When we’re eating a great meal at a restaurant, most of us have the compulsion to whip out our iPhones and snap some food porn. And if that meal happens to be at one of S. Pellegrino’s 10 best restaurants on earth, even the worst photographers tend to want to commemorate the occasion. But taking great photos of restaurant dishes can be a lot more difficult than it sounds, because we tracked down photos taken at the world’s 10 best restaurants that are absolutely miserable.
The Worst Food Photos from the World's Best Restaurants (Slideshow)
Taking photographs of the food we’re eating has become somewhat of a national pastime in the past several years, thanks mostly to a combination of high-quality cameras on smartphones and the ability to immediately upload them to social media. It might sound fairly simple to take a decent photo of food — just point and click — but it’s actually a lot more difficult than it appears, for several reasons.
First, lighting. It’s basically impossible to get a decent photo of a dish in a dark dining room, because flash makes food look terrible and it’s too dark without it. Natural light is really the only way to go, so if you want a decent snapshot make a lunch reservation and request a window seat. Second, distance. Some people shove their cameras so close to the food that the lens gets fogged up with steam, there’s no context of how big the dish is or what we’re supposed to be looking at, and the camera simply isn’t equipped for extreme close-ups. Third, watch out for blurriness. Cameras auto-focus, but it might focus on the table in front of the dish while leaving the actual food blurry.
Every year, S. Pellegrino announces the world’s 50 best restaurants in a gala event, and reservations at these restaurants immediately become the hottest tickets around. Professional photographers have taken countless spectacular photos of the food at these places, and we’re sure that the amateur photographers dining there have taken some decent ones as well. The ones you’re about to see, however, are not decent. In fact, they’re pretty terrible, proving that just because food looks pretty on the plate doesn’t mean that it will automatically result in a good photo. Read to see some truly awful photographs of food from the world’s top 10 restaurants.
#10 The Ledbury, London
Chef Brett Graham’s Notting Hill gem cracked the top 10 this year, and his tasting menu has won some serious accolades. One of the theatrical highlights of the meal is the presentation of their signature ash-baked celeriac with wood sorrel, which in this blurry photo looks anything but appetizing.
#9 Alinea, Chicago
Grant Achatz is pushing some serious culinary boundaries at Alinea, and one of his signature dishes is the Hot Potato/ Cold Potato, which brilliantly combines hot and cold elements into a perfect mouthful. This dark, blurry photo of it is instead focused on the table in front of the dish, resulting in what looks like a few odd lumps perched over a bowl with something purple in the middle of it.
Click here for more terrible photos from the world's best restaurants.
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.
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More than a decade ago, Eat This, Not That! helped create a healthier food revolution. Back then, it was pretty difficult to find the calorie counts of your favorite restaurant orders. But when we started posting about what was really in some these meals, we started to see some major changes at a lot of restaurants.
Now, many places post nutritional information on their menus and online and it's not uncommon to find a designated section of the menu highlighting items under 600 calories.
While we may be more health conscious now, there’s still a lot of confusion about what’s actually healthy. So, Eat This, Not That! is back to do it all again.
"Eat This, Not That!" by David Zinczenko
Applebee's: Oriental Chicken Salad Wrap
Courtesy of Applebee's
Attack of the beige! Whenever your dinner is monochromatic (in this case, the off-brown hue of deep-fried stuff), you know you're in trouble. Choosing a dish like this is easily one of the bad habits that make you sick and fat. A coating of crispy batter and a heaping pile of deep-fried potatoes is no way to treat your chicken that is served up in a wrap, adding on more calories.
22. Dairy Queen
Yes, Dairy Queen does fries. No, they probably should not. Hit up DQ for a burger and some fries and you should probably be seriously questioning your life choices, because you'll be paying way too much for a not-so-great meal. Fries aren't tough to get right, but part of DQ's problem seems to be getting them cooked completely. And that results in nothing but sadness.
But here's the thing: Dairy Queen actually gets some points for their fries, because you can make them better. Use them to dip in some ice cream, and suddenly, they're not half bad. although that might say more for the ice cream than the fries. They should probably just sick to what they do best, which is ice cream — unless, of course, they decide to try out a french fry blizzard. We'd definitely give that a try!
I Tried All Of The Lunchables Combos And Ranked Them From Worst To Best
It's not what the people want, but it's what the people need.
I am doing what every '90s kid has dreamed of doing: trying every single Lunchables known to man (or, you know, known to the two grocery stores in a 5 mile radius from my parent's home) and ranking them from best to worst. Present day, as a 20-something-year old supposedly functioning adult, I realized some of these Lunchables are pure utter gold while others are pure. trash. Find out where your favorite combo landed on my ranking below.
This one sounded the most promising until you realize the pepperoni is half the thickness of the pepperoni used in the pizza package! An absolute outrage. Because the pepperoni is so thin and the mozzarella is so subtle, you're just getting a big ol' bite of cracker.
I would very much like Millennials to be removed from this Brunchable narrative. We did not ask for this! The flatbread was very difficult to slice in half and ended up crumbling apart and there were three small pieces of bacon for two sandwiches. which. doesn't even make sense in the Lunchable world. The only thing I loved about this combo was the blueberry muffin: It was sweet, moist, and had a decent amount of blueberries.
The dough to sauce to cheese ratio is all over the place on this one. No matter what you do, you're getting more chewy dough than any other flavor because, unfortunately, the two cheeses don't have any flavor whatsoever.
Not only does the cheese have no flavor but the ham isn't salty enough to combat the thick cracker. Also. the cookie was soggy yet stale because it's refrigerated. P.S. Please note this was the Lunchable that convinced me I needed to drink a full glass of red wine to combat this monstrosity.
Fun fact: This was the Lunchable that started it all! Kraft-Heinz created these to get Americans to eat more bologna by marketing them to kids with fun shapes. This one gets the same rating as the ham and American cracker combo the meat isn't salty enough to make up for that stale cookie that it comes with.
Y'all, the cheddar really doesn't add much. I gave it an extra 0.1 points even though I'm pretty sure it's a placebo effect.
How does the turkey and American combo get such a better ranking than the ham and American? I'll tell you: The turkey is far more salty (essential), and you get two Double Stuf Oreos! The cheese is still barely noticeable, so it doesn't make it any higher on the list.
The turkey simply has a saltier, better flavor than the ham. It's a marginal difference between the American and cheddar cheese flavor, you just have to tell yourself they're different.
These would be far better microwaved, but that's beside the point. Putting chicken nuggets in the same ranking as cheese and crackers is really unfair TBH, because chicken nuggets will always win. However, there is no assembly or creativity involved when you're eating this Lunchable which is a crucial part of the experience.
This already gets a plus one for including a KitKat. I remember seriously disliking this combo as a kid, but it's actually. really. delightful? The nacho cheese and salsa together is the right amount of spicy meets savory-sweet. I would like to apologize for the years of slander I committed against this combo in my previous life.
The only negative here is that it comes with the fruit punch flavored Capri Sun. The pepperoni perfectly covers the pizza so it's not too much dough to the face. It's incredible in the world of Lunchables&mdashbut it obviously does not compare to a NYC slice of pizza. Don't get it twisted.
"Lasagna is a versatile ground-beef meal because it's very hearty and works well with all kinds of veggies, like mushrooms, squash, or corn," Patel told Insider. "Plus, you can add a fried egg on top to turn leftovers into a weekend brunch."
Patel said that using an average grocery-store package of ground beef to make burgers is a mistake.
"It is important to know the type of beef that you're buying," Patel said. "Prepackaged grocery-store ground beef is not processed daily or in-house, so the resulting burgers tend to be dry and chewy."
Instead of grabbing a package of ground beef, ask the deli or butcher to grind a portion of quality beef for you. Cuts such as chuck steak usually have a better ratio of fat to lean meat, which makes for a juicier burger.
26 Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake
There's nothing wrong with putting raspberries in dessert. Raspberries and chocolate can taste amazing together and they make for quite a sophisticated and romantic dessert.
Our issue with a Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake is that if we want fruit with our cheesecake, we're going to have to argue for strawberries. That's a classic flavor combination that truly works. Maybe we'll agree with blueberries. It seems like lemon and raspberry are too sour and strong for a cheesecake. We might not be big on putting those two flavors together.
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These days search engines are much smarter and so it's no longer necessary, but there's another important reason why all that text is there – the blogger likes to write it, and the visitors to that blog like to read it.
Like any business or service, the majority of people who visit blogs are regular visitors. They come to Amy's Baking Blog (for example) because they like Amy, they like her recipes, and they trust her. They like hearing about how she made her pound cake (for example), the problems she had, and even whether her kids liked it.
A new visitor to her blog who's just tapped "pound cake" into a search engine and blown in from the wilderness is coming very late to an often years-long relationship that bloggers have with their audience.
Googling pound cake? Try Helen Goh's lemon and blueberry cream cheese version (recipe here). Photo: William Meppem
It's a strange thing about the internet that so many people seem to think that all content should be made specifically for them. Nobody would walk into a women's clothing store and start complaining that there are no jackets for men, but on the internet some people feel entitled to demand that content conform to what they want, even when it's completely free.
We learn about food not from recipes, but from context. If you were standing in the kitchen with your mother and she started to tell you about the history and method of the recipe she was teaching you, and why each step was important, I can't imagine you'd ask her to put a sock in it and just skip to the measurements.
Recipes are by their nature imperfect. In the spirit of Churchill, they are the worst form of food communication, except for all the others. Every dish codifies within it an enormous amount of information and knowledge of history, nutrition, culture, health, economics, cooking craft and more.
To reduce all that to a list of ingredients and steps does any dish a disservice, but in a modern world where many of us are expanding our cooking beyond the family dishes handed down to us, recipes are the only tool we have to do that.
Recipes need their context to guide us on how they fit into the puzzle of life. Scroll past it if you like, but you'll only be getting a fraction of what the recipe has to offer.
5. Tower Trouble Cake
No one expects light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. With its “layers and layers of fudge cake with chocolate truffle cream and chocolate mousse,” you’re staring at 1,770 calories—more than any cheesecake on the menu. And don’t forget the bonus 60 grams (three days’ worth) of saturated fat and 34 teaspoons of (mostly added) sugar.
19 Popular Vegetarian Foods, Ranked From Worst To Best
To be a successful vegetarian is to understand how to come up with the best meals that accommodate your restrictions. Once you go vegetarian, beans, soy and every single vegetable in the entire world become your best friends. Therefore, after you've been a veggie for a while, you kind of develop a favorite dish -- a solid standby you can always go to when the going gets tough.
Thankfully, many different cuisines embrace vegetarian dishes. It can be hard to choose your absolute favorite Indian meal or your favorite pasta dish. But there are classics, and they must be ranked. Henceforth, we give you the top 19 vegetarian foods ranked from worst to best.
19. Any kind of fake meat (WORST)
Just no. Most of the time these products don't taste anything close to the real deal (except for MorningStar chicken nuggets and MorningStar sausage patties).
18. Rice And Beans
When you first become a vegetarian, rice and beans is just wonderfully delicious. After about a year, the taste of the two together becomes increasingly bland. After two years, the thought of just having this is laughable: There are so many better options.
Yes, quinoa is a great source of protein and it is extremely versatile. We love quinoa! The only problem is that every non-vegetarian seems to think this trendy food is all we eat and now it's become a super-stereotypical vegetarian food. Newsflash: We really don't eat it every single day.
16. Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are cool because it makes us vegetarians feel good about being able to split appetizers at Asian restaurants. However, there's really not much to them. they are really just some veggies wrapped up and fried. Still, that doesn't mean that they aren't straight up delicious.
15. Bean-Centered Dishes
Beans are the center of so many great and different vegetarian meals: Chana Masala, lentil soup, black bean soup and countless stews. The only problem? Beans get really boring after a while.
Yes, tofu is probably the most stereotypical of vegetarian foods. But there may be a reason for that. Tofu is pretty tasty, and it can be used in so many different ways. It's like a sponge, capable of soaking up a myriad of different flavors. Throw it in a stir fry, have it with peanut sauce or have it in a noodle dish. It provides great substance and texture and it doesn't hurt that a lot of Asian restaurants happily substitute meat with it.
13. Eggplant Parmesan
This is a wonderful thing that exists because it allows vegetarians to understand the pleasure of chicken or veal parmesan without having to break their eating choices. Plus, eggplant has such a similar consistency to meat, it's really hard to tell the difference (in our opinion). Side note: We are aware that parmesan cheese is not technically vegetarian it contains rennet (an ingredient sourced from the stomach of calves). Therefore, very strict vegetarians should not consider this one of their favorite foods.
12. Tofu Scramble
Many thanks to the restaurants who include a tofu scramble on their brunch menus. A perfect substitute for a vegan who wants an omelette, the tofu scramble is a perfect breakfast choice for those who have restricted diets.
11. Veggie Burger
We have serious love for Gregory Sams, the man who invented the veggie burger in 1982. He understood that vegetarians get burger cravings too. Just to clarify: We're talking about real veggie burgers. you know, the ones made with black beans and mushrooms and grains. We can get pretty picky about it. Yeah, the veggie burger is our American staple.
Pasta will never let you down when it comes to options: Stuffed shells, ravioli, stir-fry, and lo mein are just a few of our favorites. And, of course, the ultimate lazy vegetarian pasta meal: penne with tomato sauce. Pasta and sauce is a vegetarian's saving grace and it does the job for many easy and wonderful dinners.
Also, don't you dare forget about beautiful mac & cheese:
Vegetarians can enjoy just as many breakfast staples as meat eaters thanks to glorious eggs. We get to enjoy yummy veggie omelets, Eggs Florentine, eggs and potatoes, quiches and frittatas. Just hold the bacon!
8. Peanut Butter and Jelly
This is the one snack that meat eaters and vegetarians all enjoy as a child, therefore, it belongs in the top ten. Yes, you may eat a bunch of these when you are still figuring out how to be a proper vegetarian. but that doesn't mean that every single PB&J didn't taste absolutely scrumptious.
Sometimes it feels like guac was made just for vegetarians. Its the one thing that makes Mexican food very special for us. How many times have you asked, "Can I substitute guacamole for the meat?" And it's always a better choice.
French fries, mashed, baked, chips, scalloped potatoes. need we say more?
5. Bagel and Cream Cheese
Cream cheese on a bagel is as important to a breakfast sandwich for a vegetarian as bacon is on a breakfast sandwich for a meat-eater. Without this essential combination, vegetarian on-the-go breakfasts would be majorly sad.
This is the vegetarian's ultimate street food. It's so good that we know some meat eaters who choose this over shawarma many times.
3. Grilled Cheese
Thankfully one of the most trendy foods is mostly vegetarian-friendly. There's just nothing like two pieces of buttered white bread filled with gooey American cheese. Even the most complex of grilled cheeses are usually good to go for vegetarians. And we can always eat the dessert ones, like this amazing one made with Nutella and Mascarpone cheese from Grilled Cheese Social.
Burritos are great because they are one of the few things that seem to definitely have the fullness and taste equivalent to having meat. There are so many components of a burrito, you don't even miss or need the meat.
1. Pizza (WINNER)
It's really simple: bread, tomato and cheese. But the complexity of pizza's greatness cannot be underestimated. Cities like New York and Chicago battle over how to perfectly make it (and Jon Stewart seems to have a serious hatred for Chicago deep dish). With all this competition, it is to the vegetarian's favor that the best pizza is when it is in its most basic form: just some cheese and sauce on great dough. It's almost impossible to make pizza taste bad (although college cafeterias certainly try). Even at its fanciest (truffle oil, overabundance of veggie toppings), it's always amazing.
Being vegetarian is awesome.
CORRECTION: This post has been updated to include additional information about cheese. Parmesan cheese contains rennet, sourced from the abomasum of calves.