Six Degrees of Sketch

Consider the life of a Let's Go researcher. It takes a certain kind of person to travel for two months through iffy countries they've never visited, on $20 a day. It takes a certain self-reliance, a certain tolerance for the unhygenic, a certain ability to make friends with the colorful locals. In short, the person best equipped to make a good Let's Go researcher is perhaps the last person you should trust with your travel recommendations.

Following our guidebook's suggestion, we go to a communist-themed restaurant by the name of Marxim. The neighborhood is not the best, the air is unbelievably smoky, and the place strains at the line between restaurant and dive bar. Of the other people there, some are disturbingly hip, some are just disturbing. We never feel fully comfortable in the place, even with the jokey menu and the "Iron Curtain" decor. The pizza, though, is excellent, perhaps the best of our trip.

A few days later, on our own, late in the evening, we're looking for someplace, any place, to eat. The only open-looking restaurant in our neighborhood is the Nevada Bar, whose outside appearance barely inspires confidence. The inside is decorated with a stereotypical "Western" theme, and I have the best hamburger I've had in years (the burger proper is decent, but the bun is otherworldly). As we eat, a guitarist plays along to a minus-one karaoke tape, performing excellent covers of such classics as "Wit or Witout You" and "Knockin' on Hebbin's Door."