I was driving to work one day last week and something got me started on memorable meals I've had in unexpected places. In other words, you expect a memorably good/great meal at a fine restaurant, etc., but what about the great meals that stick in your mind eaten somewhere with no particular expectations? It could have been a because of circumstances, etc...or just surprisingly good. Not looking for memorably BAD meals.
Here are two of mine that come to mind immediately:
1. The Hungry Man in Salisbury, UK. 1979 After spending a full day tromping around Stonehenge, my future husband and I returned to our B&B in Salisbury. The day was bright, windy and chilly, and we'd done a lot of walking. We were very hungry. The restaurants weren't opening until late. Being so hungry, we ate at the first one that opened. I had a delicious piece of poached salmon served with perfectly done peas, small new potatoes and Brussels sprouts. My husband had venison stew with similar vegies. Nothing fancy, but all done to a turn. We had a bottle of ST Emilion (don't recall the year) that was positively delicious. The desserts were quite mundane - peach surprise was canned peaches with some ice cream! Will never forget this meal.
2. The Bakery in Albuquerque, NM, 1977. It was a cold, dark November evening. I was a vegetarian at the time. My boyfriend, another friend and I chowed down on bowls of brown rice, pinto beans and vegetarian green chile. I have made this dish many times since then but have never been able to replicate the experience of that comfort food on that particular evening. The restaurant is long gone.