Eat Where the Locals Eat

Well, something like that, anyway.

When we ventured out to California five years ago, Ed and I made a deal that we'd only dine at places we couldn't find on the East Coast. We got the In and Out Burger, Marie Callender's and a bunch of local mom and pop places that were, without fail, good eats.

Ever since, we've subscribed to that philosophy. Yes, we do eat at chain places when we're back on LI, but other vacations, we've unwittingly followed the same rule: avoid the chains, eat at the independent restaurants and get recommendations from locals.

In Daytona, there are places we know. For instance, every trip, since Ed's first stay in this town twenty-some years ago, we *will* at at the Ocean Deck. We enjoyed a meal here on our honeymoon, the open air bar and reggae band hooked me on this favorite, too. We've been with the kids a few times, too. There are no overnight stays in this town without a meal here.

A couple of months ago, Ed and Chef spent a night over here, looking for bike gear. In addition to the above, they visited a place in Ormond Beach called the Pig Stand. Both raved about the 'que, so today's lunch was revisiting this place for them. I have to agree, the burnt end sandwich was rather tasty.

Besides those two repeats, we drove down A1A the other night, trying to figure out what appealed. We happened on a place, but the quoted wait was a little too long for four ravenous diners, but the aroma was enough to entice us back. So, tonight, three of us picked crab legs at the Charley Horse and left the place stuffed with fantastic snow crab. The price and quantity for 1.5 pounds of crab legs was appropriate, so we skipped their nightly all-you-can eat. We've added a place to the Daytona list.

The other night, when we didn't want to wait for dinner, we ended up a few doors down at the Black Sheep, where we had British beers and fare that were top notch. Then, lunch yesterday netted a kitschy place, but good food at the Cruisin' Cafe. As something of a burger snob, I have to say theirs were pretty darn good.

So, three days on vacation and not a single meal at a chain restaurant. I think our strategy is a good one-especially in this town...


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