Today is a “Rant and Rave” day according to my November schedule. I am pressed for time today, and not particularly inspired, so it will have to be a rant-let.
I guess something that’s been on my mind lately is the fact that, although there is another college town barely 60 miles away that has fantastic restaurants, this town can’t sustain more than three fine dining establishments, all of which are fairly casual. There are good dives of many varieties, many chain restaurants, and a few locally-owned family restauarant workhorses that serve reliably good food, but not much that approaches “fine dining.”
Although we have both an “Olive Garden” and a “Bravo” there is not a single “white tablecloth” Italian restaurant in the area. Great pizza, decent pasta, but nothing that goes too deep or gets too far from the comfortable and familiar. No osso bucco, no polenta, no roasted chicken with Rosemary; for that, one has to drive to the other college town to the south. There is a single (good) bistro serving French food, and a decent Japanese restaurant. No Spanish food (aside from the odd Tapas in otherwise non-Spanish restaurants), no upscale Mexican, Tex-Mex, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai or any fusion of the above.
It is possible to get good food in restaurants here, but it is difficult to get exciting food. It is a big day in my life if I am offered soup with an imaginative use of seasonings, and I know of only one restaurant in the area that even makes a gesture towards cooking seasonally or sourcing locally.
Maybe all my magazine, blog and foodie book reading has made me a snob. I guess I just really don’t consider a Midwestern college town with students from all over the country to be a “wasteland,” and I wish that we could support some brave, imaginative restauranteurs in this town. There are plenty of places already to get chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, cheap Chinese and the ubiquitous chicken caesar salad….