I fancy myself something of a cook, but there are times when I just don't feel like whipping up a meal for myself on a regular ol' weeknight. Which is why I always keep a go-to joint on hand. What's a go-to joint? It's the place you return to without fail; where the food -- and the price -- is just good enough where you can show up almost any night of the week and walk away happy.
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So what's the criteria for such a place? Well, maybe they know just how you like it. I once had a boss who reflexively visited South Port each day because they would make him Swiss "dessert" after his meal -- that's a pressed cheese sandwich with a single piece of ham folded inside. Or maybe they just know how to treat you. My parents visit the same sushi joint 3-4 times a week. Although the food is good, they return religiously because the staff greets them by their first names and even provide them their own set of chopsticks in a holding box with their names on it.
I think your go-to also needs to have the right ambiance to it. It has to feel like home. That's totally arbitrary, mind you, but everything from the decor to the people that eat there to jibe with your sensibilities. Me? I show up at Rosey Baby's more often then not because I really dig the darkened, wood paneled bar a soundtrack of bluesy tunes to go with my crawfish and beer. During the week, there are a couple other souls in there, but you never have to worry about there being too many people around. (I don't care for crowded scenes).
So what about you? What's your go-to joint? Why do you always find yourself going back?
-- John Linn