Trust me, I know a guy…

not the actual squid from the restaurant!

*not the actual squid from the restaurant!

Picture from Naotakem

The best italian in town?

“How is it?” I ask a friend.

She looks at me as though she’s about to vomit. Rightfully so too. I’m pretty sure squid isn’t usually such a lovely shade of off browny-yellow.

My meal wasn’t much better – with the texture of damp cardboard and the appearance similar to that of half chewed mince, my beautifully pan-seared fish left me reeling for the bathroom.

What a predicament we were in…

Set about on a mystery journey, I decided to take two of my friends on a journey to a regional city here in Victoria, Australia called Geelong. It was somewhat of a suprise, leading on from a personal joke, that Steph, the birthday girl, was suddenly (unsuspectingly) being abducted via train and sent to Geelong to indulge in a nice italian meal.

Indeed, there’s never been a more appropriate occasion to road test the old travellers addage that it’s the Journey, not the destination that’s important.

After bringing Steph & Claire to Southern Cross station to commence the mystery journey, I headed to the VLine (country trains) counter and purchased three first class tickets to Geelong (about 1hr west) for the princely sum of $46 total. Before we knew it, we were travelling through the quickly dimming sky of Melbourne, passing the urban-industrial sprawl of Weribee and quickly zooming past Lara onto Geelong.

Starving on arrival, I had found a number of nice Italian restaurants to attend and eventually settled on one just on the outskirts of town. It had great reviews, it was relatively cheap and sounded like an all round good idea. We all jumped into a taxi and I gave the guy the address…

“Oh no, you know how far away this place is right?” he said

“Not really, how far?”

“Oh, maybe a $15 taxi ride…” he replied

(Okay – so here’s the point in the story where the stupidity commences)

For some unknown reason, I don’t simply tell him thats fine, I don’t even lament of the loss of $15 or consider that $15 in Melbourne wouldn’t get me around a city block… no no no! For some unknown reason, I suddenly place our entire dining future in the hands of Bob, our taxi driver with the phrase… “Oh! right… well…. is there anywhere you recommend??”

I should have been more savvy. If I were back in Bangkok, there’s no way I’d go to the tuk-tuk driver’s friend’s suit shop and if I were in Phnom Penh, the motorcyclist couldn’t get me to buy a bowl of Rice from his mother’s restaurant. The simple fact is, while travelling, I become alot smarter at deciphering helpful advice.

So in Geelong, its why I kick myself time after time now that I think about it, hearing Bob say “Trust me, I know a guy… he runs this great italian restaurant, you’ll love it”.

Instantly alarm bells should have gone off…. No! take me to where I wanted to go but alas, we found the worst Italian restaurant that Geelong has to offer.

So no matter where you are in the world, whatever you’re doing, be smart in your thinking and learn to question what’s being offered and recommended. It could be awesome, it could be terrible…. make up your own mind.

For those of you downunder looking for some Italian food, Trust me, I know a guy… whatever you do – don’t trust Bob.

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