The proof of the pudding is, fortunately, not in the advertising 5

I’m a member of the South Austin ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) Club, so I’m always on the lookout for new places to dine. Austin is a foodie city, so finding a good place to eat is not tough; what can be challenging, however, is separating the wheat from the chaff (or the chicken salad from the chicken shit, as I think it says in the Bible). With so many places to choose from, how does a cannabis-addled old hippie decide?

Fortunately, some joints make the choice for you. My wife recommended a place she and her girlfriends just love. So, of course, it’s heavy on the kale and light on the actual, ya know, food. At her insistence I tried it once but they must put estrogen in the cucumber water or something because shortly after we ate, my breasts got all tender and I think I got my period. Also, all I wanted to do for the rest of the day was talk about my feelings. So, pass on this place.

A friend suggested I try poké. This Hawaiian delicacy is basically sushi in a bowl; you get rice and your choice of a bunch of other stuff and it comes to you in a heap, not in convenient bite-size portions. It’s like if Ikea made sushi, only you don’t save any money because it’s DYI. Many poké places serve Spam, so thumbs up for that but overall, this is a hard pass.

And then there are places like a certain South Austin food truck that you don’t even have to try to know that it’s not right for you. This place, whose name sounds kinda like Sweetsop, touts itself as “pan-Asian.” That sounds brilliant and would normally be right in my wheelhouse – if they had stopped there. But they didn’t. They go on to describe themselves as “the trap music of Austin food trucks.” That’s only slightly better than calling themselves the Norwegian death metal of food trucks. And comparing something you want me to eat to something I’d rather kill myself than listen to is not brilliant marketing, but I’m not their demo, so whatevs.

This goes on for nearly 100 words, awkwardly mixing music metaphors and name-checking kick drums, 808 synthesizers and—of course—pork belly (FYI: every eating place in Austin serves pork belly—even the ice cream shops. Even the kosher ice cream shops!). But it never gets less silly or makes any more sense. Seriously – it sounds like some Old White Dude (hereafter, OWD) like me smoked a bowl, spent 15 minutes on, and then crapped out this loaf of pooh in an attempt to appeal to the cool kids.

If I may paraphrase, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, not in its promo copy, and passing on a place because their ads suck is like saying you don’t like the Rolling Stones because Mick is rude to waiters. And my own vocabulary? I still say (and without a trace of irony) “stoked” and “dope” and “fly.” But in my defense, I do it as a laugh, and I know I sound like the OWD I am.

You dig, daddio?




  1. I feel ya, bro. That’s some funny stuff. I recently saw an article from Food & Wine magazine about the top 50 new restaurants in America and one of them was an Austin restaurant named Suerte. Perusing the menu ended up being super cringeworthy.
    Instead of a happy hour they have “lucky hour” and it really is just one hour. They offer “Snackcisents” like “chips con lentils y yogurt”. Whaaat? Their tacos are listed as “Vitamina T”. Gues what – they have pork belly carnitas! And under “Vegetables” they include “peaches and mangoes”. Ok.
    Anyway, I just thought this backed up the point of your article: sometimes straightforward food is the best.

  2. Pingback: Menu English: Food for thought, heartburn for editors « Jeff Carmack – comedy writer

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