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Eating with Non-CH's

I was posting in another board about "foodie vacations" when I was reminded of an experience I had on a business trip last year:

I travel fairly frequently for work. While I am not a big fan of WORK travel, I do try to reap the benefits of trying out new foods in the location I am at. Last year I travelled to Wichita, Kansas for an audit. Not exactly my first choice but hey, I thought I could get to try some good BBQ. On our first night our audit leader was asking where we all wanted to eat dinner and he mentioned that there was an Olive Garden close by. The look on my face must have been classic. First of all, I wont even eat at an Olive Garden at home - I mean, come on, really? Who eats there? I'm sorry if I've offended any OG lovers but I just can't stomach the place. And second, we're in the midwest! Let's try something we can't get at HOME! No chains, please!!!

We finally ended up at a local brewpub which was actually pretty good - thanks to some quick internet searching on my part. The next night my friend (who loves to try new food too) and I decided we'd go out on our own for dinner and tried a local steak and chop house which was excellent. Definitely the type of experience I look for when in a new locale.

The last night our "hosts" (ie. the locals) decided they were taking us all out to dinner. What did they pick??? No, not OG......but Texas RoadHouse. There are no words....

Is this seriously the type of place the locals should be picking for a group of out of towners? I had no choice - I had to go. I tried to play it safe by ordering some chicken dish. No dice. Everything was so salty I couldn't eat. My dinner consisted of the cornbread that was served and plenty of alcoholic beverages. Most of the others in our party ordered various steaks. The weird part? They raved! To me, all of the steaks looked thin, dried out and overcooked. I guess I must be a steak snob because I will only order a steak at a high end steakhouse or simply buy a nice cut of meat and make it at home.

So have any of you had similar experiences with non-chowhounders and being forced to eat at a restaurant you can't stomach? I'd love to hear what happened and how you handled it! :)

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  1. I've been going on business trips to the San Francisco area for the past two months with my boss and my boss's boss.
    The boss's boss keeps taking us to TGIFridays. Blech. I have yet to find anything I like there, and I've been there more times than I can count. But, he's the "big man" so I go along with it.
    Last week, I got stranded there for three extra days when flights to D/FW airport were cancelled due to weather. On my own I found Korean, Sushi, Afghani and Greek local places that are wonderful.
    Next trip, I'm suggesting the Greek place for dinner. I'll probably get shot down in favor of TGI, but I have to try. There's only so much TGI a girl can take!

    2 Replies
    1. re: QueenB

      Oh Queen, I feel for you. I can't imagine being in the Bay area and having to eat at TGI Fridays. I have family that live in Redwood City so it is always a culinary adventure when I go. I hope you can convince the bosses to try someting new! :)

      1. re: QueenB

        Now that's just criminal - but I am prejudiced as I live in SF. What does the big boss like/order at TGI Friday? Maybe we in SF can think of a place that offers the same dish, but actually edible! I'm endlessly amazed at people flocking into horrid chains when they visit SF, but I guess there is comfort in familiarity!

      2. heeehee, I consider myself a foodie, but there are have been a few times when I have suggested going to OG while travelling on businesss. The nostalgia cracks me up and we don't have them in Toronto anymore. Sometimes my travelling companions even indulge me and we get to go

        8 Replies
        1. re: orangewasabi

          scorp, what are you on about? QB got three extra days in SF--more than makes up for some TGIF suffering.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Sam, I guess I am not sure where you are coming from. I was just telling her that I felt for her that she had to keep going to TGIF. I'm glad she had 3 days on her own to experiment and find new places. I was only hoping she could convince her bosses to try something new. It sounds like she is there fairly frequently so it would be nice to try even more of the many wonderful restaurants SF has to offer.

            1. re: scorpioscuba

              I doubt I'll get them to try something new. The big man is pretty stuck in his ways and doesn't have an adventurous palate. However, now that I know some of what is around, I'll start throwing out suggestions.
              Thanks for your sympathy...TGI bites the big one no matter what town you're in!

              1. re: QueenB

                scuba, you and I are on the same page. Just that I would have put up with the Hell of TGIF with the boss in exchange for those three extra days alone in the Heaven of SF.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Too bad there isn't a Cracker Barrel out there

                  1. re: kimberlya

                    I was just thinking about Cracker Barrel the last time I read this thread. I think I posted something about telling my traveling companions "no chain restaurants," but I'm actually open to chains that are not in my region, like CB, which I really really like.

                    1. re: boltnut55

                      Have to admit that I to have a weakness for Cracker Barrel. But I've only gone after a long day on I95 down to Florida and too tired to look around for somewhere else.

                      http://meandmyfork.blogspot.com

                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Oh my, Sam. Those three days were just amazing. Eating-wise, that is.
                    (that doesn't really sound right, does it...I'm going to give people the wrong idea)

          2. My boyfriend and I were visiting his dad and step mother in Boston. The step-mother works in Cambridge. One day we went to meet her for lunch. She works in a building that happens to have a Mall in it. So where did we have lunch? In the Mall Food Court! I'm not kidding. We are in the middle of Cambridge, MA. We were surrounded by lots of cool little ethnic cafes. And we had to eat in the food court.
            I have been told that the step-mother has issues with food. But this has never really been explained.
            I wonder what she really thought of all the food I cooked while we were staying with them!

            1. If I'm really stuck and can't make the pendulum swing my way, I order several drinks and by the end of the meal, I don't much care.

              1. You've named the places you didn't like and skipped the names of the place you did like. Add the places you found that were good so others can follow.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ccbweb

                  Excellent point! Thanks for waking me up - I was so focused on the bad and didn't focus on the good. The "brewpub" we went to was the Red Rock Canyon Grill and for dinner, my friend and I went to Chester's Chop House and Wine Bar.