Monday, July 30, 2007

Chef John verses the Garbage Plate

Before I left New York, as promised, I experienced the legendary Garbage Plate. My biggest fear with this post is that someone visiting my blog for the first time, possibly during their lunch break, sees the photo on the left, loses said lunch, and never returns.

Anyway, that’s just a chance I’ll have to take. The first thing I’d like to say about the Garbage Plate is that it actually tasted way better than it looked. I know what you’re thinking… how could it not? The culinary logic behind the dish is pretty solid. If you like pasta salad, homefries, hot dogs, and chili, then you certainly will enjoy them in huge quantities all piled on top of each other.

I didn’t make it to the home of the original Garbage Plate, Nick Tahou’s in Rochester. I decided to try mine at a trusted lunch spot in Canadaigua, called Charlie Riedel’s. I have been coming to Charlie’s for years. They serve some of the best burgers around, and their fish sandwich (a huge, perfectly fried piece of haddock on a soft roll), is the best I’ve had anywhere. But, in all my visits to Charlie’s I had never tried a Garbage Plate. By the way, as you’ll see and hear in the video clip, they don’t call it a Garbage Plate.

I was going to give you the entire history of the Garbage Plate here, but then I found an old FoodTV clip on the subject, so I’m posting that below mine. There’s not much else to say, except that I hope you enjoy the clip. I’d like to thank the staff at Charlie’s, which could not have been nicer. Thanks Barb, Jessie, Andy and Noah! There was also another girl working the counter, but I never got her name. So, whoever you were, thanks to you too. Also, to Scott the Manager (who wasn’t there that day), your loyal staff did charge me full price for the plate. They were not about to be bought merely for the promise of Internet fame. Enjoy!



This clip from FoodTV explains the history behind this bizarre dish

45 comments:

lily said...

LOL, You are a brave man.

tom said...

hi, looks good...how much did you pay ?

Chef John said...

I beleive it was $8.95!

lily, you have to suffer for your art!

Kenneth Schembri said...

I don't really know what to say :) I am always amazed when I visit the states :)

Anonymous said...

The owner of that restaurant should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment. I'm not in any way kidding or being ironic. Nobody should eat like that, and it's a crime that such eating is being encouraged.

Anonymous said...

somewhere Homer Simpson is smiling....

mmmmmm....garbage plate

Chef John said...

I couldn't disagree more! Let people eat what they want when they want! Let restauramts serve anything they want and as much as they want. Complete culinary freedom for all.

I dont want any board of health deciding what is legal to serve in a restaurant. Can you imagine living in a country where people are fined and jailed for deep frying snicker bars? Teach your children to eat healthy at an early age and they will have no problems later in life.

There is nothing wrong with the occasional 3,600 calorie plate. If I had died of a massive heart attack after eating that plate, I would have had no one to blame but myself. Let culinary freedom ring!

Long live the all-you-can-eat buffets, garbage plates, and the steak houses that still offer the "if you can finish our 72oz T-bone, you get a free slice of cheesecake" special offers!

Chef John said...

BTW, I think you were kidding!

Felicia said...

Hey, at least you would die happy. :)

Though I don't think I would be brave enough to eat that. I have never been one for mixing my foods together.

Catherine said...

OMG can I have maybe a 1/4 of that plate. Your right it does remind me of a company BBQ.

"it's a crime that such eating is being encouraged."

OMG, I hope that you are kidding. The only person that should be responsible for your eating is you. If a location doesn't offer healthy eating, then go to another location.

Chef John said...

Amen

Maria said...

A culinary crusader you are indeed, Chef John!

My deepest respects go out to you.

Balu said...

Ok, now I need a recipe for a macaroni salad to be able to include this lovely little dinner into my diet.

Chef John said...

Be careful what you wish for...

It's not too late to turn back.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they call it a trash plate because the "garbage plate" is trademarked? I don't think one sounds more palatable than the other... Anyway, I want one! I'll just need to fast the day before.

Chef John said...

Maybe... BTW, I heard in England it's called a "Rubbish Plate"

Anonymous said...

(3000+) calories of joy. That looks like fun.

Kenneth Schembri said...

I dunno; freedom is sure great but being surrounded by food like this makes it really hard for one to keep a healthy diet that's for sure!

I dedicate just one day a week where I eat whatever I want and usually this is a deep pan pizza or a burger; we don't have any garbage plates here in Malta :)

So Chef John, when are you going to show us a picture of yourself? :)

Nessa said...

They shouldn't call it 'garbage plate'... makes you envision the garbage and stuff, errkk!! Looks scary but I'd like to try it, may not be able to finish the whole plate though:)

Anonymous said...

A large side of haggis and a large glass of warm buttermilk would go really good with this...

Anonymous said...

Chef John, a delicious home made chili recipe pleaaaase.. :)

Kenneth said...

Nessa, they should call it "American breakfast" LOL just kidding of course :)

Anonymous said...

YAY!!! Hoorah!!! The Garbage plate has come to town! :) Mmmm.....calories.Boy I wish I had one of those and I'm amazed that FOODNETWORK decided to even air that.I mean, the company...it's hard to explain.I went to go see the Simpsons movie pretty good.I think it's like #1.That, my friend has all the basic food groups, you got your veggies(home fries)carbs(bread, and macaroni salad)and last but not least MEAT(hot dogs)! Sucks that they booed you.

Anonymous said...

No, I am not at all joking. I do not believe we can afford such behavior when the nation faces such a threat as the currently escalating obesity rate, which endangers our national security and public welfare. Who is going to defend you, both abroad and locally, when the military and police cannot find qualified recruits?

http://www.moaa.org/todaysofficer/Columnists/Philpott/RecruitingChallenge.asp

With whom are you going to mate, to continue this species, when 67.2% of women over 20 are overweight and 33.4% are obese?

http://www.ionamin-phentermine.biz/obesity_statistics.html

This is serious business. It is not a laughing matter.

Chef John said...

the escalating obesity rate is not a laughing matter, but your comment may be one of the funniest things I've ever read online!

Cops too fat to fight crime?? LOL!!
It's simple, bigger police cars and more robots.

And as far as your brilliant "With whom are you going to mate, to continue this species, when 67.2% of women over 20 are overweight and 33.4% are obese?" LOLLLOLLOLL!!! I wasn't aware overweight women couldn't "mate"

I guess all the skinny super models will just have to pick up the slack and have 12 kids each.

Come on...you HAVE to be kidding, come on admit it, please.

Catherine said...

I'm over weight and I "mate" just fine with my husband.
Yes, Obesity is a problem in the United States but it's still not an establishments responsibility to police what kind of food that you eat.

"Who's going to protect your country" You must live in a very small world because I know people who are above the "chubby" factor and still compete in Triaths.

Chef John, you just post whatever food you want to post. We'e still going to love you for it.

Catherine said...

http://www.ionamin-phentermine.biz/obesity_statistics.html

Isn't this a business to sell Phentermine?

Chef John said...

I still think (hope?) they were kidding...no one can be that stupid.

Anonymous said...

I actually saw the garbage plate on an episode of "Unwrapped" last night. I then googled away this afternoon because I wanted to make it for my family tonight. I found your site and now I have lost 5 pounds laughing at the moronic comments from the person so concerned with obesity. I can now inhale 2 garbage plates tonight without the guilt! Thanks chef John keep up the good work :P

Chef John said...

I hope you enjoy it. And remember, most dieticians recommend waiting at least 1 hour after eating a garbage plate before trying to "mate" with someone.

wildschwein said...

Although I do think it's wise for people to have a healthy diet for the sake of their ongoing wellbeing, I think that this food phobia that seems to be in vogue nowadays is starting to get a little out of hand... I'd rather eat what I want in moderation and be happy about it rather than constantly deprive myself of what I like eating and live a dull life!

99% fat free mayonnaise isn't going to make you skinny, it's going to rot your teeth because it's full of damn sugar. Learn what's in your food and make your own meals. Use wholefoods rather than all of this modified fat, gluten, carb, blah blah -free food. And if you can, grow your own food - it's easy and cheap and will keep you kicking for a long time yet.

Seriously, I reckon that the sheer stress that people are putting themselves under by needlessly worrying about their bloody weight is much more harmful to their health than the odd garbage plate would ever be!!

P.S. We just made a homemade version of the garbage plate. A post on our blog documenting the occasion will be up in a little bit. Thanks for the inspiration Chef John! :-)

Frank said...

Not being an american, I've been wondering for a long time why all americans seem to cut their food in bite-size chunks with their fork in their left hand and their knife in the right hand and then put their knife aside and take their fork in their right hand to eat. Why not just keep both your utensils :-) in your hands while you eat? Much easier imho.

Chef John said...

Of course it's easier. So's the metric system. Enough said.

pinky said...

Hey I'd just like to say that the traditional garbage plate uses a meat hot sauce, not chili. If you ever feel the need to eat another one you gotta slather ketchup and mustard all over it as well. As a Rochester native and never having being able to finish a whole plate you have my ultimate respect! cheers :)

Zach said...

Chef John,
I stumbled upon your video while scouring YouTube to find something to show people I work with how awesome the Garbage Plate is. As a Rochester native I have a bit of a correction for you.
While you may have tried what you thought was a garbage plate (which I'm guessing you did by the title of this post), you missed out. The Unwrapped episode hit the mark head on. The Garbage Plate is found at only -- I write again ONLY -- Nick Tahous. There are two Rochester locations, but the only one that counts is downtown on Main Street. Having lived in Rochester for 18 years, and going back each year for the past 12, aside from the years I've been in Iraq, I've NEVER been to Charlie Riddel's (sp?). There are a lot of places that now offer a variation on the old standard, but none can compare to the original. I ask that you re-book a trip to Rochester, drive directly to the downtown Tahous location (the later at night the better) and redo your piece. That's the only way to truly experience a Garbage Plate -- all others are simply, Trash, as you noticed.

Ollie (England) said...

"I guess all the skinny super models will just have to pick up the slack and have 12 kids each. "

LOL!!!!!

Chef John strikes again. Also the suggestion that the best way to get more police is to police our plates is ridiculous.

maitino said...

I was just holding my breadth towards the end of the video so afraid that you were going to vomit. Oh man you are so brave.

I have finished downloading most of your recipes. (Our internet is very slow by the way so I have to keep your recipes on my hard drive for easy access.) Now I have to go back to some of the things I was skipping whilst downloading the more important stuff. I think I will read all the comments. So much fun!! You have to wait 1 hour before mating! Hilarious!!

nconantj said...

As a Rochester native, I TOTALLY concur with Zach, with the exception of the location... I've ALWAYS gone to the one on Lyell Ave. Chef John, please get your butt back to Rochester and try the real deal, not some knockoff look alike.

twosoakers said...

Chef John---

I'll concur with the Rochester natives; there is no other 'Plate' as Tahou's Garbage Plate. And, yes, I believe it is trademarked, because other Rochester eateries had to change off theirs being called such. There is nothing like a Plate after a night out at Tahou's, as well as following the "rules" of seating/ordering and such while I was at the U of R. Truly, there is no other, and I am disappointed you didn't venture the 20-30 miles to get to Rochester, even if during daylight hours.

Anonymous said...

Now living in NC we are missing the "Plates" But I gotta say you folks are wrong. Nick's is Good - Charlie's is Great.

Booklogged said...

When we went to Canada a few years ago we experienced poutine in Montreal - fries, cheese curds & a gravy. We thought that was interesting but then in Newfoundland we experience 'mess.' Very similar to your garbage plate. They layered on french fries, cheese curds, bread stuffing, fried crumbled hamburger, gravy and topped with sliced hot dogs. No macaroni salad, tho.

Brooke said...

Wow! I think my butt grew just watching that! :P

Brooke said...

Wow! I think my butt grew just watching that! :P

JAV92 said...

Disgusting.

Daisy said...

Lol, dinner for 2.
Just because it's a plate for one, doesn't mean you can't share it =P