One of my favorite restaurants in the “back home” category is Red Robin, known for its burgers, fries, shakes, and subsequent shame. Knowing that you’ve eaten too much is often enough to stop one from eating too much a second time, but that wasn’t really my policy. My high school and early college days were fueled by one after another of Red Robin’s delicious Whiskey River Barbecue Burger, which I would order only after establishing a designated driver (ba doom-ching).
Fast Forward 10 years to last Saturday. I’m back in Metro Detroit, visiting my family and having a wonderful time. Suddenly the idea emerges that perhaps we should all go to Red Robin, since they have outstanding hamburgers and bottomless fries. My belt pinched me. I feverishly scanned the internet for nutrition information, hoping to find that the Whiskey River Barbecue Burger on the Weight Watcher’s menu, which is a long shot considering the top ingredient listed is “some grease we found”. As it turns out, Red Robin is notoriously secretive when it comes to actual nutrition information. I guess that ignorance is bliss. This axiom that holds especially true when we’re discussing food at restaurants. Mmm. Restaurants. My belt pinched me again, snapping me from my hamburger daydream. I later discovered that I had a 9-volt battery in my pocket, which was shorting out with some loose change and tazeing me, bro.
We arrived at the restaurant, superseded by the waft of deliciousness and ushered to our booth by a foul temptress. (Actually, her name was Nicole and she was quite nice. Crayons for the kids, etc.) I sat down and promptly ordered a big water, hoping to convince my stomach that it had less space available. A cursory glance at the menu revealed a slightly healthier option that meant sacrificing a hamburger’s best friend: french fries. I should point out that Red Robin offers bottomless fries, an ironic name since as they keep bringing them you become less bottomless.
I asked our waitress for a grilled chicken sandwich, no cheese, and please bring the french fry substitute.
Waitress: “You mean the cantaloupe, sir?”
Me: (long pause, sigh). “Yes.”
Everyone in restaurant: (staring in disbelief).
Me: “No, I’d better get fries”
Waitress & Everyone: (cheering)
Me: “But Malachi will have cantaloupe”
Malachi: (dirty look)
I ended up eating Malachi’s cantaloupe instead and giving him a fair amount of my fries. That, combined with my somewhat healthy chicken sandwich led to a meal of only about 900 calories. And that’s not bad, considering it’s about 1/3 of what I would have eaten otherwise.
This is a trans-formative moment. I ate cantaloupe instead of fries. Fries are my best friend in the diner experience. Ketchup, a good cousin to fries. And salt? Well, let’s just say that there won’t be any risk of ice forming on them.
In retrospect, I should have asked for a refill of cantaloupe, given that the restaurant holds closely to its bottomlessness policy. It might have looked like this:
Me: “Can I get a refill?”
Waitress: “Of fries?”
Me: “No. (dramatic pause). Of cantaloupe.”
Entire Restaurant: (pregnant pause)
Waitress: “Okay! Cantaloupe!”
Entire Restaurant: (cheers and applause)
Waitress: (over the applause) “That’ll be an extra $2.50”
Me: “Just bring the fries, then.”
The rest of the meal would have been spent in an awkward, restaurant-wide silence that hangs in the air like a dense fog. I think I need to work on the ending. My belt just pinched me.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in our body.
– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)