So the other day chickiecc posed the (borrowed) question of what are our standby restaurants. I'm defining standby as a place I'll go to for a guaranteed good meal. And price is a big factor in whether or not I'll be able to call a place a standby. It's going to have to lean toward being a steal of a meal to make the list. The exception might be a place I like that is on the more expensive side but that is a good place to take visitors.
It's an interesting question and one to which I surprisingly am not sure I have many answers (yet). Having moved to this grand city filled with many, many places of culinary distinction from a city with far inferior options (and one where people are sensitive to such criticisms, vehemently defending the wasteland) has perhaps made it more difficult to come up with good ol' standbys. There's so much to try now and so much I'd been deprived of! It often pains me to make a repeat trip to places, even ones that I like!
A few of the places that I have actually gone to more than once and probably will eat more of in the future:
Pam Real Thai - thus far, they have the best Pad See Ew (I can't resist flat rice noodles) I've found. Too many of the other places smother theirs in garlic.
Alta - this is quickly falling into the slightly more expensive but good place to take visitors category. Its big list of tapas that allows me to make repeat trips and try different things certainly helps.
Amy's Bread - good sandwiches, reasonably priced
I'm still on the hunt for standbys to fill these categories (i'm particuarly picky about price + value for these) and frankly could use some help!:
bagels (thus far, the place I like best is Bagels 4 U in Livingston)
pizza (score one more for Livingston with Calabria's)
chocolate chip cookies