Do my students really go to these restaurants that I recommend?
The answer: Yes. Some go just because they want/need extra credit, but others go because they like the idea of trying something new.
For some, it's both.
In the first quarter of the 2011-12 school year, here are the restaurants that were visited, along with some quotes directly from the reports that the students wrote (I only used initials to refer to the students, for privacy reasons):
La Hacienda (West Mifflin): 5 Visits
Not surprisingly, the only Mexican restaurant in the school district got the most visits. Here is what some students had to say:
"I would recommend this restaurant to everyone because the food is really good, they give you a lot, and it is inexpensive." - C.S.
"...I looked through the menu and saw unfamiliar foods, so I asked my waiter about them...I wasn't shocked about my [taco salad] - I should have went for something different." - A.P.
Emiliano's (South Side/North Hills): 3 Visits
"Overall, I enjoyed Emiliano's! I liked it a lot because it was very different from the usual restaurants I go to...I would definitely go back to this restaurant because I liked how nice all of the workers were, the inside of the restaurant was very unique, and most importantly, I thought the food was great!...I think I will being to try more Mexican foods because of my experience here." - C.V.
"...this was a different experience of eating at a [Hispanic] restaurant, rather than Eat 'N Park." - D.B.
"I had never heard of the restaurant before, but my aunt suggested it...the salsa was different than any kind I have ever had. It was a little spicier than I am used to, but it was still very good...I would most definitely recommend this restaurant to anybody that likes Mexican food." - R.K.
Gran Agave (Homestead): 2 Visits
"I would definitely want to go back. The service, scenery, and food were excellent. That was the first authentic restaurant that I have been to...After trying the chalupa and enchilada, I would definitely want to have some more." - Z.F.
"In all, the food was good, well-priced, and had a different taste." - R.A.
Mad Mex (Shadyside/Oakland): 2 Visits
"The restaurant itself was so cute! It had interesting paintings on the wall that reminded me of the Day of the Dead. There was also Spanish written on them, which we attempted to translate....Since I am used to the taco meat from Giant Eagle, this definitely was a delicious change..." S.A.
Patron (Monroeville): 1 Visit
"[My meal] was served on a platter and looked very delicious - I couldn't wait to dig in...I was very pleased with my meal. To drink I had a Mexican pop that I never had before. It was something different and tasted like a flavored fruit punch...I enjoyed the food and the service was wonderful." - S.S.
Mallorca (South Side): 1 Visit
"I chose to go with my mom for lunch because we both wanted to try something new...When I was looking at the menu, I had no idea what to get because I wanted to try something new...I asked our waiter what was the most authentic thing on the sandwich portion on the menu...I got the Sandwich de Jamon Serrano, Manchengo, y Berros...I really enjoyed this meal at Mallorca. It was very different and something new that I never tried before. There is always a first time for everything." - P.F.
Smoke BBQ & Taqueria: 1 Visit
"I liked both the Agua Fresca and the chicken tacos very much. I liked the Agua Fresca because it tasted like pure strawberry juice...I didn't think I would like the chicken tacos, but they were surprisingly really good...I would go back to Smoke because the food was awesome, especially since I don't like Mexican and Spanish food." - M.E.
I am hoping that more students try restaurants, whether they need to or not. Most of the complaints that I have gotten are that places are too far (most of my students don't drive) or that they don't have money to go. I keep telling them - you've got to eat! Why not kill two birds with one stone? (Pardon the cliche).
I am always open to feedback, good or bad (but respectful), so please feel free to comment!
A big thanks to my students and the restaurants that have been so supportive of my project!