Ask MenuPages: How To Convert Picky Eaters

Dear MenuPages,

I’ve got a bit of a quandary. I’m a big fan of adventurous eating. I like all sorts of weird foods, from the back alleys of Chinatown to the tripe entree at a fancy place. I obviously like trying new things and like to explore, but I’ve got a boyfriend who won’t touch anything that hasn’t been uber-Americanized. Not raw fish. Not duck. Not even oysters!

Anyway, I want to slowly convert him by sharing some dishes/restaurants that aren’t run of the mill. Stuff that looks a lot “worse” than it really is, you know? Any advice?

Starving For Love


Thanks for the note.

We feel your pain. We once dated someone who swore that Carl’s Jr served up the best chicken on this side of the Mississippi. It wasn’t until a traumatic encounter with Green Burrito that the fiend decided to change her mind.

Anyway, nothing’s more disappointing than a perfect significant other who has not-so-perfect eating habits. So, in our best Yoda voice: convert him you must. Here are some ideas:

• Bahn mi at Saigon Sandwiches: As far as southeast Asian street food goes, bahn mi is pretty innocuous. The flavors are delicious and all the ingredients are easily recognizable if you opt for a chicken or pork chop version. Plus, a pair of sandwiches can be had for under six bucks, so even if the experiment goes awry, it won’t kill your pocketbook. If it goes well, you might be able to move onto a real Vietnamese restaurant.

• Moroccan food at Aziza, Tajine or El Mansour. All three are very different from each other, so do some research to see which Moroccan version best suits your needs. Moroccan food is tasty, not too “exotic” and a fun experience. Plus, there might be belly dancers at some of the more traditional establishments.

• Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co: Just make him do it! The oysters will be so fresh that the “fishy” taste will be minimal and he can pile on the fixings to hide the sea saltiness if he wants. If the first one’s a bust, then give him the whole spiel about the aphrodisiac qualities.

Always a pleasure,

Ask MenuPages: How To Convert Picky Eaters