I can’t turn it off

At dinner the other night, after a couple beers:

Boyfriend: Okay, random question time.
Me: Shoot.
Boyfriend: If you could be teleported to any restaurant in the world, where you could have dinner, and you would be teleported immediately back, where would you go?
Me: Hmmm, this is a tough one.
Boyfriend: So you don’t have to worry about travel to or within that country.
Me: Do I have to actually be able to get into this place? Or can I like, teleport into French Laundry and they’re required to feed the person who just appeared?
Boyfriend: …Let’s say you have enough time to make reservations, but you still have to be able to get the reservations and afford the meal.
Me: Okay, so not French Laundry. ………..Honestly, probably some seaside restaurant in Italy.
Boyfriend: Not somewhere in Asia? Or the Middle East?
Me: I’m not really sure if I want to go to the Middle East…
Boyfriend: Okay, just what food would you want to eat? Let’s also say you have a magic forcefield that makes you look like a male.
Me: I like how I can suspend disbelief for teleportation, but sexism? Nope.

All I can say is thank goodness I found a man gets a laugh out of my overthinking.

Where would you go? Same rules as above apply, including magic forcefields to make you have the most privilege possible in the local area.


  1. ajb47 says

    Vetri. Yes, it’s a short drive from my house. But I love it and I don’t get to go there much (twice in 11 years).

    Though the question is a bit strange because it seems to assume a knowledge of all restaurants in all countries. I mean, I would love to eat in a restaurant that has the best spaghetti and meatballs ever, but I couldn’t name it.

  2. PDX_Greg says

    It is telling how pervasive privilege our thoughts. As a white male, I never would have even considered the limitations that you mention when presented with that question, which I know is why you mentioned it. Damn our societies suck, and all because of people with privilege either ignore the plight of those without, or actively create the plight of those without. I know I probably still do it is ways I am unaware of. I hate that.

  3. PDX_Greg says

    Accidentally posted the last one when I tried to preview it — I would delete it if I were able. Here is the corrected version:

    It is telling how pervasive privilege is in our different perspectives. As a white male, I never would have even considered the limitations that you mention when presented with that question, which I know is a a big part of why you mentioned it. Damn, our societies suck, and all because people with privilege in context either ignore the plight of those without, or actively create the plight of those without. I know I probably still do both in ways I am unaware of. I hate that.

  4. says

    Hmm. So I guess it would make sense to go somewhere I can’t normally get to . . .

    That’s a tough one.

    But then, I have trouble deciding where to eat in town, too.

  5. MrFancyPants says

    For YEARS my dad used to rave about a meal that he had as a sailor visiting Gothenburg, Sweden, the day before he met my mother. I have no idea what the restaurant name was, but I swear that he brought it up at least once a month for the rest of his life. I think he just enjoyed that plate of spaghetti a lot and it got stuck permanently in his head when the next day he met the young swedish woman whom he would eventually marry and spend the rest of his life with. I’d like to visit that 1956-era restaurant, whatever it was! Or maybe not, I dunno, perhaps I’d be disappointed.

  6. lpetrich says

    There are a lot of nice places that I’ve eaten at over my life, and I don’t recall the names of many of them. Just bits and pieces here and there.

    Crepes-A-Go-Go, for its crepes — downtown Berkeley CA, near UCB and the BART station
    Cinnabon, for its cinnamon rolls — Stoneridge Mall, NW Pleasanton CA
    Togo’s for its hummus scandwiches — downtown Livermore CA

  7. oaksterdam says

    Wait, you’re in Berkeley and Crepes-A-Go-Go tops the list? Alice Waters would like a word.
    Staying in the 510 I’d recommend Greggoire’s or Dopo. Or Caasar. That’s just on Piedmont, reasonably priced and now I’m hungry. Dopo serves a brilliantly simple fettuccine with clams, jalapeño and basil. Nice wine selection….meet you there, let me grab my coat.

  8. didgen says

    Chez Panisse, hopefully they have rebuilt their kitchen, otherwise, I must go back in time.

  9. biogeo says

    If you’ll grant me time travel, too, maybe Ubuntu, in Napa Valley, a few years ago. Best meal I’ve ever had in my life. All vegetarian, fresh-picked ingredients from the garden, delicately prepared… mmm…

    Though if you’re granting me time travel, maybe I should think bigger.

  10. Argle Bargle says

    ICHI Sushi in San Francisco. They have the best sushi I’ve ever encountered. Their soups and their salads are also excellent.

  11. says

    There’s a great little fish and chip shop in Lowestoft (UK, just in case there are other Lowestofts)…
    though, come to think of it I’m gonna visit my Mum in October, so I don’t need to teleport, and most of the tourists will be gone by then (and I already look like a guy—and I don’t think that’s much of an advantage in a chippy in Lowestoft anyway) so I don’t even need the magic forcefield!

    Yay me!


  12. ourmandave says

    I would want lunch on a space station.

    Like McDonald’s, it’s not about the food, it’s the attached Playland. =)

  13. says

    If I could appear male, I’d wander around India, eating as much chaat and other street foods as humanly possible. But as a female, right now? Nope.

    Or I’d just go back to Puerto Rico and eat bacalaitos, alcapurrias, and lechon until I burst.

  14. cry4turtles says

    I want a vegan pizza in Italy made by a man/woman who hasn’t a clue how to speak English.

  15. gussnarp says

    There’s a great place in Cinque Terre in Italy that would do for a seaside restaurant. That sort of popped into my head as soon as budget became an issue. But I think I’d have to go somewhere in Paris. Do I have to actually know what restaurant? Or maybe some country place in Provence. I want to say I’d go for sushi in Japan, but frankly I’m terrified that: a.) they’d serve me octopus and b.) I’d commit some horrible mistake of etiquette, possibly by not eating the octopus, but probably something more subtle.

  16. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    It’s kind of sad, given all the great and exciting restaurants out there in the world, that I’m gonna choose this one in particular, but…

    Pete and Paul’s in South Buffalo, NY. The ambiance is a bit grimy, but the Chicken Stir-Fry Pita Pocket is the single most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten in my 38 years of existence.

  17. says

    My mother’s. The food isn’t world-class, but the ambiance and company are everything I like with a meal :)

    But more in the spirit of the question, I have very fond memories of a pub in Salisbury about 15 years ago. It was just a plowman’s lunch, but superb in its quality: the ham, pickles and cheese were all local, and the roll was still warm from the oven (there was a bakery across the street.) I would love to pop in again for lunch.

  18. says

    Can I only do this once? Because I’m thinking that one at a time I go to each restaurant in Slow Food Italy’s Osterie & Locande D’Italia. Sometimes I take my mom with me, sometimes my wife, sometimes a friend. Greta Christina is definitely on my guest transporters list. Some of these restaurants are glamorous, but most of them are just little places where the owners family is sitting nearby and the waiters are watching futbol in the kitchen.

  19. tmscott says

    For me, this is a non starter. I have had both great and mediocre meals in exotic and beautiful locations as well as plebeian. Neither the food, nor the location matter. What makes the meal is the company. I would rather share a bowl of cornflakes with the love of my life than a gourmet meal at the most expensive restaurant, alone, or with someone I had nothing in common with.

    If you are not eating to survive, then dining is a social activity, and the company makes the meal.

  20. Donnie says

    Did i miss it scanning the comments, or did it take some 26 comments into say, “Restaurant at the End of the Universe?”

    Serious response, Kuidorare in Osaka popularized, for me, by Anthony Bourdain. I want to take my 6’6″, all american male white body person into a city known for its food, and eating yourself to death, and not speaking a word of Japanese (except for curse words), and enjoy the food.

    Second, for being so tall, I know (assume?) that I would be qawked at for my apperance. I know that the experience would no way compare to other people’s experiences regarding race or sex, but the little bit of uncomfortablenss of being constantly looked at would be an interesting exercise. Again, the comparisons between my height and other discrimations are not even in the ball park (differences between tee-ball versus the All-start game ballpark), but if I can teleport there for the evening it would be magical.


  21. says

    @25: Sorry, no.

    I’m a veteran solo traveler — 49 states, many, many, many foreign countries. To say that my experience is lesser than yours because I prefer to travel and dine alone is, quite frankly, an insult. I am complete all by myself and do not need anyone else in order to enjoy my travels and my dining. Please don’t project your self-esteem inadequacies on me. Thanks.

    That said:

    The elk sausage at Two Dog Flats Grill in Glacier National Park is fabulous.

    The pork buns at Chifa in Philadelphia made me want to give up my job, move to a loft apartment just above the restaurant, and never eat anything else in my life. Except maybe the turkey sandwich at The Original Turkey place at Reading Terminal Market. Or the mussels and pommes frites at Eulogy, which is a great dive bar with lots of Belgian beer and a Belgian chef.

    Best seafood I ever had was in a little place in Milan, Italy. Don’t remember the name — but it was overwhelming. Five courses, two with half-lobsters…oh my. And the WINE! That one, I’d definitely transport to any time.

    Best meal I ever had was in Le Cirque (back when it was Le Cirque). 20+ years ago and I can still taste it. Time travel would be involved to get that meal again.

    A meal in the restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower is a pretty great experience — except if you’re prone to seizures caused by strobe lights. Then avoid it and head to just about any bistro that serves real onion soup. They don’t call it “French” onion soup, because … well … you’re in France. Just like when you’re in China and they call Chinese food “food”.

    Mahogany in Tulsa, Oklahoma has the best steak by far in the country. That includes all of the famous steak places like Peter Luger in Brooklyn, or St. Elmo in Indianapolis.

    Zambras in Asheville, North Carolina serves great tapas. Always at least one organ meat on the ever-changing menu. Plus, unlike Curate, which is getting all the press these days, you can actually get in.

    And yes, I need to lose couple of pounds.

  22. Donnie says

    I guess, reading slowly, either I completly missed #4, PDX_Greg’s response, or I can blame the FtB commenting system…..I will go with that because it makes me seem less oblivious.

    @Kevin, I did not read comment number #25, but the big thrill for a lot of my European friends, or the one thing that they remark on is that you, as an individual, can go into any bar, sports longue, restaurant and sit down, by yourself, and no one thinks twice. In France, the sterotypical thought is that if you are alone at a table you are a sad, sad individual incapable of social interaction or without friends. In the US, you can shimmy up to a bar, and get a drink, a bite to eat, and talk to a complete stranger next to you, or across the bar. At a Nats game, I hooked up with a lost French guy trying to find the stadium. My wife and I took him and his three French (3) friends under our wings, took them to the bar, introduced them to our friends (and bartendar) and they commented on how that would never happen in France – at least sitting at a bar and talking to a stranger.

    I could never understand that “company makes the meal” nonsense. Sure, there are times that I wish to have company and it does make a meal grand. There are time that I want to dine alone and there are times that I want to go out, sit at a bar, dine and meet new and wonder people, strangers all, and maybe one of those strangers could end up being the “love of my life”. I mean, how do you meet the love of your life if you do not go out and “dine by yourself”?


  23. Robert B. says

    Dining may be a social experience, but cuisine is an art. The food is its own experience.

    As for the question, well, there’s this little place in Chinatown in Manhattan that I forget the name of. The mushrooms there are what atheists have instead of religious experiences.

    But honestly, if I really got this opportunity, I would hop on the internet and ask for recommendations for restaurants in a place I’ve never been.

  24. tmscott says

    @27: Oh come on Kevin.
    Just because I expressed my preferences, I have somehow insulted you, and have “self-esteem inadequacies”? Who’s projecting now?

    As far as I can tell, everyone arguing that they want to dine by themselves has, so far, said that it affords the opportunity to meet people and share time with them, exactly the end result I was advocating in the first place.

    @28: I was not aware that dining alone, or church, were prerequisites to meeting people

  25. says

    Come on guys, we don’t need to start arguing about dining alone vs. dining with people. Keep it positive.

  26. No One says

    Farther up… The best Cuban sandwich is on the corner of Kennedy and Del Mabry in Tampa.

    But for me it’s my grandmothers Octopus stew. Garlic onions, plum tomatoes, a bit of red wine. The sauce is to die for.

    And the little tavern on the top of Mt Pileon in Greece. Giant beans, and pork sausage and “peasant” bread. The pigs eat apples and cherries which gives the sausage a distinctive flavor.

  27. bryanfeir says

    Hmm, not exactly a restaurant, but…

    The best ice cream I have ever had was at a stand in the old town of Warsaw, back in 1986. I believe it was a Hortex stand, and the ice cream… well, about the only way to describe it is to imagine ice cream made from evaporated milk. Thick, sweet, and with a bit of a slightly curdled texture to it.

    The fact that this was in early July in the middle of a great heat wave probably didn’t hurt.

    Granted, that trip to Warsaw also involved getting very close to being mugged.

  28. notyet says

    Princess Resort, Scottsdale Arizona. I haven’t eaten there in almost 25 years but if it is still as good as it was then I would love to return. Outside of that there are probably three or four places in the Napa valley that I would like to try again given the chance (or the aforementioned transportation device).

  29. frankb says

    One of my daughters had an opportunity to go to France recently and there was a restaurant by the seaside in Acachon that she just loved. I would like to teleport there with her. My wife and other daughter were in London recently and there was a fish and chips shop near the south end of the Tower bridge they really liked.

    But my favorite for teleporting long distance would be Boma’s at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in DisneyWorld. Their African cuisine is very unique and good. My favorite that I can get to once a year is Pho Tau Bay on Nicolett Street in Mineapolis. Their Vietnamese soup is great.

  30. maxdwolf says

    I still have to be able to pay my way? A shame because a teleporter seems like an awesome dine and dash if it can’t be traced or accessed by others. :)

    If I have to pay my way, Dave’s Subs in Chantilly, VA. It is impossible to get a decent cheese steak in Sioux Falls, SD.

    If I didn’t have to pay my way, just about any high class restaurant would do, thought I’d lean towards Japan. I’d limit it to well traveled areas just because of language concerns (is English a privilege?”

  31. beardymcviking says

    Bueno Y Sano in Amherst, MA.

    The burritos were huge and yummy, but mostly so I could hang out with some of my family I don’t see often enough (on account of distance).

    Good food becomes brilliant food when the company is good!

  32. ButchKitties says

    When I was sixteen I went with my family to Barbados. My mom was there on business, so one night we got to eat at a super fancy restaurant on the beach. This will sound weird, because I was in Barbados and thus surrounded by amazing seafood, but the first course was cream of broccoli soup and to this day I still dream about that damn cream of broccoli soup.

    I suppose the fact that I was sitting beach-side at night watching the island’s famous flying fish leap out of the waves didn’t hurt.

  33. says

    Jen, it’s good to have you back.

    If I have to stick to restaurants then it would either be the commissary/cafeteria on board the CCGS Amundsen, or lunch at Google’s local-food-only restaurant, I think it was called local 150.

    If not, then how about a bagged lunch on top of the Three Sisters.

  34. John Horstman says

    I would go back in time about 4 years to eat at my favorite former restaurant in my city, The Dancing Ganesha, before it closed, or I’d go back to that Chinese restaurant in Florence about 3 blocks from the basilica that is easily the best Chinese food I’ve ever had.

  35. says

    f you are not eating to survive, then dining is a social activity, and the company makes the meal.

    speak for yourself. my best food-related memories are entirely solitary. not everyone is that fond of other people, you know.

  36. says

    oh, and one of the places I’d love to eat my way through is Southern India; but yeah, I think i’d need the dude-shield for that.

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