny little fish about 2 inches long, very lightly battered & fried whole! They were yummy, although we couldn't bring ourselves to eat the heads. We called them "fish fries".
Jan 31st, 2001, 05:23 PM
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Too fun for words! Thanks for the sharing so far!
Jan 31st, 2001, 05:31 PM
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This happened here, in Dallas, but at a French restaraunt during a wedding rehearsal dinner...I ordered veal sweetbread, thinking it's just a veal dish nothing unusual. But as you know, I was presented with a thick slice of (very recognizable) baby calf brains in vermouth sauce. My husband leaned over and told me that I had to eat it because the groom's father was sitting across from me and he was picking up the tab. I ate one chewy bite and broke out in hives. I had to take a cab home.
Jan 31st, 2001, 06:06 PM
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Not exactly on point but funny: Many moons ago when I was a young teacher, I took a tour to the Canary Islands with the NJEA (teacher org). One of our tour lunches included paella. Some "Mrs. Malaprop" type woman on the tour was trying to show off because she thought she could ID the ingredients better than anyone else. She announced that the paella was full of testacles because Spanish people love to eat testacles. (I never understood why my friend and I were the only people who got hysterical laughing. Were the others very polite and controlled or just as ignorant?)
Jan 31st, 2001, 06:08 PM
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This is to Sandi in Dallas,

Sandi, I was so hoping you would come to our "First Occasional Fodorites" get together in Austin this past weekend, I am dying to see your pictures and hear all about your last trip (your trip report on Fodors was GREAT).

Maybe next time,
Sandy (in Denton)
Jan 31st, 2001, 06:13 PM
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last 2 posts
Jan 31st, 2001, 06:35 PM
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Sandi, whoever told you that the veal sweetbreads were baby calf's brains was pulling your leg. They aren't. Maybe just as disgusting to some -- the "thymus" gland of a calf, not brains. But I order them whenever I can, especially simply grilled and think they are delicious.
Jan 31st, 2001, 06:37 PM
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Dear Confused,

Re next to last post: "Mrs. Malaprop" said "testacles" when she meant squid or octopus "tentacles" -- as I said, not exactly on point, but sort of, and funny. OK?
Feb 1st, 2001, 04:42 AM
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I would like to hear a few more stories.
Surely there must be more...
Feb 1st, 2001, 05:13 AM
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My friend went to Vietnam and was really struggling to find something edible in the local cuisine. She wasn't very kean on chinese food anyway so was off to a bad start already. After 3 days of nibbling on dry biscuits, starvation drove her to order something from a local, recommended restaurant. The choice was very limited, and she had no idea what she was eating, but struggled through some weird, very chewy meat.

She only discovered the next day that what she'd had was definately dog. She wasn't so hungry after that...
Feb 1st, 2001, 05:50 AM
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On a trip to France and Belgium with my (then) boyfriend, we first stayed with friends of his parents in Grenoble. The man, who spoke only French, took us to his extensive wine cellar during the day and picked up a bottle of wine and announced, "Ce sera bon pour le lapin!" Now, I know a lot of you probably love eating rabbit, but I do not, and all day, I panicked about the impending dinner. When the rabbit was finally served, I looked at the casserole dish and actually hallucinated and thought I could make out a fuzzy tail! Then, on to Antwerp where my boyfriend's family served their very special Boudin Noir! I was so sickened at the sight of this blood sausage on my plate that when all eight pairs of eyes were looking elsewhere, I put my sausage on my boyfriend's plate. When his aunt looked over at my empty plate, she immediately left to get me seconds. Ever since that trip, every time my (now) husband chooses a bottle of wine for us, he says, "Ce sera bon pour le lapin!"
Feb 1st, 2001, 06:31 AM
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Maaaaany moons ago, first trip to Paris, totally exhausted, ask the waiter to recommend something. He asks (in French) if I like what I thought was rice and veal. Sure I say, and he brings me...ris de veau. With a lovely Newburg sauce, one of the best things I've ever eaten. Have not (deliberately) ordered it since, in case it isn't as good as I remember it.

Paris, with my sister, at a tiny restaurant with the tables only 2" apart. Waiter brings our dinner (I think she had ordered some sort of beef thing and I'd ordered veal) and we dig in, just as the waiter brings two more meals to the table next to us. We're chewing away, both with furrowed brows "I think mine's pork" "I think mine is too"...and the people next to us with the exact same quizzical look on their faces.

El Gato in Chioggia, the maitre d' asks if we would like him to select from the daunting fish and seafood menu. We say sure, expecting sort of an appetizer tray idea with little bits of everything. We get, instead, course after course of fish dishes, including entire baby octopi - which 2 girls did eat.

Somewhere west of Malcontenta, we stop to have lunch. We can read the Italian menu, no problem, but the head waiter brings us an 'appetizer' which consisted of grits with tempura-battered - er - sperm. That's what it looked like, complete with eyes. Tasted ok, but we have no idea what the sperm things were. And it was just our first encounter with grits in Italy.

First trip to Bordeaux, years ago, take a bus tour of a couple of wineries. At a small family-run vineyard, we sample a couple of wines. Mmmm very nice, then he pours this gold coloured wine into our glasses. I take a healthy sip, and nearly gag - it's Sauterne, and I hate sweet wines. I managed to swallow the stuff, then 'cleansed my palate' with about a litre of water.

Feb 1st, 2001, 11:00 AM
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Poor Maira,
Pig on a platter!
Not Europe based, but...
When my husband and I were in Tobago, the grandson of the caretaker of the house we rented became a friend (we ended up being there for a month)
One night early in our stay, he made us his grandmother's Fish Head soup.
Yes, it was made out of fish heads which were still floating around in the soup, eyeballs included.It did taste good though!
And the chicken rotis, which had cut up pieces of chicken,( bones included)presented a bit of difficulty in chewing.
We did have an interesting drink, and I wish I could remember the name!
It was non-alcoholic, green in color and whipped up in a blender, at a small roadside stand.
It was a moss /seaweed based drink, not unpleasant at all.Just alittle stringy.
I am enjoying these stories very much!

Feb 1st, 2001, 11:29 AM
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Testacles, tentacles, beaks and pigs... too fun! Keep it up!
Feb 1st, 2001, 11:55 AM
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A friend and I were on the last few days of a 3 week trip in Thailand. We were in the North @ a beautiful guest house taht had a very popular restaurant. Everyone had these great looking (and smelling) dishes and grilling fish & meat on little hibatchis @ their tables. When the waiter aske if he could order for us we declined and ordered ourselves- after all we had been in the country for 3 weeks and we KNEW what we wanted. Well what we got was a plate of branches and leaves! We were starving. Luckily the rest. was outside in the jungle along a river. We threw the branches and leaves into the brush. Breakfast was very early the next morning.

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