Just try it!

By Carmen Schmidt |

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When I was growing up and would wrinkle my nose at food I thought I would not like, Mom always said, "you'll never know unless you try." And, what do you know? Sometimes, I did like it.

As an adult there can be plenty of reasons you haven't tried a cuisine. Maybe you have never had Japanese sushi because you're afraid to eat something raw or the idea of Caribbean sautéed squid and fried plantains makes your face grimace with disgust. Is it the usual spices, the strange aromas, or just the very idea of the exotic ingredients that keeps you from trying it? Maybe you just don't want to pay for something you're afraid you won't like. That's safe and practical, but you could be missing out on something wonderful. Larry, one of this week's guest reviewers, suggests that most people tend to be afraid of the unknown.

Indian food, for example, tends to be very different from what many of us are used to. It is the unknown. It is probably not at the top of your list when you're looking for a place to eat. This week our guests all agreed that a restaurant called Veerasway is the place for Indian food first-timers because they really make the cuisine accessible. The way I see it, there are two things that will make a person more comfortable with the unknown – information and being eased into the experience. (I've never been the leap-into-it blindly type.) A place like Veerasway makes it easy to just try it.

First, if the name of a dish really doesn't describe the food, how can you know what to order? At Veerasway the menu helps the first-timer by providing simple descriptions of what is included in each dish – Information! Armed with this information, you may feel more confident and even a little more courageous. Second, the chef integrates Indian spices and presentation techniques with American foods we are already familiar with. This is a brilliant way of infusing a new flavor experience while insuring you will still enjoy what you have ordered. And the topper: the price is right. You won't go broke trying something new.

On a completely separate note, we have a celebrity on this week's Check, Please! - Ginger Zee, meteorologist from NBC5! Ginger's forecast for delicious dining and a great time out with the girls or on a date is Chaise Lounge. With a Sex in the City vibe, small plates, tall martinis, "night on the town" dresses, and very high heels, our three reviewers all seemed to enjoy this hip bar-restaurant spot!

I can't forget to mention Port Edward. Alpana said this was one of the most unique restaurants she has ever been to and Ginger said the décor reminded her of a restaurant at Disney World. There's a boat, on water, with fish swimming around, inside the restaurant! It's an extreme nautical themed experience. Aside from an abundantly delicious looking Friday seafood buffet, the place just looks interesting and fun!

That's what going out to eat should be – interesting and fun! Face it, most of us could make due with a microwave bowl of noodles if needed. But, eating out – it's a real treat. Don't let different aromas, unusual spices, bazaar décor, or a conservative approach to food hold you back. Expand your palette for culinary experiences unknown. Like Mom used to say, just try it.

Carmen M. Schmidt
Associate Producer, Check, Please!
WTTW

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