This morning I grabbed the opportunity for a walk in the sunshine. A gentle breeze accompanying bright beams of sunshine coming through my front door provided an irresistible invitation to venture outside.

The long walk provided a time for gaining clarity and inspiration for a restaurant review I’m writing. When I write a review, I try to be clear and honest. I’m cognizant that while a review is helpful to the customer, it can be damaging to the restaurant. While on vacation, the first visit to this particular restaurant in North Carolina was excellent, but starting with the first course, our second visit offered a race to the bottom from start to finish.

As usual, for clarity about what to expect of my meal, I asked quite a few questions. Upon the server’s descriptive suggestion, as a starter, I ordered the arugula salad. When it arrived, it looked perfectly enticing and harmless with its shaved parmesan and pear, and a few scattered pieces of bleu cheese sitting atop the perky arugula. I pushed my fork into the shaved pear, and expectantly took a bite.

To my horror, it was not pear! It was raw white onion.

Raw white onion is never a good surprise when anticipating a sweet pear. I am all for creativity, but a chef must be cognizant of his audience’s preferences and needs. Food restrictions aside, what would possess a chef to think a few shavings of raw white onion is an acceptable substitute for a shaved pear? The two have nothing in common, other than in subdued lighting they look similar. What was he thinking? Perhaps, he also thought, “Just wait for dessert. Do you like caramel apples? Look! Put a stick in an onion, dip it in caramel, and voila! We have a caramelized onion!”

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