Meet The Plates

Our old IKEA plates were getting cracked and crackly and I recalled a meal I ate at a restaurant recently (though I don’t remember which specific restaurant–The Little Owl?) where all the entrees were served on quirky, idiosyncratic plates. “Hey!” I said to myself. “I want some quirky, idiosyncratic plates. When it’s time to get new plates I’m going to get some quirky, idiosyncratic plates.”

Well if there’s one place in New York to get quirky, idiosyncratic plates it’s Fishs Eddy. And so it was that last week, when the last IKEA plate chipped, I made a journey to Union Square to visit Fishs Eddy for some quirky, idiosyncratic plates.


My plate agenda was a very specific one: I didn’t want a set of six identical plates. I wanted them all to be different. And while Fishs Eddy produces wonderful plate sets with Alice-in-Wonderland and New York themes, I immediately focused my attention on the back right corner of the store where stacks and stacks of stray plates awaited my greedy hand.

A few discoveries were quickly made: (1) these weren’t plates, these were chargers; (2) many of them were covered in dust which I, unfortunately, inhaled; (3) many were really ugly.

My mission became more and more difficult. I didn’t want ugly plates. I wanted their centers to be white so the food (to use an industry term) “popped.” I began moving plate stacks on top of other plate stacks to reveal mysterious, deeply forgotten plates that’d eventually round out my motley crew of plates.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t mean to pat myself on the back but I did a fantastic job. When I left I left with six incredibly different plates, all of them with their own (all together now) quirky idiosyncratic characteristics. I present to you now my new plate family; imagine all the food that will someday grace their surfaces.

Plate #1: The Dad Plate


If my dad ever comes over for dinner (and considering his propensity for eating out, it’s not very likely) he will eat off this plate because it’s covered with golfers. My dad likes to play golf and so, maybe, does your dad. But I don’t mean to be so gender normative and neither does my plate. Your mom might play golf too. And your transgendered neighbor. This plate accepts that and wants you to know that if you play golf or your transgendered neighbor plays golf, you are both welcome to eat off of it. Unless my dad’s eating off of it, in which case please leave my dad alone.

Plate #2: The Fiesta Plate


Hola amigo! Welcome to the fiesta plate! Eating off this plate is like a fiesta. Hey see that pinata reflected on the plate’s surface? Don’t smash it, that’s your face!!!! The fiesta plate is tricky that way. Beware its tricky ways.

Plate #3: Mountain Retreat


Remember how The Sound of Music ends with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer climbing mountains, fleeing Nazis with their adorable singing children? Well now you can reenact that on this plate using peas for the children, carrots for Julie and Christopher and swastika-shaped pasta for the Nazis. Where can you buy swastika-shaped pasta? Nazi Olive Garden, dumbass!

Plate #4: Virginal Flower


This plate is only for the chaste, so that means no Virginal Flower plate for you, grandma! But in all seriousness, this plate’s floral theme is perfect for serving salad, especially if you’re serving salad to a virgin. Like the Virgin Mary. Only I can’t serve the Virgin Mary because I’m Jewish. Sorry grandma!*

(*Explanation: My grandmother is the Virgin Mary.)

Plate #5: The I Don’t Really Get It Plate


I don’t really get it.

Plate #6: The Ugly Plate


Let’s face it, this plate’s pretty ugly. It didn’t look ugly in the store but the more I look at it the more I imagine it on a table at a garage sale. So I have a decent solution: only let ugly people eat off the ugly plate. When guests arrive at my house, I will discreetly judge their looks and the one who is the ugliest will get this plate and just in case they don’t realize what’s happened I will say: “You got the ugly plate! You’re ugly!” And then I’ll realize that it’s I who am ugly; only ugly people call others ugly. And then I will gaze into the ugly plate and see my reflection and a tear will stream down my cheek and I won’t be ugly anymore, I’ll be beautiful. Then I give the plate back to the ugly person and say, “You’re still ugly.”

Don’t you love my plates, America? Here they are again, from the other side:


Maybe you’ll be eating off these plates one day, you who are reading this blog. Which plate will you get? Which one will you want? Are you a virgin? Are you ugly? Let the plate tell you; that is the power of the plate.

44 thoughts on “Meet The Plates”

  1. OK, how much do I love that the tags for this one are “plates, ugly people (and) virgins”?

    Adam, you’re hilarious. I enjoy reading your blog, and just had to tell you so today. If I ever meet you, I’ll be nervous about what kind of plate you place in front of me, but I’ll laugh eventually, I’m sure.

  2. My husband and I laughed so hard at this entry that we almost stopped breathing. My husband was extremely close to blowing root beer out his nose (and he doesn’t do that for just anybody). If you ever get an “easily amused” plate, that will be the plate we use when we come over for dinner.

  3. When I was living in NY, I loved going to Fishs Eddy too. They had lots of quirky stuff.

    Actually when I first looked at all the plates in the first picture, it was the ugly plate that caught my eye. Sadly up close it’s not that great.

  4. I love the “ugly” plate, and I don’t think it’s ugly at all! Does that turn me into an ugly person?

  5. Adam I dare say when I first glanced at your site I was so impressed, it was so……You created a table scape that would top even Sandra Lee. I happen to be a dinnerware designer. If I were lucky enough to be invited to your place for dinner I like the dad plate even though I am working hard at being a Southern Lady. I could always bring my own plate, we could start a new trend.

  6. Hi-freakin-larious! I laughed out loud reading this. Ok, maybe not “out loud” but I laughed nonetheless.

    But this is what I was thinking when I saw the “ugly plate”. You know (ok, maybe you don’t know but some of your readers will) on the back of those home hair highlighting kits you get at Duane-Reade or CVS or wherever, they have these pictures of shades of hair showing what your hair will look like after using the product. That’s what the ugly plate look likes. A bunch of different pictures of hair.

    So at a dinner party give this plate to the person who obviously dyed their own hair. You know. The one who has a giant patch of their original hair color on the back of their head that they could not see in the mirror when they were applying the product.

    And say something like “This plate is for you, Auburn Dawn. Because you do everything out of the box!” That is, of course, if you have a friend named Auburn Rose.

  7. I grew up in Manhattan but moved away from there fifteen years ago. Frequently when I read your blog it reminds me of places from my childhood and sigh happily in rememberance, but this time… I remember Fishs Eddy! My mom and I used to go in there all the time together when I was a kid!

    Thank you so much for bringing back such a happy memory!

  8. I LOVE Fishs Eddy! I have the 212 collection of dishes, which all match… however, I operate under the same mis-match way of thinking when it comes to my wine glasses. I have all different colors/shapes/sizes. This keeps it interesting at parties, and there is absolutely NO need for those tacky wine glass charms!


    House of Jules

  9. I LOVE Fishs Eddy! I have the 212 collection of dishes, which all match… however, I operate under the same mis-match way of thinking when it comes to my wine glasses. I have all different colors/shapes/sizes. This keeps it interesting at parties, and there is absolutely NO need for those tacky wine glass charms!


    House of Jules

  10. Its not just America who love your plates!!! I love them to…particularly the UGLY one…and I live in England!If only we had a fishy wishy Eddies or Eddie the fish near by I would invest in an ugly plate too!

  11. I’m sorry but the dad plate is totally hideous. How can you say that the ugly plate is uglier than the dad plate?!

  12. Ok, so I am a long time blog-stalker. I read every post, but have never made the jump from google reader over to the page to make a comment. However, after reading this post I did not even hesitate. I read this at work and when I bust out laughing, the hedgehogs all stuck their heads up over the edge of my cube to see what was so funny. I quickly clicked over to something work-related and told a funny joke (ok, it wasn’t really that funny).

    Anyway, I hope to be one of those people who someday eats a meal off of your quirky and idiosyncratic plates. If I can choose, I would like the “I Don’t Really Get It” plate – because even though you don’t get it, I love it, and I think food would look amazing on it. Maybe one day we will meet, and I can taste a delicious morsel from the face of the I Don’t Really Get It plate. Until then, best of luck, and keep up the good work!

  13. I gotta go to this place and get me some ugly plates myself. This entry was hilarious!

    also, I’m a virgin.

  14. I have a huge collection of mismatched, er, I mean quirky and idiosycratic cocktail glasses. It allows me to window shop at neat and expensive stores, and still get something…after browsing, I hit the clearance shelf and pick up a little something for a few bucks. Love ’em

  15. Golf? I play golf! I wanna eat off of your golf plate! (Actually, I mostly just want to come hang out with you and Craig in NYC…) :oP

  16. holy cow. your plates are hilarious and awesome! Plates are my newest obsession…ever since the issue of Martha Stewart Living a couple months ago where they featured a dessert plate collection. Being the thrift-store junkie I am, I’ve been buying the heck out of interesting little plates since. My sweetheart worries that I’m gonna turn into the guy from this one episode of Kitchen Nightmares (the BBC version, of course!) that hoards plates of all kinds wrapped in plastic wrap and tucked into any nook or cranny he can find.

    I wonder what he’ll think when, inspired by you, I start naming my plates…

  17. Min totally took the words right out of my mouth. For argument’s sake, I’ll say that it’s Uranus and it’s moons.

    Bet ya didn’t know Uranus had rings too, huh? Yea, I went there.

  18. Fish’s Eddy is one place you don’t want to go when you have the shakes from a hangover. Trust me!

    Very funny post. I too belong to the no-match plates family but mine are from the now-gone Ceramica.

  19. Great selection! And so much more entertaining than buying a matched set. You can dine off this story for years, literally!

    I’m partial to that virginal plate (which I think says less about me than about why you chose to call it that). I don’t think I’d want a whole set, but you’re right, it would show off a salad magnificently.

  20. love the plates. also, my friend just told me how she has been slowly collecting her passover plates over the years. each year, she buys a bunch of plates at thrift shops, and then the assembled guests vote for a “plate of the year” which is the one plate she keeps each year. So, after many years she will have a collection which will be her passover plates. I love the idea, and SO want to replace my ugly, white , cracked ikea plates with some quirky, idiosyncratic ones.

  21. The “I don’t get it” plate is by far the coolest, but who taught you how to set a table? The knife goes on the RIGHT! Sheeze.

  22. I’ll tell you this much: one of the things I’m most looking forward to about graduating and getting a real job, is finally getting rid of my ikea plates.

    I also like the ugly plate best.

  23. Wow…you do know you’re totally going to have to serve someone food on the ugly plate…you’re going to offend people left and right just by serving them dinner! Way to go.

  24. I LOVE Fish Eddy’s. The plates are quirky and very durable. The ugly plate will be with you for-EVA!

    BTW, that virgin flower is actually called a Bird of Paradise. You see it at all tropical places, unlike the tropical island of Manhattan.

    Your plates look fantastic on the table together. Individually? not so much. ;-)

  25. A Big Fan of the AG

    Being the party girl that I am, I would have to eat off the fiesta plate. Hopefully the meal would consist of pork tamales, frijoles, arroz and a big margarita with rock salt on the rim of the glass. Hold the triple sec, no sunrise effect needed for me!

  26. Wow, I have to agree with Kim. Your table scape is so impressive it took me a minute to recognize it as your apartment. Very professionally styled.

    Fish’s Eddy is great. Brandon & Amy got us an awesome set of Republican & Democrat coffee mugs from there for Christmas this year.

  27. OMG I’m peeing myself over here. You crazy.

    Seriously, I think the plates are perfect together on the table. And remind me to never accept a dinner invitation at your place. I fear the ugly plate.

  28. I love the bird of paradise flower plate. Like I’m obsessed with it. Like I stared at it drooling with my mouth hanging open and heart burning with jealousy obsessed with it. As your dinner guest I think I’d get stuck with the ugly plate. Because beautiful insides people often have ugly moments.

    I have two whole complete sets of dinnerware (one is “antique” china from the 70’s- trust me- it’s delicious, and the other is the most adorable anime-esque floral) luckily both are huge and have large white centers in the plates. Then I have another totally mismatched set. We aren’t hurting for plates that’s for sure.

    I read your descriptions out loud to the hubby and he is still on the floor convulsing with laughter.

  29. You should host an annual “plate trade” where your foodie/blogger friends bring in a mix-matched plate that they don’t want anymore and people can exchange with each other! And you’d have to bring the plate with food on it, so it can be a little potluck at the same time. Genius!

  30. You should host an annual “plate trade” where your foodie/blogger friends bring in a mix-matched plate that they don’t want anymore and people can exchange with each other! And you’d have to bring the plate with food on it, so it can be a little potluck at the same time. Genius!

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