Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Down With Stupid Menu Items

We've already established that ordering drinks at a bar can be quite the ordeal. You have to decide what to get, catch the bartender's attention, open or close the tab, leave a tip, etc. But at least if you're ordering a rum and coke or a Guiness, you can look the bartender in the eye and not feel like a total fool as you order. What happens if your favorite drink just happens to be a Sex on the Beach? Then every time you go to the bar, you have to announce to the bartender, and whoever else is in earshot, that you'd like to have Sex on the Beach. "The drink, not the act," you'll add with a chuckle.

One of the first times I went out to a real bar was at a girly piano bar shortly after my 21st birthday. A friend and I decided to order "shots" the whole night, because we were letting loose and living it up. We were basically Taylor Swift at age 22, having the time of our lives, or having as good of a time as can be had when a middle aged man is playing "Don't Stop Believing" on the piano behind you.

 Friend's photo


We ordered all the shots with the dirtiest, filthiest, most embarrassing names. What did we care? We were young and carefree. If anyone's ears should turn pink, it was the bartender, not us. We ordered Blow Jobs, Buttery Nipples, Dirty Girl Scouts, Red Headed Sluts, and more. Apparently there's a shot called a "Long, Slow, Comfortable Screw Up Against a Wall," which I definitely would have ordered if I'd known at the time.

Ordering drinks with stupid names is fun when you're having a tipsy girls night at a piano bar. But what if you're having dinner or a respectable night out and just want to order one or two drinks, nothing crazy, and the theme restaurant's menu is covered with "quirky" drink names like Tijuana Tea Tickler? How can you look your waiter in the yes and say, with a straight face, "I'll have a garden salad with dressing on the side, and a Tijuana Tea Tickler, please"?

I ordered a Screaming Orgasmatini once at a martini bar. It was one of those respectable nights out where you get one, maybe two, drinks, and everyone talks civilly about their careers before heading home early. Granted, I didn't have to order such a salacious drink, but it sounded delicious, and almost everything on the menu had an embarrassing name. When the waiter came by to get our drink orders, I was like "I'll have a screaming orgasm...uh...tini...please." Maybe these types of drinks, like shots of whiskey, are best consumed when you've already had a few and lost all semblance of inhibitions/taste buds.

 Friend's photo
This was called a "Kiss Me Doctor."

The worst is having to order an embarrassing food item. There's a place by Chris's old house that offers a Big Boob and a Fat Boob. I'm not sure what the boobs even are. Assuming they're just giant hamburgers, what are you supposed to do if you go there craving a giant hamburger? Your options are: 1) Order something else and deny your craving in favor of a less embarrassing name, 2) Just call it a hamburger instead, making yourself look like an awkward fun-hater, or 3) Go ahead and confidently order the Fat Boob like a P.I.M.P. Personally, I am not a P.I.M.P., so I'd probably go with option 2.

Ethnic restaurants often have non-English menu items. If it's a Chinese or Thai place, I usually just point and grunt until the waiter understands what I want. I think that's why these restaurants usually have their entrees numbered. It's easier to say "I'll have a number 37" than "I'll have the Blah Mhuk Tod." There's no way I'd ever pronounce that correctly. I haven't been able to get in on America's love affair with Pho, because I am just not talented enough to say that word. Apparently it sounds something like "fuh," or like when you stop yourself mid-curse: "What the fuhhhhhh." But I've heard various pronunciations, including this perplexing video:

After I watched this video I was like "What the fuhhhhhh."

Mexican restaurants are a little trickier, because a lot of the food names have been Americanized. For instance, do I order a "buh-reed-o," or am I expected to roll my 'r' a little to show respect for Mexican culture? Would that be douchey? And if the vegetarian fajitas are called "Fajitas Vegetarianas," do I say that, or do I say "vegetarian fajita?"

And don't even get me started on French restaurants. The better your French accent is, the douchier you sound. Simultaneously, the worse your French accent is, the douchier you sound. You can't win. Chris and I went to a fancy French restaurant for Valentine's Day one year, and his attempts to order a "Phyllo Brique Niçoise" were just sad. "Can we have the Fye-low brick...thing?" And the waiter, who had just previously spoken to us in a Chicago accent, replied "Oh, you mean ze fee-lo breek nee-swahz? Très bien, monsieur. I'll get zat right away."

8 comments:

  1. I one time went to a Korean restaurant with obnoxious drink names, and we'd requested at the beginning that we wanted to have separate checks... so they were identifying us as our drink names. It's a lot of fun to be called the Kama Sutra all night by a waitress (no it's not).

    I was a big fan of yours on Weddingbee and am glad to see you still blogging!

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  2. Well as a chick who has lived in Arizona for most of my life, order the Mexican food as you would say it normal. Burrito w/o the rolled r. And vegetarian fajitas are fine LOL I actually think its funnier when people try to mimic the accent of whatever type of food their eating instead of just saying it how you would if you were at home talking to your husband.

    As far as the other stuff goes, I would pronounce Pho as, well, Fo. Because thats what it looks like to me LOL I don't care who laughs at me :) And I'm not adventurous enough to try French food.

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    1. I'm not even sure what Pho/Fo/Fuuuuhhh is. Maybe I should figure that out, in case it's something really disgusting, and then I won't have to learn how to pronounce it.

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    2. LOL honestly, I have no idea either. I usually stick to dishes I can pronounce because at least then I'll have an idea of what's in it.

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    3. Pho is actually really tasty, plus it's easily customizable. It's just glass noodles in broth, and it comes with a plate of sprouts and green things and stuff you can add to it. My college roommate used to drown hers in sriracha.

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  3. Hahaha I totally agree with the ethnic foods thing! It's a lose-lose situation—actually trying to pronounce it might make you come off like a tool. But not even attempting and just pointing just makes you look ignorant. Sigh.

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    1. I guess the only solution is to stick with grilled cheese every day!

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