Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something fishy in Philadelphia

Last Friday afternoon, as I was getting ready to head out for our buddy Iball’s bachelor party in Philly, my friend Josh called me to say, “You’re the cheapest guy I know, and tonight we’re going to the most expensive restaurant I know. I wonder if the world will explode when you walk through the doors.”

“Wait a minute, I thought this was just a little sushi place,” I said.

“We’re going to Morimoto, not Long John Silver’s. You might want to stop at Wawa on the way and get a meatball shorti so you don’t starve.”

It had all seemed innocent enough, clicking the “Yes” button on the Evite for the party. We weren’t flying to Vegas, just having a simple night out on the town in Philly. For the record, if you think “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” when you see the word “Evite,” you probably don’t get invited to too many events via the internet.

That evening, twelve of us descended on Morimoto, with those traveling in my car taking an enjoyable, if obscenity-filled, detour into New Jersey first.

“Why are we on the bridge? Who said to take 76 East? Oh, man, why does this always happen?” I moaned. Stadiums have been built in Philly with the toll dollars collected from our accidental forays into Jersey. The earliest settlers in New Jersey probably got lost on their way to a concert and just didn’t feel like paying the three bucks to get back into Philly.

When we finally got to the restaurant, we found that it was stylish and carefully lit, the kind of place where you’d expect to see famous people that you wouldn’t really care about seeing, like Nick Nolte or Louis Anderson. I quietly stared at the menu, pretending that I was considering ordering something other than a California roll, the second-cheapest thing on the menu behind salted beans. Then one of Iball’s friends said, “Hey, this omakase dish sounds really good.”

I glanced at the menu and saw the description for omakase: “Blah fish something blah. $80, $100 or $120 and up per person.”

When I looked back up to share a good laugh with the guy, I realized with horror that he was serious. I leaned over to Josh and said, “Dude, 80 to 120 bucks? I hope ‘omakase’ is Japanese for ‘Eagles tickets.’”

After we’d had enough food and drink to outspend the Defense Department for the evening, the waitress brought out a small plate with a single candle and a marble-sized black thing on it, setting it in front of Iball.

“This is a red snapper eye,” she said. “It’s considered a delicacy.” The use of passive voice allowed her to avoid the issue altogether of who, exactly, considers fish eyeballs to be nature’s Bon-Bons. The word “delicacy” is often applied to things that other people seem to be trying to get rid of.

Alanis Morisette ruined the word ironic many years ago, but if she hadn’t, that might have been a decent word with which to describe the scene of Iball looking down at the eyeball on his plate looking back up at him. It should be noted that Iball’s nickname gets its derivation not from any particular affinity for eyeballs themselves, but because his initials are I.B., and Iball sounds cooler than Ibuprofen. In any event, we’ll probably pick a different restaurant when our buddy Lower Intestine gets married.

When the bill came, we all threw in enough cash to pomp a homecoming float. The mountain of twenties grew on top of the table, its avalanches making entire dinner plates disappear. After counting our contributions, our elected accountant looked up and uttered words I never thought I’d hear in my lifetime: “Dudes, we’re still $700 short.”

Our table briefly turned into a reasonable approximation of the New York Stock Exchange. We eventually made it out of there alive and in relatively good spirits, though we all carried freshly filleted wallets.

You can join Mike Todd for an extra value meal at


  1. I'm sorry, Mike, but anytime someone goes out for a meal and pays hundreds of dollars, then there better be some "personal table entertainment" and leave with a permanent smile plastered on your face. I know you know what I mean.

    I need to get caught up on your work, man. It's been ages.

    I'm back and working. Been a long transition after the move, but onward and forward.

    See ya!

  2. OMG that is nuts. I would never pay that much money for ANY food no matter what it was.

    I have a hard time dishing out 40 bucks for dinner. lol

    So...did Iball eat the eyeball???

  3. aww man. sick nasty, and eyeball to place in your mouth to eat? that's sick nasty

  4. Marie -- Hey, nice to see you! Congratulations on cranking out your novel. That really is awesome.

    Burf -- Dang, I did leave out that detail, didn't I? Well, he sorta did. I mean, he chewed it a few times before gagging it into his napkin. I guess we can rip up his Fear Factor application.

    Anon -- You said it, man. Or woman.

  5. Funny. Glad you explained Iballs name. Makes sense now.

    Lower Intestine's (real nickname?) place to eat out? I would suggest Taco Bell. Just because. Ha. Only don't eat the shallots.

    Irony? She did ruin it but sure made a hot God.

    You talk about a restaurant where you could be 700.00 short after pitching in a pile of money.

    Well, driving into work, I noticed the local Mickey D's is running their promotional old fashioned priced 29 cent, 39 cent, hamburgers / cheeseburgers today.

    Is there any irony in that?

  6. Buster -- Good stuff. You make several excellent points, which is several more than I've ever made.

  7. $700 SHORT?!? Holy crap, dude (oh, wait, that's right, you're too old to be dude any more)

    Sounds like one of our nights out at Catch 31 in Virginia Beach... thankfully, we always take someone who has a company expense account! LOL