A long time ago, my husband was the restaurant critic for The Orlando Sentinel. A rather blighted city for dining, but some wonderful, local finds were to be found, fortunately, and we found them. Most joints were chains, pretty much like Applebee's: bar, bar snacks, blah. There was one I remember, named O'Hooligan's or O'Flannagan's or something. "Come! Have fun! Maybe get laid!"
One time, for April Fool's Day, Cranky decided to write about a "restaurant" he had discovered, called O'Notthisagain's. He lovingly crafted descriptions of this fictitious eatery, calling it a "sippin', suppin' and sidlinuppin' place." Peanut shells on the floor, posters of doors on Irish houses, stained glass lamps. Ferns.
Nobody in their right mind would want to eat there. Except, maybe, people in Orlando.
Yeah, so on the menu at O'Notthisagain's, Cranky lied, was a fabulous bar snack called "potachos." It was baked potato skins filled with nacho fixings. This was hugely hilarious back then, because although bar snacks in chain restaurants can be quite hideous, you really wouldn't eat potachos. Ew. There was no such thing in the real world. He was just trying to be funny.
His story runs in the paper, and suddenly he gets angry mail and phone calls from readers. "You didn't say where this place is! What's the address, schmuck?
Groan. Laugh, a little. Cry.
Decades later, Tastespotting is invented, and I spend a bit of time now and then looking at the meals created by food bloggers all over the world. Oh my god, these people are abusing degustation. Fake tacos, reinvented salads (everybody put strawberries in your green salads. Everybody!), peculiar cupcakes. I'll say, seriously, I do find some wonderful things there once in a while, but the pseudo creativity of some of these "cooks" is almost nauseating.
I mean, just the other day, I saw a recipe for potachos! They weren't called that, but they were exactly what Cranky had fabricated for his April Fool's Day piece, all those years back. Urghhh.
You know. And we made some.
Scraped out baked potato skins. Lined with a layer of refried beans, topped with grated cheese, and broiled. Covered with homemade salsa and a splorp of sour cream.