The implications of dining out in the information age hit home this week. We had a day out to take our kids, and our niece and nephew out to wander around New Hope, PA, see a few sights, and take the kids on a holiday-themed train ride on the town's old-style historic railroad. Afterwards, we were hungry, and looking for something a little more interesting than pizza and fish sticks to eat. We found our way to a cozy little Mexican restaurant named "the Blue Tortilla" that seemed to have promise...
The real question was what to order. While we debated (everything looked good on paper). That's when a random diner decided to have a conversation with the host a few feet away from me. This random diner felt that he absolutely had to tell the staff that the Mole sauce was the best he's had, and also made it a point that he's tried a lot of Mole all over the state... I caught part of the host's response- the Mole was their own original recipe and they were apparently very proud of it. This got my attention, so out came the smartphone, and I checked out what people were saying on yelp... nearly everyone agreed that the Mole was great, and so was their guacamole... so that pretty much said it all, I ordered a plate of chicken enchiladas smothered in the Blue Tortilla's private Mole sauce.
I was not disappointed, the mole sauce was a complex brew, with smoky notes, a good dose of heat that sneaks up on you, and the right amount of chocolate to bring it all together. It really wouldn't matter what was on that plate - as long as it was drenched in that deep, dark, earthy sauce. Mexican food is supposed to be about simple, quality, fresh ingredients served simply with a great sauce. Blue Tortilla truly delivered.
The whole experience didn't just turn me on to a place that knows how to make a killer Mole- it highlighted something that I, strangely considering what I do for both a day job and for a hobby, have not fully embraced yet- the role of the internet in the dining experience. Choosing a restaurant can now be a fully interactive experience- that really hit home this week. We've all seen food shows where a blogger has a shot at determining a new restaurant's fate- blogging from their table in real time to potentially thousands of followers. Mobile technology (smartphones) has really turned dining and food blogging into a true interactive experience. It's something I've known for a long time, but never really appreciated the impact until now- a matter of seconds and I was able to home in on the house specialty without even asking anyone- had I chosen to, I could've been writing and publishing a review before the table was bussed. It's a very different world than it was even 10 years ago.