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The classic chowhound "discovery" - tell us yours!

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As a newbie to this place, I am curious to hear about how people have come to discover their off-the-beaten-track "gems". Was it in your neighborhood? Did you deliberately wander the streets of an unknown neighborhhod in search of a specific cuisine? Did you call the (fill in the country here) embassy and ask the receptionist where she eats? A taxi-driver?

I am often drawn to an errand in an out-of-the-way place simply because I can eat at a new and obscure (to me anyway) restaurant. I wonder how people find their "finds".

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      1. Sometimes, desperation will drive me to the closest place.

        Or I'll watch places fill up with people who just look like they want good food as opposed to those looking for a scene.

        1. It depends. In my hometown, where I already have a fairly good sense of the dining scene, I'll just try new places randomly.

          But in my adoptive city, I start with my neighborhood then gradually increase the radius of exploration. I also ask neighbors and local shopkeepers where they eat or what the best place for a specific food is.

          1. "Where's a good place to eat around here?" Ask folks anywhere -- like at the Doctor's office, a clerk in a store, your hairdresser, someone standing in line behind you, the bus driver, whomever. You can tell by the way they answer if they are a good source of info.

            Otherwise, when traveling, I go by instinct. I have (usually) a good feel for eatery vibes.