August 31, 2010

"Every week, I get in a taxi, ask the driver to take me to his or her favorite restaurant."

A good idea? But:
I wish I didn't feel this way -- I wish I were not so cynical a person -- but unfortunately, the very first thing I thought before actually clicking through and looking at the site was this: "If I did this, the cabbies would just drive me as far as they possibly could in order to get the biggest possible fare."

What kind of person are you?
The kind who thinks it's a cool idea.
The kind who thinks I'd get ripped off.
  
pollcode.com free polls

27 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Why not just do the research yourself?

I can understand doing this pre-internet, when local information was very difficult to find for an out-of-towner. But now? If you can't find information on great little restaurants in a town you are visiting, then there is something wrong with you ability to use a search engine.

edutcher said...

This is also how people get mugged.

ndspinelli said...

Urbanspoon, Trip Advisor, the concierge @ your hotel, is where this Italian goes to find a good restaurant. If you want to get laid you might ask the cabbie where to go.

Mary Beth said...

There's an app (or several) for that.

k*thy said...

I get a chuckle when I hear, I wish I didn't feel this way -- I wish I were not so [fill in the blank] a person...

Well then, stop it already!

As to the topic, I like, "there's an app for that," as that's what I would prefer to use, but not because I'm afraid I'd be dropped off in Timbuktu. I'm not much of a food explorer.

Richard Dolan said...

If you followed that rule in NYC, you'd probably end up at some Pakistani joint in Queens. It might even be good, but you'd be in the middle of nowhere after you finished.

word: hotfun, which sums it up.

Fred4Pres said...

Acutally you would probably end up at some Somali or schwarma restaurant.

Fred4Pres said...

the concierge @ your hotel, is where this Italian goes to find a good restaurant. If you want to get laid you might ask the cabbie where to go.

ndspinelli, good advice! The concierge can also find you a last minute reservation if the restaurant is busy.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

A businessman from Houston, tremendously fond of fish, arrives in Boston on business. Fully aware of the regional delicacy, scrod (a young codfish), he checks into his hotel and then jumps into a cab, asking the cabbie "Take me someplace I can get scrod."

The cabbie looks at him and says, "Buddie, I bin asked dat question thousands o' times, in hundreds o' different ways ... but dis is the fuhrst time evuh in the plupuhrfect subjunctive."

Fred4Pres said...

Dolan, you are fast with your comments. You beat me by two minutes.

Jennifer said...

Most people have a deep-seated need to teach/show/impart information to others. I think the vast majority of cabbies would take you to their very favorite restaurant just to get that little internal gold star.

shoutingthomas said...

Following this advice (considering the likelihood that your cab driver will be a Pakistani immigrant) in New York City will land you at a dirty kebob stand next to a parking lot over on Tenth Avenue and 23rd Street.

If that's your idea of fine cuisine, have at it.

Shanna said...

I would say both kind of neat and likely to get you ripped off. I also think the cab driver is probably getting a cut from the restaurant, as is the concierge.

Yes, you can search the internet, but odds are you are going to find some of the same touristy places everybody knows about.

El Presidente said...

My thought was that you would end up at cousin Abdullah's House of Baba Ganoush.

When traveling I ask the hotel staff where they eat. The first choice is always the hotel restaurant but when I ask a second time they always have great suggestions.

MadisonMan said...

Yes, you can search the internet, but odds are you are going to find some of the same touristy places everybody knows about.

Nobody goes to those kind of places anymore. They're too crowded.

Drethelin said...

I want to vote for both. I think the cabbie would probably take you to a restaurant he knows that is far away, but it might be cool anyway.

former law student said...

A Hindu cab driver in Chicago once started to take me up Michigan Avenue with its usual Saturday evening excruciating crawl, before I directed him to take a less crowded street, so I can relate to the fear of being ripped off on a particular ride.

So, first ask the name of the place. Then, if you have a smartphone, you can always get directions and compare to the route the guy takes.

Mitch H. said...

Man, what an urban-snob conceit. The *only* time I have *ever* set foot in a cab is those two instances where a bunch of us were going out to a restaurant (usually in downtown Baltimore) and one member of the group was too morbidly obese to walk the four blocks to get to the restaurant.

Outside of oppressively urban areas, take your damn car. Inside of oppressively urban areas, take shank's mare. Otherwise, stay the hell home.

Freeman Hunt said...

My Dad and I did this in Mexico. Worked beautifully. Every meal was phenomenal, and we didn't land in any tourist traps.

former law student said...

Outside of oppressively urban areas, take your damn car. Inside of oppressively urban areas, take shank's mare.

Berlin is bigger than you think it is, and for the cost of a rental car you can take a lot of cabs. You could take the subway, but when you travel it's nice to see the surface of the city instead of a concrete or tiled tube.

T J Sawyer said...

We did this in Istanbul about ten years ago and the driver literally drove us half way around the block to a great place. Didn't want any money for it either. (Yeah, I know, it was probably his brother's restaurant.)

We had good luck on the same trip following a waiter leaving a bank in the early afternoon with a huge tray of dishes going back to their home. Chased him a good half mile then up to the top of a building.

Elliott A said...

@Madison Man (A little tardy) 90% of the taxi/restaurant conundrum is mental, the other half is physical

Elliott A said...

@Fred 4 Prez The bellboys do a much better job at recommending places than the concierge. They also have an incentive to have you happy when you check out.

former law student said...

I have advice for anyone visiting a (West Coast) Japantown at lunchtime -- watch where the elderly ladies go in their pairs, trios, and foursomes. They are out to enjoy themselves on a budget, and will lead you to good food at good prices.

Beldar said...

I answered "ripped off" in the poll, but that's only because that would be my default position in the absence of any other information about the cabbie. In the real world, before I ever considered asking such a question, I would have already developed an opinion of the cab driver. Most cabbies are at least semi-independent contractors, and the state of their cabs speaks volumes about their professionalism or lack thereof. You can't help but form an impression right away. There's no way I would ever trust a restaurant recommendation -- or much of any recommendation -- from someone whose cab is a rolling pig sty. If, by contrast, I can see pride displayed in the cab's maintenance and appearance, and if the driver is otherwise professional in handling our service transaction, I might very well be inclined to solicit a recommendation.

The same is true, for what it's worth, when it comes to recommendations from waiters or liquor store clerks or any other person whose job includes taking my money, but whose experience might conceivably be useful to me. Tonight I had pork chops instead of tenderloin on the recommendation of the order-taker at a grill I visit only occasionally, and they were fabulous.

Kathryn said...

I would question whether a cabbie in NYC, for example would really take you out to Queens or anywhere very far. They make the most on the first "drop", so the shorter cab fars are much more lucrative.

jamboree said...

The kind who would ask first, pretending I wanted to go to my hotel, and THEN have them switch the route.