Atlanta's name chef, Richard Blais, has opened a burger joint, Flip. Sally and I ate there recently and enjoyed the food (although we did look askance at the desserts. A Krispy Kreme shake seems like such a bad idea on so many different levels).
Some controversy has emerged over the size of Mr. Blais' burgers. The burgers at Flip are about 3 to 3&1/2 ounces cooked, which works out to a 1/4 pound uncooked. They are extraordinarily tasty. Some persons are complaining that the burgers are too small and are comparing them to Krystals, which is both unkind and inaccurate.
When did 1/2 pound burgers become standard? Are we so gorged on the standard Applebees/ Good Fridays/ Chilis fare that we have lost sight of what size a burger ought to be? A standard McDonalds hamburger patty is 1/10th of a pound uncooked. The Quarter Pounder is, oddly enough, 1/4 of a pound uncooked. With Mickey D's meat there is of course much shrinkage after cooking.
My major problem with eating out is the portion size. I've found that I'm really not very hungry at night. When I'm presented with the normal portions found in a restaurant, I almost always have to take some or most of it home for leftovers. This is especially problematic with the freezer bag/microwave restaurants as the food typically isn't that wonderful when originally served.
Restaurants like to serve large portions as their patrons perceive it as good value. The major expense in running a restaurant is not food cost, but labour. Since it takes almost the same effort to nuke a one pound meal as a one half pound meal, the can afford to 'give away' the extra food.
The result of all this has been that as we eat out more, we've been eating a lot more out, and we're, at least i'm, getting fatter.
One possible result of this recession is that we may eat out less. I hope so. I hate buying new belts.