The Best Food In the Worst Places!! Why?

The Best Food in the Worst Places!! Why? 

One hot summer day, I walked into a small quaint beach cafe on a winding road about a half a block from the beach and ocean. It was the kind of the place that you know you would have never found, because you would have never googled it, unless you would have put in the search bar, little, beach bar, room temperature beverages, faded refrigerator magnets, salt water worn bar stools, freezer burned Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, and generous portions.  

You ever wondered why the places with best food look the worst and are found in the worst areas? Did the owners decide this in the business meeting fifty years ago? Maybe the recipe was the priority for momma in the kitchen and not on the sign outside. Cook the food right and they will come back is the rule.

I know of such a place back home where they have been selling the best tacos for the last fifty years, but they sell them through a hole in the wall and we love them. The need for local advertisement or sponsoring a little league t-ball team is really unnecessary unless the team would be named, “Tacos good as hell, sold through a hole in a wall.” You can see the problem right? It’s too many letters to put on baby Manuel’s jersey. The jersey would be too long and they would kill us at the printer at a dollar a letter. Decorations and upgrades evidently were not allocated in some line item in the budget. For the last fifty years, what ever was made went from the cash register to gas and light bill or pampers for the baby. 

 I never thought about it, but what does life look like when the front of your house has a living room with bedrooms and bath, but the back of your house, where the kitchen is, has a window where people gather to hand money in, as long as we hand tacos out? 

Ok back to my point, the best food most of the time comes from the worst places. I mean what actually makes the food taste better? Is it the consistently seasoned flavorful food or is it the potential to get robbed, gang war crossfire, or a brush with death that makes it taste so good? Is it the, “Who cares where you park and don’t ask for no valet feeling?” As a matter of fact, if you gave your keys to the valet on the way in, you will probably need to call for a ride after your order. That was Tyrell and he won’t be back anytime soon with your car. There is nothing like a three taco dinner with a side of you might just die tonight. Maybe what seems and feels like we are buying food in a war zone, could possibly be the safe zone for all surrounding events.  

Everybody shows up from wedding parties, mill workers, tourist, gang banger, attorneys,and even folks fresh out of bible study. We all are in here together waiting to place or pick up an order. We make no bones about it. None of us believe that the place where our food is prepared, looks like a five star hotel kitchen that is up to code. We know that by how the outside looks. We really don’t care until them tacos stop coming out that window or somebody get sick. The only problem is most of us would blame the over abundance of vodka drinking or partying before we snitch on the taco spot. Just call me a realist. 

The food spot has been here fifty years and nobody thought to set up a few tables and chairs and call it dining in? Hell no!! In the best food spots, there is a crystal clear mutual understanding between seller and consumer. “You take taco, you go home!!” I know somebody is thinking, “That sounded like a Chinese accent and the writer is talking about tacos.” Well their shrimp fried rice is cash and carry too.  

I love those little spots like that. They have so much history that I’m sure it would amaze us all. I know I started talking about that small beach cafe that Google would never find. It is evident that I have gotten lost in my own memories as I walked into that place a half a block from the beach and the ocean.

The strange thing about traveling is, the more you travel, the more it brings back memories of where you just left. 


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  1. You went a lot of different places in this one!! It made me think of how the most run down, antiquated, empty looking people who have had a lot of “traffic” (people) in and out of their lives, actually possess a very valuable (foundational) piece to them. New paint, new materials for a facelift and even expansion allows for an improved product. Just a couple of thoughts… this is a good one…(as usual)

    Lady Coni


    Liked by 1 person

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