The Blog Begins!
These 4th of July burgers inspired this dining blog.
After celebrating with family and eating somewhat traditional American burgers (with some unusual toppings), I made a decision.
Decision on July 4, 2011
As I looked at our decorated Chinese warrior and Sicilian puppet (and my grandmother's Uncle Sam doll) I thought about diversity. I half joked that I would spend one year celebrating the diversity of the USA, by trying as many ethnically diverse restaurants as possible. Then I got serious and made a goal. I would enjoy at least 50 culturally different dining experiences, by July 4, 2012.
I use the word DINING in my list, because the experience is not just about food. I am one of those people who usually can't tell you what I ate at a restaurant a few days ago, but I can mimic the waiter's twang or describe the funky wallpaper. Although my dining goal involves eating different ethnic foods, I will focus on plenty of other aspects of the dining experience. I will share each dining experience with a rating!
A Rating System
This complex rating will use a system similar to one I created as a child to rate restaurant restrooms. My family at least pretended to be interested in what number rating I gave each restroom for cleanliness and décor. But, it was my special rating for "RESTROOM EXCITEMENT" that they eagerly anticipated! Sometimes I had to linger a while in the restroom to make sure there was something to report, like an overheard personal conversation or a man walking in by mistake or a crying waitress or even a hideous bug in the sink. Restrooms with lots of excitement (good or bad) could get number ratings off the chart!
I will try my best to give fair food ratings on each Dining List experience, but bonus points awarded in other areas will mainly add a bit of enjoyable confusion to the system. Authenticity is important...lots of extra points! Good people-watching is always a plus. An enjoyable conversation with the owner or server will boost the rating even higher. And atmosphere will be carefully judged. Similar to my restroom ratings, unusual or even humorous details are appreciated. The more memorable the dining adventure, the higher the rating. So, USE RATINGS WITH CAUTION!
La Fogata for Columbian Food!
On July 5, I headed out with my husband for the first dining adventure on the blog. The view of La Fogata from Wilcrest Avenue, was not very inviting with its bars. The campfire artwork was odd. But, inside this small Columbian restaurant there was a bustling crowd of Spanish speaking regulars and a warm, clean atmosphere.
It helped to have Don along, on this first dining experience. He has been studying Spanish and that was very helpful with the menu and waiter.
How was it?
The fried sweet plantains were yummy and the Papaya drink made me thirsty. The food was quite tasty and not too spicy. I will give 4 points for food.
The other thing I learned is that I have to put more effort into each dining experience to get the most out of it. I have to ask some questions and absorb my surroundings. Don at least practiced some Spanish with our server, but I failed to really explore. No bonus points for people watching or curious artwork or fun conversations! For this I can't blame La Fogata. This first outing taught me to take a more active role in future dining adventures. Hey lets' grab up 5 extra bonus points for learning that!
9 POINTS FOR LA FOGATA!!!!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.