How to Fail the Shit Out of a Health Inspection.
I’ve eaten at some serious shit holes in my day. Proudly. There’s a charm to hole-in-the-wall places unless I have to fuck a stranger through through the hole and even then I would consider it if the end result was a good ossobucco or a nice paella. There’s a difference between a shit hole and an affront to man and science, though. There are restaurants that challenge the sternum. Dark places with dark secrets. Eateries of the damned. Places that would make David Cronenberg piss his Canadian pants.
When we went to Chinatown in New York a couple of years ago I’m pretty sure I ate at a place where the special of the day was Peking Maimed Tween Vagina. I had been brought there by author Steve Alten, who willingly ingested each and every carnival terror placed on a plate before him while I enjoyed a Bubble Tea and the bile it battled with on its way down. People have unknowingly eaten ruined Mafiosos in Chinatown. Others have tasted something that might have been crabmeat or might have been Heather O’Rourke. One guy ate the remains of the world’s only real hobbit, though he ordered the Mongolian Beef.
My love for Anthony Bourdain notwithstanding, I do not subscribe to the philosophy of eating something just because it’s there. A friend recently told me of a visit to Thailand where she ate from bowls with chicken legs sticking out of them and that was most likely the least Lovecraftian of the things they were fed there. But if the place is dripping with primordial ooze and the staff is peppered with people whose primary care physician is Dr. Moreau, I must stand back and vehemently not be the typically sweet and loving gentleman you all know me as.
Life’s too short to eat the unknown.
A restaurant in the Lilburn section of Atlanta just scored a 13 on their health code inspection. From what I understand, the health code test is like the SAT. If the place has at least two walls, they’re guaranteed a 10.
A fucking 13. I envision some guy coming in with a notepad just as Jan Vlasák starts to clean his man murdering tools.
“I’m here for the inspection.”
and become my meat meal.”
Thirteen is an unlucky number, especially for people eating at Mar y Tierra Family Mexican Restaurant in [sometime CHUD contributor and my bandmate] Micah Robinson’s neck of the woods. How do you not realize you’re eating in a restaurant that becomes more sanitary when people shit in it? How do you not turn tail when you enter a joint and the cash register is overrun with scorpions? When the sign out front is guarded by a homeless Alice Cooper?
Making everything brillianter: It is a Family Restaurant.
“Dad, why is the secret of the ooze coming out of my tortilla?”
There’s two BBQ joints within a couple of miles of each other on Peachtree Industrial Blvd, and since that’s the way I go to the city typically I pass them both. I have passed them for years and never paid attention. One I believe is called the Pig n’ Chick, or something of the sort. The other one has a different name, and it is LEGION.
The night of of the Beowulf sneak, myself and my friends Brian Pollock and Steve Murphy [who wasn’t really there] decided to grab a bite. I was driving and preoccupied with a phone call with a famous filmmaker [I’m not above the non-name drop], and I drove past the CORRECT place. I turned around after a few miles and doubled back. I went to the OTHER place, because I can sometimes be a scatterbrained broad. We entered and the place was a wood-paneled atrocity that the health inspector must have had on his to-do list after hitting the hamlet of Hobb’s End. There was no kitchen staff. There was no prep station. There was no cooking device plugged in. Two people were standing behind the counter with a bucket of slop and a few bags of hamburger buns that were apparently sized for the Phantasm dwarves.
Slop on tiny buns, their specialty.
We ate there and then squirmed on the ground screaming, the transcript and photo record of which is here: