Dish

What's That on Your Plate?

In San José State University's seventeenth annual contest for the worst opening lines to an imaginary novel, Bob Perry took first place in the detective category for this gem: "The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of piquant, ancho-chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil. Yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job."

I admire Perry for the number of clichés he managed to incorporate, many of which he gleaned by reading restaurant reviews. That's also how he came to the conclusion that "being a restaurant critic must be an entry-level position at the local newspapers.... It's a little bit funny to see a food critic write a twenty-word sentence about boiled rice or iceberg lettuce."

Okay, but how about those twenty-word sentences about "fully rolled shinma" or a "100-year-old crisphead" (boiled rice or iceberg lettuce)? With the help of a few research texts, we food fiends have a little better vocabulary and more knowledge than Perry thinks. The real question is: Does he have similar abilities? Or do you? Test your prowess in culinary trivia with the following quiz.

1. Lolla rossa is:
a. Italian for a cherry lollipop
b. An exotic dancer at Thee Dollhouse
c. Red-leaf lettuce
d. The newest opera star at the Met

2. Norman Van Aken's first Miami restaurant was called:
a. a Mano
b. Mano a Mano
c. a Menu
d. à la Menu

3. "Lion's tooth" is also known as:
a. Catnip
b. Legionnaires' disease
c. Dandelion greens
d. A paring knife

4. Decanting is:
a. What most Miami-Dade commissioners do sooner or later
b. What you do to wine to separate it from sediments
c. Adding fifteen percent gratuity to the bills of black diners, then claiming it's not racism
d. Allowing a martini to get too warm

5. Three Miami-Dade restaurants where Robbin Haas headed the kitchen are:
a. The Colony Hotel, BANG, Baleen
b. BANG, Red Square, The Colony Bistro
c. BANG, YUCA, SPLAT
d. Baleen, Bex, Big Pink

6. The Delmonico steak is named after:
a. Delmonico potatoes
b. Delmonico cows
c. The Delmonico Company, a subsidiary of Del Monte
d. A nineteenth-century New York steak house

7. Miami-based cookbook author Maida Heatter most commonly writes about:
a. Cold foods
b. Dry goods
c. Baked goods
d. How to pronounce her name

8. Dietary fiber is:
a. The stuff good plants are made of
b. Indigestible
c. Also known as roughage
d. All of the above

9."Fiddleheads" refer to:
a. People who play violins
b. People who have fiddle-shaped heads
c. Coiled fern fronds
d. Gas burners

10. Ditalini are:
a. Tiny pasta tubes
b. Heart medication
c. The plural form of "dital"
d. Miniature squash similar to zucchini

11. South Beach Brasserie used to be:
a. A Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall
b. A great doorway for the homeless to sleep in
c. A troubled restaurant
d. All of the above

12. Hangtown Fry is named for:
a. The breakfast food mentioned in the song "Camptown Races"
b. A Gold Rush town in California
c. The last meal served to criminals about to be hung
d. A traditional church picnic served in South Carolina

13. Hasenpfeffer is:
a. Literally "hare pepper" stew
b. Marinated for five days before being cooked
c. Mentioned in the theme song to "Laverne & Shirley"
d. All of the above

14. You take high tea when:
a. You have a late-afternoon craving for Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock
b. You mistake marijuana for Darjeeling
c. You're an Anglophile
d. Low tea isn't available

15. The hamburger press is:
a. The Miami Heat's code name for full-court pressure
b. A dance step that originated in Hamburg, Germany
c. A fancy name for a plunger
d. A machine that makes patty melts

16. You hold a wineglass:
a. By the balloon
b. By the stem
c. By the lip
d. Any way you can

17. Dinner plates should be:
a. Served from the right and removed from the left
b. Served from the left and removed from the right
c. Served from behind, over the head
d. Served from behind, smashed on the head

18. A candlenut:
a. Is an edible nut that can be rendered to make candlesticks
b. Is someone who doesn't believe in electricity
c. Looks like Lumiére from Beauty and the Beast
d. Is an edible candle that tastes like nuts

19. Yuba is:
a. The plural of "You bet"
b. An acronym for Young Urban British Americans
c. A Star Wars character
d. The skin that forms on soy milk when it is heated

20. Noble rot is:
a. What happens to alcoholic royalty
b. A mold that forms on grapes
c. A mold that forms on blue cheese
d. A mold that forms on the remains of a three-star Michelin chef

21. A bounceberry is:
a. What Violet turned into after chewing Willy Wonka's three-course-meal gum
b. Blueberries that are ripe enough to bounce when dropped
c. Kangaroo droppings
d. Another name for cranberry

22. "Bottled in bond" refers to:
a. White lightning made by prison inmates
b. Wine made from grapes that were trampled by shod feet
c. Whiskey stored in government-approved warehouses
d. A specialized label developed from the 007 movies

23. Ku chai is:
a. A martial art similar to Tae-Bo
b. Chinese for "a-choo"
c. A sushi chef's uniform
d. Chinese chives

24. Kudzu is considered:
a. The bane of the South
b. Delicious by the Chinese and Japanese
c. A good source of vitamins A and D
d. All of the above

25. A dish that includes alligator pear as its main ingredient could be:
a. Paté
b. Fruit tart
c. Guacamole
d. Everglades stew

26. The original Mango Gang is said to include:
a. Allen Susser, Al Capone, Mark Militello, Javier Suarez
b. Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser, Kerry Simon, Robbin Haas
c. Norman Van Aken, Douglas Rodriguez, Dennis Rodman, Carmen Electra
d. Allen Susser, Mark Militello, Norman Van Aken, Douglas Rodriguez

27. Lingcod is:
a. A greenling
b. An affectionate nickname for a character on Ally McBeal
c. An exceptionally good-looking fish
d. A baby cod

28. Oloroso is:
a. Gold-color sherry
b. Gold-leaf lettuce
c. Edible gold-leaf garnish for cakes
d. Not really a word at all

29. Celebrity restaurateur Cameron Diaz is about to open:
a. Bambú
b. La Bamba
c. Bam-Bam
d. Bimbo

30. A fat mop is:
a. Used to absorb the grease from soups and stews
b. Used to add grease to soups and stews
c. British for a low-slung motorcycle
d. A restaurant critic who's been too long on the job

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