“Concerts, who goes to those?”
“Books? Yea, I don’t really get why I should read them.”
“Sports? People who get invested in that are pretty much crazy.”
All of these are things I have heard on first dates. The last one came from a girl whose profile included a photo of her hugging Sir Stanley’s Cup. Crazy, indeed.
Sports, pop culture, politics. All of these are potential conversational trip wires. Food, though, is typically not. Restaurants and good meals can carry conversations between people regardless of how long or well they know each other.
When this blog started, my goal was to not only read as many of The New York Times Notable books of each year, but write reviews of the books. While my effort has been close to admirable on the former, it has been downright pathetic on the latter.
So in a situation like this, what is the equivalent of “declare victory and go home?”
Find another list to tackle.
Last month, New York magazine gave me such an escape hatch: The 101 Best (New) Cheap Eats, Ranked.
It has been eight years since New York did their last incarnation of this list. Eight years. One hundred and one spots to hit. Based on my work with the books, this seems like a pace I can navigate.
There is a goal and an expectation here. The expectation is simple – visit each joint and try the recommended dish regardless of my culinary preferences. The goal is more communal. Rare is the person who likes going to a restaurant by themselves. More than just writing a review of the place from my perspective, my hope is to provide more color to the experience by providing a second perspective. The perspective of a friend who I have shared a meal with.
My hope is to write these reviews once a week. Life has a funny way of getting in the way, so don’t hold me to it. One last thing, the list is ranked after all. So, this process will mow through eats 11-101. The Top 10 will be saved for last.