Fun Food Fact of the Fortnight

Q. Why is it when you steam or wilt fresh spinach you get that iron-tinny taste? How do you prevent it?

A. We’re guessing you have been cooking your spinach in an aluminum or unlined copper pan. Pans made of aluminum or unlined copper react with the sulfur compounds in green vegetables to create unpleasant odors and flavors, and destroy vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin E. You should cook greens in stainless steel, enamel, or glass pans.

Gratuitously stolen from OChef

Chubby’s Family Restaurant – Orlando

They clearly love James Dean and Betty Boop — the walls are plastered with pictures — so the place has a real classic American-1950s feel to it. And, it seems, in the 1950s, breakfast was delicious.

I had Donna’s Skillet (served to me by Donna herself), which is

  • home fries
  • onions
  • corned beef hash
  • scrambled eggs
  • cheese

Add hot sauce and it’s great. The price is right for the food; $6 for the skillet. They got the food out fast, and kept my iced tea filled, so that does it for me. The service is totally unceremonious, the servers all work together to get it done.

It really seems like a one-of-a-kind, family-owned restaurant. I don’t think they could make another one — there’s not enough pictures of James Dean in the world to open a second place.

If you’re in the area, it’s worth a stop in for a quick simple breakfast. It sure beats the pants off Denny’s.

Chubby's Family on Urbanspoon

The answer is Simple.

Let’s take the average person. They want to go into Burger King and order a Whopper. They don’t want to order 4 oz of ground beef (precooked weight, tolerance of +/- .2 oz, stored above 140F for no more than 2 hours); a bun with sesame seeds (gross weight 5 oz, between 50-70 sesame seeds evenly distributed across the top of the bun); a slice of tomato no thicker than a quarter inch, but no thinner than an eighth of an inch… They don’t care about the process, only the result. Is it tasty enough? Is it filling enough? Does it meet the requirements of a burger?

The exception, of course, is the builder, or the engineer. The person who is designing the burger (not the employee cooking it; the person at corporate who actually formulates the blueprint for the company’s food) wants the burger consistent. They want to know all of the details. They care.

So, when dealing with “I don’t care”, the answer is simple. Yes, or no (with a simple reason why not). Handle everything for them, and they’ll love you for it.

When dealing with “I care” — jump in the deep end, and pull them in too. Show them everything you’re handling, and they’ll love you for it.

Of course, the trick is telling the two apart.

Orlando Restaurants (Fratellos & El Cerro)

If you’re in the East Orlando area, and are looking for a good bite to eat, let me clue you in on some local deliciousness.


Fratellos is an Italian-American takeout/delivery store with some amazing pizza and subs. Everything they serve looks like real food, no mystery mush. They say their dough and sauce are made fresh every day, and I believe it. The dough alone has a good yeast taste, so it must be fresh. The oven-baked subs are also awesome.

El Cerro

Mexican-American. Nothing too authentic, but it’s a good choice for a group with picky eaters.

This is the hardest-working staff in the food service industry. The way I see it, if my cup (water, sweet tea, or other delicious thirst-quenching liquid) doesn’t sit empty, the staff is paying attention to the table. It’s like the food service equivalent of “keep your eye on the ball”. At El Cerro, my cup hardly ever drops below half-full. The staff is always friendly, and they get the food to you very quickly.

Also, definitely get the queso dip. It’s delicious.

BTW: Here’s a plug for from Demetri Spanos. Demetri’s working with us on the Loud3r project (or “those ‘3r’ sites”), and he’s got a thing for making data very useful, so I look forward to good stuff from the site. I’ve started using his site to keep track of my food-related stuff. I like how it’s not just a restaurant site, or a recipe site, but also drinks and informational articles for utensils/techniques.