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John Curtas explores all things overrated on the culinary stage.

As long as we're in the Academy Awards spirit, let's consider the most overrated things in food and drink. Some of these may surprise you and NONE ARE WORTH THE TIME AND EFFORT AND MOULLAH THAT RESTAURANTS AND THE REST OF US SPEND ON THEM.....

So with apologies to Woody Allen, here is my Academy of the Overrated in Restaurants and food: My number one is...

Wine-I told you I'd surprise you here. Wine is great, and wonderful and fascinating and the most civilized beverage in the world....but it's also almost NEVER worth what you pay for it-especially in restaurants- and all the boring drivel that winos-like yours truly- often subject you to. And if wine wasn't bad enough I'm really teed off about:

Tea-What? You didn't know there was organic, Tibetan Sencha picked only by vestal virgins by the light of the full Himalayan Moon? Who knew and who cares? I'm also sick of :

Sushi-Come on's just a piece of previously frozen fish, sometimes on gooey rice, sometimes not, and mostly it's bland and boring. And if I see one more tuna tartare on a menu, I'm putting a nail in my forehead. Next there's:

Steak-Bad for you? You bet. And the perfect excuse to overcharge customers for the simplest food in the world to prepare. And who isn't tired of:

Support comes from

Tiramisu?-Once upon a time, like around 1977, this lady finger and vanilla mousse concoction was hip and trendy. Now it's overdone to the point of parody, and never that good. To its lovers and dessert chefs everywhere I say: GET A LIFE. And to the rest of you I say get over your idolatry of:

Italian Food-Like Lemmings being deep-sixed in a sea of red sauce, Americans are led from one noxious noodle dish to another. There's great Italian food out there folks, but you'll never find it in a place with an advertising campaign. Then there's:

Buffets-Do me a favor....walk down the line of any buffet at any hotel, and let me know if you see even ONE person who wouldn't be better off eating somewhere else. Or how about:

Brunch-How much can we overcharge for eggs? Apparently never enough for those seeking a carbo load on Sunday morning. Here's an idea, wait an hour, drink some overpriced Starbucks, (see below), and eat a balanced meal NOT centered on dough, butter, and bacon. And while we're at it, I'm sick of:

Salads-Face it-you only eat them because you think they're good for you. But they usually have more calories than a Big Mac and are always the dullest part of the meal. And talk about overrated always steers us to

Starbuck's Coffee- it's overroasted, it's bitter, and it's overpriced. Other than that, it's the best damn cup o' joe you'll ever find at a milkshake shop.

Finally, unlike other top ten lists, I always take mine to eleven. So as long as we're rating the overrated, what IS up with giving awards to those who dress up in other people's clothes? I mean have you ever really thought about it? Some real Hollywood lightweights like.....ummm Marlon Brando, George C. Scott and good old Woody Allen did....and they pronounced the whole charade ridiculous....and the rest of us should too.

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