KFnet in T-Town

Mar. 5, 2012 at 11:09am

Olive Oilgate: Naming Names

That's right, I can't stay silent on this decidedly 1st world issue any longer. It's happened four or more times to me in the couple years and has to stop. Tacoma must say "no" to rancid olive oil!

Most recently I've run into rancid olive oil from local businesses that should know better. Individuals I can forgive but someone I'm paying to know more than me is more difficult to swallow. I'm no culinary genius or olive oil savant but it's either rancid or not and, in these two recent cases, it was. Here comes the name naming:

Adriatic Grill and STINK.

A recent lunch at Adriatic Grill started off with bread all around. At the table sat olive oil and balsamic for dipping and the oil sitting there was rancid. From STINK a recent meat, cheese, and bread platter ordered up for a special occasion also had oil for dipping that was rancid. Understand that I think both places are great they just need to either learn more about it or stop putting out the cheap stuff for people to use to dip their bread. Also understand that, to my knowledge, since so many people eat rancid olive oil daily, it's not bad for you.

How can you tell?

Smell it and taste it. If the olive oil smells like a box of crayons it's likely rancid. Put a dab on a finger and if it tastes kinda' moldy or "gray" then it's rancid. Many are this way straight out of the bottle or especially get this way after it sits open and ignored on the shelf for months or years. I love cooking with olive oil but love it even more fresh on bread or even drizzled over popcorn to help other seasoning stick. Cooking helps rid the oil of the rancid flavor but that's not the case when used fresh.

What I buy

For folks at home I recommend going a little more local for your olive oil and get something like the California Estate stuff (shown at right) Trader Joe's carries. It's fresh, green, is usually $5 or $6, and comes in a quantity that's usable by most before it turns rancid. Others carry California Estate oil as well so keep your eyes out. At the very least, avoid buying olive oil that comes in clear containers as light also breaks it down. Even Trader Joe's own website mentions this but just yesterday I saw many a clear bottle of olive oil getting blasted by fluorescent lights in their store just yesterday.

I hope this helps easily set a higher standard for you and maybe even helps local businesses step up their game.

comments [19]  |  posted under food, olive oil, restaurant, tacoma


by KevinFreitas on 3/5/2012 @ 11:16am
Here also is a link to learn more about how to avoid rancid olive oil: www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/g...

by cisserosmiley on 3/5/2012 @ 11:55am
I'm so glad you posted this, a needed public service. Ever since Grazie's Italiano Cafe closed in oldtown (jack Connelly law office now) there has been a steady decline of fresh olive oil in Tacoma. What is wrong with restaurants? I have had this olive oil thing happen to me and it sucks

by KevinFreitas on 3/5/2012 @ 1:05pm
Yeah, if a guy like me can figure out the simple difference between rancid and at least decent olive oil I'd expect nothing less from these kinds of places in town.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/5/2012 @ 1:31pm
I'm glad I'm not the only one that misses Grazie's. It was first rate all the way. Lots of places could learn from Grazie's if they were still in business today.

by KevinFreitas on 3/5/2012 @ 2:11pm
I wish they were around too if, for nothing else, to lend more of an evening destination quality to Old Town.

by CaptainBritton on 3/5/2012 @ 2:40pm
I purchase Napoleon olive oil. It's a local, family-owned company (Seattle)! Plus it comes in a light-proof bottle/can. Good stuff!

by L.S.Erhardt on 3/5/2012 @ 3:00pm
I get whatever is cheapest at Grocery Outlet.

by KevinFreitas on 3/5/2012 @ 3:17pm
That's awesome, I'll have to check them out @Britton. Thanks!

I imagine most people are in your camp, @Thorax. But eating that fresh (e.g. not cooking with it) with bread or on a salad is where it's noticed -- that is if you try good, non-rancid olive oil sometime. Otherwise, taste bud ignorance is eating bliss.
(time for me to setup that olive oil tasting...)

by Dave_L on 3/5/2012 @ 10:14pm
Ditto Grazie, and ER Rogers for that matter, comfortable places that consistently set the bar, before ultimately being occupied by members of the bar.
Thanks for the Olive Oyl primer.

by L.S.Erhardt on 3/6/2012 @ 3:00am
I use OO in the actual act of cooking mostly. I'm not a fan of oily/greasy foods, so it's rare that you'll see OO as a topping/dip/whatever in my home.

by Jesse on 3/6/2012 @ 8:09am
In April of this last year, Emily and I went to Sonoma, Ca. to check out some vineyards and do some wine tasting - considering we're wine snobs and all... What caught me by surprise is that nearly all the vineyards had side businesses making various kinds of olive oil. You could taste wine... and then their olive oil in tiny little cups. Thought I'd share just because I found it to be super odd, but I guess they have to make olive oil someplace?

So ya, you can actually go olive oil tasting, just like you can go wine tasting.

by fredo on 3/6/2012 @ 8:16am
Can't complain that the restaurant with the stinky condiment was violating any expectation. The name of the restaurant, after all, is STINK. People who dine there want STINK and they get it!

by daubermaus on 3/6/2012 @ 10:05am
Less than 20% of people can distinctly taste the rancid. Consider yourself lucky.

by cisserosmiley on 3/6/2012 @ 10:11am
Only 20% ? that's sad and gross

by KevinFreitas on 3/6/2012 @ 10:51am
@Jesse - CA makes a ton of olive oil. Pretty incredible stuff. Ex-girlfriend of mine clued me into all this and it's stuck with me.
@fredo - They make great food there so I have no other complaints (especially since I don't have kids).

by L.S.Erhardt on 3/6/2012 @ 12:12pm
Food for thought: there is something like130% more olive oil sold worldwide than there is olive oil produced worldwide.

I'm wondering what it's getting cut with.

by cisserosmiley on 3/6/2012 @ 12:52pm
I have seen really light olive oil that looks like vegetable oil. Is it a scam?

by Non Sequitur on 3/6/2012 @ 1:24pm
Enjoy your Canadian GMO Canola.
Odds are THAT is what's in your Olive Oil.

by Maria on 3/6/2012 @ 3:56pm
I remember reading an article about the seedy, secret world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It wasn't this article, but basically the same info:

Olive Oilgate On a Global Level


Thorax O'Tool: Food for thought: there is something like130% more olive oil sold worldwide than there is olive oil produced worldwide.

The book that resulted from the research in the article above probably accounts for some of that.


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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