Dining with us tonight?


By Neil Offen

Hi, my name is Chad and I’ll be your server this evening unless you want Carson because he actually knows that quinoa is pronounced keen-wa.

Although you haven’t decided yet if you’re sitting boy-girl, boy-girl or some other more exotic configuration, would you like something to drink to begin the meal? We have craft beer from a craft brewery that is so artisanal it makes just three bottles a year. Only one is left.

We have a number of specials tonight and I will now recite them all to you so quickly you will undoubtedly ask me to repeat them at least two or three times and then probably still forget most of them as soon as I move away and ignore your frantic waving. Also, please don’t stop me in the middle of my list because then I’ll have to go back to the beginning and start again, and who wants that?

Our specials tonight include a number of interesting small plates, which used to be called appetizers but we changed the description to more accurately reflect how small the food is. The small plates are all full of umami, although no one is quite sure what umami actually is, but if we say we have it we can charge more. The plates include poached kale, seared kale and grilled kale. The non-kale version is optional.

Our soup special this evening is a traditional gingered cream of squid with a dollop of shiitake mushroom extract. Traditionally, we use two iis in shiitake but our mushroom chef is considering using three iiis tonight for the extra umami.

The squid is locally sourced, which wasn’t easy considering we are 120 miles from the coast, but we drove there in the middle of the night, only using Sierra Club-approved roads. Tonight’s salad has been grown by local farmers who have never used chemically enhanced hand sanitizers. It includes heirloom tomatoes, grown from organic looms, and caramelized caramels that have been taken out of their boxes and left to dry in the sun without sunblock.

This evening, one of our special entrees — which we prefer to call large plates, to distinguish them from plates that are smaller — is yellowfin tuna which has been raised, braised, glazed and praised in a sustainable ocean with waves only available in-season.

We also are showcasing our free-range pork belly, which is a boneless cut of fatty meat which ten years ago you wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole but now you can’t touch without a couple of $20 bills. The pork belly is steamed, sautéed and roasted for weeks on end over at Pig Sty Farm just down the road. The pork belly then was charred by two firemen who have humanely contained three wildfires in remote places in the state of Utah. Their credentials are available.

The pork belly is served over a pilaf of farro, an ancient grain discovered in the high Andes last December and that now has its own Instagram account. There is also a vegan option, with the pork belly replaced by compression socks.

For dessert, our pastry chef has concocted a special panna cotta sorbet tiramisu dulce de leche since we’ve run out of English words on the menu.

To accompany the meal, we recommend cold-brewed kombucha, with a side order of kimchi that’s been seasoned with kippers. OK?

Those were tonight’s specials. Would you like to see the regular menu now or are you ready to order? Or would you like a moment to make reservations elsewhere?

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column appears twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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1 Comment on "Dining with us tonight?"

  1. Thanks, Neil, for returning – you made my day. (or maybe it’s only me who is returning)

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