Friday, November 7, 2008

Take a chance

There's always the temptation to do the easy thing, to gravitate toward the known. I was on a lunch break in an unfamiliar block, and I saw a familiar emblem. Home of the Extra Value Combo Meal. OK, well, at least I knew what I was getting.

As I drew nearer, I could see further down the block. I didn't know what was there, but I saw tables and chairs on the sidewalk, a neon sign, a sandwich board.

What the heck? I thought. I've got time. Why don't I just walk past, and go down to the corner and see what's here. If it doesn't look good, then I can always go back to McDonalds.

There was a tiny, vest-pocket-sized store that sold rotisserie chicken dinners and lunches. They had a table out front, with comfy wicker chairs, and one tiny table with a red-checked cloth inside. There were pictures of all the different menu items on the overhead sign, and a pair of rooster figurines on a shelf over the cashier. For $4.99, I got a salad with mixed greens, cauliflower florets, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and tender warm shredded white meat chicken. There were two little containers of ranch dressing on the side, and another little container of salsa.

Boy, it was good. I think I ended up making a good choice.

What do you do when you're in a strange place? Do you opt for the Extra Value Combo Meal you know, or do you take a chance on something unknown?


Last Place Finisher said...

I remember growing up in Manhattan (NYC) at a time when there were no McD's. New York was a foodie's dream, all kinds of goodies, all different types of cuisine. Funny, it was such a treat to leave the city and find those golden arches. Now I live in San Diego and lament how it's just not a "food town." I'm so tired of the Chili's, McD's, CPK, Chevy's "chain restaurant" fare. My heart is in California but my tummy is back in New York. I crave something unique! I willing to take risks. As Anthony Bourdain wrote, sometimes you need to suffer a little gastric discomfort to uncover culinary excellence.

Whiskeymarie said...

I always venture into the unknown, food-wise. some of my favorite places have been discovered that way, and when traveling I feel obligated to see what the area has to offer.
One of my favorite meals ever was at a place in the Bahamas me & my friends went to. We were sick of the crappy touristy food on the main darg, so we asked our driver where the locals eat. She took us to this total dive packed with locals. The drinks were delicious and cheap, and the food was unique, authentic, and AWESOME.
We had a great time.

womaninawindow said...

Ooh, that looks gOOOOd! With the kids we take no chances. Alone, I'll eat anywhere or anything. I remember my favourite chow mein place in Taiwan. I perfected the slip off shoe, whack cockroach on table, continue to eat move. Best chow mein ever!

Jason said...

I love the meaning of this post, literally and figuratively.

Now I'm hungry. And next time I go out to eat, I will take a chance!

JCK said...

I'm really a snob when it comes to fast food. I love trying new things!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

That does look good! And we do both...opt for the familiar and sometimes the not so familiar.