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Wackiest, craziest, most interesting restaurant that you have ever been to

  • k

What is yours ? Please name the place and location. (Just for these purposes, food is obviously besides the point):

By wackyy, I mean, perhaps your devouring your food 20,000 leagues under the sea in a glass enclosed platform ?

Or maybe you are eating foie gras at the top of a minaret at one of the tallest buildings in the world ?

Or maybe a meal eaten somewhat upside down in an anti-gravity chamber perhaps designed by the preeminent geniuses at JPL or NASA ?


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    1. I can't equal your comparables, but the Alux restaurant in Quintana Roo, Mexico threads through a network of fascinating caves. I think it is one of the natural wonders of the Yucatan, thoughtfully made accessible to diners.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        There you go.

        Eating a meal inside a cave is pretty damn dope.

        That's what I'm talking about.

        1. re: kevin

          No bats in this one. Most of the cenote caves are loaded with bats. Which is a good thing, there are no mosquitos left to bite you.
          Google Alux restaurant and view their photo gallery.

          1. re: Veggo

            And no guano dusting your food.

            Kalachandji's in Dallas inside a Hare Krishna temple is definitely unusual.

      2. Can't compete with any of your suggestions, either, really. Nothing *that* crazy.

        The closest perhaps was a dinner in a completely dark restaurant staffed by blind people. It's a very cool experience on many levels.

        "Wackiest" might be Las Bestias in Valencia, Spain. We were young enough to be slightly amused by being served toilet paper for napkins, a bucket full of beer, and being verbally abused by the waitstaff. Very gimmicky, to say the least.

        6 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          Both sound at the very least: unique.

          1. re: kevin

            I think those dark restaurants are in a number of cities (this was in Berlin), and the verbal abuse gimmick as well.

            Not sure I'll do the dark restaurant again, DEF not doing the cheesy thing again.

            1. re: linguafood

              "cheesy thing " ?

              But as for the dark restaurants, yeah, I've heard of it in many different cities across the US too.

              1. re: kevin

                The other restaurant I mentioned. Those are in all kinds of places as well. Just not my idea of humor.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Lol. So Dick's Last Resort has cross-cultural appeal, eh? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. :)

                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                    Personally, I would cry, but MANY seem to enjoy it, and seek it out, in the cities with a Dick's Last Resort. They must be doing something right, for someone - just not for me.


        2. I ate at the Sundial Restaurant in Atlanta when I was twelve or thirteen. I can't remember anything about the food. The dining room revolves above 723 feet of skyline. The view was something special.


          I also remember being amazed at about the same age by the faux outdoor twilight sky in Epcot's Mexican restaurant.


          Ed Debevic's in Chicago was wacky. The meatloaf and mashed potatoes were good.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Tara57

            I love those revolving restaurants (it takes about an hour, usually, to move 360 degrees, is that right ? And it moves so slowly that it is invisible to the naked eye).

            1. re: kevin

              Also Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. Not quite as fast as a washing machine on the spin cycle.

              1. re: Veggo

                Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, BTW

              2. re: kevin

                Yeah, roughly.
                L'Astral on the Loews Le Concorde in Quebec City takes about 90minutes to make one revolution.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    The Space Needle here in SEA has 'sky city' restaurant. Food not anything to get excited about, but tourists like the experience. Takes about 1.25 hours to go around.

                    Personally, I like the viewing platform better, and a drink in the bar. Skip dinner and go somewhere good!

                  2. re: kevin

                    Went to one. While enjoying dinner, and the view, my girlfriend suddenly noticed that in the course of half an hour, her purse had been carried halfway around the room because she set it on the floor-level windowsill.

                    1. re: wayne keyser

                      Calvin Trillin: "I never eat in a restaurant that's over a hundred feet off the ground and won't stand still."

                    2. re: kevin

                      The Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone in NOLA revolves once every 15 minutes. Just the seats of the round bar. The bar itself doesn't revolve. If you are standing and talking to someone seated at the bar you ave to take a sideays step every few seconds to keep up with them.

                    3. re: Tara57

                      Dallas has a Wolfgang Puck restaurant like that. The food is divine. I've only been once, but if I were in Dallas, I'd definitely go back.

                      1. re: alliegator

                        Went there before it was 560, and can't say I remember anything about the experience other than some of the people I dined with. Likewise with Dick's Last Resort ... I remember fried food and some of the people who were there.

                    4. Not exactly a restaurant and not something I have "been" to, but I think this counts.
                      Back when I managed functions and events, our company had the contract for catering at the city zoo.
                      The zoo management were trying to drum up money to build a new tropical enclosure, and came up with the idea of hosting a high end dinner in the lion enclosure.
                      Great night was had by all - the keepers fed the lions at the same time we were serving main course, so there was roaring and raw meat savagery as the guests ate their wagyu.
                      My most hated memory of the night, however, was the fact that zoos are globally inhabited by rats and very large spiders after dark, so running back and forth to the catering tent was hazardous, to say the least!

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: cronker

                          Ah, reminds me of an event dinner at the New Orleans Aquarium. We were dining at tables around one level of the main tank, right in front of the windows to view that tank. The main course was seafood. My back was to those windows, and someone commented, "Look at all those fish at the window!" I turned, and sure enough, the window was FILLED by fish, all staring at my plate. I could almost hear them, "Hey, he's eating Fred!" Let's just say that it was not the best meal that I have ever had.


                            1. re: Violatp

                              Oh I agree. Imagine my shame, upon turning around. Like finding out that I had just eaten Nemo!


                        2. Wackiest?

                          Magic Time Machine ~ Dallas TX. We had a cocktail in the lounge served by a space cadet. Then moved in to dining area which was a maze. You got lost going to the salad bar and ladies room. Our waiter was a fireman with a siren on his helmet. Every time he came to our table his siren went off. Sadly, we went there more than once..

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: miss_belle

                            Sounds pretty fucking awesome. :)

                            I'm presuming it's long gone ?

                            1. re: kevin

                              Not even, through the magic of the interweb net thing:


                              A disclaimer, I've never been.

                              1. re: kevin

                                I don't know it's been 30 years now..

                                1. re: miss_belle

                                  Like I said I've never been, but they have an active website. Here it is one more time.


                            2. A few, now gone, that stick out in my memory would be Lost on Larrabee (formerly the Taming of the Stew) in LA for it's wildly improbable vegetarian dishes, Hausner's in Baltimore for the art covering its walls and its encyclopedic menu, and in Austin about half the food trucks for actually trying to sell such terrible ideas and the other half for such improbable but noble fare, especially Chilantro Korean Mexican BBQ fusion. The weird settings I have been to like Windows on the World and the Space Needle were all about the view but had good food. Also there was a place in Ventura called the Koolibah. You had to be taken by someone who had been before. A plain door in a strip center by a tack shop. Walk in and an incredible single seating menu. Seven courses. I recall especially the quenelles Nantua.

                              1. The cafeteria in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. I don't remember the food at all, just that I had lunch in a salt mine. I see from the website that the mine has added a lot of amenities since my visit in 2001. Might be time for a return trip.


                                8 Replies
                                1. re: small h

                                  Oh my gosh!!! I was there in 1992! I don't remember any amenities at all at that time (or in Poland in general at that time), but thank you so much for reminding me of that special place!

                                  1. re: Cachetes

                                    Wasn't it fascinating? I have a souvenir rock from the mine; I just tasted it. Still salty! I had such a great time in Krakow.

                                    1. re: small h

                                      It really was fascinating- I still remember all of the details of it! The whole trip (backpacking through southern and eastern Poland, and through eastern Czechoslovakia) was amazing. I still remember going into a tiny market in Poland and having the worker keep turning me away from all of the Russian products, saying they were horrible. Makes sense at that time!

                                  2. re: small h

                                    We were there a few years ago. Didn't bother with the food, too many good options in Krakow.

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      Krakow's food scene must've changed a hell of a lot in the last decade.

                                      It was pretty bad in 99.

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        I would imagine that Krakow's everything scene has changed since '99.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          Yes. Krakow is pretty hip these days.

                                    2. Anything Goes in New Orleans. What a cool place. http://www.nomenu.com/joomla1/index.p...

                                      1. I had a meal in a place once that had white fabric cloths on all the tables, and there were actual candles, i mean the kind that burn, not the electric ones. There was a small arrangement of flowers in a real glass vase in the middle of every table too. And all the chairs at the tables could move, they weren't bolted to the floor or anything. Maybe that's because the floor had carpeting all over it. It wasn't tile or linoleum or anything. I don't know how they mop things up when people drop their cokes or whatever. And they didn't have napkins either. Just squares of fabric to use instead. I gotta tell you, it feels pretty strange to wipe your hands off on a piece of nice white fabric instead of a real napkin or even a paper towel.

                                        All this was in a real nice room, except there must have been something wrong with the electric, because the lights weren't working right, they were real dim like they weren't getting enough juice somehow. I'm not used to eating in a room that dim. It was kinda trippy.

                                        The walls had real coverings on them, almost like wallpaper, but it wasn't shiny. And they had paintings on the walls too, but none of them showed people eating, or even had the restaurant's name or prices or nothing. Just paintings. Some of them you could tell it was a painting of a lake or forest, but others were just colorful but you couldn't quite make out what it was supposed to be.

                                        At each place setting there were 3 or 4 spoons, a few forks, and more at the top of the plate. And none of them were pastic. It was some kind of metal that looked like stainless steel, but somehow had a soft sheen to it. I wanted to take some home with me, but these guys in white jackets kept taking them away after they brought out the plates of food.

                                        That was another strange thing. They kept putting down new plates with a serving of one or another kind of thing. All of us got the same thing at the same time. And NONE of it was wrapped in paper or anything. The plates were some kind of special plastic like stuff, but made a pinging noise when they were hit with the metal utensils. I don't know what they were made of.

                                        Anyhow after these white jacket guys brought the main food out they kept pouring more water into the glasses - and yeah, there were a lot of glasses too. I got confused which one I was supposed to be drinking out of, and like the vase, these were real glass. Finally they took all that stuff away along with the empty plates and brought us bowls of water. I don't know why they brought bowls when they just took away glasses, but thats what they did. All the people at the table started dipping their fingers into the bowls of water. I thought they were trying to pull out that slice of lemon, but no. Sometimes they felt them (maybe they thought they were artificial) but no one took them out. It was really weird. Anyhow, after having my fingers in there even I didn't really want to drink it.

                                        The white jacket men took the bowls away. Then they brought out little tiny bowls of lemon sherbet. I thought it was a pretty skimpy dessert compared to the rest of the meal, but I wasn't going to make a scene. They also brought out little tiny spoons to eat it with. I don't know why, there were still spoons on the table. It was tasty, but not exactly satisfying.

                                        I was really surprised when after that they brought out another dessert. It was really impressive. Kinda like whipped cream, but solid, and it looked like it had been in the oven, but that couldn't be true because the inside was ice cream. I may not know a lot, but i know you can't put ice cream in the oven and still have ice cream. But that is sure what this looked like. Along with that they poured another kind of wine.

                                        I don't know how many different wines we had, it seemed like there was a different bottle every time they brought out a different kind of food. But that couldn't be right. I mean there is red wine, and white wine, and sometimes I think they mix them and make pink wine - but we didn't have any pink wine at this meal.

                                        Yep, it was a pretty strange meal. I'm glad i went, but I don't know if i would want to eat like that more than a couple of times in my life. It was all so strange and complicated, like you had to know the rules before you started if you know what I mean.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                          Wow! I have read about such places, and even saw a History Channel episode on one. It was called a restaurant, IIRC.

                                          I am sure, that just like the dinosaurs, they are all gone now, as no one ever dines anywhere but the Hard Rock Cafe, or some pop-up place, that was the Nike store, yesterday, and all the food smells (and tastes) like sneakers.

                                          Maybe one day, I can find one of those ancient places?



                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            Very funny, KaimukiMan. But perhaps suited more for a science fiction board. Such places don't exist in real life....

                                            1. re: drongo

                                              [Lament Mode On]

                                              Well, you make a good point about "science fiction," or maybe it should fall under the realm of "history." Some still remember such, but there are few of us left - a dying breed, as it were.

                                              Once, in a galaxy far, far away, there were such places. Even then, many were totally unaware. Today, many poo-poo such descriptions as shear fantasy - "Science Fiction," if you will. Still, there WERE such places, though they live on, only in my failing memory...

                                              So many things have gone by the wayside, in my life - steam locomotives, elegant restaurants with stellar service and outstanding food, auto with giant fins and the white dinner jacket... At least I can safely say that I was there - I did that, but alas, not any longer. Now, if it's not a Hard Rock Cafe, it is not relevant.

                                              [Lament Mode Off]


                                          2. Probably Dans le Noir, London. Like a few other places in Europe, the patrons are led to a pitch dark basement, then served the food. They have to be fed. I think that is done by blind eunuchs, but could be confusing another pitch-dark restaurant?

                                            My question was, "is the chef so ashamed of his/her presentation, that they do not want the patrons to see it?

                                            The concept is that if one cannot see the food, then other senses are enhanced. OK, so if one is in a pitch dark situation, and their nose is sealed, plus their ears, will their taste buds become super, somehow?

                                            What if the blind eunuch drops a hot kabab in your lap? What happens if they pour the white wine down your throat, when you wanted the red?

                                            For me, it was "the emperor's new clothes," but what do I know?

                                            What's next, a restaurant, where I sit with my mouth open, and my food is fired into near-space with some sort of air cannon, and I have to then catch it, when it comes back to Earth?


                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              The place I've been to in Berlin was not located in a basement, but pitch-black as well.

                                              It is run by blind people, and is to give you an idea of what it is like to not be able to see.

                                              Not sure how your ears and nose all of a sudden became unworkable, but I thought it definitely added more focus to the taste (when presentation was futile), and it was actually fun to figure out what, exactly, we were eating.

                                              I am guessing your comments about service were just hyperbole.

                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                Were you fed by blind eunuchs too?

                                                At least I was told they were eunuchs, as I could not see a thing, so maybe they were joshing me?

                                                Still, I am a very, very visual person, and that is one of my senses, that I bring to the table. I want "art" at every level, but maybe that is just me?


                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  I have my doubts that they were eunuchs, but they were blind.

                                                  I very much enjoyed for once not having any visual clues or fancy plates painted with this and that sauce, and relying on my skilled sense of taste to figure out what it is that I am eating.

                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    How do you pay the check? "Waiter, this is a hundred dollar bill..."

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      Outside in the lobby.

                                                      You receive a semi-cryptic menu when you come in, also in the lobby. You can choose between a seafood-centered, vegetarian, and two meat menus -- none of which are specific, but you can figure it out.

                                                      Makes it double the fun once you're served (if you can remember all the deets from the menu).

                                                      It is a unique experience. I don't think I'd like being blind.

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        I might walk in with 20-20 and walk out blind after sticking a fork in my eyes in the darkness.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          Then you likely have other issues besides eyesight '-)

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            After my third glass of wine, my eating utensils should be restricted to just a spoon.

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                Especially with a bunch of blind eunuchs around the table, who you could not see!

                                                                Yeah, rubber utensils would be safest, IMHO.

                                                                Otherwise, poor eunuchs!


                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              You can still feel lucky if no hot kebab landed in your lap.

                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                            You know, I should have tried that! I guess that I was not thinking clearly, but then, who could, with a bunch of blind eunuchs feeding you in pitch darkness?


                                                          3. re: linguafood

                                                            Well, you might be welcome to check that out. I did not, and just relied on what I was told. Others? That is between them and the eunuchs, or whatever.

                                                            Let me know what you find out, please.


                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                        so you've never been to a chuck e. cheeze pizza have you?

                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan


                                                          There was one, just blocks up from us, in Denver, but before I could go, there was a major shooting there, so we never bothered to go.

                                                          While we do enjoy pizza, not having children sort of rules out Chuck E Cheese, to begin with. We do not like loud scenes, with games, TV's, and sugar-engorged children, so never went.


                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          When the blind eunuch drops the hot kebab in your lap, that means "You're hired."

                                                        3. Dick's last resort? I've never gone. I've looked inside. Napkins all over the floor. And apparently the staff are rude to you. And if you're having a birthday or retirement party they give everyone paper hats and write things like "I piss on my balls when I pee" and "I broke my tooth on my vibrator."

                                                          Anyway I could probably deal with all that except the napkins part.

                                                          18 Replies
                                                          1. re: youareabunny

                                                            Dick's Last Resort was not for me. We didn't know ahead of time about the rude concept. We ordered a drink at the bar, tipped well and the bartender turned around, rang a bell and yelled "cheapskates"! When we got a table the waiter was insulting as well(keeping with the theme). My husband didn't have a problem with it but he knew I did so we just quietly got up and left without ordering anything.

                                                            But they were lined up out the door waiting to get in..

                                                            1. re: miss_belle

                                                              Yeah, it's that kind of place I guess.

                                                              I didn't know that rudeness was part of the shtick at Dick's.


                                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                                If I ever ate there, I wouldn't tip. Lol

                                                                1. re: miss_belle

                                                                  I was telling my older Italian friend (late 60s) about my friend's experience at Dicks. He said he went to a similar place in Italy - when he sat down with his brother and their wives, the waiter says to them "What, you couldn't afford younger classy whores?"

                                                                  1. re: porker


                                                                    what's the name of that italian joint ??????

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      I don't know and can't ask my friend...sadly, he passed away a few years ago.
                                                                      Maybe "Rico's"? - Italian for Richard {;-/)

                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                          I know Italian place like that. It's called "la parolaccia" which translates to the curse word or dirty word.

                                                                    2. re: miss_belle

                                                                      This Dick's place reminded me of a bar I heard of where there is a statue of a naked man in the ladies room (think Michelangelo's David) but there is a fig leaf covering up the swimsuit area. Whenever the fig leaf is lifted, a red light flashes and a siren goes off in the bar where everybody is drinking.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        I heard of a bar with a picture of a naked woman at the urinal with a fig leaf at her crotch. When you slide the fig leaf aside, the stuffed moose head at the bar gives a great "mooooooo".

                                                                    3. re: youareabunny

                                                                      Do not forget the ladies' underclothes hanging from the ceiling.

                                                                      Still, there must be enough folk, who enjoy DLR, to keep many open. Just not for me.


                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        Maybe I'll throw a party. $10 will get you a hot pocket, some paper towels I stole from the gas station bathroom, insults and yo mama jokes all night.

                                                                        1. re: youareabunny

                                                                          And you'll make like gang busters.

                                                                          1. re: youareabunny

                                                                            Sounds like you should become Dick' Last Resort's Marketing Director!


                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            I for one like ladies underclothes hanging from a ceiling.

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              Captain Tony's Saloon in Key West has hundreds of bras hanging from their ceiling.
                                                                              No Name Pub on Big Pine Key has THOUSANDS of dollar bills stapled to their walls and ceiling....upwards of $80 000 worth.

                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                They never fit me, so that point was moot.


                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                  Especially if you get to help the ladies...

                                                                            2. The Bucket of Bones outside of Giessen, West Germany.

                                                                              In the ruins of a castle. Wobbly cheap tables on dirt floor. Folding chairs. Candles provided the majority of light. The novel presentation of baked pork ribs with a salt and pepper rub served in a galvanized bucket. The German equivalent of dog food.

                                                                              Also the restaurant in a cave in the Loire Valley in France. Another experience of forgettable food in a memorable setting.

                                                                              1. The Harbor Hideaway in S. Burlington, VT, about 40 years ago. The entire restaurant (which was on dry land) was designed to evoke a pirate ship. Diners were encouraged to walk around to view the various curios displayed throughout the restaurant, so the 4 of us got up between the apps & main course to do so. When we returned to our table, it had been completely cleared; evidently the bus boy thought we'd finished our meal.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                  Didn't they know that getting up was supposed to be part of the concept ?

                                                                                  Maybe they have to put some sort of a placeholder for customers to remedy that problem.

                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                    I think it was just a clueless busboy but it was pretty hilarious to come back to our table and find everything removed. At least they'd not yet seated a new party there. (And, I've no memories of the food at all -- just this ridiculously kitschily decorated space and the busboy who was unclear on the concept.)

                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                      When I created this post, I realized that it would never be about the food.

                                                                                  2. re: masha

                                                                                    There is a flashback. I graduated from UVM in 74'. I remember the Harbor Hideaway. Thanks for sharing this.

                                                                                  3. There was a place in Rockville Maryland when I was young (1970s) called G.D. Graffiti that had a mobster theme. All the waiters were dressed like mobsters with striped suits and hats, and the dessert menu was in a violin case. I loved it and recall the food being good. I also recall it being crowded, but it's long gone now.

                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                      I fucking love that.

                                                                                      Dessert in a violin case ?

                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                        The dessert menu, not the actual dessert.

                                                                                        I recall them coming to the table and saying something like "now we're going to finish you off!"

                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                          I googled it and this article actually mentions the dessert menu in the violin case!

                                                                                          It's also talked about half-way down this page (on the right side)

                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                              I had forgotten about this:

                                                                                              "The kiddie menu was a folded cardboard colt 45 gun that said "G-Man" on it, and when you flicked it in the air a paper kiddies menu would pop out with a bang! "

                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                Damn. This place doesn't sound too PC.

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  Yes. It would fail, if it was within about 500 miles of any school in the US. Good for them, and hope that they are still going strong!


                                                                                        2. re: AmyH

                                                                                          There used to be a place called Capone's in Rodney Bay, St Lucia - mobster theme, the bill came in a violin case filled with peppermints.

                                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                            I think I ate there (Capone's). If memory serves (this was 30 years and over 15,000 drinks ago), the signage read "Pasta-Pizza-Steaka".
                                                                                            I don't know if the typo was done on purpose or not, but we used that phrase quite a bit, even once in a while today.
                                                                                            We befriended the waiter and bartender (closing the joint) then went along with them to Lucifer's, a disco.

                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                              Did you consume or rather imbibe over 15,000 drinks at Capone ?????

                                                                                              1. re: kevin


                                                                                                I read that to be "15K" SINCE dining there, but then I could well be wrong. Maybe Porker will set us all straight?


                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                  What's the difference between "15K" and 15,000 ?????

                                                                                                  Maybe I'm missing something here.

                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                    i believe the difference is the "since" :)

                                                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                      Yes. 1.5 drinks per day for 30 years, anywhere in the world.

                                                                                                    2. re: kevin


                                                                                                      Are you being obtuse, or something else?

                                                                                                      In most circles, the "K" designates thousands, so what is the issue? 15K = 15,000.


                                                                                                    3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      Yeah, its SINCE, thus contributing to my suspect memory...
                                                                                                      Speaking to Mrs. Porker (who has a very good memory and likely <5k), it was indeed Capone's.
                                                                                                      For the record, it was probably a dozen drinks @ Capones and my first time drinking red vermouth on ice. Took nearly 30 years to actually acquire a taste for that.

                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                        Hey, 5K, or 15K, that is enough to cloud one's memory.

                                                                                                        Were ALL of those AT Capone's? That was not how I read it, but I have been known to be very wrong, and especially if I have declared Wine-Thirty, before reading and typing. With your last paragraph, it looks like all were NOT at Capone's, but a combo of other establishments.


                                                                                            2. Casa Bonita in Denver is pretty wacky - it has a 30 foot waterfall with cliff divers. Don't go for the food.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                Another place/cultural phenom I know about only thanks to South Park.

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  Wow! I had completely forgotten about Casa Bonita. Thank you for the memory jog. Now, at least not that I could tell, our servers were not blind eunuchs... Still, over-the-top crazy, with cliff divers doing half-gainers, right over your table, and I mean RIGHT over your table. If they did not dry off properly, between dives, you, your date and your table got drenched.

                                                                                                  Thank you - I owe you one!


                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    ... And I thought this was just a restaurant on South Park!!!

                                                                                                    Must.... Visit...

                                                                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                      No. Casa Bonita is (or was) very, very real.

                                                                                                      A lot of the details were incorporated into other restaurants/chains, like the little flag, on the table, that got raised, when one needed something.


                                                                                                2. Mine is wacky based on sheer confusion. Last year in Morocco, my friend and I joined a guided tour for the more "rural" parts of the vacation. Our bus dumped us for lunch at the Kangaroo Café (with an Aussie flag) in a Berber town in the Atlas Mountains. It served pizza. Only pizza. As we puzzled over the menu, our waiter reassured us "it's okay, does not taste like sheet".
                                                                                                  We still use this little phrase today. And it did taste like sheet.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                    Our favorite Montreal Chinatown resto closed down a few years ago. We followed one of the waiters to his new place of employment sometime after. We sit down, our waiter friend comes over and in his heavy Chinese accent says "the food here is no fucking good."
                                                                                                    We use that phrase too.

                                                                                                  2. A few years ago I was on safari in Africa. We were in the Ruaha park in Tanzania and the dinners were elegant fine dining. Long tables set up formal on powder fine white sand in a dry river bed. Lanterns, torches and candles to light the table. You could see the green and yellow reflections of animals eyes up on the banks of the river and hear the animals walking and even breathing.

                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                                      I fully understand how the possibility of being the main course would make it memorable.

                                                                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                          Las Vegas buffets. Ai yi yi yi. You DO NOT want to block the view of the Keno board from some of those buffet diners. They are brutal. And don't try to grab the last few stewed prunes on the breakfast line: you may not survive the outcry of rage!

                                                                                                          Ok, so maybe they are not ALL that bad. But I grew up on Vegas buffets. They can bei the waxkiest places with some of the strangest, most unidentifiable food around. I *know* those scrambled eggs were not really eggs. And the white fluff on top of what might have been an alien form of pudding? Ghastly. The brownies are usually ok, though.

                                                                                                            1. re: Miri1

                                                                                                              Do you mean the Metamucil Brownies?


                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                More like pot brownies, judging by the zoned out looks on some of their faces. Must come from being literally attached by an umbilical cord to the slot machines. Its like the machines are their life supprt. Scary.i should't judge. My mom was a die hard slot player till the day she died. But her buffet manners were above reproach :)

                                                                                                                Those old timey buffets were kibda cool, though. I grw up going to the Tropicana, then later the Showboat and Sahara. Loved the Sahara because of the soda fountain where you could refill as much as you liked. Used to lije their 'fruit cobbler' with 'creme angaise' which was nothng more than canned pie filling with a crumble on top, but I did like that crumble.

                                                                                                                1. re: Miri1

                                                                                                                  Unfortunately, for this part of the thread, I would not know, being beyond the age...


                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                            They do a similar white linen dinner in the Australian desert with Uluru (Ayers Rock) as the backdrop. They time it with sundown

                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                              Cool place, but a bitch to get to.

                                                                                                          2. Pales by comparison to most of the other responses, but a place in zihuetinjo(?) Mexico you take your shoes off and they sit you at a table in the surf. Seafood, surprisingly, is their speciality.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                                              Do you eat with family of the fish, in your main course, right at your bare toes? Think that would be a worse situation, than my episode at the New Orleans Aquarium - at least I had thick glass between me, and Fred's friends. In your case, exposed body parts are vulnerable, and fish family members, with big teeth, were probably right there, just waiting.


                                                                                                            2. The old bar in The Hoboken Clam Broth House, in the 60's. It only served dented aluminum pots filled w/ steamed clams and a side of butter. You got your own broth from a huge coffee urn. Beer was served by the pitcher. A VERY eclectic clientele; a guy in a tux, next to a cowboy truck driver. When finished eating a pot of clams, the shells were thrown on the floor. If you did not do it, the barkeep did. No women allowed! My English teacher mother tried to enter once and the bartender yelled a gruff, "Get the Hell outta here lady!" She retreated quickly.

                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                Sounded pretty awesome until I got to the "no women allowed" bullshit.


                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                  Until around 1970 there were quite a few places that were "no women allowed" McSorleys bar in NYC let women in for the first time in 1970. In the 80's I went to a pub in Wales where no women were allowed. There was an attached lounge for couples, but no single women. Forget about Asia and Africa. I saw many places there that were men only, and this was recently.Times have much improved.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                    "Times have much improved."

                                                                                                                    And there are miles yet to cover.

                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      I think the miles have been covered. It's the kilometers that need progress....

                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                              Metric-based countries have made less progress toward gender equality than countries that measure in miles, as the US does. If your "Yah, right" reply was in concurrence, it didn't register with me.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                Oh, then I did understand. A discussion of gender equality comparing the US and, say, Germany would be way OT to last longer than a second, and that's cool.

                                                                                                                                Let's just say I disagree '-)

                                                                                                                                PS: The US is one of 3 countries *not* using the metric system; the other two are Thailand and some African state I can't remember right now.

                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                  Ouch to your PS, but we won't wander off topic.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                        I 1st visited McSorleys in the mid-70s. Women had only recently been permitted to patronize the bar but the management was pretty grudging about allowing women -- so rather than create a separate women's room, women had to use the men's room.

                                                                                                                        The other weird thing about McSorley's was the old chicken wings covered with dust hanging from the ceiling. I think I read that at some point the Health Dept made them take those down.

                                                                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                                                                          Those were wishbones, not wings. Soldiers going off to WWI hung a wishbone and when they got back took it down. So all that were still there were from fallen soldiers. Supposedly it actually started with the Civil War. Then continued from then. In 2011 the health department made them take down the bones to dust them. The owner saved the dust by the way. There are bones there from current soldiers as well.


                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                            Of course, you are right -- wishbones, not wings.

                                                                                                                        2. re: JMF

                                                                                                                          I've been to a few places, where it was gentlemen, or gentlemen and their sheep, but women were banned - not my sort of place.


                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                            Growing up in Quebec, taverns were male-only (brasseries and bars allowed women, but not "taverns"), there were no his/her bathrooms, just "bathroom". Laws changed this in the 80s.

                                                                                                                        3. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          I've been to the Clam Broth House, so eventually they must have started allowing women in. It was probably the late 70s or early 80s. There were no shells on the floor at that time, but there were buzzers in the booths so that if someone came in the front door that you wished to avoid, you could be warned to slip out the back.

                                                                                                                      2. Absolute Ice Bar in London - as a person who is freezing when it's 90F, why oh why was I drinking cold beverages in an arctic cold room out of a glass made of ice and sitting on an ice couch?

                                                                                                                        1. Not yet.but in 2 weeks my wife daughter and I will eat on the Rome Tram.......a 3 hour trip at night through parts of Rome on a converted 1947 Tram, eating locally fresh goodies while being serenaded by a jazz quartet. Not cheap, but not ridiculous either! And decent reviews!


                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                              Well, we are back! And we loved the Tramjazz! Granted it is not Haute Cuisine, but things were presented tastefully and tasted good.for a mobile tram, it was pretty impressive and the music could not have been better.

                                                                                                                              It's a 3 hour affair. You meet at a tram station ( I saw another tram doing the same type of thing, but it looed like a private party. You are greeted with a glass of champagne and 2 1947ish tram cars hitched together pull up. Start is at 9PM. Tables are foursomes and twosomes ( in fact, I think you have to book even numbers.we booked for 4 although there was only 3 of us). The music changes every time. For our evening, it was a Jazz quartet playing "the Music of Numbers" ( although no Five Pennies stuff). They play a few numbers at the station while you are served appetizers on a thin tray, sort of tapas style.

                                                                                                                              After about 4-5 numbers, the band rests as the tram moves, but suitable music is piped in and wine is served as much as you want. You travel through some interesting Rome neighborhoods, a few porta, and finally come to a turnaround. The tram stops there for about 20 mins and the band starts again. Presumably, they are loading the rest of the food. Then the tram retraces its steps (I think) with more wine and munchies until it reaches the Collisseum. It stops, doors open and you can get out for a photo op (and/or a smoke) before dinner (again, this night, tapas style) is served and the band plays some more. While the portions are small (about 4 or so things served at each course) there are plenty of extras.

                                                                                                                              After the main course, you head out again, through a different neighborhood until you reach the turnaround near the Modern Art Museum and some other lovely views, and more music. Dessert is served on the ride back which finishes back where you started at midnight.

                                                                                                                              The food is said to be fresh local and seasonal..not sure, but I think they may vary the catering as well as the music. It was good...not great. The wine is copious and of equal quality. the music..fantastic!....dinner overlooking the Flavian Amphitheater lit up in the dark.....exquisite!

                                                                                                                              Catching a cab did not seem to be a problem, although none were waiting. About a $100 US-125 each for the tramjazz (Romepass holders get a slight discount)

                                                                                                                              On a different note..........the Capitoline Museum is a must for ancient Rome fans....and surprisingly not busy at all compared to the Vatican and the Colliseum. The café on the third floor (to americans, 2nd flr to the rest of the world) has decent food, served either self-serve(pay first) or waiter service. But! You come for the view! There is an outdoor patio that on one side overlooks the Forum(right next dor) and on the other, most of Travestere and old Rome toward St. Peters! You get a much better sense of the Forum up there, I think than wandering the stones. It is possible to access the café without paying admission to the museum, but you deprive yourself of some great works and other equally stunning views

                                                                                                                            2. I've never been, not sure if it was mentioned but here's disaster cafe in Spain.


                                                                                                                              1. This thread reminded me of one from last year.


                                                                                                                                I'll give the same answer now that I did then.

                                                                                                                                I once ate fried chicken at a picnic table outside a KFC in Dryden, Ontario.

                                                                                                                                1. I've had dinner set up on a very small private motu (island) in the South Pacific escorted by decorated outrigger and was personally draped with many plumeria lei's, crowns and anklets...drank champagne and dined on Poisson cru.

                                                                                                                                  Also, I loved having lunch at the famous La Gruta outside of the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacan.

                                                                                                                                  Look forward to dining at the famous Alux in Quintana Roo.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                      We had a similar beach lunch at Tapuaetai Motu (One Foot Island) near Aitutaki in the Cooks but without eis or anklets. It was amazing.

                                                                                                                                    2. I had a meal once in what I think was a warehouse or event center. The day was kind of foggy since I started it out at 10am drinking Louis XIII de Rémy Martin and other even more rare Rémy Martin cognacs like the (I think) 1914 vintage where it was made by the wives of the distillers because the men were off at war.

                                                                                                                                      Then staggered my way at noon to a sensory perception event by Absolut vodka, It was a whole day affair about tastes and perception of booze and food. Very interesting with lots of blind tastings and wearing nasal stoppers so you couldn't smell and such things.

                                                                                                                                      At dinner time we were ushered towards an area set off with tarps on poles making walls. Once inside it was a mini wonderland of decorations and the tables for our group of 40 were four, 5' wide and 10' foot long mirrors, set up as two 20" long tables. Grant Ascahtz's crew had been flown into NYC from Alinea in Chicago. We had one of his typical 20+ course meals where each one was a bite or two of weirder and weirder foods. nothing was what it seemed. If it looked like beef it was fish, and there were custom gadgets used to serve and eat the food. I remember a trapeze set-up for one course where the food was swinging back and forth. At one point a bartender friend of mine, gaz, started walking from person to person pouring vodka into our mouths. Then bottles were just passed around the tables to chug. This is in addition to all the drinks we were being served. Some of which were edible alcohol creations, rather than the sipping type.

                                                                                                                                      When dinner was over we were asked to move our chairs out of the dining area. Then went back in and everyone stood around the walls as the mirror tables were cleaned, then sanitized by pouring Absolut vodka on them, buffing them until they shone perfectly clear.

                                                                                                                                      Then the crew came out with cans of paint and brushes and started painting graffiti on the mirrors with this really thick brown, white, black paint. then some of the crew put big softball size clods of dirt on the tables, and other weird things. (Yes, weird was the word for the day.) Then one person took a mallet and broke apart all the clods and stuff and smoke wafted out as the dirt blew apart across the mirrors. Everyone was given a spoon and told to dig in.

                                                                                                                                      The paints, dirt, etc. were all different kinds of desserts. What looked like dirt was coconut. What looked like white paint was dark chocolate. It was really strange to have a group of totally trashed people standing around a mirror table digging into a graffiti, war zone, disaster area, spooning up dirt and paint and practically swooning over how tasty it was, while passing around bottles of Absolut and chugging. Mind blown away that day!

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. Ok, I'll play for real.

                                                                                                                                        Several years ago I travelled to Moldova on business. Moldova is the second smallest of the Soviet republics outside of the Baltics. It was June and we went to a restaurant on the edge of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. The restaurant was supposedly operatated by Russian mobsters. The restaurant did not have a sign advertising its existance.

                                                                                                                                        We were sitting in a patio area and the weather was nice. The restaurant experience was quite like Fogo de Chão, although I have never been to
                                                                                                                                        Fogo de Chão. The waiters brought out roasted meat on scewers. The salad was great and the wine was great. We were sitting outside on a terrace and the weather was perfect. It was probably the best restaurant experience I have had without my wife.

                                                                                                                                        1. A few places come to mind...

                                                                                                                                          Right here in San Antonio we have the Tower of the Americas. It's the tallest building in the city and one of the tallest observation towers in the U.S. There is a restaurant at the top of it that we've been to a couple of times. The restaurant is circular and is constantly slowly rotating; I think it does one full rotation an hour. It's very cool to go at night and look down at the lights of the city. The food is okay. It's owned by Landry's and is pretty expensive, but you're mostly paying for the view.

                                                                                                                                          When I was a kid, my parents and I would visit my grandparents in Arizona and a couple of restaurants stick out in my memory (unfortunately, I don't remember their names.) One place had a very strict "no tie" policy; if you came in wearing a tie, they would cut it off. The entryway/lobby was decorated with hundreds of chopped-off ties. The other place had a bunch of miniature doll-house-like scenes set up behind glass cases for people to view while they waited for their meals. I remember a circus, and a haunted ghost town. I LOVED looking at them. Unfortunately, I heard that place had a fire and burned down many years ago.

                                                                                                                                          A friend of ours has talked about a steakhouse in New Mexico, I think Albuquerque. I don't know the name of it but it's set up like an old speakeasy. There is no sign on the door or outside the building, it is very inconspicuous looking if you don't know where it is. You have to call for reservations and are given a password when you make your reservation. You can't get in without the password; when you enter, you're in basically a broom-closet and have to give the password to a couple of bouncers before they let you into the restaurant proper.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                                                            No ties ??????

                                                                                                                                            That sounds like a reverse dress code.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                                                              Oh, I've been there! If it's the same one I'm thinking of. The one I went to is in Tucson, and has a western-y, chuck wagon type theme.
                                                                                                                                              Edit--Okay, found it. It's been about 15 years since I've been there, can't remember a thing about the food.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                My grandparents used to live in Tucson, so that's gotta be the one we went to, too! I remember it being a very western-y themed place too but I also have no idea about the food. The last time I was there was probably 15-20 years ago.

                                                                                                                                            2. For me, it was back in 1999 - at Afunti in Beijing, China: a huge Uighur (Xinjiang-Muslim) restaurant with a cavernous, smoke-filled interior. Belly dancers slithered through long communal tables heaving with exotic food: whole-roasted goat, hoofs, eyes and all. HynoticTurkic music wafted thru the air, whilst dusky-skinned men in fur-hats pounded on snake-skin drums. The atmosphere got more raucous as the evening wore on, until it came to a stage when *all* guests were encouraged to climb up and dance on the tables, as dishes clattered onto the floor.

                                                                                                                                              I was there with a Danish colleague, and his jaw literally dropped - he looked like he was trapped in some sort of Viking hell - we clambered out of the place before we were forced onto the tables to dance with the (very) inebriated crowd!

                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                                This place in Beijing sounds beyond fucking exceptional.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                  And it's still there, if you Google and see. But looks somewhat gentrified and commercialised in the intervening years.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                                  I've been to Afunti in Beijing in Fall 2004. Had a great time, fantastic food, but it wasn't smoke filled, just dimly lit except for the stage. It got a bit crazy, especially since I was helping lead a tour with forty American college kids. Here's a pic of women dancing with bowls balanced on their heads, sorry it's blurry. My camera died and don't have any pics of food or when everyone started dancing. I think it sounds like it was starting to get milder and more touristy than when you were there, but things did get a bit out of hand as the kids got drunk. And their sign outside: "We produce Excitements!!!"

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                    Indeed - Beijing transformed itself at an incredible pace. In 1999, my enduring memory of the traffic there were the thousands of black- or grey-clad cyclists everywhere. They filled up the roads and seemed to make way for cars only when honked at. By the time I went back to Beijing again in 2003-2004, the cycles have been replaced by automobiles, and many dusty roads have been transformed into freeways. Beijing took 5 years to achieve what Singapore took 30 years to do!

                                                                                                                                                    How I wished I'd brought a camera & took photos for keepsake like you did :-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                                      From what friends said it was actually visible the progression within 2-3 years from pedestrians and bicyclists to people on scooters to cars, trucks, and buses. When I was there in 2004 there were over 30 pedestrians hit by vehicles each day. I saw one person hit by a truck, and our bus hit someone as well. He just got up and kept walking.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                                        Wow, last time i was there which was close to 15 years ago, it was flooded with bikes. I thought at any moment there would be like a gazillion crashes.

                                                                                                                                                  2. In Assisi Italy between old town and St. Francis' retreat is an old osteria called La Stalla. (The Barn). It is in an old barn, and for years people have been encouraged to carve graffiti on the walls. There is an enormous hearth covered with those four legged Tuscan grills and a great iron fire screen in front of an unimaginably large log in a more or less vertical position shedding coals which were then raked under the grills. No gimmicks just perfectly grilled meats and a potato pulled from the cinders that remains the best spud I ever ate.

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: little big al

                                                                                                                                                      Sounds great, but expensive.

                                                                                                                                                      How much would it run a person ????


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                        Pretty cheap actually. They're on the web, and a recent check showed primi at about Eu 5 and secondi at Eu7-10, the spuds are about 3, so with wine you're out about 25 euros. It's not fancy, and they serve a lot of pilgrims. Assisi is the pilgrimiest place I've ever been. I remember the hostess sat us closer to the hearth than I would have thought pleasant, but she convinced me to stay there. She was right, and as W.C. Fields said "And I"ve never gone back to thank her."

                                                                                                                                                      2. "Or maybe a meal eaten somewhat upside down..."
                                                                                                                                                        Not quite, but "Dinner In The Sky" seemed to sweep through many cities in the last coupla years.
                                                                                                                                                        They strap you to a chair which is joined to a table and platform and the whole shebang is hoisted in the air with a crane and you eat.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Hmm, that would be a toss up. We had experienced quite a few interesting restaurants, but this Steak restaurant in Knysna/South Africa took the cake!
                                                                                                                                                          We were looking for a bite to eat in a neighborhood which as it turned out, was not too safe walking around after 5 pm/dusk, as we got then a lot of strange looks.
                                                                                                                                                          Anyway we decided on this Steak house, which served the 4 of us each their best Steak of our life, no kidding. Perfection from the first bite to the last despite 4 different requests. But - you can believe, that the disclaimer at the entrance was not a joke!!
                                                                                                                                                          Persons entering this property do so at their own risk. The Owners or Staff will not be liable for any theft, loss, injury, death or damage howsoever caused."
                                                                                                                                                          Note the "injury or death" !! No kidding!!

                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                                            Was this a pretty dodgy part of South Africa ????


                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                              Just a normal occurrence in many cities at that part of the world. One simply stays out of certain neighborhoods to be safe.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                                                When I was in Johannesburg in 1992 on a business trip, we were not even encouraged to go out for lunch. Instead, our office there has a collection of take-out/delivery menus and we'd just order in. Dinners were in our hotel's F&B outlets.

                                                                                                                                                                One evening, my 2 colleagues and I decided to get out of our hotel for a change. We booked a table at the local Chinese restaurant - and they actually sent a security-reinforced van with armed guards to fetch us to and fro their restaurant! The next morning, our South African colleagues weren't too pleased when they heard about our culinary "escapade" the previous evening - they kept saying that we should have told them of our intention to go out of our hotel since it's pretty unsafe! Anyhoo, that's 20+ years ago during the tail-end of the apartheid era. It's probably better now?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                                                  Well, it was 2007 for the four of us, enjoying various places in South Africa and Namibia. (
                                                                                                                                                                  Except for some booked places like a Safari, most of the time we simply called ahead to secure the next place to sleep before we left our hotel in the morning)
                                                                                                                                                                  The story was always the same - we learned to always look for that restaurant with super tight security parking ( especially in the cities), in many places you drove into a gated ( well locked) parking lot! Or you ate right on the main strip as in Capetown.
                                                                                                                                                                  And you didn't walk the secondary streets, and certainly not by yourself. We were advised not to make a stop at Jburg that time, so we didn't.
                                                                                                                                                                  I should add, we ate very well on this trip and had a blast!!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                                                      In January 2011, I took minibuses all over Johannesburg, and the most dangerous part (seriously, IT'S dangerous) of this was the speed demon at the wheel.

                                                                                                                                                                      That being said, the city still has a terrible reputation, and much of where I was (near Hillbrow, and a couple of the minibus terminals) were far from being in even good shape. I did get to explore street food options (and there were few: http://buildingmybento.com/2012/04/01...), and ended up in a swell Ethiopian restaurant in what could've been the de facto East African trade building, but not much else is going on downtown.

                                                                                                                                                              2. that ninja restaurant in NYC. I can't remember the name at the moment, but basically you're served by ninjas who like to pop out of dark corners, hidden panels in the wall and scare you by screaming "hai-ya!!!". the first floor of Jekyll and Hyde has the same "scare your diner" concept too if I recall.

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: reedux

                                                                                                                                                                  yes, the NY Times reviewed the ninja restaurant just a few years back.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                    Is that the one with the hundreds of swords hanging point down from the ceiling? That would make me nervous. I collect Samurai swords and the damage they can do is serious.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: reedux

                                                                                                                                                                    I went to the one in Akasaka, Tokyo in 2005. The food was unsurprisingly mediocre, and the "main event' of the meal was a waiter coming up to our table (which was in something of a dungeon room) and continually failing at magic tricks.

                                                                                                                                                                    How long has the NY one been open?

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Many years ago (mid 50's to mid 60's) there was a restaurant on Oakland Ave in Detroit called the Train Place. From the outside it looked like an old steam locomotive. You had to be a member or know someone to get in. You never really saw the people who worked there. They checked you out at the front door using mirrors. Once inside this small place was an ode to trains. You sat at a horseshoe counter with a train track raised at the back of the counter. A train came out from the kitchen with menus and later food. You filld out your own order card and placed it on the flatcar. I was around 10 at that time and was fascinated. A unique and wonderful experience this old kid will never forget.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I suppose attending (actually starting with a g/f and some others) the "Buffet in the Buff" at Haulover nude beach doesn't count since it is not a real restaurant. Just a neat pot-luck lunch one Sunday per month.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Anybody been to The Carnivore in Nairobi? This looks like big time fun. Bill Hunt, you're a word traveler kinda guy. Ever been to Kenya? Check out the slideshow.



                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                            I went to Kenya and ate at Carnivore about 10 years ago. I describe it as a game restaurant verging on theme park, all-you-can-eat. They bring food to your table on spits and carve off what you want, Brazilian churrascaria style. We sampled ostrich, crocodile, gazelle, hartebeest and zebra -- I would only want more of the crocodile; the rest were invariably tough and/or gamy. They also had "regular" meats; the amazing roast pork was my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Well, heaven only knows why my reply to this thread was deleted, but trying again:

                                                                                                                                                                            In Ghana, near the Cape Coast, there is a place called the Hans Cottage Botel. No, that is not a typo. It is called a Botel. A botel, according to wikipedia, is a boat that serves as a hotel or hostel. This place is not a boat. It is just a basic motel - low buildings in rows, each containing several guest rooms.

                                                                                                                                                                            The restaurant is on a raised platform set above a man-made lagoon that is stocked with crocodiles. You can eat your meal while watching them feed the crocs.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Texas Tacos in Patterson NY, recently closed, was like a wild Halloween/LSD trip. All sorts of scary stuff hanging from the walls and ceiling. Plastic lizards crawling out of the toilet too.
                                                                                                                                                                              The first time we went was in late September. The owner Mary Ann was taking orders. She was dressed like a cross between Elvira and Cleopatra. When the server brought our food I asked why the woman was dressed up for Halloween so early. She replied: "Every day is Halloween for Mary Ann!"

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                They used to have a Haunted House restaurant in Montreal until a few years ago. Never went, but heard good stories

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Not sure if fits any hyperbole, but a few moments jumped to mind:

                                                                                                                                                                                -A retired, 60-something Japanese businessman in Fukuoka asked me why I was eating at one of the yatai set up at night in the city. Apparently, he took my response to mean "this feller hasn't had enough to eat," and invited me to get sushi in Nakasu (a red-light district). The sushi was good, but the more memorable (in a very awkward way) moment was that he kept hitting on a 22-year old woman at the neighboring table.

                                                                                                                                                                                The night got weirder from that point, as he wanted to go to do karaoke and sit at a "snack," which is a place where you pay quite a lot of money to talk with women as they smoke in your face. After that exuberance, he told me to leave as he had some...things to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                -A visit to Beirut led me towards the main stronghold of Hizbollah, in order to find a restaurant heavily influenced by them. I couldn't, so I ate at another odd place, which appeared to be a fake castle with many, many rooms. I got caught taking a photo of the exterior by someone in military fatigues, who was hell-bent on seeing basically every Beirut photo deleted.

                                                                                                                                                                                -I had a lunch of quinoa, alpaca and plenty of salt at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. An ex-gf and I ate right by the desert island in the middle of the flats.


                                                                                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                                                  Impressive stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                  "he had some...things to do."

                                                                                                                                                                                  i think i know what you mean by this comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, we were in the red-light district, so he figured "why not?"

                                                                                                                                                                                    In fact, he was the second retired Japanese businessman to take me out for sushi, the first being in Okayama. We ate at a place famous for its various depictions of turtles, and at the end, he gave me a massive book on the history of Japanese dictionaries.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Even before these two moments, an elderly woman in Tokyo noticed (surmised) that I didn't have enough change to buy cheese, so she offered me 1000 yen to get it. I was rather embarrassed, but fortunately she let me decline.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The seminal act of random generosity in Japan came in July 2000, when I was sitting on the steps of Sensouji in Tokyo, and someone gave my friend and I a box of chocolate and strawberry-flavored candies.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                                                    The first scene reminds me of a business lunch, that I had back in Denver. My host/client joked about me bringing my camera, etc., but I did not get the joke. We went to a "gentleman's club," in Downtown Denver, which was actually quite nice. The food was a great Mexican buffet, and some of the best that I had experienced. The "joke" was that a young lady would jump onto the table, and disrobe. This was going on, all around the "restaurant," and the tables were very small. I had to move my plate, before our "dancer" stepped on my lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Now, I am not a prude. I grew up on the MS Gulf Coast, and would sneak into a half-dozen strip clubs, with a forged ID. The big difference, however, was that this was a lunch to discuss a major product brochure, and that was a bit touch-n-go, with a naked lady dancing on our tiny table.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was unfamiliar with the club, and had obviously never been. I was taken back a bit, and my host/client never did get around to discussing business. He was too busy stuffing money into the lady's mini-garment, while she had that on. Then, he was stuffing money into her hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Let's just say that I was slack-jawed, when we left, and had to schedule a new meeting, to discuss business - my choice!


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Touch-n-go," that sounds apt for what was going on!

                                                                                                                                                                                      To be fair, at a Japanese "snack" there's no disrobing...generally speaking. We walked in, sat down at the very small bar, the elderly man had a drink, we all awkwardly spoke for about an hour (foreigners aren't too common 'round those, at least regarding the patrons), he paid I think it was around US$200, then we left.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Even more unusual, the first place we walked into, with karaoke, didn't have the song he wanted, so he gave someone ~US$70 and left.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                                                        They have these "snack" bars in the US too, and they are just as expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                        You chatt with the women who people the bar, and you have to buy bottles of scotch or other very expensive oddities and you are out a few hundred bucks a person, and yes everyone is clothed (it's not a strip club, etc) but it must just be a place to seal the deal for... fill in the blanck.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                        Then a new meeting, then another, then another...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                          What was the name of this club in Denver ? A strip club with an edible buffet and I don't mean the other edibles on display, if you get my drift ?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin


                                                                                                                                                                                            As it has been about 20 years, the name does not come to me right now. However it was just on the South-edge of the CBD (well, "South-edge" might be tough to locate, as in Denver, the CBD runs at a 45 degree angle to most of the other, grid streets). Will see if I can find something, that jogs my memory.


                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Hunt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                You are fucking awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I owe everything to Veggo. He is my mentor - my guide in the universe, though he is too humble to admit it.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know to whom to be in honor of, Hunt hanging with Veggo, or Veggo veggin' with Hunt. Drink me a couple of bottles of good, not even fine wine, por favor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                      JC, meet up with us in the Big Easy or Scottsdale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        That would be great. We need a "Thomas Pynchon," to fill in our "gaps."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm cool with NOLA, or Scottsdale, or London, or Paris or even San Francisco. I will buy the wines!


                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Look, we need to get things straight, and from the beginning. Veggo is the DUDE. I am but a mere acolyte. I hang with him, to hear tales of eluding the CIA, down in South America, then drinking fine Port and smoking a bunch of Cuban cigars - I still have no idea how they got into my wine cellar - that is my story, and I am sticking to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        To me, Veggo is Ernest Hemingway, to my William Faulkner. I know when I am in the company of greatness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Glad that we could get that sorted out, since there has been confusion, over the years.


                                                                                                                                                                                          2. About 10 yrs ago on the island of Moorea (nearest island to Tahiti) four of us were having a boating tour. Including swimming with dozens of small sharks (he assured us his own little daughter did it all the time:), snorkeling thru underwater statues with resident Sally, a huge barracuda (his daughter also loved and swam with Sally) after a very exciting morning he asked if we wanted to go to a very very out of the way pizza place and of course we did. We had to walk quite a distance thru knee deep water having been warned to go single file and follow Haifara's footsteps as there were dangerous stone fish and cone shells to be avoided.
                                                                                                                                                                                            In the middle of tropical isolation was a trailer with 4 or 5 stools outside and a huge stone pizza oven manned by an Italian man. We were served seafood pizza. The best and most elegant pizza I have ever eaten with an assortment of all of the seafood from the area.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ElsieB

                                                                                                                                                                                                Great story!
                                                                                                                                                                                                Didja get to BoraBora's Bloody Mary's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                  No only Moorea and Tahiti. Beautiful place to visit but doubt I would subject myself to the long flight again. Air travel has become too unpleasant for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Richmond has Mama Zu's. Housed in a small old building that badly needs a coat of paint. Wine is stored in bins with price stickers and is DIY Reservations are taken but mostly ignored. On one trip, when the restaurant ran out of chairs, out came several wine cases for seats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The line begins forming an hour before opening. Food is excellent and reasonable. An enjoyable experience if you know what to expect.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bigjim68

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Richmond in CA ?, north of SF ?


                                                                                                                                                                                                2. A few years back I was on a scuba diving trips to Los Roches of of Venezuela. Out in the middle of the ocean was an area when there was a sand bar and the water was only 4-6 ft deep. A big shack on stilts was there all by its lonesome. We pulled our boat over and the guys there asked how many people. We told them and then went off for an afternoon of diving. We then stopped by on our way back to the island and they had caught us a huge mess of lobsters and cooked them for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Three of the other folks on the boat were some very rude Italians. (Nothing against Italians in general, I'm part Italian myself) One man and two women. They hogged most of the lobsters, and when it came time to pay, they wanted to split the bill equally. I objected and the man got in my face and tried to throw a punch at me. Well he was a bit clumsy, and I am not. I used to be very into martial arts and was in personal security when I was young. He went down, got up again, so I threw him into the ocean, and the two women jumped me, and then my girlfriend, who was a competitive dancer, and also into martial arts proceeded to throw them into the ocean. Fun was had by all, and we then left them at the shack without a boat, and took off to our posada.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ouch! That is very unusual behavior among divers. Maybe try Margarita Island off Venezuela and shuck a few dozen oysters after your second dive. That's where Columbus fetched a few hundred pounds of pearls for Isabella. Still plenty of oysters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      They actually weren't divers. They were just along to try snorkelling and mooched their way onto our trip. I didn't dive that trip myself, just snorkeling. For the past 15 years I can't dive anymore, or climb to high elevation, due to several very severe episodes of mountain sickness with cerebral edema back when I was a professional wilderness guide and mountain climber, and leading white water, backpacking, and other wilderness trips and survival courses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pearls. I wouldn't mind handfuls of pearls...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I threw the guys some cash and told them it was the tip, and that the others could cover the tab. But since I think I tipped them more than the bill, who knows what happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Ate at Dante's down the Hatch in Buckhead near Atlanta once before it closed. Quite interesting and Fondue!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My "most interesting" restaurant in a lovely rather than wacky way was dinner at the Mehrangah Fort in Jodhpur, India. A gorgeous, candlelit dinner on the Meheran Terrace overlooking the city, very special. We had let our driver go for the day and took an auto rickshaw (= tuk-tuk) instead of the car up to the fort. Careering up the hill at night, dodging pedestrians and dogs on narrow stone streets was great fun, in a real-life amusement-park ride sort of way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't remember where we heard about dining at the fort, and our driver (hired and with us out of Delhi) didn't know about it and didn't think it was possible, so do try at least a couple times if you hear it can't be done!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. We once ate at a Road Kill Cafe in Maine, sadly it is gone now. The food was great, with some very funky names. and some strange combinations. It was very busy, I don't know why it went out of business.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe "Gourmet Road Kill Café" would have been a more palatable name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reminds me of a resto called Past Due; don't know why they closed either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Don the Beachcomber's at Waikiki in 1956.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was the ultimate and original tiki bar and purveyor of "Polynesian" food ( Chinese / Japanese / Philippine / curry / whatnot). There were many drinks with umbrellas in them, plates with vanda orchids on them, and lots of pineapple spears.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The ambience took the grass shack village idea as far as it could go, and there were various oceanic and south seas objects hanging all over the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The place is long gone, but I'm sure glad I saw it in its full glory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Way too many posts to see if this has been mentioned but a cool place to go was the original Jekyll and Hyde's in New York. (I think they have moved locations and haven't been to the new one)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The decor of a mad scientists lab, the hidden bathrooms, the moving bar stools, the play/act, the actors in the audience it was a very fun and unique place to visit. Scared the crap out of my kids for many years there. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought, perhaps, it was going to be the office stationary store (now that was easy).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Which reminded me of the Swedish cafeterias in Ikea. Eating at a furniture store...kinda wacky. I wonder if anyone dines at Ikea on their first date?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We have family in Sweden and they do occasionally grab a meal there. It's never appealed to me here (has more of a nursing home feel).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The original on 7th Ave. South or the Midtown West one?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The former was not nearly as tacky as the latter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville KY was quite an experience for me. The decor is kitschy, kooky and mismatched, and there was a gag gift store at the front of the restaurant. One of my most vivid memories of eating there was an OH-SHIT moment, when I looked at the menu and realized how many menu items had either pecans or walnuts in some shape or form... I'm DEATHLY allergic to tree nuts. Fortunately, the waitress understood the issue and was able to steer me to a safe, and very tasty dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looks like it's for sale!