Culinary no-no #662


Good gracious it’s hot out there. You’re forgiven if you’re not exactly in the mood for food that sticks to your ribs. How about a nice refreshing salad?

That would be your Cobb de Ville salad with Mixed Lettuce, Turkey Breast, crispy Bacon, Blue Cheese, Hard-boiled Egg, Corn, and Tomatoes with House-made Ranch Dressing. This particular version is served here.

Flo’s V8 Cafe in the Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California, a Route 66-inspired diner featuring classic American comfort food.

Here’s an important question. Is that salad a ‘meal’? And why does it matter?

The answers are, yes and no, and it matters a lot.

This requires some explaining. Given that the inspiration for this week’s no-no comes from California, the issue is goofy, strange, bizarre. And remember, state and local governments across the country have deemed bars and restaurants public enemy #1

Currently in all of the Golden State, the following are closed:

  • Bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs, both indoors and outdoors, unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.

Statewide, the following must close indoor operations:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Wineries and tasting rooms

Did you catch that.

Bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs, both indoors and outdoors, unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals are closed.  Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.

Places in La La Land are opening and closing about as often as we change our socks. When eateries reopen it’s critical to their bottom lines they sell alcohol.  So they’ve got to serve ‘meals.’ Simple, isn’t it? But this is loony tunes California we’re talking about.

What does California consider a ‘meal’? That’s for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to decide. OK, here comes the government-ese.

According to the California ABC:

’Meals’ means the usual assortment of foods commonly ordered at various hours of the day; the service of such food and victuals only as sandwiches or salads shall not be deemed a compliance with this requirement.

The ABC further explains:

Given the tremendous variety of foods available at the many different licensed premises, this definition provides necessary flexibility to look at the totality of the circumstances in determining whether or not the food service provided by a licensee is a legitimate offering of meals in a bona fide manner. In evaluating this, the Department generally looks at the various menu offerings, availability during typical meal hours, and whether the food offered is served in a reasonable quantity and what a reasonable person might consider to be a meal consumed at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For example, although multiple courses are not required to constitute a meal, in order for the patron to be served a meal there should be a sufficient quantity that it would constitute a main course in a multiple-course dining experience.

C’mon. Take another look at the above Cobb de Ville salad. You mean to tell me that’s not a meal?

….the Department does recognize that many sandwiches and salads are substantial and can constitute legitimate meals.


…the Department looks at the totality of circumstances and generally considers that pre-packaged sandwiches and salads would not typically meet this standard. In addition, the Department will presume that the following, and offerings similar to them, do not meet the meal requirement:

  • Snacks such as pretzels, nuts, popcorn, pickles, and chips
  • Food ordinarily served as appetizers or first courses such as cheese sticks, fried calamari, chicken wings, pizza bites (as opposed to a pizza), egg rolls, pot stickers, flautas, cups of soup, and any small portion of a dish that may constitute a main course when it is not served in a full portion or when it is intended for sharing in small portions
  • Side dishes such as bread, rolls, French fries, onion rings, small salads (green, potato, macaroni, fruit), rice, mashed potatoes, and small portions of vegetables
  • Reheated refrigerated or frozen entrees
  • Desserts

So the Cobb Salad is a meal because the Disney park restaurant offers all kinds of entrees even an over-regulating government bureaucrat would be forced to concede are just that…meals. But that salad just by itself, in a location that only serves salads. No meal.  No way.

Places that concentrate solely on light appetizers, tapas, cheese plates, or street food will probably engage in a losing tug of war  with the California folks in charge of licensing.

Needless to say,  trying to comply is confusing and raises lots and lots of questions.

Yet another example of government making it almost impossible for businesses to open, operate, profit, and survive.

BTW, DisneyLand is closed.

And on the other coast…


McDonald’s and masks

Biden’s False Claim About McDonald’s

How Pre-Prohibition Drinking Laws Led New Yorkers to Create the World’s Worst Sandwich

ICYMI, Culinary no-no #661

2 thoughts on “Culinary no-no #662

  1. Pingback: Culinary no-no: The Zucchini edition | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  2. Pingback: This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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