Feb 042011

I won’t lie–I’ve been on a diet. I’m pretty serious about this rollerdance pipe dream and figure I better do all I can to get into good shape so I don’t look like a rotund Liberace in my majestic sequined unitard. (Today, sticking to this diet has proven especially arduous since there was a Dip-Off at work, inspiring my co-workers to wish to ladle said dips into my mouth all night.)

Last night, when I went out to dinner at Mad Mex with my friend Gina and her girlfriend Elissa, I had every intention of ordering a salad. Something sauceless & sprout-like. Maybe just stick to licking the rim-salt off Gina’s margarita. But then I saw that the special was jerk pork tacos with FRIED BANANAS and then all I could think about was substituting the pork for tofu but definitely keeping the FRIED BANANAS.

FRIED BANANAS in a taco. How motherfucking Caribbean. And to think I was just saying the other day that I needed to paste some island flavors upon my palate. (This is all thanks to seeing the same Shabba Ranks video twice in two days on VH1’s Island Soul.)

I had been subsisting on leaves for nearly two weeks, with some rice and yogurt thrown in here and there. Maybe a covert, guilt-covered cough drop when no one was looking. So that is what I ordered, this fucking taco with FRIED BANANAS, and goddamn was I feeling great about it, too. If I’m going to cough up a cheat night, it better damn well have the FRIED BANANAS protruding from it.

As I turned away from the waitress to talk to my friends, I noticed her form hovering in my periphery.

“I just want you to know that it’s really hot,” she interrupted.

“OK,” I acknowledged. This should have been a sufficient response, I felt.

“No, it’s very, very, very hot,” she stressed.

Again, I said that was fine, and she finally retreated.

Three ‘very’s!” I exclaimed to Gina and Elissa. “Goddamn.” Doubt started to creep in. Doubt and anxiety.

“I feel like I’m about to get a piercing, not a taco,” I joked, but the fact was that I was fucking serious on the inside. My palms were beginning to glaze a little, and I had this bad feeling that I was about to become the first person to expire from jerk sauce, completely killing my Caribbean cred.

Coming back with our drinks, the waitress felt compelled to reiterate again just how spicy this dish really was. She started comparing it to various hot sauces I had never had, assuring me that it was way hotter than these particular fiery juices which had never graced my tongue.

“I LOVE that sauce, but can’t handle the heat of this one,” the waitress put on the table, like that was going to actually serve as some basis of comparison. Maybe if she had remembered to sling her Miss Pennsylvania Pepper Sadist sash across her bulky bod’, her statement might have made more impact.

“You’re scaring me,” I admitted, seeing my FRIED BANANAS all lassoed up in a rope, being wrangled out of my reach by Lisa, Mad Mex’s resident kill-joy.

“How about I have them put the sauce on the side?” she suggested, in a tone that still didn’t suggest an ounce of confidence in my decision, like I’m a fucking albino swearing I won’t perish beneath the sun when I join that Palm Springs nudist colony.

“I wanna see your face melt off,” Gina gushed supportively after Lisa set off to baby my taste buds by segregating the jerk sauce in a ramekin, where it didn’t stand a chance of flooding my food.

Waiting for my dinner to arrive was much like standing in line for that piece of shit carnival ride that killed three Mexicans back in ’08 and definitely is demanding human blood to be poured into the mouth of Hell, so says the shouts of your mother as she begs you to just pitch a fastball at Bozo instead: I mostly knew I was going to be alright, but now had that niggling voice of caution lashing its tongue and waving a spaghetti sauce-coated wooden spoon in my head.

When our food was placed in front of us and I took my inaugural bite, I expected our waitress to pop up between my legs and scream, for one last time, “IT’S REALLY HOT BE CAREFUL!” while braced to dump a freezer of ice cubes and frosted mugs of milk down my gullet.

But she didn’t, and yet it turned out to be fine. Completely anti-climactic. I wound up just dipping my taco in the cup of jerk sauce and accompanying pineapple salsa (WARNING: CONTAINS HABANEROS, OH NOES!), allowing me the perfect sauce control over my food, and in the end, I was very happy with my choice.

Even though it was the most anxiety-laden taco I’ve ever ordered.

That night, the waitress was in my dreams, trying to talk me out of doing everything I wanted to do because it was too hot. I woke up wondering where she was when I needed her fanatical advice, like in 2001 right before I had that one night stand with Henry.

  4 Responses to “A Jerky Sitch”

  1. I’m wondering what happened to that woman to make her so over protective of customers?
    Did an old person threaten to sue because she failed to disclose the amount of hotness in a taco? (tofu taco? So California!)
    Maybe she just recognized you for the delicate flower that you are.
    So awesome that you were having nightmares about her restricting you…that would make an awesome painting!

  2. One time the guy at the Thai carry-out place said “wow” when I ordered my foot hot. It kind of worried me but it didn’t kill me or anything.

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