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So what if they're overplayed? They're good.
Doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon
Voodoo (tagline: "The magic is in the hole!") is the paragon of a place people love to hate. It’s the Disney World of doughnuts, all pink and whimsical and forced-feeling, like a Britney song that feels played-out the first time you hear it. The local rhetoric is familiar: Lines are long, tourists are plenty, and anyone who knows better will know not to waste their time. (We even published an article, from a former Portland local, making a similar declaration.) But the glazed doughnut I had at Voodoo was the best I ate in all of Portland. So maybe do you need to forget for a minute that you can get a customizable, penis-shaped donut or something called the "Triple Chocolate Penetration." Maybe it's not worth an hour-long wait in line, but pick an off-time and go for that glazed.
Yes, maybe putting coulis on your menu is like wearing shoulder pads non-ironically, but let’s level: Coulis is just fruit sauce. It’s genetic makeup is not very far off from this or this or this, and you would consume all of these things proudly, wouldn't you? Note: I can’t help you with getting past the design drawn in coulis on your plate. You’ll have to work through that one on your own.
Cupcakes from Magnolia Cupcakes in NYC
Kidding—nobody actually likes these.
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
If putting coulis on your menu is like wearing shoulder pads, putting molten chocolate lava cake on it—or worse, putting it on top of the offending fruit coulis—is getting nominated, and chosen, for What Not to Wear. (Shoulder pads are an easy fix: You just need a delicate reminder of the current decade. But chocolate lava—you need professional help.) In reality, molten chocolate lava cake is just good chocolate cake with more chocolate in it. Kind of like this. It may not be in vogue, but it tastes very, very good.
Kale, Specifically: Kale Caesar
In public, no one likes this salad. When you find the kale caesar on the menu at brunch—and you will, I'll bet money on it—it gets emphatic eye rolls and comments like “Been there!” and “Soooo inventive, right?” In private, you hoard bowls of this and write love poetry in your head while you eat. Or I do.
Bacon, Specifically: Bacon in Desserts
Bacon in desserts is old news. (It’s savory food in sweet food. Get it?!) And it’s often overdone. But, my hand forced by research, I recently ordered a maple bacon doughnut from Pips Original Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon, and it was excellent, protected from heavy-handedness by a dose of lemon.
Do you actually hate any of these? Have another dish you think is unfairly shunned? Help me grow this list in the comments!