I was watching Chopped, one of my all-time favorite shows, when it hit me.
Chefs really need to stop doing the spoon swipe. You know the one. They dollop a glob of chocolate sauce or pureed beets and dandelion greens onto the plate, stick their spoon in it and drag. The '90s called, wants its plating back, etc. This rant led me to another rant, which is: Don't we have enough reality cooking competition shows? Masterchef, Cooks vs. Cons, Top Chef, Bakers vs. Fakers, Cupcake Wars, 13 shows involving child chefs. Stick to the good ones and get a new idea, food producers.
I wondered what else annoyed our critics and writers in 2016. What would they like to see go the way of the dodo, or at least relax a little, this year? Here's what they had to say.
RESTAURANTS: Laura Reiley, Times food critic
"I'm all in favor of seeing an explosion of micro coffee roasters, artisanal ice creameries or even precious canning companies, but I'm thinking the microbrewery craze will plateau at the very least, if not see some Darwinian winnowing. If kale was the 'it' veg of 2015, cauliflower took on the mantle in 2016. I love cauli, but let's be judicious about where it crops up — it comes with a little stink factor. Tacos and burritos that contain crazy world-beat ingredients. Yes, you can hide all manner of crazy in a tortilla, but should you? Stop with 'put an egg on it.' I am done with eggs on pizza, eggs on burgers. Also, shishito peppers. There must be one good supplier in Tampa Bay all of a sudden, because they're everywhere. Plus, rectangular or oblong plates that your knife immediately slides off of and makes a gunk mark on the table. Bring back round plates."
THEME PARKS: Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times events editor
"Jimmy Fallon's new ride is opening at Universal Orlando this spring, and I was just thinking how tired I am of simulation rides with movie screens and 3D technology in place of real roller coasters. They also tend to make people nauseous. Some are very fun, but you can't do too many in one day without feeling seasick. And I'm really tired of my view being blocked by people holding up their phones, or worse, iPads, to record a show or park parade 10 feet in front of them. Similarly, the selfie stick was a hot button last year and many parks actually banned them. Originally, Disney tried restricting selfie sticks from rides only. But they ended up banning them because knucklehead guests took them out to snap a picture on a ride. It could fly out of your hands and hit someone."
MUSIC: Jay Cridlin, Times pop music/culture critic
"I think everyone needs to cool it with surprise album releases, especially those exclusive to one platform or another. Not every album has to be an event that shuts down social media for 24 hours. If I've already got plans, I'm not breaking them to listen to an album some artist threw at me at midnight. For concerts, I would love to see more affordable T-shirts, especially for big-time acts. Anything over $30 is bad enough, but some go to $40, $50 and up. There's no difference between a cheaply-made shirt for $20 and an equally cheaply made one for $40 — except one of them, I'm not going to buy."
TV: Brittany Volk, Times staff writer
"This one is personal. Put my phone down. It's embarrassing to admit the obscenely high level of Candy Crush I'm on. Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is how I get through long bouts of boring boob-tube binges. (One thing I will always do: Look up IMDB trivia. I love having the ability to tell you who those semi-recognizable actors are and what they've been in.) But thanks to a game of candies, I have no idea what happened in Episodes 4-7 of The Man in the High Castle."
THEATER: Andrew Meacham, Times performing arts critic
"The necessity of being on your marks and getting out of the blocks at the starting gun to get to concession stands at intermissions. Looking at you, Palladium Theater and David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts' Morsani Hall, especially the first row of concourses. You can still get there, if you forgo any other possible use of your time than standing in line. Also, parking dread at the Straz with the city's changing landscape. The Tampa City Council recently discussed the future of parking at the Straz, and I wonder about it every time I'm not a full hour early. On those days when a perfect storm of events hits downtown — say, a Riverwalk fest, a Tampa Bay Lightning game and a musical — forget about it."
MOVIES: Steve Persall, Times movie critic
"I can live without cell phone service in theaters unless you're super important, in which case you shouldn't be going to a movie. Or no more orange popcorn."