marc & i have a tradition that when we are on the road – if at all possible – we do NOT eat at chains. we always ask for something local. mom & pop restaurants, one of a kind pubs, stuff like that. please – orlando is SO full of chains that we get plenty of that, so having something unique from an independent cafe is something we really treasure and look forward to.
and boy did we move to the right city for that!
in our part of town you would be very hard pressed to even find a mcdonalds. everything is unique and independently operated. and every style of food you can imagine! i think the one that most shocked me was the ‘etheopian’ restaurant – i never thought of that country as being well known for their cuisine – but the restaurant is cute as can be. no…. i haven’t been inside yet…. it kinda scares me! 🙂
we have already found favorite places all over town. we have an awesome cuban place. a sunday brunch place. and italian sandwich shop. and not to mention pizza and subs… oh my. so much food!
there is this awesome little diner we found nearby. it’s really a fun place too because it’s got the whole ‘diner’ vibe going on – but it’s legit vintage – not what i call the “disney” version of what vintage should be.
i am loving that about new york – when something looks old or of a certain ‘style’ – it really IS. the tangible authenticity is so beautiful to explore.
we use the groupon “now” button several times a week – pull up an outstanding coupon and take off to try something new! (by the way – if you aren’t using “groupon” you are missing out!!) naturally- we don’t enjoy all places equally – but we always enjoy the adventure.
we ended up in a creole restaurant last week. i was picturing cajun (new orleans style yum!) but this turned out to be haitian creole – very different but still yum. however the venue – it was the front room of what appeared to be a converted home. i think you might could fit 15 people in if you squished. the owner / hostess / server didn’t really take orders (even tho there was a menu) – she more just smiled, looked you up and down and decided what you would like and brought it out! it was really definitely different (and i did indeed make marcus eat some of mine – but isn’t that what hubby’s are for?!?)
well. after about a month and a half of exploring only indy restaurants i have to confess – i began to really – really crave something… dependable? or… predictable?… is that what the definition for comfort food is?? i just wanted me some good old ‘regular’ food. so i decided on olive garden.
now – a month ago i would have said it is nearly sacrilegious to be a few blocks from little italy and instead go to times square for chain quasi italian food, but i did it. i choose to blame it on hormones.
my sweet husband obliged and we hopped on the subway and took off for 42nd street. i was so excited – it was really rather ridiculous!
and finally – out come the breadsticks and… they just aren’t – right. they were not very warm… and frankly didn’t taste very fresh. the salad was great but the soup was cold… and if the breadsticks are wrong – everything is wrong!
so we finished lunch, walked around times square a bit and took the subway home. disappointed for sure.
maybe it was because it is such a busy restaurant (there are escalators and in it – if that gives you a clue to the size)… but it was just not good dining.
i apologized to marcus for dragging him there, and then i started thinking about how often i take for granted what i have – and wish for something else. it is oh so easy to get so comfy with the things that are easily accessible, and romanticize the things that aren’t. surely that is a set-up for unhappiness!
i’m going to make an effort to work on that. not just in dining of course – but just being present and appreciative all the way around. staying focused in the moment… aware – and ever grateful.
i am not swearing off chick-fil-a, but… i do want to enjoy the perks of where i am – what season of life i am in – while i’m here… and not look so far ahead i miss the unique things of “now.” i really do believe if we aren’t careful we spend far to much of life ‘wishing’ for something else rather than loving where we are.
and so tonight, thanks to groupon, we found this darling little place that makes awesome fries – and a yummy marshmallow fluff shake.
so come visit – i don’t know where we’ll end up – but i can pretty much promise we won’t be eating at cheesecake factory. 🙂