What are you willing to do for a new food experience?
Was pondering this the other day as I related some of my recent adventures to some non houndly friends. I've been fortunate enough to do a lot of food oriented trips lately. My most recent one was a week trip to Austin Texas to try a bunch of bbq.
In that trip, I got up at 6:30 a.m. to drive 50-60 miles in unfamiliar roads to a small town to try bbq from a place that was open only one day a week and lines would form not too soon after they open. Later on in that trip, I stood in line for an hour before opening at another top rated place.
I live in LA and traffic here is as bad if not worse than what most people have heard. Although I try to time my drives, there are still times when it's unavoidable to sit in traffic for a long time just to go a short distance in order for me to try a place when it's actually open and fits in my schedule.
But I'm always willing to take these kinds of steps to try a new food experience. Does it always turn out good? No, but I'm usually happy to say, hey at least I've tried something new. Once in a great while, it turns out great and I get to say, I'm willing to deal with the hassle just to eat that food again.
On the other hand, there are some things I'm unwilling to do. There is a Ludo bites pop up restaurant that has had several incarnations now. Limited run and from opinions of people I trust the food is fantastic, imaginative and for the quality of ingredients the price although not cheap is a very good value. However, they sell out quick and every time the window to place a reservation opens, the phones are jammed. You have to sit there and dial repeatedly in hopes of getting through and then just take whatever time is available.
As much as I want to try the food, I don't think I'll ever bother doing this. Not an attack on the establishment, just a personal preference that I don't want to deal with the hassle.
Along the same lines, I find it weird that even though I'm willing to drive or stand in line for a place when they open, I refuse to go to a hot new bisto or restaurant that won't take reservations and I'd just have to show up and wait around for 60-90 minutes until a table opens up. I can't quite put my finger on why I'm willing to stand in line for that bbq joint for 60 minutes but unwilling to stand waiting for a table to open up at the new restaurant.
Maybe it's a personal quirk where if I know what's expected I'm will to deal with the wait but not if it's open ended and I'm unsure of when I'll actually get seated. I'm admittedly weird in some of my habits.
So what's your line in the sand? What are you willing and unwilling to do in your quest to try a new place or food. I will also add that my line shifts depending if I'm local or traveling. If I'm in a new town, I might be more willing to wait than if I was in my hometown. Thanks for playing if you've read this far.
I also agree that there are very few meals that are worth waiting 60-90 minutes for a table. I have far too often planned trips or stops around food, wineries, brewpubs, distilleries, rum bars. When I am traveling I usually limit my food adventures to less than a half hour trip on unfamiliar roads particularly at night. Only once when I have been traveling have I waited in a line for a restaurant to open for lunch and my wife thought we were nuts but the food and the value and the view were everything people said it would be. It was a rustic seafood place on a marina on the gulf coast of Florida. Her favorite story is I once paid $40 each way for a cab ride for an incredible meal at a gastropub in Orlando and the meal with alcohol was just slightly more with tip than the roundtrip cab ride.