My friends would probably consider me an adventurous eater, but many times I will leave a place (city, neighborhood, or restaurant) and feel like I copped out and went with the tried and true instead of exploring something new. A recent example: I have found a Japanese restaurant that features all sorts of interesting and different dishes--including several using natto and an appetizer, shiokara, that is elegantly described in English as "salted squid guts." I have recently eaten at that restaurant 4 times, but each time I had an old favorite like sashimi, chirashi, zaru soba with tempura, and unagi donburi. And, similarly, note that I went to the same restaurant 4 times instead of trying 4 other, different Japanese places. I realize that I can't try every dish or every restaurant, but it frustrates me sometimes that, discarding my best intentions, I will return again and again to a restaurant that I like and that again and again I will order my favorite dishes instead of trying something new.
Does anyone else feel this conflict? Is there some mantra I can recite to make me more adventurous? Or should I just relax a little more and enjoy my old favs?