The parameters were very simple: in a actively "redeveloping" city center where bloviation about high-cost cuisine had been elevated to the status of scripture, I was tasked with writing about the experience of dining for eight dollars (plus seventy-two cents of tax).
For over a year, I took the generous support of Ari Simon, Ian Gabriel and Phoebe Unter at GetDownTown and dined my way through the culinary periphery of "America's Next Great City." To mixed results.
It was never really about the food. That was all garnish and guidepost for a larger exercise in sociology, urbanism, history, politics, ideology, design, economics, and humor. Cities are amazing incubators of unforeseen circumstances and the prerogative for caloric motivation means that many of these unintended formations commingle with at least one dump of a restaurant with a very workable burrito on the menu.