Today, with six other friends from my congregation, I went to a brand-new Mexican restaurant that had some good Mexican food, and partly as a reflection of our different tastes and partly as a way to test out the menu (I think) we ordered a few different items to test out the place. One thing of note is that the restaurant did not have any fountain drinks, but rather had all of its drinks bottled, which limited serving size and increased the cost of refills. Besides that quibble, the food was tasty, and the fajitas were excellent, as was the carne asada. The people who ordered the enchiladas and beef soup also enjoyed their meals. One of the quirks of the place that is notable is the emphasis the meals place on peppers.
One of the quirks of the restaurant trip was a conversation about hole in the wall places. Apparently, most of us at that particular dinner party have a bit of experience eating at hole in the wall places and have a bit of a sense of adventure when it comes to restaurants, and so it was intriguing to see the rules that people had for good hole in the wall places. Quite a few of the people there had a rule where they liked to stop wherever there were pickup trucks with gun racks. Apparently that makes for good hearty food as well as a safe dining experience, as long as one doesn’t mention sensitive political topics like gun control. Not many people would be that foolish, though. Not even me (and few people would question my folly in certain areas of life).
I have had a few of my own experiences with hole in the wall places, and to be honest, most of them have gone very well. In Ban Mae Sa Luang, there was a hole in the wall place that had excellent krapow gai kai dow (basil leaf chicken with fried egg on top). To my surprise, it was not difficult for me to find a good hole in the wall place in a small Northern Thai village but it has been impossible for me to find the dish so far in the United States. I suppose that it was a bit of a niche product that is not well-known among American restauranteurs, or even many of the Thais who end up owning restaurants here. At any rate, between my experiences in Thailand and my love of finding obscure Greek, Italian, and Southern cooking  restaurants, I definitely know how to recognize a good hole in the wall when I see one.