I am getting okay at using chopsticks, and it was nice to have a slew of non-chain restaurants we could go to any time. If there's one thing I (and technically "we", but I don't want to be one of those married people who can't talk about "I" anymore) hate more than anything it's chain restaurants. There are so many people in this world who, when they imagine going out to eat, can only imagine going to chili's, applebee's, benegans, olive garden, or whatever else just sprung up in the mall parking lot. it kills me. when I eat their food, they eat my soul. Dad and I went to california some years ago, and asked the girl at our hotel what was good to eat, and just just smiled and said "There's a Carlos O'Kellys across the street, and Cheddars is down past that!" or something to that effect. We'd flown 500 miles, only to eat at the same places we avoid at home? What's the point?
I used to live over on the west side by this place called Byblos, it was good Mediterranean. They had a small market with a few shelves and a fridge to sell imported groceries, a dining room with ten tables or so, and hummus with flatbread was like $3 or something. There was also a huge family room off to the side, so you'd go in and there'd be 15 similar-looking people eating in there, and when that was going on the service we got was usually horrible but we still felt good being there. maybe I can't even taste food anymore without thinking about some political statement... I go to the grocery store and buy processed crap and feel bad, I buy organic and think I'm buying into the fad, I go to family restaurants and occasionally support bad food and service, I go to chili's and want to kill myself. Isn't food supposed to be one of those easy things in America? I don't feel like other people think so much about it. I'm at the top of the food chain, for God's sake.