Zim mentions, a few threads down, that he is apt not to eat Italian beef unless he knows in advance that the place rocks. I tend to agree with that assessment even though a Scala sign in the window should be assurance enough.
Now, I really have a hard time eating hot dogs without knowing in advance that the place serves good hot dogs. I believe the range between good and bad hot dogs is even vaster than the range of Italian beefs, or more accurately, the difference between a good hot dog and a bad hot dog is so slim, and a bad dog is really bad, that it is hardly worth the risk of a experimenting.
Another food I am really careful about is gyros. I have to visually see them slice the meat and put it on the pita, without any congealed inducing stop on the griddle, before I'll order one.
Pizza by the slice--never if it's one of those three tiered cases under the heat lamp.
I am more causal about hamburgers, pehaps ketchup covers more sins. But the food I am most willing to go at without advance warning is tacos. I am reasonably confident no matter what taqueria I wander into.
What do others think regarding the risks of eating out.
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