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It has always been my experience that some of the best places to eat regardless of the style of food have been places like you just described.
Durning my tenure as a member of Uncle Sam's Canoe Club (AKA US Navy) this theme played itself out repeatedly as I visited places far and near.
When I was on "boot liberty" just before I graduated boot camp I remember one of my fondest of these. I had broken my foot during boot camp and was on crutches. (Long story) I hobbled out to the front gate on my crutches and a taxi cab driver hops out of his cab and opens a door for me so I can get in.
I have always known since I was old enough to know such things that if you want to find good places to eat the list of people to ask is headed up by taxi cab drivers, policemen and truck drivers.
Having a craving for Chinese food for some reason I asked the cabbie where there was a decent place to get Chinese. He takes me to Libertyville, IL and points to a place that only had about 10 feet of frontage to the sidewalk. No, I'm not exagerating.
I suppressed my initial reaction and pressed on and found the place run by a husband and wife with their offspring working as bus "boys" and wait staff.
They saw me hobbling in and I was treated like I was royalty. The put me in a nice comfortable table, brought me a pillow to prop my leg up on (I suspect came from their apartment which was upstairs from restraunt.
Just as an aside, once you got in the door the place opened up into a much larger room than the frontage would lead you to think of the size of the place. <,/p>
When I was asked what I wanted I told them that I didn't want "tourist Chinese", I wanted "The Real Deal Chinese®" like they'd serve themselves and relatives.
To this day I have no idea what half that stuff was but it was without a doubt the best Chinese meal I have had before or since. To top it off I had two of their younger kids (I know some folks wouldn't care for this, but it felt like "home" to me) as company at the table. Turns out it was the only way "momma" could get them to settle down and eat their meal!
So, as a result, when my daughter got to do some travelling with her college debate team (Prague one year!) she took my advise and avoided the places that obviously catered to tourists and went off the beaten path and now has wonderful tales of her own to tell from her travels.
Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg
In reply to Re^3: Free food I want to see in my company's kitchen