- Some foods just taste better at a restaurant.
- Butter is too expensive to make yourself.
- Ceviche is typically safer in a restaurant.
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Cooking food at home instead of eating out is usually a good way to save money, but if you’re interested in trying new foods – or enjoying your favorites that go beyond the basic – creating them in your own kitchen might not always be the best way to go.
Some dishes can be complicated or require equipment that most people don’t keep in their home kitchens, and sometimes, it’s totally worth it to shell out the extra cash to let a professional do the hard work instead. And in cases where food safety is concerned, it’s especially important to save these foods for dining out.
According to experts, here’s the scoop on foods you should always order at a restaurant instead of making at home yourself.
Ceviche is safest ordered straight from a restaurant
According to “Hell’s Kitchen” winner and Executive Head Chef at Dos Caminos Ariel Fox, ceviche is something that diners should order out instead of making at home, since the dish requires raw fish that is high quality and fresh, which can’t always be guaranteed when purchasing at a supermarket.
“At restaurants, chefs are trained to prepare ceviche with citrus to guarantee it’s safe to eat, and delicious too,” Fox said. “The lime juice and citrus the seafood soaks in may make the seafood appear to be cooked, but it isn’t always the case, resulting in a home cook consuming fish that’s actually still raw and not safe to serve. A chef’s eye is able to ensure the proper level of rawness that is acceptable to eat.”
Salad will probably taste better from a restaurant
If you’ve noticed that the salad you make at home never tastes as good as when you order it from your favorite place to eat, you’re not just making it up. As The Kitchn pointed out, there are a few reasons for this: Restaurant salads usually have salt and some kind of fat, like olive oil, on them, which ups the flavor immediately.
The ingredients are probably also more varied than what you have at home as well, which means the quality is probably a lot better than what you can whip up in your own kitchen.
Anything braised might be easier to order out
Executive Sous Chef Oliver Keegan at Hotel Plaza Athenee in New York said that he tends to save ordering braised meats for when he goes out to eat himself, especially after preparing these kinds of meals in the kitchen at work – and he told INSIDER that getting a good sear on the chuck can be difficult to do at home.
“Another factor is the long preparation time these items will consume on your day off from work. A braised item can take you as little as four hours or up to 24 hours in some occasions where you use a sous vide machine to braise your meat,” Keegan says. “As a chef, I feel that is time you can be catching on a long list of chores and other to-dos that you have at home, so this item is definitely a great one to order when eating out.”
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You probably shouldn’t attempt to make your own butter
The idea of making your own butter from scratch might sound fun in theory, but it’s actually pretty time consuming – and a lot more expensive. As an experiment from Bon Appetit discovered, it was more than twice the cost to make butter from heavy cream and has a shorter shelf life, and the store-bought had a better taste.
This goes double for restaurant butter. If you’re hankering for a homemade-butter taste, it’s best to get it from your restaurant’s bread basket rather than making it at home.
And cream cheese is better bought, too
Next time you stop for a bagel, don’t feel guilty about grabbing some cream cheese, too, especially if you like the flavored kind. As Slate pointed out, making your own cream cheese is more expensive, and it results in something that doesn’t quite resemble the spread that most of us are used to, so it’s better just to purchase it, preferably right on a toasted bagel from your favorite spot.
Eggs Benedict is harder to prepare at home
- Katherine Lim/Flickr
Keegan also added that dishes involving eggs benedict might also be better saved for brunches out, because of the complexity of getting the eggs prepared just right.
“Another go-to item for me is the Crab Cake Benedict brunch dish on our menu at Arabelle, that consists of a mixture of delicate lump crab, topped with a smooth hollandaise sauce that takes time from clarifying butter and slowly whisking it into egg yolks to form an emulsion to seamlessly overlay the soft, poached eggs,” he explained. “This is indeed way easier to order, as it is very time-consuming to make from scratch at home.”
Pancakes are just better at the diner
Another breakfast food you’re better off ordering out is pancakes. Procuring buttermilk is not always easy and can be an added expense. Plus chefs at restaurants tend to have the ratio of ingredients – along with cooking time – down pat, so it’s best to leave it up to the professionals. It will save you some dishes too.