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Ignoring Chowhound Advice

  • l

Hounds, I live in the Seattle area and we have a very active board. Often Chowhounds will ask for local recommendations especially for Pacific Northwest cuisine, fish and oysters. (For which we are happy to reply with local Hound favorites.)

Then they post a trip report where they ignored all of the local Hound recommendations, ate at the tourist places and then complained about the food. Why would they bother asking if they were just going to ignore locals who are serious about food?

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  1. You are preaching to the choir leper, preaching to the choir.
    A co worker recently spent a weekend in Manhattan and ate at Applebees and Olive Garden and raved about the meals.
    Yes, I had given a number of restaurant recs. I think it's a comfort zone thing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Motosport

      That is the saddest Manhattan trip ever. While I'm not a huge chain fan there are a few we will go to. Those two are not on the list even in the wasteland we live in here.

      Although, I will admit that my one friend who had just moved to NYC once took me to Chevy's. we were a little young and dumb and she had only lived there for 6 weeks or so at the time.

      1. re: Motosport

        This reminds me of a co-worker about 20 years ago that went on a trip to New Orleans, and other stops in Southeastern U.S. I said something to the effect of "wow New Orleans, I'm jealous, did you have any good food?"
        She told me yes they did, one place that was really good and they stopped there every time they saw one, it was called Shoney's.
        At that time i had never heard of Shoney's, but i did infer that it was a chain of some sort.
        When on the road sometimes chains are necessary, consistent, etc. , but for that to be the food highlight of the trip, well, I still cringe when i think of that story.

      2. Dunno. Has anyone asked them?

        There may be a number of possibilities - the "usual suspects" of places recommended on a local board may not be to the taste of the poster. Or to the taste of the people the poster was travelling with. Or the recommendations were not geographically convenient. No doubt, there are other possible reasons.

        1. I think sometimes the act of asking on Chowhound is part of the fantasy of planning the vacation, but then the realities of overly optimistic time lines, sore feet, long lines, and spending most of your time in the tourist zones intrude on the plan.

          I travelled with a friend to Italy recently and some dinners we booked in advance based on reading the Italy board, and those we got to and enjoyed, but anything we hadn't reserved in advance pretty much ended up going by the wayside, because none of our actual sight-seeing plans stayed on schedule and we ended up choosing places to eat that were near where we were at the time and had tables available. We had one basically horrible dinner under the Rialto Bridge, and we knew it would be terrible, based on the location and the waiters trying to beckon tourists into the place, but there was a Vaporetto strike on so I had been on my feet walking all day and by then, I just needed to sit down and eat something. Anything. Anywhere. And that's where we were, so that's where we ate.

          The good thing, though, is that Chowhound is public, and the answers you provide help not just that one user but many other people who are reading along. So even if that person didn't use your great suggestion for where to find seasonal local cuisine, someone else likely will.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jacquilynne

            +1. Even on a well planned trip, stuff happens and plans must adapt and be flexible. Everyone with a lot of ink in their passports has learned the ebb and flow of foreign travel.
            As I often say, I go with the flow, and my flo' is linoleum.

            1. re: Jacquilynne

              Good points.

              I'm hoping to visit America next year, touring through some of the southern states. I'll possibly be asking for restaurant advice but will have to adopt something of a scattergun approach as we're not going to be sure where we're stopping, or for how long. I shall try not to irritate local board users

              1. re: Jacquilynne

                Great summation, Jacquilynne!

                Things happen, plans change, travel companions have differing needs, navigating unfamiliar territory becomes exhausting, the air conditioned chain becomes more appealing than the local open air place on a sweltering day...

                If I'm giving suggestions to friends who are traveling I try to put together a quick printable,google map showing the restaurants, their hotel and the sites they plan to visit. Makes it much easier to not succumb to exhaustion when a quick glance shows a good place is just a few blocks away.

                1. re: meatn3

                  yes, I find the most important part of food planning for a trip, more important than reserving dinners, is knowing what restaurants are in the area of your daily touring activity - preferably reliably mapped (had hoped the Chowhound database would help with that but no..... Even if you may have some great impromptu finds, thats not usually the case when you are dead on your feet and need a nice relaxing lunch and bottle of wine.

              2. I'm guilty of ignoring the local advice at times... for a recent trip to Boston I recieved some great tips from the local board, but because I ended up with only 1 weekend day instead of the original 3 weekdays to myself, I had to improvise to avoid some of the lines at a few recommended places. I didn't eat at "tourist" places or chains, though, and my experience was overall quite good. If I hadn't asked the question, I might not have found the little, 100 year old, out of the way bakery that was open 24/7 and made some of the best cookies I ever tasted.

                If people ignore CH advice and go to the Olive Garden instead, well, nothing you can do about it.

                1. I've asked on occasion for recommended places in Seattle but always find myself going back to the same places I found to be exemplary, not necessarily foodie favorites.
                  Some of the places, quite frankly, when I've asked for local Hound favorites in Seattle aren't really what I'd consider that great.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: latindancer

                    Having a "baseline" for an area like you (in the case of Seattle) do gives you an even greater advantage when it comes to soliciting new recommendations for a couple of reasons. First off you can say "Are there any places that equal or even surpass my favorite place "A" that you can suggest?" And secondly you can do some looking when you do get recommendations (if the local Seattle hound doesn't just come out and tell you) by digging into the places those replying to you enjoy eating at. It's always the ideal situation when you find another hound that has a very similar sense of taste to your own.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      You offer great advice and it's something that I've not thought of doing but will do in the future, actually, Servong. Thanks.
                      I have my favorites in Seattle as far as bakeries, fishmongers, oysters, cheese, coffee, delis, etc., but it's oftentimes exciting to hear about, from Hounds, the new places that have become favorites among them and, for the most part, it pans out....tremendous advice. Seattle's loaded with little, ecclectic hole-in-the-wall places and foodies are out there looking for them and trying them out.
                      I agree with the OP...why would anyone ask for that advice and then ignore it and actually write about it. It makes no sense.