Last week, we began our new series, "Food Pairing for the Modern Sophisticate," with an instructive piece about the best foods to eat while really stoned. This helpful and educational offering proffered the best edible suggestions for the itinerant weed enthusiast and modern socialite, and our series continues this week with a few words about pairing foods with mankind's other favorite Saturday night poison: alcohol.
Looks like she's ready for snacks!
Oh, alcohol... Dear friend, beloved lubricant, that most charming of anesthetics. Imagine for a moment what this world would be like without the simple pleasures of martini lunches and hip flasks, of misplaced Saturday nights, the clatter of rocks in a glass and the goodwill that lives like an invisible mermaid in the bottom of every bottle of juniper consomme.
As any Modern Sophisticate already knows, alcohol is not just a pleasant part of life, but a necessary one: elemental, like breath, cell phones and the number of a good lawyer. Drink is, in this hectic, rootless, cruel and overburdened world, the ideal solution to nearly any problem. Drink enough, and one of two things happens: either the problem goes away, or you do.
But we are not here today to discuss the drink itself. Rather, we are going to talk about that necessary adjunct to any good night of elbow-bending: what to eat in that magical span between the moments when that first drink has gone down and the first of them starts to come back up. So let's get started, shall we?Numbers 1-2
#1: Dick's Drive In
It sometimes seems as though Dick's is the Seattleite's answer to every question that begins, "Hey, where should I eat when I'm..." and ends with something that's still illegal in Utah. And while we know that this is said out of love, out of loyalty to a native original, and out of the noble but misguided belief that everything can be made better by cheeseburgers, the truth is, Dick's exists almost exclusively as a safety net for midnight casualties of barley and the grape. Little cheeseburgers, speedily and artfully assembled by magical, be-hatted elves working behind glass, and handed out like the sacrament to any and all who come stumbling up with a couple dollars gripped in their fists--Dick's is not just a restaurant, but something like a church for the terminally over-served where one might cheaply buy forgiveness, in cheeseburger form, for all the past night's sins.
#2: "Moons Over My Hammy" at Denny's
The "Moons Over My Hammy" is a delicious sandwich, in its way. It also has one of the most embarrassing names to say in the history of restaurants. Want to know whether or not you're drunk? Look over at the hot girl next to you at the bar and say, "You know what I could really go for right now? A Moons Over My Hammy." If, after speaking, you feel like a total geek and a fool, you, my friend, are not yet drunk enough for a Moons Over My Hammy.
If, on the other hand, you thought you sounded pretty suave, call a cab and get thee to a Denny's, post haste.
And if the hot girl at the bar widened her eyes, grabbed you by the arm and said something like, "Yes! I would love a Moons Over My Hammy right now! I haven't had one of those since the night I lost my virginity/won that hot dog eating contest/met Roman Polanski/woke up at the Starlite Motel missing my kidney..." then you might want to make that a cab for two.
#3: Pizza by the slice
Why by the slice? Because it allows you, even in your muddled and over-generous state, to effectively control your pizza intake, by limiting you to a single slice at a time. If you have to eat a slice, get back in line, wait, and order another slice rather than diving right in, face-first, and just eating an entire pizza in one sitting (which you're gonna regret soon, no matter what), the thoughtful pauses between them will allow you to properly judge whether adding another wad of grease and cheese and pepperoni to that roiling hell-broth of PBR and Irish car bombs in your belly is really the best idea.
It's all about control. And if you didn't manage to exercise any at the bar (as evidenced by that wicked butterfly tattoo you just got on your ass or that thing you did in the back room with the bar garnishes), you should attempt to enforce some at the pizzeria.
You'll thank me in the morning.
#4: Anything Greek
Greek food is magic. It makes all alcohol turn to pixie dust in your system and instantly cures all ill effects (both physical and psychological) of those Jager shots your weird friend talked you into drinking. As a matter of fact, if you're planning for a night of heavy drinking, it might be wise to make a little map of all the 24-hour Greek (or Middle Eastern) restaurants in the area. For the amusement of your friends, draw it on some interesting body part that can only be revealed by the removal of certain undergarments. Then claim to be too drunk to remove said undergarments yourself. For even more fun, wait until your weird friend with the Jager fetish passes out, then draw the map on him, in thanks for such an amusing night, the police record it earned you, and all the new friends you made in the drunk tank. The forehead makes an excellent canvas for such a work.
#5: Color-coordinate your eating
Vomiting is your body's way of telling you it has had enough schnapps, thanks, and really wishes you would just go home and sleep it off. Pre-planning is your way of informing your body that, as an evolved human, you'll be making the decisions tonight and think that maybe it's time for karaoke!
In terms of pre-planning one's wardrobe in terms of intake, there are three concerns:
1) The formality of the venue
2) The colors of what you drank, or intend to drink
3) The colors of what you've eaten, or plan to eat
Thus, for a woman attending a garden party where wine will be served, she should try to dress in deep purples or reds, drink only stout Cabernets and eat grapes or purple Kool-Aid mix right out of the packet. For a fella attending a wake, he should wear a dark suit and tie, drink only brown liquors, and eat only Oreo cookies, black jelly beans and dirt which--if it's a good wake with plenty of brown liquors on hand--he's probably going to end up doing anyway.
Nothing caps off a night of heavy drinking better than breakfast. More to the point, nothing separates the bouts of heavy drinking like a calm, relaxing breakfast at any one of the many diners (all of which should look like the above picture when the time is right) scattered around this great nation. Having breakfast after a night spent indulging in repeated blows to the liver serves four important purposes:
1) It allows you to take in much needed protein (eggs, bacon), carbs (toast, hashbrowns) and fat (extra bacon), which will help to mitigate the effects of the hangover to come.
2) It will trick your body into thinking that it is morning, forcing your brain to release all those wakey-wakey chemicals it has been jealously hoarding all night because it will believe that it's now time to get back the business of being a fine, upstanding gas station attendant/airline pilot/award-winning food writer/President of the United States.
3) It makes you feel like your "drinking problem" is under control by breaking it down into several, discreet instances--just a few nights spent hanging out and having fun with your friends!--rather than the eleven day NyQuil-and-whiskey bender it actually is.
4) It allows you to throw up in a bathroom that someone else will have to clean.