Don't get me wrong. I love a good gimmicky American chain restaurant. I could eat every meal at On The Border, if for no other reason than the fact that once, in an effort to control the jackal inside me that just eats whatever is in front of it, I ordered the three enchilada plate, but I wanted two of those enchiladas to be wrapped up in a to-go box. Apparently overwhelmed by my request, the waiter brought me a to-go box with three enchiladas, a plate with another three enchiladas, and an enchilada on the side.
On Saturday night we were at a party with one of our favorite new couple friends in Philly who recently moved here from the Middle East. According to the husband, a business associate of his was also a member of a Middle Eastern royal family, and became obsessed with The Cheesecake Factory on his most recent trip to America. He had its food shipped to him anywhere he happened to be in the world whenever he wanted it, and also had an aching desire to execute a corporate takeover of the chain. Because. He. Loved it.
So many choices! It's like the perfect American dream was wrapped up in a pie crust and tied with a bow made of fettucini alfredo. We can choose our leaders, we can choose our paths, and we can choose between the doner kebab and the barbecued pork sandwich.
I declared my weekend successful after appreciating the image of a multi-billionaire Arab prince at The Cheesecake Factory at the local mall, surrounded by high schoolers on prom night, pregnant rednecks about to get engaged, and obese citizens on scooters and oxygen. The prince lusts after a giant pile of coconut shrimp and jalapeno poppers, his mouth watering through laminated page after laminated page of the endless menu, trying to decide between the fish tacos, the Hungarian goulash, the sushi, the spicy Hawaiian calzone and the alligator gumbo. Save room for the Oreo-caramel cheesecake, y'all!
Equals a dichotomy of confusion and awesomeness, represented by this firework question mark: