Category: Food

Pizza race number

So one week after I partook in a bike race by mistake, I found myself in another race this weekend.  This time, my entry was entirely on purpose.  And completely impulsive.

Because I’m surrounded by avid runners who take their sport very (too?) seriously, I’d been swept up with all sorts of talk about running.  I fucking loathe running.  I find it the dullest, most tedious athletic activity on the planet.  After all, per “the rules,” one should only run if being pursued; and one should only run fast enough to evade capture.  Everything else – fuck that noise.

So what the fuck was I thinking on Thursday when I opened my email and read an article about a foot race around Tompkins Square Park on Saturday?

This race was called the New York Pizza Run.  Apparently, this was the fourth year it’s been run, but this was the first I’d ever heard of it.  But unlike other races, this had a splendid twist to it.

The race comprised 4 laps around the perimeter of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.  At the completion of each lap, you had to devour one slice of pizza before you could commence to the next lap.  At the end of the fourth lap, you cross the finish line and you’d have 2.25 miles in the books.

Two-and-a-quarter miles, four laps around a small park, three slices of pizza.  That sounded so goddamn ridiculous, there was no way I couldn’t not do it.  And so I signed up.

But I also invited my runner friends.  The ones who run multiple marathons a year.  The ones who are constantly training for some triathlon or other.  The ones whose every conversation at every party is about running.  It was as if to say, “Hey, you guys, I’m doing a foot race, I’m one of you guys now!”

Except, I wasn’t, of course.  This was just running around stuffing our faces with pizza.  TOTALLY NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH.  Not within a million miles of being in the same league.  If they were the NFL, I was tossing around a Nerf ball trying to be cool.  “I’ve got not time for jokes, bro.”

Hardly anyone even acknowledged getting my email asking them to join me in this ludicrous run.  Not that I gave a shit because I was going to do this run with or without them.

So Saturday came, and I took the train down to Astor Place and walked the four blocks to Tompkins Square Park.  I might’ve even sprinted a couple of blocks.  Gotta warm up, get loose.  This is a race, after all.  (barf)

I checked in to the race, and got a race number.  Ooooh, a number, this is serious shit.  Then I looked to my left and saw the professionally-crafted start line on the sidewalk of in the middle of 7th Street.  SO OFFICIAL, you guys.

Pizza Start Line

And of course this was exactly the sort of race that draws participants who dress up, run goofy, and take the piss out of the whole running thing.  There was a girl dressed in a banana suit, another dressed in a pizza costume, another in a Superman outfit.  Shit, even I ran with baggy knickers but that’s because that’s all I had.

Shortly before the start, a friend from work actually took me up on my offer and joined me for this race.  Yay, somebody to run with!  Except he ran a fucking marathon this past spring, so, you know… I figured he was going to just lap me at some point.  He’s fit as a fiddle, I’m fat and slow, it’s inevitable.

Pizza3So we lined up along the chalked line, and without much fanfare, the race was on.  This was not a closed course.  We were simply running on the cobbled sidewalk around Tompkins Square Park.  That meant we had to swerve around the homeless.  We had to take evasive action from oncoming hyperaggressive city moms with their massive strollers that were  We had to run around tourists (those fucking, wandering guys).

Oh yeah, and at the end of each lap, we had to wolf down some pizza.  And it seemed a real goddamn shame to have to go all Joey Chestnut on these incredible slices.  Sure, by the time we got to them, they weren’t warm any longer, but holy shit, they were delicious.  They were supplied by Cer Te, and they were quintessential New York margherita pizzas.  Ultra thin crust, sweet fragrant tomato sauce, large discs of melted mozzarella, and slivers of basil on top.

Mmmm pizzaThe rule was that you couldn’t run with the slice of pizza.  Before you were allowed to start your next lap, you had to eat the whole slice.  You were permitted to run-and-chew, which is what I tried on lap 2, and that turned out to be another in a string of poor decisions.  Trying to run with a bolus of half-chewed pizza in my fat gob meant that I choking on bits of pizza that would go down the wrong tube.  When your mother taught you to not run around with a mouthful of food, she was right.

When I got to the end of the third lap, I paused before I took that slice of pizza.  Three slices of pizza on any day would be more than I would typically eat.  Three slices while trying to run – that was bullshit.  But I had one lap to go and my friend had started to take off for his final lap.  I grabbed the final slice, stuffed it in my mouth, slugged some water, and staggered on to the final lap.

When I reached the finish line – yes, it was also drawn out in chalk – there wasn’t any over-the-top fanfare.  There wasn’t any big noise or confetti or anything grandiose.  (It’s a fucking pizza run, what do you want, jeez)  Just a lot of laughter, a lot of high fives, a lot of beaming smiles.  And for me, a slight sense of “huh.”  Somewhere between “well, that didn’t suck” and “that was pretty awesome.”

And that was it.  Four laps and three slices later, we were done.  It was hilarious, it was ridiculous, it was oddly satisfying, it was brief, and no one threw up.  We got a bit of a workout, and we were well fed.

My first ever foot race, only my second time ever running outdoors.  I was never going to come in first, but if I didn’t come in last, that was my greatest achievement of the day.  You know what, scratch that – the fact that I even ran this thing was my greatest achievement of the day.  And if it wasn’t so ridiculous, there’s no way I’d have done it.

Count me in next year.  Because when there needs to be a futile and stupid gesture done on somebody’s part, I’m just the guy to do it.



I accidentally entered a bike race

“Withnail & I.”  Classic film by any measure.  Yet almost entirely ignored Stateside.  Everybody’s loss, I suppose.  Because the “we’ve gone on holiday by mistake” line is only one of what seems like a billion killer lines from the movie.  Quotable films extend beyond Will Ferrell’s fare, you guys.

And that’s the scene that conjured up in my head this morning.  This morning that came far too quickly after a night celebrating a friend’s birthday the night before.  The night before wasn’t conducted with a great deal of consideration of what this Sunday morning was going to bring.  It was, after all, a friend’s milestone birthday and we were going to celebrate it properly.  A catered dinner, wine that gushed from many bottles, coolers filled to brim with PBR, and a firepit out back that welcomed everyone outside on a frosty late-summer night.  And of course, there were cigars.  Of course.

So I got to bed at around 1am only to have to wake up around 5:30am.  Why?  Because weeks earlier, I had signed up for the Tour de Greenwich 20-mile ride.  What the fuck.

So, groggy, tired, and carrying a mild hangover, I hitched a ride with some friends up to Greenwich for this ride.  I didn’t mind too much because it’s only a 20-mile ride, and it’ll be a casual morning ride.  I was forewarned of a “nasty climb” at one point of the ride, but I shrugged it off as no big deal.  I mean, it’s not Alpe d’Huez, it’s fucking Greenwich – what’s the big deal.

When we got to the event, I looked around and saw the obligatory collection of rabid cyclists.  You know the sort.  The sort who shave their legs, who wear fully synchronized bologna suits; they ride carbon bikes that cost more than my car, and they nerd over their wattage, VO2 max, and electrolyte intake.

If somebody needs to nerd over shit that like, better them than me.  ‘Cause I fail to follow any of those cycling rules that govern such discipline in the sport.  I ride on the road with baggy shorts, I use mountain bike shoes and pedals, I rarely shift gears, and my bike has a flask holder.

Ti gearie

So, when I rolled up to the registration table, I was given a number to pin on with the instruction, “You’re in the second heat.”

Wait, what?  What second heat?  What “heat”?!  Turns out, the Tour de Greenwich wasn’t a casual ride through Greenwich at all.  Not at all like the NYC 5 Boro ride, or any of the other individual borough tours.  This was a fucking race!

I had accidentally entered a bike race.

RollersI looked around and started to take stock of all the people around me.  Guys were on their bikes doing short sprints in the parking lot.  Other guys had shot off to do a recce of the start of the course.  Some guys had hauled out their rollers and trainers and were spinning in place next to their cars.  I was in a sea of spandex.

Holy shit.

Realizing there was little I could do about this, I decided to that I was going to ride this the way I had planned to ride it all along – cruising around the 20 miles or so around Greenwich to admire the mansions, the huge tracts of land, and take in the morning scenery.  Fuck the race, I wasn’t prepared for a race, I wasn’t going to even try to “race” this thing.  The last bike race I did, it was a mountain bike race, and I came in about 20 minutes after everyone else.  I’m not cut out for this racing bollocks.

Tour de Greenwich start

Around 7:45am, the second heat were called up to the start line. Thick silence all around me.  Everyone was taking this serious as shit.  I started to giggle at how out of place I was.  I took a swig of scotch from the flask on my bike.  After about 3 minutes, they sounded the start, and the rapid clack-clack-clack of everyone’s clipless pedals accompanied the forward motion.  The road went straight, then a 90-degree turn to the left, and it immediately started to climb uphill.  Oh, for fuck’s sake.

I would later learn that the entire course was effectively 10 miles uphill, then 10 miles downhill to the finish.  Since I wasn’t going to race, I slinked to the right and let everyone fly past me.  Then I cruised along the course around lovely Greenwich and took in the sights.  And worked off the hangover.  And it was magnificent.  These enormous mansions all around me.  Some mansions had adjacent cottages.  Some of those cottages had their own cottages.  There were horses, there were farms, there were houses that looked like Hogwarts.

And the whole time, I kept thinking, what’s the fucking rush, you guys?  If I had ridden faster (I couldn’t ‘cause I’m fat and slow, and was still coughing up my cigar from the night before), I’d have missed all these sights.

I took the time to slow down, wave, and say hi to all the course marshalls and cops.  No one appreciates the thankless job they do.  Instead of tucking in, I would use my brakes on the downhills because I wanted to check out the ‘hood.  The only time I put the hammer down was when I got to this so-called “nasty hill”.  And holy shit was it completely ridiculous.  I checked the map and it says that it’s a 10.6% gradient.  I don’t know what the fuck that means, but it was every bit like climbing a wall on your bike.  Straight up.  Thankfully it wasn’t a long climb, and I just pounded my legs to crank up that sumbitch.  When I got to the top, I felt like my heart and lungs were going to explode out of my chest while I simultaneously shit my pants (I didn’t).

After about an hour and quarter, I reached the finish line.  Naturally, my other friends had all finished much earlier and had posted massively respectable times.  They’d docked their bikes on top of the cars, and they were already breaking out the coffee, the donuts, and they had the music was cranking from their cars.  A genius amongst us had the foresight to bring beer.  Now, since this was 9am, the beer was flavored with maple bacon.  Breakfast beer, perfect!

Coffee, donuts, and beer

So, in the end, the ride finished exactly how I had treated the whole thing.  To earn an excuse to stuff my face with donuts, drink beer at sun-up, and treat the whole thing as a goof.  Because I fucking goofed up by not realizing that I’d signed up for a goddamn race.

The next time, I ought to do a better job reading the descriptions to these things.




“Head of Ideas.”  Check out that link.  Not a terribly long post, but so much to work with here.  It might’ve been a slightly more dignified post if it was all butthurt.  But it’s not.  It’s a fucking pathetic.  First of all, this guy actually acknowledges the job title that he’s been given: Head of Ideas.  In a supposedly creative industry, this fucking guy actually embraces the notion that he’s the grand arbiter of ideas in his shop.  “Hey, fuck the rest of you, I’m the boss of all the ideas.  The rest of you can suck it as far as ideas are concerned.”  Head of Ideas – what a colossally douchetastic title.

Second, this fuckwit is actually trying to validate the advertising industry against the motherfucking Onion“We don’t deserve to be called talentless.”  What a jerkoff.  Every industry on the earth is overrun with talentless fucks – why the hell should advertising be exempt of that?  If anything, advertising is probably leading the brigade.  We’re surrounded by fucking hacks.

And then he tries to formulate his argument by creating pathetic movie parodies that are neither interesting nor witty.  I don’t even know what point he’s trying to make with those examples.  I swear, whomever’s hiring his agency, fire that agency immediately.  Then fire him immediately after that.  Then fire the people who fired him because they were the probably the ones who hired him in the first place.  (Sometimes Monty Python have the right ideas for everything.)

You know what, fuck that guy.



Ramen Burger

The Ramen Burger.  Hey asshole, this is not your cronut.  And before I go any further, I just need to acknowledge this cronut bullshit.  Upon advisement from Serious Eats, I ventured to Yonkers to get what was supposed to be a pretty good knock-off of Dominique Ansel’s cronuts.  The knock-off cronut was a far more modest affair.  No cream filling, not cream ring on top.  Just a sugar coating.  And it was such a fucking letdown.  A letdown not because it was missing all that creamy goodness.  But because it tastes exactly as a cronut had been described – a buttery croissant shaped like a donut.  And because it was all buttery and fried, the thought of one of Ansel’s originals gushing with cream just fucking grossed me out.  It’s probably like 1,000 calories per cronut.  Fuck that guy and his ridiculous pastries.

But wait, back to the ramen burger.  Just look at that fucking thing.  It’s such a forced concoction of stupidity.  Ramen should not be molded into hockey pucks, asshole.  That’s not how you eat it.  You don’t see me taking a burrito and putting it in a blender to make burrito soup, do you?  Then why the fuck are you molding ramen noodles into hockey pucks?

People like ramen.  People like burgers.  I get it.  That doesn’t mean that people need to have the two together.  This is the just the most insufferable Brooklyn version of asshole food that chains like Chili’s puts out there – “Hey, people like ribs, people like cheese… let’s smother our baby back ribs with cheese!”  No, asshole, no.  There is no redeeming reason to put ramen noodles and burgers together.

You know what, fuck that guy.



AUTI5M.  That was on the Maryland license plate of a car I passed when I drove back from Baltimore this past weekend.  Before I go on, let me get this out of the way – third only to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Maryland drivers are colossal assholes.  You’ve got some work to do if want that podium spot, Connecticut.

Anyway, I was gunning the pedal trying to get the fuck out of the shithole that is Maryland when I passed some white 4×4 with “AUTI5M” on the license plate.  This wasn’t some state-issued special edition license plate like those celebrating your stupid fandom for the Yankees or something like that.  No, this was a vanity plate in which some jerkoff paid a premium so that his license plate would read a goddamn medical condition.

What the fuck does it even mean?  Presumably, this fuckwit’s trying to raise awareness of autism.  Fine, I get it, the intent is noble and warranted.  But the means?  Is that really the way to go about it?  Does the rule apply to other disease states also?  I mean, next we ought to have a car driving around with a license plate that reads C4NC3R, right?  How about HERP3S?  It doesn’t work, asshole.

You know what, fuck that guy.



Ten grand for a hubby.  So some account broad in some dopey agency in San Francisco can’t find a man and is putting up reward money?  How fucking original.  Read the self-satisfying tone in that letter.  How proud she is to have written something so “witty” and “interesting”.  Ugh, puke.  Everything about that letter screams “bullshit” and “go fuck yourself”, and not necessarily in that order.  If you claim to resemble Charlize Theron, and you live in a major metropolitan market (granted, it’s San Francisco, which means your typical choices in companionship are either “dipshit” or “smug douche”), you wanna tell me you can’t find a single asshole who’ll hook up with you?  How much of a nightmare must you be for no guy – NOT ONE! – to want to put up with your bullshit?  I tell you what, if Charlize Theron was a total bitch on toast and she wanted to go out with me (shut up, it could happen), I’d put in the effort.  You fucking bet I would.  You fucking bet YOU would.  Charlize fucking Theron, you guys!

So this dumb shit can’t meet anyone decent and she puts the burden – sorry, reward – on her idiot friends to hook her up?

You know what, go fuck yourself.



Me.  Short of blowing a shit load of cash I don’t have on a new 911, I can’t think of a more pathetic attempt at a midlife crisis than what I’m going through right now.  I bought myself a road bike (a two-wheeled equivalent to the hot convertible).  Next thing I know, I’m riding all over like I’ve got something to prove.  I’m trying to beat other riders up hills and shit.  Now all these obstacle course mud runs are all the rage, and I signed up for one.  At my fucking age, I could fucking die in one of these things – even if I did sign up for the most creampuff version of such races.  Which means I’ve now started running, too.  I fucking hate running.  I tried it once right after Hurricane Sandy and it was as stupid as it was painful.   Yet, despite my eternal loathing for running, I signed up for a creampuff running event and I’m now running on a almost a daily basis.  Because I can’t bear to show up to this event like a waddling schmuck.

The lengths I will go through to try and preserve some little youth I have left.  Like I’ve got shit to prove or something.  That’s a lot of horseshit, and I fucking hate myself for being this way.

You know what, fuck me.



Have beer, will ride


At times, a fortuitous confluence of events will lead you to crack some hare-brained scheme that seems like a good idea at the time, when in the fact…


Since picking up a road bike in the late winter, I’ve been plotting different ways get more saddle time, either through frequency or distance.  Or both.  Right around the same time, I became friends with a neighbor down the street who’d been into home-brewing his beer, which alerted to me to the fact that these days, in the New York City area, there are more craft beer breweries than ever.

Now I, for one, have long held a particular disdain for this whole microbrew or craft beer movement.  Mostly because it seemed in the ‘90s that every other shitty microbrewery was bottling any manner of brown effervescent swill that seemed to taste like anything but beer.  You had beers that tasted like peaches, bubble gum, chocolate, you name it.  Fuck you, that’s not beer.  Beer shouldn’t taste like cherries.  Or bacon.  Or whatever the fuck they were putting in these beers and selling them to shitheads around the country who had an appetite for candy in a bottle that could also get them fucked up.

Fuck you, beer should taste like beer.  End of argument.

What’s turned it around recently for me is how these craft beer breweries seem to have abandoned the stupid fruity flavors, and have gone back to making beers that taste like fucking beer.

So, one day, I hatched a plan in which I’d ride my bicycle up 15 miles to Elmsford, NY to visit the Captain Lawrence Brewery to taste their wares, then shoot 10 miles eastward to the Craftsman Ale House – where they not only carry over hundred types of killer beers but they also brew their own – followed by a 10 mile ride home with a slight detour to the famous Walter’s Hot Dogs joint in Mamaroneck, NY.

I also knew the inherent risks of trying to do a 35-mile bike ride with two pitstops for beers.  I needed wingmen, so I recruited two buddies with equal senses of depravity to do this ride with me.

We chose a Saturday, and set off at 11am.  I figured it would take us about an hour to ride the 15 miles to the Captain Lawrence Brewery.  We kept a decent pace, around 15mph for the first 12 miles of the ride.  As we got towards Elmsford, the massive criss-crossing array of highways and winding country roads caused me to veer off the planned route, and we were suddenly – and painfully – faced with a hot and slogging climb up a mile-long hill.  It looked like an asphalt wall.  20mph speeds ground down to about 8mph.  Gears shifted to the smallest ratios, legs churned so slowly, and halfway up, all three of us were ready to puke.  And we hadn’t even had a drop of beer yet.

When I fuck up, we all suffer.

Hillside Avenue

When we reached the peak, we welcomed the downhill rush down to the brewery, which was set in some industrial park.  It didn’t look like a brewery in the traditional sense at all.  More like a warehouse with a picnic tables in the back next to a bocce ball run.

“Hey, are you guys here for the beer?” a portly fella greeted us behind a table at the entrance.  Was this the stupidest question ever asked?  Possibly.  We told him we intended to have a quick pint or two before setting off again.

“Sorry, today’s a pig roast event, and it’s $40 to get in.  You can’t get beer today without paying for the pig roast.”

Are you fucking kidding me.  If it wasn’t for that ludicrous hill we just climbed, I might’ve had enough energy in me to dish out a cockpunch or two.  We still had 20 miles to ride, the last thing I need is to stuff my fat face with pig and beer – we weren’t even halfway through our ride, for fuck’s sake.

After a lot of negotiations, they let us in to “discuss the matter with the manager.”  We walked into the tasting room, and were made to stand around for about 15 minutes before the manager graced us with his presence.  The whole while, pints are being poured liberally for pig roast patrons in front of us.  Not one drop came our way.  Not even a sympathy pour.  Fuckers.

After 15 minutes, some bespectacled hipster with a metal bar through his septum came to speak with us.  “Sorry, we’re only doing the pig roast event today.  Each of you have got to pay the $40 if you want any of the beer.  It’s all you can drink.”  Which would’ve been a stellar deal if we were going to park our asses at the bar and didn’t have another 20 miles to ride, fucker.  After going back and forth with the beer overlord, he relents – “Your only choices are to pay the $40.  Or if you want, we can sell you bottles to go.”

WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT IN FIRST PLACE, DICK?!?!!  Why the fuck are you guys making it so hard for us to buy your fucking beer?!!

3 Captain Lawrence beers

After I calmed the fuck down, we grabbed three large bottles, some cups, and settled into one of the picnic tables outside to quench our thirst.  It didn’t take long for one of their staff to come harass us about sitting at the picnic table without paying for the pig roast.  What the motherfuck.  After a brief negotiation, they left us alone to finish our beers, then off we went to the next beer stop.

While this leg of the ride was along considerably flatter terrain, it wasn’t an easy ride by any means.  The humid, midday sun was beating down hard.  The three large bottles of hoppy nectar – on empty stomachs! – weighed us down.  We coasted slowly through the next 10 miles.

At the end of the 10 miles, I promised the lads a second oasis of craft beers.  Craftsman Ale House in Harrison, NY boasted their own collection of brews in addition to hundred of other primo beers.  When we got there around 2:30pm, the place was empty, and we were more famished than buzzed.

As a stark contrast to the Captain Lawrence joint, this manager couldn’t possibly be more welcoming.  We pushed our collection of carbon fiber and titanium rides into the bar, and pulled up to three adjacent stools.

Hipster Ale

Polite banter, perusal of the massive beer list, three even more massive cheeseburgers (including one unceremoniously and viciously halved), and quick brew samples ensued.  Here’s when our next installment of downers took place: turns out that while the Craftsman Ale House brew their own beers, they do not sell their brew.  What the fuck.  So we were left with their confounding list of beers brewed by other folks… and this fucking thing on the right.

Time flies when you’re having fun and before you knew it, all three of us were getting buzzed on our phones.  Text messages galore, each with similar queries from our old ladies – “where the hell are you guys?”

Over an hour after we settled into that bar, we grabbed our bikes and started the final leg of our ride – the 10-mile slog home.  10 miles is nothing.  Correction: ordinarily, 10 miles is nothing.  It’s a ride that most cyclists can do on autopilot and barely break a sweat.  But 10 miles on belly full of hearty craft beers, cheeseburger and fries – that’s a different story.

Fuck, was that a sloooow slog home.  In our opening leg to the first brewery, we averaged just under 15mph.  On the final leg home, we average 8mph.  That is some pathetic decline in pace.

So, 6 hours later, we all finally returned back to the spot from where we started our ride.  6 hours later, we had made 2 lengthy stops for beer.  6 hours later, we had no interest in that final detour for hot dogs.  6 hours later, nothing had worked out as planned.  6 hours later, we were 3 hours late because I’m such a fuck up.  6 hours later, each one of us was in the fucking doghouse.

6 hours later, we decided we’re gonna do it again.




CONTINUED FROM: Ring of Fire – The Lead-up


Three weeks passed, and Phaal Day was upon us.  I did my best not to psych myself out, but the imminent horror was hard to push aside.  We all gathered at the restaurant a little after 6pm – there were eight of us in total.  By the time I got there, everyone was already about two drinks in and feeling loose.  And why wouldn’t they – most of them were there to witness insanity, not dive into it.

I took my seat at the table, doing a piss poor joke masking my nerves.  I started to ask our server about the phaal challenge.  How big of a bowl of curry are we talking about here?  “16oz.  And you have to finish everything, including all the sauce.  You can order it with vegetables, tofu, chicken, lamb, goat, any of that.  And you have 30 minutes.”  Jeez.

I started running through the game plan in my head:

  • I needed to finish this fast.  Get it down my throat and be done with it.
  • That meant now minimal chewing.  So no chewy meats.  Tofu would be a good choice.  Fish a second.
  • No rice, no naan, no starchy medium.  Again, I needed this to go down fast to minimize in-mouth burn time.  The more I have to chew, the longer I’m prolonging the burn.  Rice is bullshit.
  • It’s 16oz of molten nightmare.  That’s two cups of food I’ve got to inject.  That means there’s no way I can afford to drink much to put the flames out.  Just shovel.
  • There are two kinds of burn – the spices, and the temperature.  Why add to the spice burn with a temperature burn?  I would let the phaal cool off a bit before I dug in.

Phaal Line UpThe three of us who were competing all sat in a row, with our backs against the wall.  As if before a firing squad.  Backed into a wall with no means of escape.  When our three bowls of phaal were laid in front of us, everyone’s iPhones came out and I felt like The Beatles at a press conference.  *flash* *flash* *flash* *flash*  The pictures hit Facebook before I even took my first bite.

The other two dug right into their piping hot curries.  I think one of them might’ve actually squealed a little, completely taken aback by just how searing hot the phaal was.  I held back.  Stirring the curry, watching the steam waft up, but careful not to inhale the sharp aroma too much – that shit’s like a spike up your nose and into your brain.

After letting it cool off a bit, I scooped up a spoonful and took a bite.  Oh, the pain.  The startling immediate pain.  Like eating thousands of shards of glass in the form of a thick gravy.

I kept working at the bowl in front of me.  The other two would stop to converse but I ignored them – I had a job to do.  I had a strategy and I was sticking to it.

I scooped, I ate, I scooped, I ate.  We had 30 minutes to polish this off.  About 10 minutes in, I was about halfway through my bowl.  My mouth felt like the bowels of hell, my throat was charred raw from swallowing the molten earth, and my stomach started to feel like I’d swallowed a hot brick right out of a kiln.

My server came by for a bit of encouragement.  “Actually, you’re doing quite well.”  He then handed me a small bowl of yogurt dressing.  Decorum be fucked, I took out the serving spoon and chugged the whole thing and asked for a second bowl of the cool dressing.

I looked over and my partners-in-crime were grinding to a slow halt.  10 minutes in, and they were looking done.  One was casually swirling around a piece of naan in her curry.  The other was taking his time carving the goat meat from the bones.  Neither seemed in a particular hurry.

I, too, was slowing down at this point.  I contemplated throwing in the towel.  On account that I now felt like the fiery member of the Fantastic Four.  This was too much.  My mind started to toggle back and forth – slow down and dull the pain, or power through and compound the pain?  I looked down at the bowl, and I realized that I maybe had about three spoonsful left.

I had come too far to turn back now.  I made the three scoops, and raised my arms in victory.  “Holy shit, you’re done?!”  “WHAAA?!!”  Oh my God!”  iPhone popped out again. *flash* *flash* *flash* *flash*

Phaal Over

I asked the server over to evaluate.  I looked in the bowl, and I realized I hadn’t done a great job polishing the bowl.  A true competitor – and a goddamn sadist – would have scraped up the remaining bits of gravy.  My server gave a half-hearted approval of my feat.  Fuck it, I’m not tripping into the finish line, I’m marching right through it.  I grabbed my spoon, scraped up all the remaining curry in the bowl and let the burn in my mouth one last time.

Now, I’d fucking earned it.

I was the first to finish.  But as it turned out, I was the only one to finish.  That’s when I also learned that there was money on the table – $40 to a winner.  I grabbed the cabbage, then grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste that I’d packed and ran to the bathroom to clean the hellfire from my mouth.  I was a puddle of sweat, and I was in agony, but I’d done it.  I made phaal my bitch.

Now, just because I had hastily inhaled my meal didn’t mean that dinner was over.  Everyone was only just getting started on their chicken tikka masalas and their saag paneers and their rogan josh.  I sat there, with 16oz of pure grade, uncut curry hell in my stomach.

That’s when the staff showed up with my rewards.  A massive mug of lager and a certificate with my handwritten name on it.  Nice gesture, but easily the most pointless reward ever.  Where the fuck was I supposed to put that lager after I’d wolfed down all that blistering curry?


The pain wasn’t sudden but it was fast.

I excused myself to the bathroom, and that’s where I started to fall apart.  I started to feel woozy, nauseous, with a growing pain in my stomach.  I made a slight vurp, and quickly realized that hurling the contents of my stomach wasn’t an option.  That’d be going through the whole phaal consumption experience again, in reverse.

I stumbled back outside and crumpled into a chair, a big sweaty heap.  Which promptly freaked everyone the fuck out.  I have no recollection of how long I was out, but after a while, I got up, we walked out of the restaurant, poured into black limo that took us all back to the suburbs.

That’s where the full force of the phaal was realized.  I was soon to learn that the great lie ever told about phaal is that it’s an extremely hot curry.  What no talks about is what phaal does inside your body.

That night, I didn’t sleep a wink.  One might expect that I was kept awake because I was terrorizing my bathroom.  In fact, the bathroom offered no comfort.  The pain was buried deep in my gut.  Through the entire night, I was able to plot exactly where the curry was, as it made its slow trek through my innards.  The pounding pain just below my sternum slowly crept downward toward my navel.  There, wave after wave of dull, cramping agony ensured that there’d be no comfort anytime soon.  Sitting upright didn’t help.  Lying down didn’t help.  Laying on my side did nothing either.  Curled up like a ball?  Nothing.

I suddenly started think back to all the childbirthing classes the missus and I had taken just before our first kid.  The short, rapid breathes.  Ice chips, my kingdom for some ice chips!!  I was convinced that this was the closest any dude would ever get to experiencing labor pains.

When the night passed, and the sun came up, I had gotten no sleep.  Slumber was replaced with crippling agony and a million questions all centered around the same idea, “Why the fuck did I do that?!”

Why the fuck indeed.  I had just put some of the most hostile material created by mankind – highly questionable if it should’ve even been edible or not – into my body, paid the price for it, and for what?  For the satisfaction of having done it?  Exactly what part of it was satisfying?  I couldn’t even enjoy the beer I was rewarded at the end.

Now, 24 hours later, I still question whether or not it was a wise stunt.  Wise?  Well, most stunts aren’t exactly grounded in wisdom.  The best ones are grounded in some manner of insanity.  In this case, it sure was.  Mission accomplished, that case.

Now, if anybody needs me, I’m going to take a bath in a milk shake.




It started one drunken evening that got out of control quickly.  One minute I’m mixing up a strange brew called “Straight To Hell” at this party.  The next, there are incredibly ill advised joyrides in BMWs, cut-up cigars, and leg splits.  This was a dinner party that lost direction and veered off the deep end.

I can’t pinpoint precisely when, why, or how it came up, but the party decided that we needed to reconvene in a few weeks to take the Phaal Challenge.  Phaal, undisputedly the hottest curry in the known universe.  A dish conjured up by a sadist’s sadist for the sole purpose of inflicting excruciating palate torture.  I don’t really know what goes into a phaal curry, I just know of its legendary crippling powers.

Now, I don’t believe you can find phaal at just any corner curry house.  Most curry houses wouldn’t dare cook this.  We’d have to go to the Brick Lane curry house in the city, named after the famed street in London for all things India.  The Brick Lane curry house is THE place to get phaal in New York because they’re one of the few places outfitted to cook this curry.  Which – no joke – involves a full-face respirator and thick biohazard gloves.  The curry is cooked in a pot and stirred by what looks like a biochemical instruments.  It’s like Breaking Bad, except more lethal.  I’m pretty sure there’s witchcraft involved in making phaal.

In any case, about a dozen of us made this exceedingly poor decision about three weeks ago.  Of the dozen, only two or three of us were going to brave the phaal.  I wasn’t about to back down from this.  (I’m told that this whole phaal idea was my idea from the beginning but since I have no recollection of ever suggesting this, I’m not willing to own it – either way, I was in no matter what.) The rest of gang would cheer us on, laugh at our insanity, or have their fingers ready at their phones to call 911.

2 Hot Sauce BottlesI welcomed the three-week lead-up.  This would give me time to “train,” whatever the fuck that meant.  The best thing was having a good and proper excuse to order all the spicy shit when I ate out.  “Don’t mind me, I’m in training.”  Some people train for marathons, some people train for century rides, I was training for a bowl of curry.

It gave me a great excuse to eat unhealthy grub any chance I could.  And while I was at it, dump every imaginable hot sauce on everything.  I probably had hot wings a couple of times a week.  I loaded up my nachos with the hottest hot sauces I had.  Super spicy burritos.  All of it.

Then my friend – and fellow competitor – suggested that I try something called Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce.  Made a beeline to the store and scored a bottle.  Turns out this sauce is so over the top, so willing to live up to its name that you’re only allowed one drop.  And that’s one drop into whatever you’re cooking – a big pot of chili, a vat of pasta sauce.  Just one drop.

Chili with DavesGoing balls to the wall, of course I ignored that advice.  The missus made chili one night, and I put a drop of Dave’s into my bowl of chili.  Not the whole pot, as suggested, but into my own serving.  Holy fuck.  I was completely unprepared for this level of heat.  There was no aroma or flavor like you get with other hot sauces.  This was bottled-up Hades by the drop.

I now had a new threshold of heat I had never previously experienced.

A few days after that, the missus whipped up a large pot of spaghetti arrabiata.  She kindly left me a note, warning me that it was spicy.  I thought bullshit, I’m in training – so I made myself a bowl of this pasta and dropped in a slightly more generous drop of Dave’s into the lot.

Pasta with DavesPain.  Nothing but searing blinding pain.  It was like eating glowing coals plucked out of your Weber.  I started sweating buckets and my vision started to tunnel.  I ran to my bathroom and brushed my teeth.  I must’ve drunk about a pint and a half of milk – somehow I seemed to remember some advice about milk being a good flame douser.  Which also turned out to be complete bullshit.  None of it worked until I cracked open a can of PBR and shotgunned the entire thing.  I had to lie down for about 20 minutes after that.  All that over pasta.

I was starting to lose hope.  If I couldn’t handle some bottled up sauce you can buy off the shelf, how the hell was I going to stand up to a secret recipe that single-minded designed to inflict maximum pain?

This was all going pear-shaped.


NEXT:  Ring of Fire – The Event



I used to be a good parent.  Did I say “good”?  No, that’s not what I meant at all.  Not “good” by any stretch of the imagination.  I think what I meant was “not terrible.”  Which is about as much as one can hope for when you have your first kid (we’ll call him Kid Uno for simplicity’s sake).  With your first kid, you’re overprotective, neurotic, and almost invariably, massively annoying to everyone else around you.  I know this know because of all the other first-time parents around me.  With your first kid, you act like you’re the first person in the universe to have a kid – everything is fascinating, pioneering, like no one in the world has ever experienced what you’re experiencing.  But in reality, you’re irritating the shit out of everyone around you with your fucking kid.

I’d like to believe that I wasn’t like that with my first kid.  But I can’t tell ‘cause I can’t properly remember what I was like with Kid Uno.  I do remember that when my second kid (and we’ll call him Kid Dos, because why not) came around, I was a shit ton more chilled out about everything kid-related.  “Chilled out” perhaps has positive connotations – relaxed, not overly excited, somewhat in control, etc.  Except that’s not entirely what I meant.

In this case, chilled out meant giving zero fucks; my parenting nose-dived into a tragic spiral from Kid Dos on.  It is astounding how little I give a shit anymore.


When my kids were much littler – young enough when at least one of them was still shitting his pants – I took so much care over what I fed them.   Something like breakfast – the most important meal of the day! – was a meticulously calculated affair.  I’d spread just the right amount of jam – not too much, not too little, and fuck you, no high fructose corn syrup, you animal – on their toast.  Whole grain toast!  None of this shitty white bread bollocks.   I mean, how’re you gonna know if something’s good for you if it doesn’t have two full cups of sawdust in it, right?  I’d carefully cut up, skin, and core an apple because shit, these guys needed their wholesome nutrition directly from a fruit.  Full cups of milk.  Whole milk for full milk power.  That sort of thing.

This morning, I lazily filled their bowls with some peanut butter cereal, and promptly forgot the milk.  I’m not even sure if they ate it, that’s how little of a shit I give these days.


Keeping the kids occupied?  Whatever the fuck it takes.  Things like TV and movies aren’t a luxury – they’re basic necessities, essential tools when used strategically  will do wonders by keeping your kids distracted enough so that you can get other shit done.

In this case, I’m not even shielding Kid Dos from age-inappropriate content anymore.  Whatever works for Kid Uno works for Kid Dos now.  Kid Dos is watching shit that Kid Uno never go to watch at his age.  Questionable language all over the place, and I have the nerve to get mad when they use the word “heck.”  (Yes, yes, the irony is not lost on me, given the tenor of this blog, assholes.)

“Hey, you guys wanna go watch tons of explosions, gratuitous violence, a skin-to-win Gwyneth Paltrow, and two dozen Iron Men?  AWESOME!!!”


I don’t get to help out with the kids’ homework very much.  They don’t get a ton of homework, but they often tackle it when they come home from school, while I’m still at work.  That said, the missus probably does a fair job “refereeing” the exercise…  I think.  I have no fucking idea.

I used to try and sit with them to help them with some of the homework if I wasn’t in the office.  But these days, it does seem that more and more of their homework is done online.  While I should probably more concerned about their online access, I somehow saw this as an excuse to fuck off even more.  I mean, how many pairs of hands can be on the keyboard at the same time, right?

“You’ve got to do your homework on the computer?  Well, go right ahead!”  I have no idea what type of homework a 6 year-old needs to do online, but I’m far too willing to let him loose on it.  I suppose if I was a more responsible parent, I might sit with him to make sure he’s not accidently running into questionable material (like everything his father writes online).  But I’m not, so I don’t.  I am a shit parent.

It’d be one thing if my deplorably parenting habits were just passive actions like simply not bothering.  But I’ve now found myself going out of my way to be irresponsible.


A couple of Sundays ago, I woke up and decided that Kid Dos should have a drum kit after months of talking about it.  Kid Uno plays the cello, and Kid Dos had nothing, so I got it in my head that I needed to rectify this immediately.  Truth is, I was at a concert the night before, and the band had a kick-ass girl drummer – and girl drummers are the fucking best.  There was also a veiled sliver of me that thought that this was also my chance to learn to play the drums.  Don’t act so surprised, I’m not the first asshole to use my kid to get something I wanted.

Things happened rapidly.  I found two listings for drum kits on Craigslist.  After a few email exchanges, and conferring with my drummer friend, I bolted down to Brooklyn, and by 3pm, I came home with a shiny blue drum kit for Kid Dos.

He couldn’t be more excited to give it a good and proper thrashing after I put the whole kit together.  And I do mean thrashing.  I play guitars loudly and full of distortion, so I understand the beauty of noise.  But drum kit in the house in the eager hands of a 6 year-old?  Holy fucking shit, this I was not even remotely prepared for.  The kid can hold an impressive beat, but holy shit he’s loud.  Loud enough to make my aging ears ring.  Loud enough for me wonder if I’ve made a terrible decision here by giving him something that might damage his hearing.  Drums, what a great idea.

I guess one upside is I’d be too deaf to hear anything when I get yelled at for being such a shitty parent.





Not to sound ungrateful, but if there’s working lunch at the office and we’re getting food brought in, can we please never ever have stupid fucking sandwiches again?  Fuck sandwiches.

Sandwich platter

Now, working lunches are a bit more commonplace in some industries than others.  I work in advertising, and this shit is a daily occurrence.  It may not happen literally every day for you, but you can bet there’s always some group stuck in some big important meeting in some big important conference room at midday, and lunch is being brought in so that everyone can keep working.  This shit’s important, no time to stop so you can pop out to grab some lunch, we gotta keep going, right?  Right.

So wheel that cart of sandwiches in, why don’t you.

You wouldn’t be out of place for thinking, What an ungrateful wank, he’s getting a free lunch and he’s bitching about it?  Yes, yes I am.

I’ve had it with sandwiches.

In the time that I started working in the late-‘90s, I’ve have witnessed some absolutely remarkable leaps of progress all around me, in and around the workplace.  Snail mail letters and fax machines got replaced with email, the internet become far more indispensible than being just for porn, I can have a virtual face-to-face meeting with people in Sydney right from my office in New York, and I can sign and authorize shit with a virtual signature.  Fucking power moves.

Meanwhile, the working lunch has remained largely unchanged for decades.  The working lunch is like Little Richard, who still looks and sounds like he did 60 years ago.  It’s always the same, isn’t it.  Sandwiches.  A big predictable platter of sandwiches.


This is exponentially more preposterous for those of us who work in large cities, like New York or San Francisco, where there are literally hundreds of other food options out there.  I shit you not: there are literally 40 different food joints – restaurants, delis, food trucks, you name it – within a 2-block radius of my office.  It almost doesn’t matter where I’ve worked, past or present – there’s always been an overwhelming number of places from which to order food (the one exception is probably Times Square – those of you unfortunate enough to work in Times Square are fucked for edible options, sorry).

I can get tacos, mofongo, pho, curry, BBQ and fuck knows any number of other types of food within 5 minutes of my office, and that’s not an exaggeration.  If you can’t be arsed to walk the 5 minutes, every single one of these places will deliver to your office (because that’s just the sort of awfully civilized place New York is.)  All the choice, all the variety!

So why the fuck am I still eating goddamn sandwiches in the conference room?

This bears repeating: fuck sandwiches.  How many turkey and cheese on Kaiser rolls can one eat in a lifetime?  How many ham and cheese sandwiches can you fucking put up with?  Regardless of whether it’s turkey or ham or salami, they taste like nothing and you can only tell them apart by color (if you’re lucky).  All the cheese slices have the same consistency and blandness, they’re all shit anyway.  The rolls are hard as fuck by the time the sandwiches show up.  And as if to impress you, they always stick a bunch of wraps in the platter as well.  Fuck you and your fucking wraps.   You’re not fooling me with your fucking wraps.  Don’t pretend to be healthy or fancy with your stupid wraps.  They’re just as calorific and bland as the accompanying sandwich culprits. Wraps are just sandwiches shaped like penises, a big fuck you to your working lunch.

And these pathetic sandwiches and wraps never just show up on a platter and that’s it.  Some overenthusiastic assistant is always trying to impress you by ordering them with offending partners-in-crime.  It’s like some horrible Will Smith movie – you can always count on his dumb kid showing up to further ruin your shit.

That’s where the large bowl of salad comes in.  Actually, it’s always two bowls of salad, isn’t it.  You’ve got your obligatory plastic bowl of unappetizing lettuce that just stares at you, and right next to it is some toxic bowl of lumpy pasta salad.  Fuck you and your salads.

And the thing is, this whole mockery of a meal – the unimaginative sandwiches, the ritualistic salads – they’re always cold.  I’m so fucking sick of cold lunches.  Even when they try and mix up the sandwiches with a panini or whatever the fuck, it still gets to you cold.  If I want a cold meal, I’d be thrilled with a bowl of cereal, I really would.  Not your goddamn sandwiches.

If I’m giving up my right to a lunch of my choosing, then the least you could do is provide me with a lunch that is slightly more motivating than a fucking cold ham and cheese sandwich.  Because that’s bullshit.


Cartoon food


Have you ever made cartoon food?  I have.  Twice.  In one weekend.

Never, ever be stupid enough to let your kids influence your meal decisions.  Especially if their decision tree sprouts from cartoons.

One of the cartoons they watch – Cartoon Network’s Regular Show – had an episode that was centered around something called a “Death Sandwich.”  There’s a whole backstory to this sandwich. It involves a failed dojo – Death Kwon Do – run by a mulleted instructor in cut-off jean shorts (sort of an animated equivalent of Napoleon Dynamite’s Rex Kwon Do).  Thanks to the show’s protagonists, the dojo was shuttered, and then reborn as a pizza and sub takeout joint, because why not.  Like the dojo, everything associated with it bears an “of death” suffix (“punch of death”, “kick of death”, “sandwich of death”, “be back in 5 minutes of death”, etc.).  The Death Sandwich is the sandwich joint’s feature special.  Of course.

So naturally, my elder kid decides that it’d be a brilliant idea to make our own Death Sandwich.  But since the cartoon doesn’t explicitly explain what goes into a Death Sandwich, it was left to my kid’s observation of what needs to go into a Death Sandwich.

“Dad, this weekend, can we please make a Death Sandwich?  We gotta buy a baguette, soy sauce… You know that pink ginger you get with your sushi?  Yeah, that… And meatballs.  It’ll be so cool, Dad.”


I ran through the ingredients in my head.  I mentally hurled a little.  There was absolutely no way on God’s green earth I was going to make a sandwich out of that list because I knew there was absolutely no way on God’s green earth these kids were going to eat such a monstrosity.

My kids and I went to the DVR, huddled around the TV like bunch NFL refs and replayed the Death Sandwich-making sequence over and over again, and negotiated a slightly more palatable make up of the glorious Death Sandwich: Italian rolls, meatballs, marinara sauce, and genoa salami.

And of course, making the sandwich can’t possibly be a simple, straightforward affair.  Oh dear God, no.  Like the cartoon, I was required to make it with all the required Death Kwon Do martial arts gestures, complete with rapid-fire hand movements, hushed breathing, and the occasional “HI-YAHHH!”  Because if you’re not gonna go all the way, why bother, amirite?

Death Sandwich Comparo

Apparently, the cartoon suggests that the Death Sandwich is named so because you need “eat it right, or you die!”  That detail was not lost on my kids.  So how do you “eat it right”?

“We need to get a proper haircut, Dad.  We need to get a mullet.  Then we need cut-off jeans and…”

“Let me stop you right there, bubba.  Nothing you just said is alright by me in any way.”

[blank stares]

“Guys, you are not getting mullets.  And you’re certainly not getting cut-off jeans.  Especially just to eat one sandwich.”

In the end, they ate the Death Sandwiches without much fuss.  In fact, quite the opposite: “This is the greatest sandwich I’ve had my entire life.”  It better well be.

In the end, everybody lived.  No one died.

At least no one came close to dying.  Until the next morning, when my kids decided it was time to make bacon pancakes.  Bacon pancakes – only recently did I find out that they are likely the only breakfast with their own theme song.  Thanks to another cartoon – Adventure Time – there’s a song about bacon pancakes that’ll bore itself into your brain, lodge itself in there for all eternity, and go on infinite loop ‘til you want to shoot yourself in the head.

Bacon Pancakes

Bacon pancakes,

makin’ bacon pancakes,

Take some bacon, put it in a pancake,

Bacon pancakes, that’s what it’s gonna make,

Bacon pancaaaaaaaake![repeat a kajillion times]

You may already know this, but on YouTube, there are tons of remixes of the song, pointless exercises like 10-hour video loop, and mashup versions.  All this over a 12-second video of Jake the dog frying up some bacon in pan while singing.  All the science and engineering in the world to give us unbelievable computing power to let us create and share video content, and it always – ALWAYS! – comes back to dog and cat videos.

That morning, the Bacon Pancakes song soared out of two insane children in my kitchen NON-STOP from the minute the bacon started sizzling in the pan, to chopping up the bacon, to mixing up the pancake batter, to carefully embedding the bacon into each pancake, to scooping them off the griddle, to serving them up at the breakfast table.

Apparently, songs about breakfast can make you want to commit murder.

Bacon Pancake served

Unlike the Death Sandwich, which was practically inhaled with vigor by both kids, these much-celebrated bacon pancakes weren’t an automatic hit.  One kid gobbled up a stack, probably more thrilled that he was being allowed to live out another cartoon episode than he was with the bold flavors of fried pig fat and cooked batter.  The other kid just went, “meh” and walked off.

Like I said, murder.

And just like that, the hoopla was over.  It’s been three days and neither one has brought up either the Death Sandwich or the Bacon Pancakes again.  It’s like neither the cartoons nor the meals ever happened.  They just had to ‘em out of their system, I suppose.  That, or as I suspect to be more of the case, these ingrates have the attention span on a gnat.

But this is the last time I’m eating anything out of a cartoon.  I won’t even drink Duff beer, there’s no reason I should be eating anything that came out of an animation studio in Korea.



A few times a year, I become really “ethnic”.  That is to say, for a variety of reasons, I get into a phase where I really – and I mean really – embrace my Chinese heritage and my cultural upbringing.  Granted, I’m fairly selective in how I embrace my heritage.  Last September, I wrote a blog post that showed that I’m clearly not totally cool with my country of origin, and fuck hell, did I ever get a haterade bath for that post.

But this isn’t about Malaysia.  This is about being a Chinese person who grew up in Malaysia.  It’s is an entirely – and uniquely – different experience from any other Chinese person growing up anywhere else in the world.  Which is to say that it’s no different from an Irish person growing up in Boston having an entirely different upbringing from someone growing up in Dublin.

So anyway, about my occasional cultural embrace.  The only time I can seen reliably “throwing the switch” is during the Chinese New Year.  This is my Thanksgiving, Christmas, and St. Patrick’s Day celebration all rolled into some stir-fried holiday that goes on for 15 days.  Sure, there are many holiday customs I’ll go through each year, but the one thing I always do also – which has absolutely fuck-all to do with the Chinese New Year – is buy the biggest durian and can find and fucking go to town on it.


The durian.  It’s a fruit.  Proudly labeled the “King Of The Fruits”, which is a fucking stupid label.  Because, really – what the fuck does that even really mean….

In any case, here’s the durian I bought last week.

Durian 1

Except, the durian is more than a fruit.  It’s a conundrum encased in a paradoxical shell of sensory fuck-you-upness.  The durian has been, is, and always will be more than just another fruit.

I mean, look at it.  IT’S COVERED IN HORRIFYING, DEADLY SPIKES.  It’s so deadly it needs to be restrained in a net.  It’s Charlton Heston in Planet Of The Apes.  Like the lobster, who was the fuckwit who first looked at the durian and thought, “I’ve got to eat that”?  You’ve got to be mental to think that that’s something you should eat.  It grows in the tropical rainforest climate, and it doesn’t grow close the ground like a pineapple does – oh no, this fucking thing hangs from high up in the tree and, and like most other fruit, bombs to the ground when ripe.  Imagine that shit in free fall right into your goddamn head.  This is Mother Nature’s quintessential Fuck You Fruit.

Durian 2So when you get a fruit that’s covered in lethal spikes, and you’ve just got to get to the core of its forbidden treasure within, you don’t just ask politely.  That outer layer doesn’t just peel back nicely for you.  Fuck that, you know what you do – you fucking take a cleaver to the thing.  That’s right, a goddamn cleaver.  I’m not just doing this for dramatic effect, mind you.  Growing up, this is the only way I’ve ever seen anyone open up a durian – with a couple of a precise hacks of the cleaver.  This fruit requires boldness.

Once you make gash at the bottom of the fruit, you stick your fingers in there and rip that sumbitch open.  That’s right, nothing’s subtle about the durian.  It makes you fucking work for what’s inside.

And when you open it up…

Durian 3You’re greeted with yellow lumps of soft, delicate “pillows”.  There’s no other way to describe the edible insides.  Inside each of these lumps is a small chestnut-sized seed.  That yellow goodness is what you eat.

And since taste comes largely from your olfactory senses, I haven’t even gotten to one of the most ridiculous things about the durian.

The smell.

If there is something on this earth that is more polarizing than the smell of a durian, I haven’t encountered it.  Anything you can think of that’s polarizing – the U.S. president, EDM, assault weapons, Anne Hathaway, you name it – forget it, they’re all child’s play compared to the sort of reactions the durian elicits.  No one in the history of time has ever tried a durian and said, “meh.”  No, it’s usually squarely between “That is so sweet and heavenly I think I just saw cherubs descend from skies to paint the earth with rainbows” (the durian does not have hallucinogenic qualities as far as I know) and “Holy motherfuck, what the FUCK is that, it’s like Satan’s wet farts.”  No one’s ever reacted that way to Anne Hathaway.

I wish there was a scientific explanation for this – and maybe there is, and I just can’t be arsed to look for it.  I am firmly in the camp of those who think that there is nothing sweeter in the world than durian.  Nothing.  Not truffles, not my kids, not Kate Upton, nothing.  For me, the durian transcends earthly explanation.  It boggles my mind that something that tastes and smells so mind-blowingly amazing can exist without ripping a massive black hole in the universe.

Then there are those who think that the durian is proof that the devil exists because it is his festering hemorrhoid littered on this earth.  Those people would be wrong, and those people are stupid.

And here, I’ve saved the very best bit for last.  If you can wrap your head around this fucked up fruit at this point, then you’ll love this part – you can’t have alcohol when you eat durian “because you’ll die”.  This fucking thing will KILL YOU.  Shit, even the infamous fugu sushi doesn’t have any booze restrictions on it.  Not so with the durian.  At least that’s the unwritten rule that EVERYONE abides by when they eat durian.  You just don’t fuck around with that rule when you’re eating durian.  You’ve gotta make sure there’s no alcohol in your system before or after you eat it.  Eat it right, or you die!  Truth is, no one really knows if there’s any shred of truth to this, but to date, I don’t know anyone who’s been willing to put this to the test.  I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but I ain’t doin’ that.  Because that’d be a pretty fucking stupid way to die.  “The idiot knew he wasn’t supposed to booze it up with the durian, but he did, and now he’s fucking dead.”  That’d make for a horrible epitaph.

Durian = no booze, you guys.

Some of you are gonna read this and think, why the fuck is this dipshit writing about some goddamn fruit that sounds like a cancerous sphincter?  Because those of you who haven’t tried durian are gonna lack the balls to try something that could – as track records go – turn out to be the most glorious thing you’ve ever tasted.  But no, you’re gonna puss out.  And that’s going to be fucking shame.

Grow a pair, eat a durian.