The Gold Star and the X-Factor

So how does a restaurant get a gold star? And what’s this x-factor, anyway?

First, a bit about our food philosophy in general. Food is a very subjective thing, and we all have our own opinions.  And Miko and I luckily have pretty similar tastes.  We’re fairly adventurous eaters — we’ll try most things, although Miko has a higher tolerance for things like fish guts or gray curly snails and I have more of an ability (i.e. ANY AT ALL) to handle spicy or bitter foods.

But we don’t consider ourselves hard-core foodies — for example, we are nowhere near as picky as mmm-yoso (Hi Kirk!), and for us, the experience of dining is almost as important as the food itself. We tend to shy away from fancy/fine restaurants; we prefer a cozy hole-in-the-wall.

The gold star is the Convoy Conquest’s highest honor!  These are the restaurants that we truly feel love for.*  Usually, this requires a combination of great food AND x-factor.

We first realized the importance of the x-factor when we found Big Joy Family Bakery — when you walk inside, you just have this feeling of being loved and taken care of.  Or Chilies Thai Gourmet, where we originally wanted to give it a gold star because the adorable cook made us so happy, even though the food was maybe not that amazing.

Our gold stars so far, with approximate percentages of deliciousness vs. x-factor (I think if it’s less than 50% deliciousness, it can’t really qualify as a gold star):

Sage French Cake: 70/30
Wa Dining Okan: 80/20
Yokohama Yakitori Koubou: 50/50
Parsian International Market and Grill: 60/40
Izakaya Sakura 80/20
Phuong Trang 70/30
Big Joy Family Bakery 50/50
Crab Hut 70/30
Tapioca Express 80/20
Jeong Won Korean Buffet 60/40
Yakitori Yakyudori 90/10

This is not to say that, e.g., Big Joy is necessarily less delicious than Sage, but that its x-factor is a larger part of its appeal.  We are measuring the RATIO of deliciousness here, not the AMOUNT of deliciousness.  (Because that would be a giiiiant can of worms to open.)

This is, of course, extremely unscientific, and the numbers are not really quantifying anything specific — this was the best we could do to explain a concept that is terribly nebulous and subjective.

*We decided that we have to go to a restaurant at least twice to give it a gold star, to make sure we aren’t being overly influenced by unfair factors like being grouchy or STARVING.

2 thoughts on “The Gold Star and the X-Factor

  1. Your rating system is a bit cumbersome too me – I really had to work at it to understand it and I am someone who loves math. Those who don't like math may struggle with it. Personally I enjoy thinking in terms of ratios but I wonder how many other do.

    Good Luck


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