Let me begin this story with some scene-setting. I am 5'2", 117 pounds. I am not someone that you look at and think, I bet she can pack away the food. Today, however, I was Takeru Kobayashi.
We're pretty much the same person.
So, I'm not working at all this week. I've had the opportunity to do so, but I just said fuck it and decided to call my life "vacation" instead. Which means every day I hang out with friends and either go out to lunch or dinner. I've managed to spend more when I'm not working than when I am. I also had some grand plans for the week (visiting friends out of state, power levelling on WoW, finishing the godforsaken curtains) that never came to fruition, as I chose instead to be incapable of getting out of bed, reading there for a while, falling back asleep, and eventually getting up when I was too hungry or had to go to the bathroom too much to ignore. Then, it's time to move to the couch. For 6 hours. Where I experience such wonders as staring at Facebook, watching Intervention on Netflix, knitting and then frogging a sweater sleeve, and texting furiously to plan human interaction. Strangely, this has been amazingly satisfying. The sheer fact that I can do something before 9:30 pm, or have 15 minutes to walk to the bank (not that I actually did) is an amazing and liberating change.
Last night, while watching Big Fan on Netflix, I became consumed with needing Chinese food. I wasn't actually hungry, though, and it was like 8:30 pm. I opted to table the desire. But soon, it would be on.
I have to work 6-11 tonight, so getting people together for dinner was out. I could try for tomorrow. But fuck it. I want food now. So I walked up to Pom's Thai Taste, which is not Chinese food, but whatever.
It's always slightly nerve-inducing to eat alone at a restaurant, but it's more annoying to try to coerce a friend into finding a mutually agreeable time to go out to eat, coordinate where and when and how to get there, make conversation, and then go through the "oh, I only brought a card and you only brought a $50 bill" check splitting nonsense, when you just want to eat. And eat I did.
The first order of business was seaweed salad. Anytime I'm at any sort of vaguely Japanese restaurant, I must eat a seaweed salad. It's such a given that I don't really factor it into the final total or the amount of food I'll eat. I'm here, I'm eating a seaweed salad, these are the facts. Of course, there's also nothing more terrifying than an Asian restaurant menu, particularly if they have a sushi bar, because there are FOUR HUNDRED THINGS on the menu. And you don't want to stick to your comfort zone, what with the four hundred things and all, but you also need a week and a half to read through it all. And because I am the personification of an anxiety disorder, I can't make decisions. If someone suggests a restaurant I haven't been to, I have to sneakily get online and look for their menu. I don't even know why. I just have to. So at least the seaweed salad is a given. Now I just need to form a meal.
Okay. Sushi restaurant. I need sushi. Spicy crunchy tuna is always a given. But there's so much sushi here. I need to expand. I could try this. Or that. Or this. There's all these noodle dishes, too. And appetizers. I could skip the sushi. But I really want sushi. But 6 pieces of sushi and a seaweed salad isn't much of a lunch.
"Godzilla roll," which, disappointingly, did not contain Godzilla.
Sesame noodle dish, with chicken and "shrimps."
In the words of Jay-Z, you are now tuned into the motherfuckin' greatest.
The waiter comes to take my order. I tell him I'll start with a seaweed salad, which at this point, Portland Asian restaurants should just start readying when they see me. And then I tell him I'll have the Godzilla roll. At which point he says very good and takes my menu away.
I wasn't done.
I start to wonder... perhaps this is enough food. This is lunchtime, after all. When normal people eat less. And I'm not dying of starvation. But I came here to gorge. And gorge I shall.
I caught the waiter's attention when he came around again and asked him for the sesame noodle. For here? Yes, for here. Because I'm about to go all Man Vs. Food on this place.
Usually, when you order a seaweed salad, it's the size of a coaster, just enough to get you started, not enough to be a legitimate appetizer on its own. Instead, I received a bucket of seaweed. This was when I began to suspect I may be in over my head. The waiter again asks if I want the noodles for here. In for a penny, in for a pound. Hell yes, for here.
My bucket of seaweed was excellent, and as an added bonus, very confusing to the old women sitting near me. "WHAT are you eating?" The ocean, bitches.
The Godzilla roll arrived soon after. And this is when I realized why my menu was taken away. All the sushi I've eaten lately is from grocery stores and each roll is the size of a quarter. Of course I can put away 6 of those in a minute. Any asshole can. But restaurant sushi is different. According to Pom's menu, the Godzilla roll is "White fish, and yellow tail roll (Seaweed outside), lightly Tempura style. Topped with crab stick salad and hot sauce." They don't mention the tiny orange balls. And that is for a reason. But the sushi is delicious. Oh holy crap. I chose wisely. But between all this sushi and seaweed, I could probably be comfortable and good. But there is still sesame noodle. YES FOR HERE. Bring it the fuck on.
At this point, my table is covered in plates and tiny dishes and sauces, to the point that there's no way I'm going to fit ROUND THREE on the table. I manage to condense down to one plate, only slightly covering myself in a variety of things from the ocean. I goddamn inhale the sushi. And I get to thinking. Tiny unidentified orange balls on top of my raw fish in an Asian restaurant. I am eating fish eggs. Strangely, this does not bother me, it merely enhances the experience. Hell yeah, I'm eating a fish egg. Why the hell not.
Sesame Noodle arrives. At this point, the staff is coming by to make bizarre comments like "you skip breakfast!" It is at this point that I begin to realize... I have terrified this restaurant with my gargantuan hunger. For I am a beast, a beast that demands the ocean be drained to satiate my mighty, mighty appetite. Yes, I could have stopped before this. But I demand to see things through to completion. And I shall complete this meal.
A woman arrives with a paper bag and a take out box. "I know you need this." Oh hell lady. Now it's a challenge. Now I have to eat all this, because I'm one of those assholes that when they're told they can't do something, must. And then I think about it rationally. I could stop. I could bring this to work tonight. I could have a nice dinner. There's a box already here for me. But oh my God, it's such a tiny box. How will I ever fit all these noodles in it? What the hell am I supposed to do with such a tiny box? And why would I crap out with such a tiny little amount of food left? Now the pressure's on. This tiny box is just here as a taunt.
I finally brought this afternoon to its inevitable conclusion and opted for "only a moderate amount of pain and a nice dinner" instead of "unspeakable pain to prove a point and leftover soup from 2 days ago for dinner." I left a $7 tip on a $25 check because of the terror I wrought upon the kitchen. She is but one tiny girl... but wants food for three people?! Alert the authorities; there is a monster afoot.
In the words of Ice Cube, today was a good day.