Why is food like humour?

For my last night in sunny California (and yes, it’s been sunny and fine throughout my time here), I went to the posh italian-flavoured restaurant next door to the hotel. It’s the only one in the area that looks and feels like a restaurant (as opposed to a café), and it’s twice the price of the others, so I went in with high hopes.

Distinctly underwhelmed. It was adequate, but no way was it worth the premium over the other local eateries.

Overall, I’ve encountered a variety of food here, ranging from excellent to distinctly mediocre. That’s much the same as back home. The difference is that back home I can usually make a reasonable judgement before committing to eating somewhere, while here I’m struggling. So the best restaurant meal I’ve had was with my colleagues in a thai place they know and love, while probably the worst was the one I had on Saturday in San Francisco, also in a thai place, but one I found for myself.

Thinking about it, when I first lived in Italy I encountered more bad food than you’d believe of that country, but my experience improved with time. I guess it really is about experience, of a kind that doesn’t travel very well between cultures.

Like that famously-bad traveller, the sense of humour, perhaps?

Posted on March 8, 2008, in food. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Other things being equal – eat at busy places. When you are in a strange place it is best to rely on the Wisdom of Crowds.

    This approach got me a great roast pigeon in the middle of Rome at relatively modest for Rome prices.

    Sometimes you’ll miss expensive but good, and sometimes you get just acceptable and cheap.

    Sometimes you get “region delicacy”, which occasionally means “you could only love it if your mother use to make it for you”, but can be surprisingly good.

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