You know what sucks about dining in a small town? Other than 99% of the options being fast food or variations on TGI O’Applebee’s?
What sucks is the insufferable smugness of the locals who’ve a) found the rare gems of ethnic cuisine and b) are adventurous enough to enjoy them.
It’s not quite like that in larger towns. Nearly everyone is open to try nearly everything, and smugness is generally limited to status, not cuisines. People might get insufferably smug about scoring a dinner at Charlie Trotter’s, but hey, if you want to dump several hundred dollars on a meal, I’ll grant you that right.
In Chicago, I had five excellent Middle Eastern restaurants within a few blocks’ walking distance of my apartment. I knew which one was best for takeout, which had the best falafel, which the best spanakopitas, and the one great for taking visitors because it offered traditional floor seating on pillows, and hookahs, versus the one great for taking parents to that had bright open air seating and friendly waitstaff. There were also two Japanese restaurants, some Mexican bakeries, at least 3 tiny Thai joints, an old school Italian restaurant with a college town feel, and a bustling Little Saigon just a few blocks away with innumerable pho shops and storefronts with skinned ducks hanging in the windows. Read more on in which we go out for japanese…