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Monday, March 31, 2008

Cook you own meal!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 4:40 PM

melting-pot-ingredients.jpg

I admit that I've never gotten the "fun" of fondue. Somewhere in the attic, I have a red-enamel fondue pot, a gift, that has gone unused more than 25 years.

I don't object to fondue as something on a cocktail party buffet, but I don't enjoy making a full dinner out of spearing chunks of food and going fishing in a pot of cheese, chocolate, oil or broth. I've enjoyed classic raclette in Switzerland several times, but that didn't involve cooking in a communal pot.

Nonetheless, I visited the new Melting Pot (745 Peachtree St., 404-389-0099) in Midtown Sunday night. I'll have more to say in a future "Grazing" column about this franchise restaurant that must have the lowest food overhead for the dollar in the city. Above is a shot of the entrée portion of our $86 (for two) din din.

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We had a very entertaining server. But I was embarrassed when she brought a shaker of seasoning (left) to the table and proclaimed its miraculous good taste, available for purchase at the remarkably low price of $6. It just tasted like garlic salt to me.

The best thing I can say about the meal is that the beef was high-quality and mercilessly free of the harsh seasonings that flavored some of the other meats.

I found this description of fondue etiquette on Wikipedia:

As with other communal dishes fondue has an etiquette which can be both helpful and fun. Most often, allowing one's tongue or lips to touch the dipping fork will be thought of as rude. With meat fondues one should use a dinner fork to take meat off the dipping fork. A "no double-dipping" rule also has sway: After a dipped morsel has been tasted it should never be returned to the pot. In longstanding Swiss tradition if a nugget of bread is lost in the cheese by a man he buys a bottle of wine and if such a thing happens to befall a woman she kisses the man on her left. Lately, rather more humorous twists on this have shown up in Switzerland such as young diners diving into the snow whilst clad only in underclothing.

We saw nobody running through the dining room in their underwear, but you go ahead.

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