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5) Enough With the Stinky Oil

A light drizzle of flavored oil is a nice accompaniment to dishes such as pasta and pureed soups. But some chefs get a little heavy-handed with the truffle oil–usually grapeseed or olive oil infused with a pungent European fungus–and like to put it on everything. There are two kinds of European truffles: white and black. The former is more commonly used to flavor oil, and a little goes a long way. Let’s face it, though, truffle oil is stinky stuff; it reminds me of the smell of an old sock that was forgotten in a gym bag.

6) Crème Brulée is Not So Today

I can’t say anything bad about a decent crème brulée, but this creamy, buttery custard has become so mainstream that it has lost its coolness factor. You used to just see crème brulée on European-inspired menus, and then it started popping up everywhere, with varying degrees of success–not that you have to be a French chef to make the stuff. I’ve had some pretty miserable crème brulée in my dining experiences, but none as bad as the one that was loose like soup with a glass-like shard of caramelized sugar on top. I say enough already with this spent, and often improperly executed, dessert. How about a nice slice of pear tart crowned with a dollop of cinnamon ice cream?

More fun to crack than it is to eat.

7) Caprese? Is That Made By Chevy?

There is something magical about the union of fresh mozzarella (the soft stuff, not the harder variety used to make pizza), ripe tomatoes, and aromatic basil leaves, especially during the peak of summer. Yet this winning combination, called caprese (pronounced ca-PRAY-seh), has worn out its welcome on too many menus across America. You know it’s time for a break when fast-food places start pitching caprese burgers, and poorly designed ones at that.

8) Not Another Chipotle-Laced Sandwich

Chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapenos, offer a smoky essence to many dishes, whether they’re Latin-influenced or not. But the recent proliferation of this cured pepper is starting to get on my nerves. Everywhere you go, from Subway to Jack in the Box to the neighborhood brewpub, chipotle-kicked sandwiches are proudly showcased on reader boards, like the people who design the menus just discovered some hidden culinary gem. Let me reiterate that restaurants are in the business of giving people what they want. And if they so desire a pepper they can’t pronounce, then I say: burn ’em, baby.

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