In the previous year I'd hired an experienced professional salesman to sell my software. His name was Mike. As part of training him to sell my software we traveled together. I'll never forget the first time he mentioned it'd be a good time for dinner. I agreed and pulled up to a Burger King drive thru and asked what he wanted. Mike said, "You're kidding, right." Well no, I wasn't kidding. That's how I did breakfast, lunch and dinner on the road. Mike was rather cultured and not at all the fast food kind of fellow. He patiently explained that we'd be more productive if we took a little extra time and had a nice meal in a decent restaurant. I pointed out a Denny's across the street and he said, "Let me drive." I needed Mike and didn't want to scare him off before he got started so I let Mike drive. He found a good restaurant that wasn't expensive then began educating me on how to eat good while traveling.
Mike was good at this. He knew how to find a good local restaurant by reading their parking lot. He would analyze the number and type of cars in their lot to decide if the food was good. It was amazing, but he could find the best restaurants like this and he taught me how. He also knew how to find the best restaurants in a city where there wasn't a parking lot to divine. One afternoon in Baltimore he showed me that you could have a great lunch in a four or five star restaurant for slightly more than a pizza ordered in. And that you could get served faster than pizza if you explained you were in a hurry and allowed the chef to serve what he had handy or fast. I ate some great food this way, but it only worked for lunch. Prices were much higher after five.
Armed with this new and useful skill I was anxious to show off to my younger, but more sophisticated gay brother. We were in New York City for a UNIX convention. Lance had never been to the Big Apple but it was my third trip so I was eager to show him how sophisticated his older country brother could be. I drove around the area near the convention center (The Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan) until I spotted what I thought was the perfect place. It was Friday night so we wouldn't find the deep discounts I liked but it did look like a perfect local spot for a good meal. Lance said we wouldn't get in without a reservation and I was in agreement until they found us a table.
I liked the place instantly. It lacked the down home country feel I am most comfortable with, but it did have a warm feel about it. All city, but warm and comfortable none-the-less. After we were seated Lance looked around wide eyed, like he'd never been in a nice restaurant before. "Nice, right," I said. My brother nodded but said nothing. We ordered, then ate our appetizers, made small talk about the convention, but I could tell my brother's mind was elsewhere. I asked him if something was wrong and he assured me everything was fine. In the middle of our meal my brother said, "Do you like the food." I said yes. "What about the restaurant? Do you like it?" I said, "It has a warm feeling. Comfortable. The service is great as is the food. Of course I like it. Admit it, out of all the restaurant in New York City I managed to find a perfect one." Lance said, "I admit it and I am impressed. You found the perfect restaurant. Have you eaten here before?" "No," I assured him. "I just spotted it and knew it was perfect." Lance said, "I'm surprised you like it." "Why," I asked. Lance's smile filled his entire face when he said, "It's a gay restaurant. You're the only straight guy here." I thought he was joking, but I took a good look around. "Damn, " I said. "I still like the place." Lance laughed as I tried to hide my discomfort. "Yes sir, you can pick them big brother. I can't wait to tell your wife."