Last night, Paul and I debated about what to do for dinner. Paul loves to cook, and he’s very good at it. He’s more like a chef at a fine restaurant than your run of the mill home cook, so eating anything he prepares is a treat. I really like going out for a meal. New York has awesome restaurants. It’s especially nice when the meal is over and we can walk out and leave all the pots, pans, and dishes to someone else to clean while we head home and relax.
Paul and I do a dinner dance of sorts every night. Breakfast isn’t usually a problem. Paul makes it and it’s wonderful. Lunch just depends on what we have going that day. Dinner is always different and is very important. For Paul, it’s all about the quality of the food and the ingredients. He appreciates the texture of the food and use of various spices just like any chef would. For me, it’s more about the ambience. I enjoy the music, wine, and romantic feel of a place. The food really is second for me.
Unfortunately, last night turned into a disaster because we decided to enter that world in between cooking in and going out.
We ordered home delivery take out.
Initially, it was a good idea. We carefully selected a great Cantonese restaurant that’s been around a long time. Dining there is nice. It’s cozy, reasonable, and is one of the few restaurants in New York that’s BYOB. It’s just a great neighborhood restaurant that’s nice when you just want to get out of the house and relax. Between us, we call it Victor’s because that’s the name of the owner of the place.
So Paul places the order and for himself he wisely chooses a reliable favorite—beef and broccoli with egg rolls and rice. Can’t go wrong with that choice. I decide that instead of ordering my tried and true favorite, shrimp with lobster sauce, I’ll venture out and try something different. I spot something interesting on the menu, steamed sea bass. That seems like a great choice with a side of rice veggies.
Now I’ll admit right here that my vision isn’t the greatest and it probably would be helpful in moments like these to invest in a pair of reading glasses so I can check out the fine print. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any handy so I’m not certain that there was any fine print, but if there was any, I’m sure there was a warning I definitely should have read.
When we ordered, the lady taking the call told us it would be ready in about fourteen minutes. Make that more like an hour. When it finally arrived, it was all boxed up in the usual plastic containers that make eating in this manner less than exciting. I’m ripping open containers without much luck when I see a big rectangular aluminum container that looks like something you’d cook a small ham or meatloaf in.
That’s when it hit me. This is my dinner, and it isn’t just some beautiful sea bass with a little paprika sprinkled on top. They sent me the whole damn fish!
I look at Paul and say, “If there is an eye in there I’m going to be very upset.”
Sure enough, I peel back the foil and staring back at me (literally) is a whole fish—head, tail, bones . . . everything. It smells awful and Paul tells me to just throw it away.
You’re not going to believe this, but I can be very stubborn and determined in some circumstances. Unfortunately, this is one of them, so I spend the entire meal taking apart the fish by surgically removing 300 bones. And these aren’t just any bones, they’re like tiny needles. If I miss one while dining . . . well . . . it’s Goodbye Dee Dee!
So while Paul is enjoying his dinner (sort of), my dinner is totally ruined as I attempt to eat this fishy fiasco. I eat some side veggies and rice, but the only thing I can focus on is tasting and smelling Ole Fish Eye.
Finally, after picking off the fish carcass as best I can, I put my shoes on and take what’s left of the carcass and send it down the building’s trash chute.
Afterwards, I notice that my hands smell like rotten fish. I try washing them, but that doesn’t help. Only by scrubbing them can I get most of the smell out.
I think I’m done with the whole ordeal and will just chalk it up to one bad dinner. I sit down to watch a little television when it hits me. I’m not feeling so great. Something is clearly wrong. Weird noises and my throat feels like it’s closing up.
That’s when it hits me. I’m a dead woman. At best, I have a parasite. At worst, I’m going to meet a horrible end at the fins of Ole Fish Eye. Perhaps it didn’t come from the great restaurant after all. Maybe instead the deliveryman picked up Ole Fish Eye from one of those places in Chinatown where the fish is left out in a cart on the sidewalk.
Yes, I’ve eaten a rotten fish!
Immediately, I tell Paul I’m a goner. He’s not quite as sure as I am and suggests that I try eating crackers and drinking some wine. I probably should have listened to him about the wine. Instead, I stick to the crackers which totally ruins the point of my healthy meal option but does eventually seem to settle my queasy stomach.
All in all it was a bad scene. Last night, I felt like I slept with the fishes. Never before (and never again I hope) will I endure a meal where I smell and taste it (even after many crackers, a rigid tooth brushing, and a big bottle of Listerine—none of which does any good).
All I can say after all that is TGIF and here’s a wise old proverb I just made up to think about this weekend.
Cantonese steamed bass take out is NEVER a good idea!