Lonely Planet’s Tastiest Food Places v. Diner Pizza
Thursday, October 20, 2011
There is a restaurant called Post Corner Pizza in Darien, Connecticut, not far from where I grew up. Essentially it is a Greek diner, offering everything from monstrous grinders to stuffed grape leaves to good ‘ol fashioned spaghetti and meatballs, and per the name, pizza too. The ‘za is decent — some may call it satisfying — but it is nothing exceptional.
I continue to frequent Post Corner Pizza when I visit, but not because of the food. And not because of the atmosphere, which is slightly tacky in that endearing, cozy way diners are. I patronize it because it is the place of team dinners, celebratory 3rd-grade dance recitals, and exciting, co-ed middle school birthday parties (where the parents chaperoned a whole table away!). There are memories associated with the food served there, which in turn renders the mediocre taste of the pizza perceptively, well, outstanding.
So I was initially apprehensive over Lonely Planet’s list of tastiest food spots in the world, which declares the best places for numerous items, including gelato, truffles, tea and spices. These places may be notable due to their history, bustle, and quality of products, but there is no question that food is both a sensory and emotional experience.
We are influenced not only by the tangible taste and smell of a food, but also the circumstance surrounding it. For example, why do PB&J sandwiches taste ordinary most of the time, but are on par with filet mignon (or in my case a tasty tofu scramble) when rapidly inhaled at lunch while skiing? When skiing, you are tired, starving, and so elated that a cardboard box would taste, at the very least, palatable.
But after combing through the list, Lonely Planet provides an enviable directory of places fit for a foodie heaven, causing this writer to add a few more lines to her travel bucket list. My most coveted destination? The labyrinth of natural Mont Combalou caves in France, where Roquefort cheese has been aged for centuries. Venturing to San Miniato National, the white truffle market in San Miniato, Italy, wouldn’t be a travesty either.
But while these locations would certainly be memorable, extraordinary, and positively brag-worthy, if I had the choice a small part of me would rather head to that neighborhood diner with a group of old friends, where we would squeeze into vinyl booths, scarf greasy pizza, and drink cheap Chianti long into the night.
About the Author
Jenna Blumenfeld, (Jenna Ogden Blumenfeld when she’s in really big trouble) hails from the wee state of Connecticut. Although her childhood dream of becoming a bug doctor — with a specialization in ladybugs — has gone unfulfilled, she is content writing about travel, cuisine and culture. A vegetarian, she currently resides in the food hub of Boulder, Colorado. Read more of her food-centric writing at NewHope360.com.