“Expectation feeds frustration.  It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things, and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t” (Dr. Steve Maraboli).  Expectation is based on the past and projected onto the future.

Whether you eat something exceptional, either good or bad, you’ll remember it.  So, Bon Appetit, but ease up on your expectations for the next timeYou may just be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Our kids recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean.  Hearing their stories triggered both of us, hubby and me, to salivate for Cuban food.

For me, two food memories stand out in the Cuban department.  One was in New Orleans when our daughter was around two years old.

It was her first professional convention.  It was a music industry conference.  She’s been to many, since then.

But this one was memorable because of some food.  It was a back alley and we’ve found that many of the best local eateries are found there.

It was Cuban and it was delectable.  I remember a black bean bathed concoction possibly pork-based.  The clincher was, however, we left behind our daughter’s silver baby spoon.  And they mailed it to us a couple of weeks hence.  How about that for service!?

I don’t think you can visit New Orleans and its surrounds without coming away with some food stories.  On the trip in question, we also ate at one of the high-end, well-known restaurants.  Our favorite thing was the professionalism of the wait staff, concerning our toddler-in-tow.  They vigilantly kept her entertained with M&M’s while we adults took turns taking bites of grandma’s rabbit salad; which was surprisingly remarkable.

Another Cuban food experience was in Roanoke Virginia.  Again, on our way to a professional conference, probably in Nashville, we found an indoor mall or food court, and we selected Cuban.  And again, it was black bean based and flavored by perhaps shredded beef, or the usual pork.  Oh my, delicious only half describes this cuisine.

Now my taste buds have been piqued to the brink, for Cuban food and since we had planned an outing to Pittsburgh, well, it’s obvious by now what Google search we began.  We usually go with Greek when we travel but Italian, Turkish, or Middle Eastern, also turn on our radar.  But, Cuban….

Expecting to make some more food memories centering on Cuban and Greek/Middle Eastern, our actual trip to Pittsburgh, disappointed, sort of. “Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectation.”

Tip one, when Googling cuisine, pay attention to the dates of the reviews.  The mouth-watering description of the Cuban restaurant in our vicinity of the city fell flat after a half-hour of searching revealed a response of “we closed last year at the beginning of COVID,” at the very quiet storefront.

At about 2:30 p.m. on our first day, after being shot down by our hoped Cuban experience, we were told by the proprietor of our choice for Greek/Middle Eastern food, “Because of the cold weather I only prepared a small slab for gyro, and we sold out by noon.”  He invited us back the next day, ideally around noon.

Our thoughts veered toward, “the early bird catches the worm,” when headed back to the Middle Eastern restaurant around 11:45 a.m.; taste buds already warmed up and poised for a delectable lunch.  For goodness’ sake, we were too early.  Ever feel like Goldilocks?  Too hard, too soft, and when just right hits, you get kicked out?

As it turns out, we just had a few stops on The Strip yet to make before heading out of town, and waiting another hour would be too much killing time, so darn it.

The first day, we had, instead of Cuban, a very good cheese-steak sandwich which hovered on the memorable.  Day two, we assuaged our sad taste-buds with Chinese street food which superseded adequate.

Such are the vagaries of travel and one’s expectations of the same.  On the positive side was our hotel.

At check-in we were surprised that our reserved room was not on the floor that we requested.  However, the newbie young lady at the desk called her manager, who quickly upgraded us from a double to a suite.  And the suite was a delight in every way.

This hotel is the only big one in the city with free parking.  What’s with that, anyway?  Reason would have us think that we’re paying for the hotel room, captive to the property, why on earth would we be expected to pay extra to park there?  But voila, it is the norm to do so.

You’ve heard the adage, “rules are made to be broken?”  Well, I guess although less elegant, the same could be said for expectationsWe should expect them to let us down.

 “It’s a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations” (Danny Boyle).  Shall we raise a glass to hope?

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