What’s Left at the Fork about?

Some folks travel for business; some travel to visit the national parks; others like to visit family and friends. We do some of that kind of traveling too, but mostly we travel to eat. What do we like to eat when we travel? Regional, mostly inexpensive food in a place that captures the soul of the people who live and work nearby. Lobster rolls in a seaside Maine lobster shack with the ocean spray in the air… smoked brisket in a Texas Hill Country eating barn where fingers are the best utensils… a snapping, juicy, garlicky hot dog with brown mustard in a fragrant, brash, bustling New York deli… these are a few examples of the kind of thing we’re looking for.

What’s LAF TRAK?

Some people think food quality is all that matters. We don’t. The LAF TRAK rating encapsulates everything, tangible and intangible, about the dining experience. What else besides the quality of the food might matter? Here are some of the many possibilities: How unique/regional is the food or dining style? How well does the place capture a certain essence of the town/city/region in which it does business? Is there something interesting or historic about the restaurant?

Do you care about decor or service?

Yes, but not in the way most food writers think of it. We don’t upgrade for posh and downgrade for dumps. We don’t necessarily upgrade for solicitous service and downgrade for rude service. Sometimes the rude service and dumpy environs are exactly right. Sometimes not. We rarely, if ever, get bent out of shape for service “lapses.” A scatterbrained waitress who we have to keep reminding of something, a waiter who is chatting with a regular instead of taking care of us, someone is having a bad day and it shows… things like that, for the most part, rarely bother us. Truth is, either things like that rarely happen to us anyway, or we don’t notice. We NEVER stiff on the tip.

Have you personally been to every restaurant you’ve reviewed?

Yes.

What are the posts entitled “Checking In at:”? How are they different from reviews?

It’s either an account of a visit to a place we’ve already reviewed, in which case we’ll link back to the full review, or we aren’t ready to write a review (and perhaps never will), but still wanted to write about the visit.

Can readers submit reviews?

Not now; perhaps in the future. We welcome recommendations, however!

You loved Restaurant X, but this fancy-pants place seems to violate many of your rules.

We have no rules.

Can a restaurant pay for a positive review on your site?

No. Not because we’re morally superior but because our price is far too high.

Can a restaurant pick up your check?

They’ve never offered! If they did, we’d refuse. The places we visit are, for the most part, so inexpensive that we can afford to eat on our own dime.

Are you crazy? You think Gomer’s Grits is good? There are a dozen places nearby that serve better grits!

Leave a comment. Drop us a line. Tell us about the better places. We’d love to try them!