When eating is not just about the food - underappreciated ambiance

Couldn’t really figure out a good way to title this post. I love eating. But there are many times where the setting makes the meal. I’m not talking about a beautiful fancy restaurant. I’m talking about things like eating a burnt or charred piece of meat off a stick at camp. Or a steaming bowl of chili after you’ve been out on the slopes all day.

On cold snowy days like today, I like to pay a local 7-11 type place or bodega and get myself a bowl of spicy cup ramen. Something like this.

And I get a few slices of cold cuts. Ham, roast beef, whatever and pop it into the noodle bowl.

And my favorite thing to do is to eat it right outside in the cold. Freezing out? I don’t give a fuck because I have a bowl of boiling noodles that’s going inside me! I just love that kind of feeling.

Anyone got some favorite weird settings to consume specific types of food?

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Nothing weird about my consumption (although I accept folk who are not Britons may take a different view).

The absolute best way to eat fish & chips is straight from the paper they were wrapped in at the chippy, whilst walking home. None of this poncy sit down with cutlery and a glass of Chardonnay tosh. Needs drenching in malt vinegar (absolute requirement) and salt (for those who are not on a low salt diet). Preferably you will have spent the evening in the pub, so the walk home should be more stagger than walk.


What kind of monster eats fish n chips with cutlery???


I suppose the sort who frequent chippies that have dine-in facilities - and actually dine-in. Even worse are the ones that have alcohol licences (mercifully rare in my part of the world).

(Confession: I have been known to eat lunch, with knife & fork, at this place (or should that be plaice) now & again. 'Tis usually good F & C and you can get free “refills” of the chips, so the inner greed is satisfied. http://www.fostersfishandchips.co.uk/eatout.html )

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There are quite a few mediocre wineries in Delaware, PA, NJ, NY, VA, etc. with mediocre to good food. Not a destination except on a perfect May or October day–a glass of wine, a sandwich or plate of apps, enjoyed at a picnic table overlooking the vineyard. Wine and food taste so much better.


The best meal I ever had was sitting Thames river in France with a baguette and a Bottle of $2 dollar table wine. A little cheese to go with it on a sunny April day. Not fancy, cheap and the perfect setting. Will never forget it and will never be topped.

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Surely some mistake.


It was a really good bottle of wine! :smiley:


At a $2 equivalent, I can guarantee this was not in the UK. The cheapest bottle at my local supermarket is a drinkable Shiraz at £3.50 (approx $4.30)

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Waterfront / Riverfront restaurants are my weakness. I could sit for hours watching ships & boats & pleasure craft cruising upwind or downwind. And I think, personally, any foods served water side will just taste better.


Now this is the kind of ambiance I’m talking about. Piping hot animal innards sliced to order. Spicy rice cakes. Deep fryer churning out hot crunchy goodness. All you can drink self serve fish broth. All consumed outside by the stand on a cold winter day. Warmth for the body and soul.


Cold evening in the winter. The aroma of roasted water chestnut in the air through the street. Grab a bag from the street side vendor. Consume on hot water chestnuts on the spot while a million cars and pedestrians pass by. Feel the warmth inside.


Dimly lit, small, and cramped izakaya / yakitori-ya. Forget about the tables in the restaurant. Head straight to the counter next to the grill. The decor looks a little dated from 20 years ago. Order a bunch of yakitoris. Wash the food down with some good drinks. Smells like the grill heading out 3 hours later.

Bonus points for anyone who can guess where this is.



Freshly fried churros from the street vendor eaten sitting on the curb or the bench in the square in Bucerias, Mexico.

Our local Chinese place makes the best Hot & Sour soup. & that stuff is the best on a freezing cold day or when you have a cold. And even better - they bring it right over when you order it! My couch has excellent ambiance.

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House calls administering Chinese penicillin – real Affordable Care.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2