Just because I have been a food critic, doesn’t mean I am fussy about the food I eat. I like to try all kinds of restaurants and am more than willing to experiment with cuisine. There is so much innovation these days, what with all the shows on the Food network and the many cookbooks that appear almost daily. The Internet is full of recipes and creative ideas as well.
What I do care about, however, is ambience. Even a dive can have charm. I like to see an effort made to decorate a place with some style. It doesn’t mean that every restaurant must look like a French bistro, but it does have to have its own particular look and feel. Take a sports-themed diner I recently visited. Each section had some of the best basketballs from different leagues. There were several signed basketballs in each one. If you are lucky and it is not a busy night, you can select your favorite team and spend the night reading about its better days and special feats. I am a basketball fan as a matter of fact, so this restaurant really appealed to me. I have a pretty good memory for past history and the décor really brought some old days home. Looking at the class-encased basketballs from top players made me want to palm one or two joust for the fun of it.
The restaurant also included signed photos, numbered team shirts, and other relics of the sport. Basketball has certainly had its glory days for sure. Some teams like the Lakers are in decline, but there was a time when they were the best. We all miss Kobe of course. New teams and players always emerge and you change your allegiance with ease.
I munched on a hamburger as I gazed around the room and my eyes glazed over. Suddenly I was in deep reverie, seated in a packed stadium during playoffs. The crowd was roaring around me. As the game was ending and there was only a two point lead, we stood on our feet to cheer loudly for our team. This is the kind of exciting, memorable experience that eating in a sports-themed restaurant brings back. My waiter saw my awe at the surroundings and offered to open the glass case so I could have a closer look at all the autographs. I didn’t turn him down.
Eating out can be a real treat depending upon where you go. Choose wisely, as I did that night, and you will have a great time. If you get a good menu, well-prepared food, ambience and décor, you have hit the right spot. Sports are a passion but I am game for a Polynesian island theme, a mountain cabin bar with wood-lined walls, a seafood extravaganza with a giant aquarium, or a Middle Eastern café where you sit on the floor. What do you like? There is much to choose from and you can be selective.