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Douchebags at Dinner
February 17th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

Let me make it clear that I’ve only been eating at gourmet, celebrity-cheffed, critically-beloved restaurants for a couple of years now. Before I met my boyfriend, I enjoyed a lot of macaroni and cheese at home, and the most extravagant restaurant item I allowed myself to splurge on was the $14 guacamole at Rosa Mexicano.

So what I’m saying is–I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, really. But on Saturday night, my boyfriend and I were at Colicchio & Sons enjoying a lavish dinner when the table next to us was seated with douchebags. We were able to immediately recognize them as douchebags by the way two of them sat down, spread their knees about eight feet apart, and put their elbows up on the back of their booth while they surveyed the place. I wasn’t able to see the legs of the third one, and his chair wouldn’t allow him to put his elbows up on its back, but I knew he was a douchebag by association.

The first thing out of the mouth of the one next to me upon looking at the menu was, “Oh, sweetbreads. I love sweetbreads.” First of all, NO. No, you don’t. Nobody loves sweetbreads. They are cow pancreas, and they are not delicious. And second of all, you are a douchebag.

The thing is–I wouldn’t say I dislike sweetbreads. I think they’re interesting. I think it’s interesting that chefs are using them, and I think it’s interesting that we pay money for them, and I think it’s interesting that a really good chef can make them not-gross enough that we don’t feel stupid paying money for them.

But you know that’s not what this guy meant. What he meant was, “I’m trying to impress you by pretending I have some super-advanced palate that picks up the sweet delicate nuances of organ meats.” I hate eating next to people who are there to enjoy their status more than the food.

I know that once you get to a certain price point, the only people who can afford to eat at those restaurants are douchebags. (Except for my boyfriend, who worked hard and got his PhD and deserves what he has.) Everyone else is mostly finance types, you know, who got bachelor’s degrees and got to work making $100k their first year. And I know that a big part of being a douchebag is keeping up with and outdoing your douchebaggy friends. But still.

I expect to feel out of place at almost every restaurant we go to, but these guys looked at us so hard while I took pictures of my food and then passed my camera across the table to my boyfriend so he could take pictures of his for me. And then–AND THEN

They had the audacity to order the gnocchi. And they pronounced it NO-key. Please do not judge me for being a food blogger and then kill simple Italian pronunciations, thanks. I know how to pronounce orecchiette, too, ya jerks.

When we left the restaurant, I immediately went on a tirade about how much I hate it when fellow diners make me feel stupid about how much I’m enjoying a meal, especially when they’re cultureless a-holes. I said, “I know I’m new money, too, but . . .,” and my boyfriend said, “The worst part is that you’re snobby new money.”


26 Responses  
  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    February 17th, 20101:17 pmat

    I managed to find a picture of them :P
    http://i.imgur.com/eeYwE.jpg

    Hilarious post by the way. Anything else funny overheard from their table over the course of your dinner?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      February 17th, 20103:13 pmat

      I wish! It’s almost grosser when they turn out to be douchebags in normal guys’ clothing. At least you know what you’re getting with the Staten Island/Jersey boys.

      I don’t remember anything else! Clearly the one glass of wine I had did its work.

      • Jack writes:
        February 18th, 201010:25 amat

        Hey! Leave us Staten Island boys out of it!

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          February 18th, 20101:29 pmat

          You’re excluded due to your Jewfro.

          I really appreciated your douche & turd link yesterday, by the way.

  • Bruce writes:
    February 17th, 20102:23 pmat

    I just want to know exactly what’s wrong with spreading one’s knees. Some of my most memorable moments have been shared with persons who were willing to spread their knees.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      February 17th, 20103:13 pmat

      Were they . . . men?

      • Bruce writes:
        February 17th, 20104:25 pmat

        Remember, I’m talking from Bible Belt Ohio, so what do you think?

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          February 17th, 20105:02 pmat

          Exactly! Men spreading their knees are stupid and gross. I could write an entire blog about guys who take up two subway seats with their supposed need to give their thighs some time apart.

          • Bruce writes:
            February 17th, 20105:16 pmat

            If you write that blog, please remember the cooling effect on sweaty places that can be cured only by knee-spreading. Also, please report whether or not Kamran never/occasionally/often spreads. You may have a winner blog-wise, not to mention Kamran-wise.

            • Tracey writes:
              February 18th, 201012:16 amat

              Please also remember that the “cooling effect” on your “sweaty places” might also be inconsiderateness to everyone around you.

  • Bruce writes:
    February 18th, 20108:41 amat

    Now, thanks to Tracey, your gnocchi snobbery has become a life-altering essay. She suggests that the spreading of knees might be inconsiderateness, meaning, I think, smelly. It raises questions: how far must the knees be parted to be judged inconsiderate? Or, in fact, is any apartness allowed? Or is it relative – i.e., is a two-inch spread on the same level as a 10? Nor will I ever sit in the presence of others without checking my knee closure, nor to resist checking theirs. But I refuse to give it the smell test, so any guidance from you or Tracey will be appreciated.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      February 18th, 20101:28 pmat

      I’ve known Tracey almost my entire life, and I’ve never known her to smell crotches, so I think she’s talking purely spread here. I don’t mind a little spread, and I think no spread is unnatural for most people, if not everyone. BUT. When your spread starts to invade other people’s space, it’s a problem. Especially on the subway, when your spread causes me to have to clamp my knees tightly together to avoid letting you touch me, which I KNOW you like to do.

      I’ve considered it, and I think you can safely spread as far as you need to so that your knees are in the same planes as the sides of your hips. Does that make sense and seem reasonable?

      • Bruce writes:
        February 18th, 20101:49 pmat

        It seems reasonable, but not specific enough in terms of inches. Anyway, you’ve revealed yourself as a knee-spreader and that disqualifies you as a problem-solver and a commenter on knee-spreaders.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    February 18th, 201010:15 amat

    See, this is the kind of thing that would have me pissed off for DAYS.

    You know what would’ve been REALLY snobby new money?

    If you’d used the phrase “nouveau riche” instead of “new money.”

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      February 18th, 20101:22 pmat

      Dammit, isn’t that what spaghedeity said on my LJ, too? You two are such old school elite, and I’m new money and new snob.

  • nat @book, line, and sinker writes:
    February 21st, 20102:07 pmat

    are you kidding me? sweetbreads is code for cow organs?!?!?!?!?!?!?! who thinks up this stuff? why is eating organ meat ever a good idea?

    as for the tools next to you…urk. hate them and wasn’t even there. you KNOW they aren’t even native new yorkers and are just pretending to be uber-chic and city-wise. vomit.

    i don’t know what i hate worse: organ meat or douchebags. maybe you can do a poll.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 1st, 20109:16 amat

      Organ meat is super-flavorful and can have a really cool texture if you can get past what it is. Kamran had some chicken liver the other night that has him totally craving organ meats, but I think he’s in the minority.

      Now I really wish I would’ve taken you somewhere and ordered you some battered-and-fried sweetbreads without telling you what they are so you could eat them without bias.

  • Kim writes:
    February 23rd, 201010:23 amat

    Ewwwwww new money leg spreaders.

    Have you perfected your snobby bitchface? They never know how to handle it.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 1st, 20109:22 amat

      I don’t think I could do a snobby bitchface even if I tried. I have such a corn-fed face with big, round features, you know? I need a nose that could cut a bitch.

  • David writes:
    February 28th, 20109:31 pmat

    While I understand the disdain for people that are douchey, I think your little rant is just a bit douchey as well. Just because you don’t like organ meats does not mean that others who do are doing it to seem cultured. Sweetbreads quite simply are delicious, as are most tongues, brains, bone marrow, gizzards, skin and other assorted bits. I mean if someone writes a food blog they should be a bit more open to things other than what they grew up with.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 1st, 20109:28 amat

      Haha, thanks for calling me out on being a douche myself, because I totally am.

      I do have an extremely open mind about trying things, though, as you’ll see if you check out some of my other reviews. Growing up with a limited array of foods on my plate has made NYC really exciting, since so many tastes are new to me. The only thing on your list that I haven’t tried yet is brain, and I really did like all of the other foods.

      I do think people can genuinely like sweetbreads (though I’m still not sure I buy your “delicious”, but I’m about 99.9% sure that these guys didn’t.

      • David writes:
        March 2nd, 20101:38 pmat

        You are probably right from the way you described those guys that they were not being truthful. Though if you caught me after work in my “uniform” (suit) you could have mistaken me for the same thing. Sweetbreads are not a thing I grew up with but are delicious and are one of my favourite animal parts. I did grow up with tongue and other heady bits which I suppose led me to try everything else. I have had people tell me before that I am just eating these foods to be weird but that really is not the case as I actually like most offal and genuinely prefer it to most muscle meats. I will admit to finding it amusing to watch people’s faces as I pop poultry testicles into my mouth.

        From this blog I can tell you truly love food, so make sure you keep trying things. Sometimes it also takes a few visits to an item before it clicks and you can truly enjoy it. Sea Urchin gonads were like that for me and now I am addicted.

        Hope I wasn’t too harsh on you, at least I refrained from commenting on your chain pizza post ;)

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          March 3rd, 20103:46 pmat

          Where did you grow up that you were being fed all of this stuff as a kid? I knew of exactly one restaurant in Ohio that served offal, and it was this Mexican dive in a part of town no one went to.

          What is it that makes you like all the weird parts more than muscle? The intense flavor? The creamy yet rubbery texture? My boyfriend’s on a major chicken livers kick for those two reasons, so I guuuuuuess I believe that you could like them, too.

          I’ve only had uni once, and it was an awful experience just because it wasn’t fresh, but I do know I have to try it again since all sorts of people seem to love it. Plus, it was a couple of years ago, and I barely remember it, so it doesn’t seem as horrible now.

          I liked being called out, I admit, and you can say anything you want about my love for chain pizza, because I’m a Pizza Hutter for LIFE.

          • David writes:
            March 3rd, 20107:29 pmat

            I grew up in NY with one of the rare mothers who cooked. She was a first generation American(Greek) who did not give up all of the good bits like others. Between her and my father I was eating offal galore as a child though my brother and sister rejected these items. When a chicken was roasted I would only eat the liver, heart, gizzard and skin then eventually dark meat. It was only as an adult that I could stand to eat white meat. On rare occasions she would roast lamb heads in the oven revealing all sorts of good parts, especially the tongue. This I suppose led my parents to enjoy tongue sandwiches at the Jewish deli despite our non Jewishness. Because of a child hood like this, i tend to seek out things that are new to me.

            As to why they are good, well just for the reasons you mentioned. First off the different parts taste different and have wondering various textures. I happen to like the feel of rubbery chewy cartilage and gizzards and of the creaminess of liver. A good cabeza taco with all its heady parts has a fatty unctuous profile that makes it one of my favorites.

            As a NYer I never ate Pizza Hut until college and found it utterly revolting. Sugary sauce thats more like catsup on top of poorly made bread with a rubbery off tasting cheese, blech. To each their own.

            • plumpdumpling writes:
              March 16th, 201011:36 amat

              I know a lot of people with non-American mothers who used to hate all of the funny bits. (I especially hear complaints of the smell of tripe wafting from the kitchen.) Now, of course, all of these same people are begging their moms to make those dishes. I just love the idea of an entire lamb head in your oven as a kid. I come from a farming family, and we always had a freezer full of tongue from our own butchered cows, but my dad would give it away to friends. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally tasted it and realized we should’ve been popping that stuff on the grill.

              Anyway, I’m glad that people have different experiences, and I’m glad that I’ve become more open to trying unusual foods in the last few years, and I wish you could leave mean comments to my friends in Ohio to get them to experiment a little, too.

  • David writes:
    March 3rd, 20107:30 pmat

    By the way, try Uni at one of the better Sushi joints in town. It should be nutty and slightly sweet with the essence of the ocean.


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