I just happened to read the Chowhound manifesto and this sentence made me smile and nod: "if you'd grow weak from hunger rather than willingly eat something less than delicious."
Many times while traveling we would walk for miles and miles looking for the perfect spot to eat, perhaps after abandoning plan A like if our place was closed, only to have so many hours pass that we'd end up eating crap because most places had closed.
Well this was before "the Web" in the time of limited guidebook information.
My last one was in Torino when I wanted to go to a little hotspot. It was during the Salone del Gusto so all the very "local" famous places were totally booked up. I ended up eating at this horribly mediocre chain-like "global food" restaurant called Marco Polo I think.
What are your growing-weak-with-hunger-and-eating-somewhere-crappy stories?