Last night I had a great dinner with Nick, Melissa, and James at Diner. It was great, aside from the gassy burger hangover I felt for the rest of the night, and mild face and throat swelling in reaction to an allergy I didn't know I had.
But that's not the topic of this post. Nope. It's. RADICCHIO. Subtitle: "OH GOD, WHY."
So. Although I rarely eat salads, I always get a salad at Diner because they're generally awesome. I've expressed this a few times. Farm fresh greens, eggs, bacon, pickles—some combination of this gets tossed together and coated in the appropriate amount of an appropriate dressing, the ingredients changing with the seasons. Last night's salad was a tricolore salad featuring radicchio, something green, soft boiled egg, and some sort of white beans dressed in an anchovy vinaigrette (can't find the description online; you'll just have to trust my untrustworthy memory). Although I knew I didn't like radicchio, I thought, "Eeeh there's a bunch of other good stuff in it! And these salads are always good! I'll go for it. Also, I'm really hungry after waiting an hour outside for a table."
I had rarely been so excited to dig into a pile of leafy vegetables. So I dug.
- I'm really honing my "distressed head with a protruding brain"-drawing skills here. ...Thanks for being a part of my artistic growth.
The radicchio. One bite into those veiny purple poison-infused leaves gave me the sensation that the outermost layer of my brain was turning itself inside out. I know that doesn't make any sense—does the brain have an outer layer?—but I totally envisioned the outside of my brainlump slowly peeling off like flaccid, slimy chicken skin (completely with that "ffwwwsssshh" sound effect), rolling over itself, shriveling up, then dying.
My reaction may be a smidge overdramatic. By a factor of about 10,000. But that's what I thought at the moment of radicchio bitterness coursing through my neurons, or whatever sends those messages. My other thought: "How the hell does anyone enjoy this? It's. Like. [insert retching sound]"
But obviously, people do like it. Also, I ate most of the salad because, hell, I paid for it, and I WAS GOING TO ENJOY IT, even if I didn't enjoy it (PARADOX SALAD...by the way this is what I found while Googling "paradox salad"). I didn't want to admit that my good salad streak had been broken. But it had been very much broken. Beaten. Shoved into a trash can of questionable integrity, left to roll down a rocky hill for about as long as it takes to sing the Benny Hill theme song (because that's the song I'd play to accompany this scene, of course...okay, maybe just a minute of this song, I'm not sure how much of it I can take), landing with a powerful splash into a rocky lake of daggery-cold water, later to be discovered by a pack of rabid, malnourished raccoons wielding mallets embedded with jagged rocks.
Actually, I shouldn't say it wasn't a good salad, just one I didn't enjoy. My reaction to bitter foods is on par with that of a toddler's, except with more intense disgust. One sip of black coffee or red wine can cause my face to contort in ways usually reserved for cartoon characters. Obviously most other humans have grown to appreciate the flavor of such things, which makes me wonder if I'm tasting something different from everyone else, or if everyone else has just learned to deal with stuff tasting like poison.
In conclusion, I have to remember to never eat anything with raw radicchio in it again. Lesson learned. The green vegetable in the salad was also noxiously bitter, although a bit less so than the radicchio. I feel completely stupid for not being able to recognize it—it looks like baby spinach in the photo, but it tasted far too bitter to be baby spinach, unless it was specially bred to have concentrated evil. One of you guys could probably tell me what it is.
The burger was goddamn satisfying as always. Thank you, dear old burger. You are an exemplary member of the ground beef patty-centric sandwich family, with your copious beef juices and funky beefy flavors blessed with a good hit of sodium.