I am very proud of my “hole in the wall” radar, that finely honed sense that sets alarm bells blaring in my head when we run across one of those great, off the beaten path sorts of places.
You know which ones I am talking about – those places that have been there forever and are frequented by locals, but for whatever reason have not made it into the mainstream tourist itinerary, unlisted in the mainstream tourist bibles.
We were driving along the Maryland coast, just north of Baltimore, enjoying the coastal views and looking for a restaurant for some fresh seafood while on the way to visit a friend when I saw it. Tucked away in a dingy strip mall, it had nothing in particular to draw one’s attention to it, but it jumped out at me like a light in the dark.
Bells and whistles rang in my head…ding, ding, ding. That’s the one! I knew it. I excitedly tried to convey my enthusiasm to my husband for my restaurant score! My food compass was pointing in one direction, and I KNEW that we had to eat there.
Husband at the time unfortunately didn’t share my enthusiasm for the dingy looking fish restaurant. He tried to convince me that we should find a restaurant that seemed cleaner and more “child friendly”. Maybe he didn’t see its potential, didn’t understand what was at stake? I tried to convince him to turn around and he didn’t want to budge.
As the restaurant disappeared in the rear view mirror, I felt my enthusiasm slipping away. By the time that we had found somewhere “safe” looking to eat, I knew that we had lost out an on amazing opportunity and that we were probably in for a bland, unexciting meal at the “safe looking” restaurant that we had eventually ended up in.
Even though I knew that I should just let it go (and I tried), the incident rambled around in my head for the whole rest of the day. I felt like a was grieving something lost, fixated with the one that got away.
Moral of my story – when you see that great, off the beaten path restaurant, follow your instincts. Don’t let it get away. Finding good, local food takes effort, but you will be rewarded with an experience that will deepen your appreciation for the place that you are visiting.
As a epilogue, the place that we did eventually end up at WAS bland and tasteless, despite having been there for a long time, and my husband DID admit that he was wrong and that he should have listened to me 🙂