Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Eating Out, Missing Out

The Oregonian just published their annual restaurant guide. It makes me feel like such a loser. I went through the whole list and found I’ve been to exactly six of the 101 restaurants! Only six. Wait, before I go on, let me go back and count again. (Yes, I really am counting.) Aha! I found a couple more places under the Keep in Mind headings (in smaller print than the main, featured restaurants). So, my revised total is eight. Eight out of 101. Great.

And remember last week when I wrote about a few breakfast places around town? Well, my sister from Chicago read it, then wrote: “Have you been to Arleta's Library Bakery and Cafe? I saw it highlighted on Diners, Drive-Thrus, and Dives.” No, I haven’t been there!

I have good excuses: I work full-time. I’ve got two little kids. Babysitters are expensive. Eating out is expensive. And fattening. And don’t forget, I really do like to cook. Still, I wish I could get out more. I want to try the food at Navarre, “beautiful to behold: fresh, joyful, sublime in its simplicity” says The Oregonian. I yearn to experience Ping, “the most daring, challenging, intriguing restaurant to open in some time.” And what about Le Pigeon, “one of Portland’s defining dining experiences, and you simply must have a taste of it….” I must, I must!

But I know it’s not going to happen. I’m sure I’ll make it to a handful of new (to me) places over the next year. Then the 2010 list will come out, and those Oregonian food writers with their magniloquent reviews of even more restaurants I haven't tried will once again make me feel like I’m missing out.

Then again, the descriptions can be so compelling and grandiose that sometimes one is just bound to be disappointed. Last year I made a point of going to Toro Bravo after reading all the rave reviews, and found myself completely disheartened when I tried one overly salted dish after another.

And there are other places that weren't even mentioned in The Oregonian guide. What about American Dream Pizza? The burgers at Humdinger? The curries at Siam Society? The drinks at 820?

Of course, when we can't get a sitter, there's my cheesy baked spaghetti and my husband's fantastic garlic bread. The kids just love it! And so do I. But I still feel like I'm missing out. I mean, it's not exactly a defining dining experience.

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