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Vacation Mode

May 18, 2010

Everyone has a similar story.  People go on vacation, they find something to eat, and it is the most wonderful version of that thing they have ever had.  It was a story like this, related to me by some old friends, which led to my discovery of a truly remarkable cheese.

Now maybe it is truly wonderful and maybe it isn’t.
The problem is that you never can tell.

There are so many things that can make something taste good.  It has long been said that hunger is the best sauce.  And that may be true.  But I’m going to say that travel is right up there.

When we travel we are in a completely different mode.  Those who can, leave their day-to-day lives behind them.  That sometimes means vacationers can focus on things that are easy to overlook when they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  Like, for example, how good a cheese tastes, or what a lovely shade of gold is lurking within a glass of wine when the fading sunlight hits it just so.

In new settings people are also open to new experiences.  And that has a way of heightening all of the senses.  Things won’t necessarily taste different, but they may just taste more (if that makes any sense).

Vacation also has a way of making people happy.  Granted, some vacations don’t.  But for the most part, taking a trip is an enjoyable experience.  And when you are happy, everything just seems better.

Surely I’m overlooking several other psychological factors that affect people’s critical capacity while they are traveling.

I mention all this because I am loving Tempe.

Maybe I’ll get out of town a bit and explore Scottsdale, or venture further in Tempe than the west side of ASU.  But maybe not.  There is something to be said for getting a deep knowledge of a smaller geography rather than trying to get a broad (but shallow) sense of a region.

So far I have found a crazy awesome burger shack, some dynamite falafel at a place that serves Halal gyros, and the best coffee shop I have been to in almost a year.

I had less luck at the recommended Mexican place in town, but it’s possible that things there could have gone downhill in just the past couple of weeks.  But there are still a bunch of places to try.  Some of them are promising, and others I just have to go to for my own reasons.

But that gets a little embarrassing.  So naturally, I’m compelled to talk about it.  I just need a little time.  You understand.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kerosena permalink
    May 18, 2010 3:13 pm

    Hollywood Alley is a dive bar in Mesa, very close to Tempe. When I lived there, it was a great place for lunch. I’ve never ordered off the menu, but instead would call every day to find out the lunch special. Specials are available via Twitter now. 10 years ago, Lunch Special was $4.50; it appears that the price has gone up to $4.95.

    The cook was named ‘Grandma,’ and according to the website, she’s still at it. Today she made some potato bacon cheddar soup. The woman has a special talent with potatoes. No joke. I still think about her mashed potatoes all these years later. I can’t even explain it.

    I probably wouldn’t go when grilled ham and cheese on sourdough was the special, but if it was a chicken and dumplings day, all bets were off. She’d only make them a few times a year. The idea is to go on a day when she makes something that a rancher might like.

    They also served Mexican Coke (and Pepsi and lots of others). I didn’t even know about Mexican Coke back then. I thought it tasted so good because it came in the tall, skinny bottles.

    Just one more thing: I’d like to take the opportunity to emphasize the diveyness of Holleywood Alley. It’s really divey. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the blackness. And sit at the bar rather than the tables. They had a reputation for being pretty grody.

  2. Ellie permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:39 pm

    Oh venture to Scottsdale! I have decided I need to live there.

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