Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The Chinese Buffet.
I had dinner at a Chinese All-U-You-Can-Eat buffet this evening.
So...it goes without saying that at the present, I don't think I will ever eat again. Ever.
The Chinese buffet.
It's like Disney World for...
Chinese buffets aren't at all like Disney World.
Sure there are crowds...and lines...and steam...and screaming children...and ice cream...
Chinese buffets are exactly like Disney World.
Chinese buffets are an interesting microcosm of the world around us. If you like people watching...go to the mall...a park...the beach. The last place you want to closely study people is at a buffet. Believe me.
It is not pretty.
It's like watching a show on Animal Planet. In 3-D. All that's missing is a Sir David Attenborough voice-over.
Let's face it.
Chinese buffets are not the prettiest restaurants. Interior design though is the last thing on most people's minds.
Good for the owners.
Throw some Chinese fans on up onto the walls and call it a day.
Score for Pier 1.
Bad for the owners of Chinese buffets?
They don't cater to the Weight Watchers crowd.
I have to imagine that when the owners of a buffet see people walk through their front doors wearing sweat pants, their hearts must sink a little.
Why did it have to be sweatpants?
The people who wear sweatpants who go to buffets are not ordinary diners. These people are eating machines and you'd better believe they're going to do some serious damage. These are the folks who take all-u-can-eat as a dare.
And let me add, while we're discussing buffet couture, a track suit is just sweatpants with a matching top. You're not fooling anybody, Flo Jo.
Want to impress us and add some credibility to your fashion choice? Run some laps around the steam tables as you pile up your plates. Just walk briskly from your table back to the egg drop soup and we'll be impressed.
How about picking a booth and not a table for nine?
I know. I know. You like to stretch your legs when you eat.
Bob, have you lost weight?
Just a few of the words you'll never hear at a buffet.
I'll never understand people who pile as much as they can on their little white plate.
I just want to shake them and shout "You do know you can go back as many times as you want..right?! There's really no need to play JENGA with those Spring rolls. Put some back! PUT SOME BACK RIGHT NOW!!"
I want to look into their eyes and ask "Do you know your beef and broccoli is sitting under your ambrosia salad which is sitting under your General Tso's chicken? Do you even care that your beef and broccoli is sitting under your ambrosia salad which is sitting under your General Tso's chicken?
I know they won't hear me though. They're in the trance. The buffet trance. They will stare blankly at me and then simply shuffle back to their table.
Their velour sweatpants sparking as their thighs rub together.
Have you ever noticed everything on those buffet steam tables smells the same. And a lot of it tastes the same too. Steam. Awesome for shirts. Bad for beef.
That was not a racist comment and if you took it as a racist comment, well, that just means you went there. You're the racist. So there.
I was just making the point that steam, popularly used in dry cleaning (and in case you didn't know-the NUMBER ONE thing in this country that people have dry-cleaned is shirts) is very bad for beef for prolonged periods of time.
Speaking of freshness and food quality...
The fried foods are never fresh. Ever. Don't wish for it. It's not happening.
Just like the end of those horrible Twilight movies.
Wait. We're getting word.
Apparently The Twilight series has in fact ended.
I'm calling an audible. New joke.
So...the fried foods are never fresh at a Chinese buffet. Ever.
Don't wish for it. It's not happening.
Just like the Rush Limbaugh jumping naked out of a cake during a surprise party for George Clooney.
I love me some fried appetizers. It's because I'm a Capricorn. So I've been told. I know those little Spring rolls and cream cheese wontons have been sitting there since I was in high school...you know it too...but I...you...we take one...okay two...alright three anyway.
The service is pretty much always the same at a Chinese buffet. Even though they can never remember what you ordered, and ask every single time they inquire if you want a refill, they bring your drink.
And they clear away your dirty plates. Never fast enough for my liking and it always seems like three or four pile up before they come back. You want to put some under the table but there's already a stack from the last people that were in your place.
Honestly, I can never tell if my server can speak English or not.
They smile. They say things very quietly. I just don't trust that they're not feigning not speaking English so they can eavesdrop on me.
And of course I do that thing.
You do it too.
I think they can't speak English so I speak to them in a louder voice. And I bow a little when I do it.
I know. I'm so ashamed.
Still we do the dance. They come by and clean the dirty plates away and I refuse to make eye contact with them. I guess its the shame.
DON'T LOOK AT ME!
I'M A PIG.
I have a few questions about Chinese buffets:
1. Was General Tso a real general or is that an honorary title like Captain Crunch?
2. What are those little things that look like mushrooms with glandular problems?
3. Dim sum? Does that translate to 'wrapped in sweaty Kleenex?' Because I don't know what's in those things, but the outside looks like a sweaty Kleenex.
4. Is there any hot white rice? Seriously, people. IS THERE ANY HOT WHITE RICE? ANYWHERE?!
5. Sushi is Japanese. Right? Just sayin.' I mean...we (non-Asian people) take heat for admitting that sometimes we (non-Asian people) get a little confused and don't know the difference between Chinese and Japanese...and then you pull that shit!
AND WHILE WE'RE ON THAT SUBJECT...
6. WHY IS THERE A MONGOLIAN GRILL in the Chinese buffet?
I mean...C'MON!!! Give us a fighting chance!
7. To the owners of these buffets...I have to ask: Why in the name of all that is holy would you put a self-serve ice cream machine in the dessert station? Just throw some spongecake and stale Girl Scout cookies down on a tray. People will eat them. It's a buffet. These aren't picky eaters we're talking about. If the last cream cheese wonton fell onto the floor, 5 people would pounce on it like a pack of hyenas on a wounded baby gazelle.
Self-serve icecream? Really? Why not just offer everyone I.V's?
8. The messages in fortune cookies. In total there's really only about 4 out there in circulation. Right?
9. Fortune Cookie Question 2: Those Chinese to English-'Learn To Speak Chinese'-translations on the other side of fortune...they don't really say what they say they say, do they? You're just fucking with us (non-Asian people) now, aren't you?
Sure. It says you're translating 'What time is is it?' from Chinese to English for us but what you're really teaching us to say is "Punch me. I've just pooped my shoes." Right?
It's okay. Don't say anything. I know. I know the truth.
This is more of a statement than a question: Dear owners of Chinese restaurants and buffets, When you describe the meal that is mu shu pork on your menus, with a huge-ass asterisk, please explain that the pancakes served with the meal are unlike the pancakes you enjoy at breakfast.
I can't begin to tell you how many childhood dinners out were ruined by this deception. Shame on you.
Going with along with that thought...
How about some wording on the Chinese mustard packet to explain that what you are about to put on your food isn't the weak ass American mustard we put on our hotdogs. THAT SHIT IS HOT!
Seriously! You're gonna kill someone!
I can't begin to tell you how many childhood dinners out were ruined by this deception. DOUBLE shame on you.
It needs to be said...
The mensroom at a buffet is the last place on Earth you ever want to be. Ever. Unfortunately, though, when Nature dials you up, sometimes you have to take the call.
Tonight was no exception. Normally you'd have to go to a petting zoo to hear the noises I heard and the odors I smelled this evening. I swear the man in the stall next to me was in labor. I don't know what he had and I don't want anyone to tell me.
Buffets have their place in the hierarchy of types of restaurants...and that place is somewhere just north of fast food and south of fine dining. There are good buffets. There are bad ones.
There isn't anything worse than a bad buffet.
Actually there is.
I just thought of it.
You know what's worse than a bad buffet? The idea that no one is bringing you the bad buffet food...you're getting up and serving yourself!
It's the worse kind of masochism!
Kind of like watching The Big Bang Theory.
My wife and I don't go to buffets all the time. Every now and then the wife finds a coupon. She gets a craving for crab legs and oysters and we go.
We put on our stretchy pants and we join the masses.
and that's 'Jody' with a 'y'
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