I’m not much of a rule guy. I sort of fancy myself as an agent of benevolent chaos. I pretty much go where whim takes me most of the time. I figure if you plan everything, then only planned stuff happens. Boring…
But I do have a few rules. 1) Hold the door open for people, and say thanks when others hold the door for you. 2) Put on clean underwear everyday. 3) When traveling, don’t eat anywhere you can go at home.
Simple. One of my first tasks when arriving somewhere is to find where the locals eat. When the young man is finished with his shift at that white tablecloth restaurant, where does he go for tacos, or a BLT, or Szechuan? That’s where I want to go. I’ll check Yelp, and Chef’s Feed. I’ll ask The Google who makes the best wings, or who the best food writer is in town. I’ll check the maps to see where Chinatown is, or Little Havana, or where the local distillery is.
I’ve got a lot of favorites, but not one of them started that way. None of them were expected. My favorite lunch spot has 6 tables from Ikea (Norråker, I believe) and makes the best noodles I’ve ever had, anywhere. The best tamale I’ve ever had I got from a guy with a bike and a cooler. I’ve stood in line for 2 hours for a hot dog (worth it). I’ve made friends walk the width of Key West and back again in search of the best Cubano (also worth it). She and I have wandered down unlit alleys in search of a great cocktail (100% worth it). One of the best meals I’ve had in Vegas was in Henderson. I’ll go a long way for Something New, because where’s the fun in getting what you expect?
When She and I moved to the TC in ’93, we went on a new food bender. We’d never had gyros before, or sushi, or Mongolian, or Peruvian. For us food became an adventure. We did the white tablecloth thing, and we enjoyed it. But it’s not my favorite. Far from it. See, when you spend that kind of money on a ribeye and a few spears of broccoli, you expect that ribeye to be exceptional. Anything else is disappointing. I prefer to be surprised. I want to find the next Lo Pan & The Big Wang. The other day after wandering into Fair State Brewing Cooperative, while playing cribbage at the bar under the dispassionate gaze of a mirror ball garden gnome, She and I bought the last two bottles of Läctobäc because “Läctobäc” is fun to say. And we’ll never have it again because the brewer admitted that that beer is never made the same twice. It was wonderful and surprising.
She and I and some friends are going to New Orleans this weekend to celebrate a birthday. Primarily, we’re going to do the stuff K wants to do. Secondarily, I’m hoping we also find a Great Convenience Store Breakfast, or The Amazing Under-The-Overpass Southern Food, or the Best Just-Off-Bourbon Street Negroni. Better yet, it’ll be none of those things because I won’t see it coming.
So anyway everyone, have a good weekend. I know I will.