About ten years ago when I was crashing full-time at my parent’s place my friend Stephen and I would drive downtown for the weekend jams. Of course, by weekend jams I mean chicken finger dinners at local pubs, birthday dinners at busy restaurants, and occasional nights full of sweaty dancing and street meat.
Back then a few of our friends loved Indian food so every few weeks we’d end up at a samosa-filled joint filled with pillowy soft naans and steaming curries that absorbed into all of our clothes. Whenever we ate there Stephen would get something called Murg Mirch Tikka, which ended up just being three massive hunks of red sizzling chicken. He would go crazy for the stuff, taking another order to go and stashing it in his trunk for the drive home. Sure, it was delicious, but I can’t explain his torrid love affair except to say that it sure is great when anything is served to you sizzling or on fire at a restaurant:
1. Chicken fajitas. I was always a sucker for the fajitas (pronounced “fa-jai-tas”) while my friend Stephen insisted they were just a way the kitchen to outsource labor costs. “I came here to eat,” he’d say, shoveling a greasy nacho into a pool of watery salsa. “Not spend half my time building my dinner.” Sure, the man had a point, but Stephen’s fat burrito wasn’t saying much while I enjoyed my sexy sizzling platter.
2. Saganaki at a Greek restaurant. Okay, have you had this before? It’s a hot pan of extremely salty cheese that’s lit on fire just before it’s served to you. The staff circles around and yells “Opa!” before dropping this appetizer in front of you and your friends. Perfect for anyone hoping to destroy their appetite by eating a pound of cheese.
3. Rice Krispies at a motel buffet. You’ve hit rock bottom if you count talking cereal, though I suppose it does beat the watered down orange drink, shiny rock-hard muffins, and imitation brand Froot Loops at the rest of the buffet.
4. Korean grilling. Okay, admittedly the thin strips of beef at a Korean Grill restaurant are served to you raw, but they sure do get sizzling when you toss them in that grill in the middle of your table. Cook ’em up, eat ’em up, go home happy.
5. Dessert on fire. Now I’ve never had this but I’ve heard epic tales of banana flambe and some rum-soaked cake lit on fire and brought to the table. Best enjoyed after a dinner of saganaki, chicken fajitas, and flaming Sambuca shots.
Yes, facts are facts, everybody: when something’s served sizzling or on fire at a restaurant it’s a beautiful moment. Conversation stops, jaws drop, and our entire body starts amping up for the first bite.
Whoa, here’s a first: We were just told that due to demand the entire print run of The 2012 Calendar of Awesome has sold out. Now only available online here.