Pizza Quickly Reviewed: Savage

My friend J.C. and I did improv comedy in college. Rathskellar, our troupe, is the oldest college troupe in the country. I met most of my friends doing it. Josh and Katy were in it. Lauren was in it. Lolita was in it.

Since college, though, things have changed. I, for one, went to law school. JC went out to L.A. for a spell. I hung out with him a bunch this past summer when I worked there. And just recently, JC returned to Atlanta to kill time before he goes to Yale in the fall where he’ll be getting his MA in religion and art.

We met tonight for pizza at Savage Pizza in Little Five Points. Since improv is at the root of our friendship, I will now attempt to review Savage Pizza in the style of an improv game, Alphabet. It goes like this: two people are in a scene and every line has to begin with the next letter of the alphabet. You don’t start with A, though, usually you get a suggestion from the audience. Can I get a suggestion?

E?

Very well, then, E it is. And I’ll write this like a scene of JC and I discussing our meal afterwards even though JC ran off to drink beer. For those who don’t enjoy improv, you may want to skip this post. And it’s all pretty suspect because it’s written, but whatever.

A REVIEW OF SAVAGE PIZZA IN THE STYLE OF THE IMPROV GAME ALPHABET BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER E

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JC: Enjoy your meal?

AG: Fabulous!

JC: Gay word, Adam. Take it down a notch.

AG: Homophobe.

JC: I really like the pizza at Savage Pizza.

AG: JC, everyone likes the pizza at Savage Pizza.

JC: Killjoy.

AG: Look, I’m just saying that it’s some of the best pizza in Atlanta.

JC: My words exactly.

AG: Not really.

JC: Oh?

AG: Proust’s.

JC: Queer fellow he was.

AG: Right.

JC: So, you gonna post that picture of me and the pizza?

AG: Tada!

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JC: Unbelievable—I’m so hot it’s unbelievable.

AG: Very modest, JC.

JC: What?

AG: Xeroxing your ego would take an army.

JC: Your prose is a bit purple.

AG: Zuck it.

JC: Anyway, shouldn’t we discuss the pizza?

AG: Bubbly, beautiful, buoyant–

JC: Can’t float, Adam.

AG: Didn’t say it could.

JC: End it here, friend.

Memorial Day Dinner At Surin

Oh beautiful for spacious skies / for Thai food made o.k.

Memorial Day is a secular Yom Kippur, a day of mourning without the fasting. We honor those who perished at war by toasting on the beach or by floating in a pool. Memorial Day is a serious holiday.

Perhaps most notably, Memorial Day is a day when many restaurants close, posting signs in their windows: “Closed For Memorial Day.” This allows employees to toast on the beach or float in a pool while patrons go hungry. Happy Memorial Day!

I don’t mean to be glib. For those with loved ones in Iraq or veterans in the family, Memorial Day is indeed a serious holiday. But might we not concede that I’m hungry? And everywhere is closed?

One place that is not closed is Surin, in the Virginia Highlands:

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There is an abundance of Thai food here in Atlanta. I had never even eaten Thai food before I came here seven years ago, but since that time I’ve practically become a plate of steaming ginger chicken, I’ve eaten so much of it. Bok bok bok.

In the Virginia Highlands alone, there is Surin and then Surin Thai Bowl (a second restaurant in Surin’s backyard), Mai Lai on Amsterdam and then another outdoorsy one also in Surin’s backyard. But that’s just the tip of the Thaisberg: there’s the punny Thai One On, the hotter-than-hot Thai Chili, the Thai place in the Kosher Supermarket shopping center, the other Thai place near Ru San’s. I’m telling you: if you’re planning a trip to Thailand, divert your plane to Atlanta and save some money.

But don’t–I’m sorry to say–rush over to Surin. The food was, in my humble opinion, pretty lacklustre. I should have known when I saw pictures of the food in the menu. Your restaurant will automatically lose 14 points in my calculations if you put pictures of the food in your menu. That is tacky. That is what they do in European truck stops. Have some class people and trust your diners.

As far as everything else, we started out with basil rolls:

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And these were fine. The plum sauce was helpful.

But then, for my entree, there was the ginger chicken:

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Something about it really rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve eaten ginger chicken across Atlanta, and this was my least favorite version. The chicken was steamed, I think, before it was cooked with the ginger and the assembly tasted very-last-minute. Meaning, the ginger flavor hardly carried and the only unifying factor was the watery sludgy ginger chicken sauce that coated everything.

Lauren, on the other hand, adored her chicken: “I think the chicken’s great, she said.” She ordered a different dish but her chicken was almost identical to mine.

“What do you like about it?” I asked.

“There’s no fat,” she responded.

“But fat has flavor,” I retorted.

“Eh,” said Lauren, chewing merrily.

So in conclusion, Surin’s ginger chicken did not pass muster—unless you’re Lauren and you like your chicken fatless and flavorless. Call me old-fashioned, but I like flavor. However, I will concede flavorless and open for business is better than flavorful and closed for the holiday. Happy Memorial Day!

Up Up and Away at The Floataway Cafe

The Floataway Cafe is (well, was) my favorite Atlanta restaurant. Maybe it still is. I’m undecided. Last night’s meal did not work well in its favor.

At least the Floataway is conveniently located: it is literally down the street from where I live. If Atlanta is an alphabet and I live in A, the Floataway is in B. Actually it’s closer than that: it’s A.3.

So last night Lauren and I ventured over after our reservation at Nam was cancelled due to a broken water mane. The Nam people were very aplogetic.

After the short 40 second drive, we pulled up to the Floataway building:

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The complex is a warehouse complex that contains, among other things, a theater (Push Push), a quilting store and The Floataway Cafe. We made our way to the door:

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Once inside the hostess kindly told us that it would only be a moment. Would we like to wait at the bar? The bar looked crowded. So we went back outside and told her to find us there.

She founds us there moments later and led us to our table.

The following picture is my favorite of the bunch, it really captures the Floataway aesthetic:

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Milk bottle laterns hang over every table and giant sepia pictures of clouds adorn the walls. Unfortunately, most of the tables are banquettes and so when you begin taking pictures of all your food the people next to you start asking questions.

“Why are you taking pictures of your food?” they ask.

“He has a website,” said Lauren.

“Oh,” they responded uneasily.

“It’s about food.”

“We see,” they said and returned to their plates.

Soon a waitress appeared.

“Would you like bottled or filtered water?” she asked. This is the dining question of the new millenium. Every fine dining spot I’ve fine dined at now asks this question at the start of the meal. Bottled water is as much a fad as the low carb thing. And, of course, it’s a great way for restaurants to upsell their customers. In fact, I watched some show—now I forget what it was—where they sent a water sommelier to these people’s tables and he pretended to be a water expert and helped them match their courses to the proper water. Then they showed him going to the kitchen, filling up their glasses with a garden hose, returning to the table, serving it to them and then shooting their reactions. They ooohed and ahhhed. Rather funny.

“Tap water’s fine,” we said.

“Very well,” she replied cheerily.

She returned with a pitcher and began filling my glass. A stream of water spilled on my menu.

“Let me get you a new menu,” she said.

What good service, I thought.

Then she asked for our drink orders. I had been gazing at the eclectic cocktail list—fresh mint julips, lemon drop martinis—and I asked her which was best.

“They’re all great,” she said.

“But is there any one that you recommend?” I pressed.

“I like them all,” she said flatly.

Another complaint to register: SERVER AS AUTOMATON. This was the Charlie Trotter’s phenomenon: servers that are so accomodating they become completely inhuman. I wanted a little splash of personality, a little hint of individuality to guide our choices. None was forthcoming.

“I’ll have the orange blossom,” I said picking at random.

Lauren ordered white wine.

Actually, Lauren’s wine was really enjoyable. I love sweet drinks (hence the orange blossom) and Lauren’s Riseling (a German wine?) was incredibly sweet. I liked it.

My drink was so sweet as to almost be unpleasant:

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Let’s see: it was orange vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup. I mean, I liked it, but I wouldn’t get it again.

Now then: the food.

The Floataway theory (as conceived by John Kessler) is that you go there for the appetizers, the pasta and the pizza. The entrees are to be left alone.

So Lauren and I each chose an appetizer.

I chose (rather controversially, since Lauren thought it was gross) white anchovies:

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Lauren chose the fritto misto with prawns and fiddlehead ferns:

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As you can see, the anchovies had a great presentation. And they tasted great: you really haven’t had an anchovy until you’ve had a fresh one, as opposed to the ones from the can. Salty, yet not overwhelmingly so, and the celery and other greens offered a nice green contrast.

Lauren was unhappy with hers: they fried her prawns with the shells on. She had to dissect each one before she could eat it. I suggested that she eat the shells and she was not happy with this suggestion. I attempted one of her prawns and as I cut into it, brown sludgy juice oozed out. Not particularly appetizing. The batter was quite good, though.

Now, as for the pasta and pizza:

I ordered Enlgish pea lune, a kind of moon-shaped ravioli:

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Lauren ordered pizza with mushrooms and garlic:

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The pasta was fine, very fresh tasting but nothing exemplary.

The pizza, on the other hand, was exemplary. This is it folks: the best pizza in Atlanta. The crust is perfectly charred, the toppings and cheese perfectly balanced. It’s a truly perfect pizza.

With the pizza, our Floataway meal redeemed itself.

Don’t you hate when you love a place, though, and you go there to relive your love and the love doesn’t happen? Like meeting an old flame for coffee?

Speaking of coffee, Floatway serves theirs in a french press:

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Very strong, but good.

And as for dessert, Lauren was quite thrilled with their flourless chocolate cake:

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After dessert, I journeyed to the bathroom. Thought I would photograph the Vespa in the hallway, because how often do you see a Vespa in a hallway?

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Soon our check came. We got up to go. Here’s what the place looks like, so you get a better idea of the feel:

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We walked out full and contended. Not thrilled, though. It was definitely an off night at The Floatway. Later on, our friend Meg told us that the owner/chef (I forget her name) who also owns Bacchanalia no longer does the cooking at The Floatway. Maybe that’s why it went downhill? Ah well. To quote Earth Wind and Fire: “After the love has gone / what used to be right is wrong.”

I’m A Little Bit Kountry: Bobby and June’s Kountry Kitchen

Today I stepped into a time warp.

The cast and crew of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” were swapped for the cast and crew of “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Stepping into Bobby & June’s Kountry Kitchen was like stepping through the looking glass—I came out the other side in a scene from 1956. I felt like Marty McFly gone country.

My original intention was to grab a sandwich. A cuban sandwich, actually, from Kool Korners which I’ve already reviewed here. As I approached the Kool Korner’s grocery I noticed a line outside–the doors weren’t open yet. I didn’t feel like waiting.

And then shining up ahead was a welcoming sign. It looked like this:

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And I thought: “What the hey? I’m adventurous. I do adventurous things.”

So I parked in the Kountry Kitchen parking lot and made me way up to the porch:

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Already I felt like I was in for something special. Something about this place seemed so quaint, so real that it practically oozed history. I came through the doors and was greeted by what seemed like a whirlwind of activity.

Immediately on my left were rows and rows of busy booths, people chowing down on fried chicken and BBQ. Up ahead was a counter–a long stretched counter–with weathered women behind it wearing outfits that resembled nurse’s uniforms.

A tall black man with only one eye yelled at me: “How many?!”

I faltered. “One!” I said. “For the counter, please!”

“All right,” he said, dismissively. I made my way over to the counter.

Immediately one of the women came over.

“Sweet tea honey?” she said.

“Sure,” I replied.

I looked around me. Giant Georgia Tech banners adorned the walls. A huge display of Coke bottles spanning several decades lined the shelves overhead. A deer’s head emerged near a doorway:

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I studied the menu. It was a bit difficult. The waitress returned with my tea.

“What’s good here?” I asked.

“The BBQ,” she said, “beef or pork.”

“Ok,” I said, “Beef.”

“You get two sides, sweetie,” she replied, “you can pick from here or here.”

I looked at two lists of side dishes. One list was the permanent sides, one list was today’s sides.

“I’ll take corn bread,” I started.

“Well no sweetie,” she said, “we can swap the corn bread for the garlic bread and that already comes with that. So pick two more sides.”

I began to feel pressured.

“All right,” I concluded, “coleslaw and mac n’ cheese.”

“Thanks sugar,” she said, mozying off.

I whipped out my New Yorker and suddenly felt the Yankee in King Skynrd’s court.

I looked around me. This place was so full of life it was a bit overwhelming. The tables were practically bursting with activity; a woman cop bantered with a dishwasher, a waitress with dishes yelled “coming through! coming through!” just as another waitress backed up into her.

“I said ‘coming through!’ darling. You gotta listen!”

They laughed it off.

More people sat at the counter. Construction workers in orange vests, business men in ties, a woman wearing a tunic. Older Southern men came in clusters through the back; two rooms behind the counter were also buzzing with activity.

This wasn’t a restaurant, this was a museum of Southern heritage—a living, breathing relic from the past.

Soon my food arrived:

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Looks scary, I know. I’m not used to BBQ like this—when I think BBQ I usually think ribs. This was basically slices of pallid meat dressed up with a meaty BBQ sauce. The sauce itself was great, the meat ok. The sides were fine–nothing wowzy. The mac n’ cheese had real cheese.

As for the cornbread…

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It was pretty dry. I used it to lap up BBQ sauce and then it seemed to serve a purpose. Very Cider House Rules.

But even if the food wasn’t spectacular, that’s not the point. This is one of those places you really have to experience to experience the South. It’s a living breathing institution—a show of vibrancy and history in an otherwise pretty modernized city. Just down the block is The Four Seasons Hotel, Einstein Bagels, and Starbucks—three examples of just how much Atlanta (and the world!) has changed in the past few decades. We need places like “Bobby & June’s” to remind us of what was there before.

Tierra is Verra Verra Good

Piedmont Road is one of those connector roads in Atlanta: it connects you from Buckhead to Midtown and intersects, along the way, with Rock Springs (taking you to Emory), Monroe (taking you to Ponce) and Tierra–a funky yellow South American fusion restaurant that my friends and I went to tonight.

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Driving past, you wouldn’t necessarily think this was a special restaurant. I surely didn’t. I only learned about it reading, among other things, Chowhound and the AJC. The restaurant also has its own website: Tierra’s Website. The place is run by a husband and wife and according to the site’s ABOUT section:

Ticha is from Central America and was raised in South America having lived in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Panama and Nicaragua. Dan is from New York and pairing his love of food and classical training to Ticha’s understanding of the different flavors of Latin America and the Caribbean have made Tierra the success that it is today.

I’m glad I read this now. It really gives me a good way to understand our meal. Classical meets South American. Whatever it was, it was delicious.

So I went there with Lauren, friend Michael (aka “The Good Doctor”), the infamous Trey Givens of treygivens.com (who I met for the first time tonight) and Mark (who you met at the rib place a while back):

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Now the first charming thing about Tierra is that they give you a glossary of food terms, to help you with the menu:

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The other charming thing is that the husband and wife who run the place are on the scene: the husband cooking in the kitchen, and the wife doing the rounds. She sat us at our table and helped us with our wine.

[Though apparently she cooks too.]

Michael, a bit of a wine expert, chose a bottle of this:

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It was a good red; it had a Latin flair, like Zorro. It did not, alas, wear a cape.

Bread was served. Michael pouted because the butter was too frozen. So then he did something that was, errr, something to do with frozen butter. He attempt to melt a bit over the candle:

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I felt that this was a bold creative gesture. Then the butter fell into the candle:

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So much for that.

Now for the food.

I took the waiter’s recommendation for an appetizer and went with the mussels:

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A Bon Apetit magazine hung framed on the wall with the mussel recipe. I enjoyed them; there were bits of corn and Jicama floating around. The broth was rich and flavorful. Was I supposed to drink it like soup? I did that a little bit. I’m not so much an expert mussel eater.

But it was Michael who got the winning appetizer. He got “platanos filled with beef picadillo” which are basically plaintains and meat:

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As for an entree, I had the snapper–“Genuine Gulf Snapper: pan fried in coconut and beer batter, served with kale and red rice”:

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On first bite I was a little disappointed. But that’s because the first bite didn’t have any skin on it. Once I got some skin, I got the flavor and it was great. Very unusual and very expertly done. The rice was good too; though the kale was not something I particularly enjoyed. It tasted rather like a thorny bush.

Michael took the liberty of ordering another wine:

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I took the liberty of going to the bathroom.

The plates were cleared. We drank more wine.

Then there was dessert. The waiter suggested the passion fruit flan. I love passion fruit. I like flan. “It’s very tart,” he warned, “it made me make a face when I tried it.”

“Cool,” I said, “let’s do it.”

The waiter gave me a strange look.

“Sir?”

“Oh, I mean, I’d like to order the passion fruit flan.”

“Right away,” he nodded, traipsing off.

He returned moments later. Here’s the flan:

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And it was, indeed, tart. But beyond that it was slightly bitter. And it was the bitter quality, not the tart quality, that I didn’t enjoy. With that said, though, I’m glad I ordered it. It definitely tasted of fresh ingredients and that I appreciated it.

Post-dinner conversation focused on pleated skirts, IMAX movies, and cicada consumption. Soon the bill came. Soon we paid. Soon we left.

‘Twas a fun night for all.

All You Can Eat Salad and Pizza at The Patio

&tLet us explore the psychological phenomenon that is “all you can eat.”

In many ways, this culinary catchphrase is a challenge. “Ok eater,” says the restaurant, “I dare you. Come here, and try to eat all you can eat. I bet you won’t finish more than two plates.”

And for the most part the restaurant is correct. You won’t finish more than two plates. It’s just that you know you can.

The language of American dining these days is the language of value. “Come in and buy one hoagie and get the second hoagie free!” “All entrees come with unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks!” “Take unlimited trips to our gourmet salad bar!” “Keep the table and the furniture! It’s on us!”

In other words, American diners, let us lure you out of your homes with promises from the land of plenty. The result, of course, is that the quality of ingredients goes down while their quantity increases. It’s like the Woody Allen joke that starts Annie Hall—First Old Woman: “The food here is terrible.” Second Old Woman: “Yes, and such small portions!”

Americans will eat crap if you give them a lot of it for cheap. “Give me value or give me death” may as well be our mantra. Certainly it’s my family’s mantra. We like our portions big, our refills free and our bread basket frequently replenished. Why shouldn’t we? We want our dollars stretched thinner than the noodles in our bottomless bowl of spaghetti.

And so tonight Lauren lured me out of the apartment with promises of unlimited pizza and salad at The Patio in Inman Park. What’s funny about me and Atlanta is that I have lived here for seven years, and yet I still have no idea where I am half the time. Roads bleed into other roads and all of them are called Peachtree. I have friends who marvel at how completely lost I am when driving through Atlanta. And thus, I have no idea how we got to where we got to tonight but once we were there it looked cute enough.

The deal worked like this. First they bring you breadsticks and oil:

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This is a trick. They’re trying to fatten you up so you don’t gorge on more expensive products like salad and pizza. (Which are, essentially, variations on the theme of something and oil. Salad = lettuce and oil; Pizza = Bread and oil and topping; so maybe they’re not saving that much money after all).

Regardless (or Irregardless? That is the question), we next split a giant salad:

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This salad was decent enough. What made it good was the fact that it was UNLIMITED. Amazing how that changes things. Were this a one-and-only salad, I would have been more critical. But this was a plenty-more-where-that-came-from salad. How could I complain?

Of course, we didn’t order another one. We were saving room for pizza. We were ready to down 8 to 9 pies.

The way it works is you tell them you’re ready for pizza and they start bringing them out. You don’t choose toppings, they choose you. If you don’t like what they bring out, wait for the next one. We started with this one:

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This pizza was half chicken and half onion. It was–like the salad–decent enough. Sometimes Atlanta pizza reminds me of those students you see in museums with pencils and heavily marked notebooks, trying desperately to emulate the genius of a Boticelli or a Tintoretto. They just can’t quite get it.

The crust was fine, the sauce was fine, the cheese was fine. Just not great. Adequate. Yet heightened by the fact–yet again–that it was unlimited. Plenty-More-Where-That-Came-From Pizza.

And so we scarfed down a few slices and prepared for our next pie, which came shortly after:

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This was half meatball, half red pepper. We ate a few slices–no better than the first pie–and got full. We were done. Our “all you can eat” meal turned out to be just as plentiful as a normal not “all you can eat” meal. The difference, though, was that we knew we could have more if we wanted more. To quote Robert Frost: “And that made all the difference.”

The Subtle Art of Mealplanning: Mother’s Day Brunch at the Buckhead Diner

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the hand that feeds the stomach is the hand that rules the world. Since my mother and grandmother don’t cook, one might conclude that they are powerless parties in the Roberts family superstructure. How wrong you would be.

What my mother and grandmother lack in cooking skill they make up for in the subtle art of mealplanning. Like snowboarding, mealplanning incorproates the challenges of one skill (cooking, skiing) and channels it through another medium (telephone, snowboard). My mother and grandmother plot meals like Tolstoy plots novels; that is, very carefully.

How interesting that our meals play out like novels too.

In today’s paperback bestseller, a favorite character returned to the fold: grandma flew in this morning for my graduation, catching an early flight from West Palm Beach and leaving grandpa behind, still recovering from the repercussions of intensive radiation. Mom and dad picked her up, we met up at the hotel, and made our way over to the Buckhead Diner:

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In chapter two, grandma told us of how she asked the man sitting next to her if she could have the aisle seat, of the subsequent conversation in which he explained how his child from a first marriage hates his new wife, of how my grandma only sipped her Cranapple juice because of the excessive sugar and carbohydrates.

Back to our original theme, the process of mealplanning involves two stages: external and internal mealplanning. External mealplanning involves all the externalities: where will we dine? How will we get there? Who will we go there with? When will we go? Will there be parking spots when we get there? What if it rains?

Internal mealplanning involves food selection. For mom and grandma, this is a very intensive process: it requires terrible scrutiny and deeply realized self-awarensss. For example, today, it took several lifetimes for mom and grandma to conclude that a field green salad with bleu cheese, apples and walnuts would provide the spiritual sustinence they needed to get through the day. Of course, they ordered the dressing on the side. Here they are, satisfied with their internal mealplanning:

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I do my own mealplanning with you, dear reader, in mind. How brave can I be? What will be most entertaining, most photogenic? Which entree selection will cause a comment flamewar that will leave unsuspecting readers bloody and blind? Today that selection was a smoked salmon tower with potato pancakes and poached eggs and string beans:

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This was a nice dish, a brunchy dish. Not my favorite, but not NOT my favorite. Would I get it again? No. Would I get it flowers? No. Would I get a tattoo? No.

What I would get again, what I would buy flowers and what I would get tattooed on my forehead is the Buckhead Diner’s James Beard Award winning Banana Cream Pie:

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‘Twas quite delicious.

And to all you mothers out there–whether cookers or mealplanners–Happy Mother’s Day! This banana cream pie’s for you.

Everything I Say Is Wrong: Dinner at Chops

Depending on your perspecitve, my brother might seem a cantankerous sort. In many ways he’s like a gorilla: keep him fed, keep him sated and all will be well. Irritate him and you’ll be eating gorilla paw.

Michael–as he is called–finds my obsessive food picture taking bizarre and irritating.

“Stop taking pictures of your food,” he said last night, “I’m going to throw your camera across the room.”

“Michael,” I said, “Thousands of people are waiting with baited breath to see what we had for dinner.”

“No they’re not,” he responded, “you’re probably the only person who reads your website; you must click on it so much, that’s why you have so many hits.”

“Michael,” said mom, “take it down a notch.”

Chops is located in Buckhead near my parents’ hotel. It’s your quintissential steakhouse. My family really loves steakhouses. They eat at one every week. We’re going to another one tonight for Mother’s Day. Here’s Chops’s door:

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As often happens on these dining excurisions, I began formating the dinner’s narrative hook. The hook I came up with went like this: “Jewish people really like steakhouses. Everyone here is Jewish. Why do Jewish people like steakhouses so much? What cultural–”

“That’s not true,” said my brother.

“Yes it is,” I rejoinded. “Look around! See all the Jewish families? It’s like Temple Beth Steakhouse.”

“There’s a nun over there,” Michael pointed.

“What?”

“A nun, look.”

I turned around. There was a nun. Everyone there wasn’t Jewish.

“Oh.”

Our waiter came over. He asked for our drink orders. Michael ordered a Sprite and a prime rib.

“Michael,” I said, “he’s only taking our drink order.”

“I know but I want to reserve the prime rib in case they run out.”

“Haha,” I said. “How silly, they’re not going to run out.”

We finished our drink orders. The waiter left. We explored the menu. I decided upon prime rib. So did my dad. The waiter returned.

“Well?” said the waiter.

Can you see where this story’s going?

“Prime rib!” said dad.

“Me too!” said I.

“Ahhh,” said the waiter, “Sorry, but we just ran out.”

“Aha!” said Michael rejoicefully. He turned to look at me: “Everything you say is wrong.”

He was making a good case. I ordered a steak and kept my mouth shut.

Chops has a really good Chopped Chops Salad:

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The dressing is a creamy garlic and if there’s one thing my family likes it’s a creamy garlic dressing. We used to go to a steakhouse in West Palm Beach called Raindancer where they had Green Garlic Dressing on the salad bar. That was its greatest selling point.

Time passed. I went to the bathroom. I heard a conversation between two older gentlemen:

Man 1: I’m not retiring! Fuck retiring!

Man 2: Shit, we’re too young.

Man 1: I just went to Florida. The guys my age? They look like old men! What am I going to do, sit home with my wife all day?

Man 2: Fuck no.

Man 1: You have to stay active! Fuck it!

I returned to the table and soon my steak was delivered.

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This was a New York Strip and it was delicious. They crusted it really well with a salty garlic mixture.

And here’s Michael’s Prime Rib:

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Looks like an Atilla The Hun prop, huh? Like the one he gnaws in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

My mom, eventually, asked for the bone so she could gnaw. My mom likes bone gnawing. Maybe she’s Atilla the Hun reincarnated?

We got the obligatory sides…

Onion Rings:

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Creamed Spinach:

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Toffee Coffee Crunch Pie:

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I would have preferred it for dessert, but toffee coffee crunch pie goes great with steak.

“You’re retarded,” says Michael. “Give up.”

Me? Retire? Fuck no! Who cares if everything I say is wrong?