The waiter recommends the pork chop. "Many people argue that it is
the best pork chop in the world," he says. "I'll give you a few
As he disappears, I turn to my wife. "The best pork chop in the
Before replying, Jessica, as if to properly consider the matter,
sips her cocktail. She is drinking some colorful thing with a name
that has more than one syllable. Women, I've noticed, are drawn to
multisyllabic drinks. Cosmopolitans. Margaritas. Men prefer
one-syllable drinks. Beer. Scotch. And they prefer it old, like
they prefer their shoes, and brown, like their furniture.
"How good can a pork chop be?" she wonders.
I draw on my middle-school-aged brown liquid.
Lately I have found that eating at a nice restaurant has become
extremely complicated. Waiters don't just tell you the specials or
answer questions. They like to regale you with the pedigree of the
ingredients and remind you how lucky you are that you have come to
this establishment this evening, where the chef is justly famous
and the restaurant is remarkable.
This particular restaurant is owned by a celebrity TV chef. We are
visiting from out of town and sought it out after a local chowhound
recommended it. "The best restaurant in town," she'd raved.
So here we are, at a hotshot's fancy restaurant, thinking about
ordering a pork chop.
Now, I like pork chops as much as the next guy. But, I mean, come
on, it's a pork chop. I don't care how well traveled it is. And
this was a well-traveled pork chop. Our waiter recited its
ancestral journey from Europe to North America and over to Asia.
He also elaborated, with puffed-out pride, about the other dishes
as well. The duck, he said, was smoked for three full days. This, I
know, was meant to seem impressive. But three days? Isn't that just
showing off? My duck smokes longer than your duck? It is a duck,
after all. A small little bird. A wildebeest, I could see. But a
duck? Even though the poor little guy was already expired, it
seemed like a cruel and unusual thing to do to it.