Foodie Travel, Going Solo, Informed Edibles, reviews, Small Towns

On Discovery: A Revelation in a Diner


Tonight I had a fabulous meal entirely by accident.

After spending the morning driving and the afternoon photographing the crap out of an outdoor arts center in the Hudson Valley, I checked into the cheap motel I hastily chose after briefly consulting Google maps (yes, it is in between my today destination and my tomorrow destination) and Tripadvisor (no hookers or bed bugs).  And in the parking lot of the cheap motel is a diner.

So I went to the diner for dinner.  Because I was starving and because it was there.

IMG_6425Ikaros Diner is located near absolutely nothing.  You likely won’t pass it on your travels.  But that’s a damn shame.  First, it sits on the shores of a lake.  A lake circled by mountains.  It is also very shiny, as all diners should be.  But unlike most diners, the food is outstanding.  I won’t bore you with tales of my crispy beer-battered onion rings or the gorgonzola burger with actual arugula (no iceburg lettuce here) and fresh tomato.  But I will mention that the bread in the bread basket–surrounded by cellophane-wrapped saltines–is house-made challah.

There is no signage announcing ‘we make our own challah’.  It’s just there, in the bread basket.  This is probably for the best, because had I known of this bread before I ordered, I’d have ordered far less.  In fact, Ikaros could cease to be a diner and simply sell their challah (Ikaros Challah Imporium, it would be called), and I’d happily dine there.  Twice.  On a one-night trip.

So I’m sitting there with my bread basket challah, and I’m thinking: I want to tell people about this place.  That’s my job as a blogger, right?  Right.  Except there’s just no way that I can write about every amazing place a person might find on the road.  Oh, don’t get me wrong–I’ll keep trying.  But the more I travel, the more I realize that this sort of experience can’t be sought out.  I’ve stood on city streets, paralyzed, unable to make a dining decision because the Yelp reviews were spotty (this may have happened recently.  Ok–this happened two nights ago, in DC.  I ended up at a passable Russian restaurant because I wanted beets and vodka).  Yet tonight I stumbled wearily into a diner only to find a fabulous meal–with wine–for $21.

This is why I travel.  Because even in a world where everything is researched and documented (and in a world where I seek to research and then document everything) sometimes you will happen upon a lakefront diner with shockingly good challah.

There are still things to be discovered.  Go out.  Discover them.

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