Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing an uncontrollable epidemic to the likes of which we’ve never seen before, and if we don’t do something about it, we could see a full-scale infestation that threatens to overtake the entire world.
No, I’m not talking about Ebola. I’m talking about tapas.
I spent last weekend in our nation’s great capital. I asked my girlfriend make our dining reservations since I had booked the hotel and, frankly, I would be just as satisfied if I ate all my meals at Chili’s. I’m a man who believes in big portions for low, low prices. You get more bang for your buck, and value is as important as taste.
When I sat down for my first meal in D.C., I was shocked to find that every food item placed in front of me was…tapas. Yes, tapas, the cuisine based on small-plate dishes so everyone can share and be happy and whatnot. Every restaurant we went to, one after the other–tapas, tapas, and more tapas. The District loves its freaking small-plate restaurants, and José Andrés is basically a god to those people. No wonder everyone is in ridiculously good shape in Washington. All they do is run and eat small-plate food. I think Ted Kennedy may have been the last fat guy in D.C., God rest his smutty soul.
I’m not a man who’s satisfied with small-plate food. I’m a man who loves to stuff his face with some kind of meat either in sandwich form with a side, or served on top of a plate of some form of rice. If there are vegetables, they’d better either be pickled, roasted, or fried, and when I get the bill, the damage that food has done to my body had better greatly outweigh the damage it has done to my wallet. I can rest easy knowing that at least one of them is safe. I am a cheap, fat fuck and I’m proud of it. I’m standing up to tapas once and for all, and I’m drawing a line in the sand, shouting my battle cry to the heavens: #SayNoToTapas. You should, too. Here’s why.
1. They’re Not Cheap
When I sat down to dinner last weekend at a high-end tapas restaurant that I will not name (but was definitely a Turkish, Lebanese, Greek fusion place owned by Mr. José Andrés–that’s way too many fusions in one, by the way) I looked over the menu, got to the entrees, and thought, “Hmm, these are pretty reasonably priced dishes. A fillet of steak for $15? Bully for me!” Then the waitress told us that they were small-plates, and you needed about four to six to equal an actual meal. So if the average dish was $11.50, that means your entrees are $69. Plus tax, drinks, an appetizer ON TOP of the appetizers you’re essentially already ordering to eat for dinner and dessert, or else, you guessed it, YOU’RE NOT GETTING LAID! You’re looking at a $100 meal at least, or else you’re going home with your hand.
At a less high-end, but still incredibly delicious restaurant like, oh, let’s say Chili’s, you can get a $20 dinner for two. This means you can get your choice of chips and guac, fried cheese, or Texas cheese fries AND a half-rack of baby back ribs with fries AND bacon, ranch, and chicken quesadillas! Or you could try the new chicken or pork carnitas fajitas! For just $20. She’ll be so impressed by your savviness, she’ll practically be begging for you to sexually disappoint her.
2. They Throw Off The Proper Flow Of A Meal
A proper meal goes like this. They pour you water. They bring you drinks. You order appetizers and entrees. They deliver the appetizers. You consume appetizers. They deliver the entrees. You consume entrees. They ask you if you want dessert. You either say yes or make some unfunny crack about how if you eat any more, you’ll burst. They pretend to laugh. You pay the bill and waddle your ass out of there. That’s how they do it.
With tapas, they bring the food out as it’s ready, so you could get brought a couscous dish you thought was good and have to eat that, then wait 20 minutes, and then after that, everything keeps coming out like a deluge of tasty, overpriced appetizers. If you wait for your chicken dish to come, your pilaf you wanted to enjoy with it will be cold. If a Chili’s manager ever found out that a waiter brought you your Santa Fe chicken quesadillas before your southwestern egg rolls, that person would no longer be employed at your friendly, neighborhood Chili’s. You just don’t screw with the flow, man.
3. You’re Never Satisfied
Maybe this is something that I should take up with a religious leader, police officer, or adult I trust, but when it comes to tapas, I can’t get no satisfaction, cause I try, and I try, and I try, and I try. Why? The food’s just too fucking small. Personally, when I dine out, I try to follow the Louis C.K. method of dining: “The meal isn’t over when I’m full, the meal is over when I hate myself.” I want to be rolled out of the restaurant in a damn wheelbarrow. I don’t want to leave thinking I could climb a mountain. How can I get to the state of food-based nirvana known as self-loathing if I can’t even get full? Frankly, when I go out to eat, I want to feel like I can’t move; I want skillet queso and salsa dripping out of my pores, lulling me into a food-coma from which there’s no escape, save for the morning diarrhea.
4. Stand Up For The Appetizer
Guys, the appetizer is quite possibly one of the best parts of any meal. I’ve even ordered meals consisting of JUST appetizers because they’re so damn delicious. Seriously, I went to my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood, didn’t see anything that jumped out at me on the menu, and just decided to eat all the appetizers they had. It was glorious. But if tapas are trying to turn main dishes into small-plate appetizers, what will become of the true appetizer? What will happen to mozzarella sticks, nachos, and loaded potato skins if restaurants take them off their menus for foie gras, various pâtés, and other shit I can’t pronounce? Someone has to step up for spinach and artichoke dip, bend over for buffalo bites, and save the southwestern egg rolls. Why choose one? Get all three with Chili’s triple dipper appetizer sampler! It’s the only way to look into the face of tapas tyranny and defend your right to eat appetizers. You’re like the John Adams of hors d’oeuvre.
5. Don’t Get It Twisted
At this point, some of you might be thinking that I’m a bit of a hypocrite: “Gee JayTas, haven’t you said in the past that you love Dim Sum, you fat, disgusting fuck?” And it’s true–I am a big fan of Dim Sum, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a style of Cantonese food prepared in small, bite-size portions, served to you already cooked on carts that are pushed around the restaurant. It is basically Chinese food brunch, small-plate style, and it is quite possibly my favorite meal. So what’s the difference between Dim Sum and tapas? They seem very similar, I’ll grant you that, with one key difference: Dim Sum is DIRT CHEAP. I can order about 15 small-plate dishes for less than $40. That level of gross food consumption would run you around $175 at a typical tapas place. Not even Chili’s can compete with prices of that magnitude.
6. No Leftovers
Here’s where tapas take the turn from innocent, harmless, small-portion food to a semi-legitimate health risk. If the food is so small and so cost-prohibitive, ordering more than you eat is pretty difficult to accomplish, so leftovers are damn near impossible to obtain. That means there’s nothing to put in your fridge for when you get drunk later that night, and when you stumble home into your fridge, instead of having something simple to heat up and eat (or even just eat cold) you’ll have to drunkenly try to make mac and cheese. And trust me, you’re gonna burn yourself silly. Or you’ll go to bed on an empty stomach, and with nothing to settle that tummy of yours, you’ll wake up and boot. Everywhere. Or something like that. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. But really, there’s nothing like coming home to half an order of Chili’s crispy honey-chipotle chicken crispers. Nothing in the world.
7. Whatever Happened To Side Dishes?
Similar to the appetizers, what if you just want a side of freedom fries with whatever you’re eating? Or waffle fries? OR CURLY FRIES? Sometimes you just have to have a little something on the side. Last night, I ordered sushi and got a side of sushi rice. Why? Because I love the taste of sushi rice, and the satisfaction that comes from eating a piping hot container of it has made me the disgusting slob of a man I am today. The joy and satisfaction that comes from a basket of fries at a diner would be GONE under the tapas regime. Why get a small plate of something when EVERYTHING is a small plate? You want fries? Try zucchini fries prepared with turmeric and sprinkled with tarragon. Rice? Try mushroom couscous with asparagus. Better yet, why don’t you just go fuck yourself? Yes. Now shut up and eat your seasonal vegetable platter.
Tapas are great for a certain group of people: some people call them sophisticates, others call them aristocrats, I call them interminable douchebags. Tapas are for large groups of women celebrating a 27th birthday party, or if you’re trying to seem cultured in front of a girl’s parents, or if you genuinely just like small, overpriced portions because you’re a pretentious tool. But for the rest of us, the ones who want a big, sloppy, greasy, CHEAP meal that we can eat until we hate ourselves and take the rest home to eat later when we’re wasted off our asses? We want something more. Something bigger and better. Something so disgusting it makes us paint our toilets when we get home, but we don’t care, because we’re already dreaming of our next meal, which may or may not involve an appetizer and two entrees for $20. What a steal!
It’s time to take a stand and buck the trend of shrinking plates and disappearing portion sizes for outrageous prices. Say it loud: “I’m fat and I’m proud!”