D and I decided to grab a bite out for dinner tonight. Nothing special, we just went to a little pub in our neighbourhood. We like going out for dinner. We get to sit down and talk, just the two of us. It’s nice.
When I was younger I wasn’t a very adventurous eater. I liked to stick with what was working, like a big juicy cheeseburger or a comforting piece of shepherd’s pie. But I’ve grown up a lot since then. I try things now, you know. We went out to a fancy dinner earlier this week to celebrate D’s birthday and I had this amazingly creamy lobster and crab soup followed by a coronary inducing strip loin and duck fat frites. It was the meal that launched a thousand puddles of drool. I wouldn’t have eaten any of that stuff when I was a kid. I would have turned up my nose immediately, and I would have stuck by my guns no matter how delicious the morsel in question turned out to be. “Duck fat frites? What the fuck are you even talking about? Oh, so they’re just fancy french fries? Yeah, I still hate that”, would have been my take on it back then. But I’ve since learned that trying new things won’t actually kill you dead on the spot. And it’s been great. I fucking love trying new shit all the time now.
An extension of that growth, that newly discovered joy of trying, is that I also try not to order the same old familiar stuff at places. If we’re going somewhere that we’ve been before I try to bounce around the menu, ordering something I haven’t had at that particular place before. I’ve seen people get stuck in that rut of ordering the same damn thing from the same damn place all the time. It’s tiresome. I don’t want to be tiresome, I want to live every moment like it’s a fantastic new adventure. Especially when it comes to my culinary exploits. I’ve already wasted so much of my precious time turning my nose up, and I don’t want to waste a minute more.
So D and I met up after work and made our way over to Scruffy Murphy’s Irish Pub for dinner. I scanned the menu, trying to avoid the delicious looking same old same old land-mines on every page. Chicken Pot Pie, yummy but been there done that girlfriend. Fish ‘n’ Chips, another favourite of mine but it’s always the same no matter where you are. Club Sandwich, pffft more like Club Boring Sandwich. Then something wonderful caught my eye under the Burgers ‘n’ Sandwiches heading: Fish Taco. I like fish tacos, I’ve had them at other places a time or two before. But they’re not something I order all the time. Maybe on a hot, sticky summer afternoon when I feel like an ice-cold beer and a nibble. Fish tacos can really hit the spot under the right circumstances. It was just another blah January night, dark and cold. But a couple of fish tacos might be just the ticket to fight the blahness of this January night.
There was just one thing, though. It was listed on the menu as Fish Taco, no lowercase “s” neatly tacked onto the end. I wondered aloud to D if maybe that meant it would be one enormous piece of fish in a tortilla. He assured me that it was probably just a typo, a huge piece of fish in a tortilla would be ridiculous. Nobody would ever order it, he said. It’s not logical, he added for good measure. I thought about double-checking with the server first, just to be sure, but then D’s reasoning won me over in the end. Surely he was right. One huge piece of fish all bundled into a tortilla would be madness. It’s definitely going to be a tidy little plate with two, maybe three, fish tacos all in a row.
And then this happened:
One enormous fucking fish taco was placed in front of me.
D and I were floored. I sat there looking at him, mouth agape and momentarily stunned. How could this be? It was supposed to be illogical and ridiculous, and now it’s somehow become a terrifying reality. I really didn’t even know where to begin. When I turned it around to peek at the formidable fishy foe within it was like looking into a chasm.
That wasn’t a typo on the menu at all. It was a completely accurate description of the meal that I received. I got exactly what I’d ordered alright, Fish Taco.
So I did the best I could, I really did. But I hadn’t been planning on stuffing my face, I wasn’t overly hungry to begin with. I’d just wanted something easily manageable that I could nibble. And don’t get me wrong, it was a goddamned delicious fish taco. The crispy filet of haddock was packed into the tortilla with generous helpings of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and tangy chipotle mayo sauce to join it on its journey down my gullet.
But I just couldn’t make it all disappear.
I had to concede defeat to the mighty Fish Taco, for I had been bested.
It had the upper hand on my appetite and the element of surprise tucked into its roomy back pocket, but I’d like to think I gave it some hell on the way down. Maybe someday I’ll go back, order it again, and prove myself a worthy adversary. But for now, I’m going to shoot some Pepto to soothe my aching, overstuffed tummy and keep my distance while I lick my wounds.
We’ll meet again Fish Taco, I’m sure of it. And next time I’ll be ready for you.