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Apr 22, 2005 02:27 PM

Chowhoundishness = Embarrassment

  • m

So I kind of fancy myself something of a chowhound Magellan, spending lunch hours randomly driving up city streets in search of virgin chow territory, coffee shops, dives...whatever.

Today, I'm munching my tacos al pastor, cruising a street I haven't been down in a while and I spy this new green awning with the big, white block letters "Polish Lounge" across the front. I noticed at the last second, so couldn't get a good look through the tiny storefront windows, which were tinted anyway. Just a sign that said "Open". "Wow...I love eastern European food, and always keep my eye out for new places. How could I not know about this?" I think to myself. It's not exactly an obscure neighborhood, just a little out of the mainstream.

So I hurriedly get back to work, salivating over visions of cabbage rolls and pierogis. Get to my desk and jump on-line and.....nothing. Huh? Not a mention of the place. Searched by address...nothing. City of Minneapolis licensing....nothing. Yellow pages...address and phone number.

OK, self admission time. Come can relate. This is a Chowhound's be the one who found it first, right??? Finally, I can be the insider. The one to shepherd the starving flock to a pasture of untrodden deliciousness!!

So, I decide to make the awkward call since it's a good 20 minute drive from my office and I can't just pop in:

(muffled voice saying "Polish Lounge")

Me, excitedly: "Hi. Uh. Kind of odd question. Ummm. What kind of place are you? Uh. Do you serve food?"

Muffled Voice: "Yeah...we're actually a nail salon. The PAH-lish Lounge."

Me: (awkward Mark Spitz-like backstroke out of embarrassing situation) "Oh. Have you considered serving food, to cover both possibilities?"

Click. (((((insert dial tone and sound of bubble bursting here))))))

So...anyone else ever have this kind of "oops" while chowhound spelunking/exploring?

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  1. I've no comparable experience but thanks for your story, gave me a chuckle.

    1. That is so funny -- what a perfect Chowhound tale (i.e, my reaction - "That's hysterical". Non-Chowhound hubby's typical CH-related reaction of rolling the eyes). Thanks for a great story!

      1. Terrific story, this is one for the Chowhound Hall of Fame.

        1. epicure, manicure-close enough :)

          great story!

          1. Yes, mine was worse, if only because mine comes with a healthy dose of shame.

            I was recently coming back on the free IKEA shuttle bus from New Jersey (already, a tragic start) when as the bus was approaching Port Authority Bus Terminal, I happened to glance outside my window and saw a man handing out styrofoam containers to a gathered few from the trunk of his car on W. 41 St. People already with their containers were wolfing them down, seemingly enjoying some good eats. I immediately imagined some intrepid entrepeneur with the home-cooked goodies from his native land, and I started salivating in the bus like a hyper dog leaping to get out of the bus, ready to try something new.

            Unfortunately, I couldn't retrace the bus back to said trunk that day, but at first opportunity, I posted right there on the Manhattan board to see if anyone knew about this imagined deliciousness. I eventually got a reply back that instead of what I thought, the man and his trunk full of eats were actually from an outreach program feeding the homeless. Those people wolfing down food were doing so because they were hungry, not because it was some exotic cuisine. I felt shamed, embarrassed and extremely humbled.

            Yes, I love chow, and I will search for the good stuff and I love getting great suggestions off of chowhound, but it was good to be reminded that there are people who look just to have something in their stomachs. I am grateful food is enjoyment for me, not just subsistence for another day.

            P.S. My ignorant posting is still out there floating in the chowhound universe, like a bad embarassing prom picture.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Pupster

              Don't feel ashamed, it was an honest mistake from a 'hound on the hunt (just doing what comes naturally) and you rehabilitated yourself fine with your responding post on that thread. And, your posting did stimulate another response that sounded like a good chow tip.

              1. re: Chino Wayne

                Hey, I was reading the Chinese/English lunch menu taped to a funky doorway in Chintown, til I realized it was the daily lunch for the senior center inside....

                1. re: galleygirl


                  We were visiting a museum on the near south side of Chicago. When we returned to our car, the trunk of the very nice car in front of us was open. A nicely dressed man and woman were pulling out all the necessities for a sidewalk BBQ and picnic.

                  Driving away, we began talking about how nice their car and clothing was, yet they could not afford a meal in a restaurant. Fortunately we stopped short of a collection plate on their behalf when I realized there was a Bear's football game scheduled that day. What we thought was evidence of poverty was really a tailgate party!

                  We learn something every day!


                  1. re: Cathy2

                    Why, with all the evidence to the contrary, would you assume these people were having a picnic lunch because they couldn't afford a restaurant?? Maybe I'm unnaturally fond of picnics, but I don't think you have to be poor to enjoy then.

              2. re: Pupster

                Better you found out that way. You could have gone up, taken the food, then posted a scathing criticism of it on the board and THEN found out.