Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Daisy Baker's: Hold the sugar!!!!!!!

I have news for food-loving Americans. We eat bad stuff, and it's showing in our health patterns. Today, the Associated Press reported that Americans are less healthy than even the English. Now, if you've ever been to England and seen how they live and what they eat (beer, beer, and greasy fried stuff), this should be cause for some major consternation. The study even excluded minorities, who would skew results. I think the reasons for our ill-health are two-fold. First, we have a government that relies on polluting corporations to police themselves, and we sell and use chemical stuff to clean our homes. So I think part of it is this chemical soup we live in.

The second reason, and the one I'm focussing on here is, we eat TOO MUCH SUGAR!!!! The British have poor eating habits, but not as bad as ours. Why? They may guzzle the grease, but they don't souse everything with sugar or corn syrup. Anyone who eats processed or pre-made food in America is imbibing quantities of sugar inconsistent with good health. Read the labels and see. The insidious part is that sugar is added in restaurants, and there, you can't read a label. But you can taste it.

Daisy Baker's is a case in point. First, the good news: Daisy Baker's is in a great location on Second Street in downtown Troy. It's in a historic building, and the restaurant is in a room full of beautiful woodwork, a cozy bar, and an original pipe organ. You don't see those around a lot! The lighting is romantic; the setting gets an A++. Worthy of taking your parents or out-of-town friends to in terms of ambiance.

The food is just okay. As usual, Nosher has higher expectations for our local purveyors of food. Daisy Baker has a really nice menu with appetizers like Crab Cake with Red Pepper Coulis; Escargot; Fried Calamari; Tuna Togaroshi, served rare; and Chinese Potstickers with pork and vegetables. Salads are also lovely sounding with one featuring poached apple filled with gorgonzola and prosciutto. So there's one thing Daisy's can do to make all this food that sounds so good also taste good. Lay off the sugar.

We got salads: mine was the mozarella and tomato, and would have been perfect if they had left off the excessive squeezes of balsamic dressing. It was like Jackson Pollock had suddenly taken a liking to ketchup bottles full of sugared-up balsamic. The design aspect is nice, but it goes downhill from there. If your tomatoes are good quality (and these were-- they served the decent grape tomatoes that seem to be the only sweet tomatoes around during our off season) you really don't need any sweet condiment on them. So why? Why, Daisy Baker, why all the fuss with sugared up sauces? Underneath all that sugar there's a gem waiting to shine.

The main courses don't leave much room for vegetarians, but there are plenty of seafood options, and I got the Scallops with an Orange liquor infused sauce. The scallops were tasty, but they were drowned by this sweet sauce. Again, I ask, why? Why not just let the scallops speak for themselves? When sugar talks, it drowns out everything else. My husband's pork dish was good but I believe it had a maple glaze.

We decided to pass on dessert for obvious reasons.

And here I have a story to supplement these observations about sugared-up Americans: Last year on our honeymoon, my husband and I had the pleasure of going to a fine restaurant in Venice (alas, I can't find the name of it! After spending half an hour looking through my files and bookshelves, I can't find the food-dominated diary I kept, either. I think this can mean only one thing: I MUST return to Italy, poste haste) run by an Italian man and his American wife. She's not just any American, though: she's Texan! She was such a nice person, and told me, while I was debating what dessert to try, that she had started baking when she was a transplant to Italy and felt homesick for American cakes. The cakes were so good that her husband wanted them for the restaurant, with one caveat: that she HALVE the sugar in her recipes!!!

I had two small slices of cake (because I couldn't decide on one) and even though she had halved the sugar, it was STILL really sweet; it was much sweeter than a genuine Italian dessert would have been.

So once again disappointed, I must give this restaurant a low grade because of the sugar addiction.

No comments: