Today, I celebrate a few of my favourite things, like chocolate, comics and weird restaurants.
Weird restaurants? As a kid, my sister and I used to invent bizarre restos, like a place where they would serve plates of half-eaten food or where the waitress was an animal. Now, there actually is a place where monkeys serve beer. Former Surreal Gourmet Bob Blumer gets even more surreal with his new show, World’s Weirdest Restaurants. “There’s a place in Taiwan called Modern Toilet, and you eat curry out of a miniature toilet bowl, and you think, ‘Gosh, how do they find enough customers to stay in business?’ Then you find out they’re a franchise.” He also went to a restaurant that sautés killer-bee larvae at your table, and another where the dinner entertainment is Thai kick-boxing.
“I also went to a nudist restaurant in New York where all the diners were naked, including me,” he tells me.
“Does food taste better when you’re naked?” I ask.
“The good thing is you never have to worry about loosening your belt.” The show airs Wednesdays on the Food Network.
The people who make Green & Black’s organic milk chocolate should probably also have their own show. Lord knows they have enough flavours. They sent me a box of 10 different bars, including the astonishing milk chocolate with whole roasted almonds and milk chocolate with butterscotch pieces, which is as cute as it sounds and totally yummy. I’m not as hot on the dark chocolate bars, even the one with ginger pieces, or the soft mint centre or the orange and spices. Although the dark chocolate with hazelnuts and sweet currants was good enough to be a meal unto itself.
Green & Black’s organic chocolate is made from the highest-quality ingredients. “We use organic fair-trade fine cocoa beans, which have a complexity of flavour,” says Micah Carr-Hill, head of taste, from Green & Black’s headquarters in England. “We also use vanilla from Madagascar, cherries from Eastern Europe, almonds from Sicily and cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic. It’s a premium chocolate bar.” I ask Micah about the supposed health benefits of eating dark chocolate. “I would never describe it as a health food,” he replies. “The amount of antioxidants is too small to measure. But it does make you happy, so that in itself is a health benefit.”
Finally, I ask Micah about the old truism that some people would rather have chocolate than sex. “Well, it all depends where you’re getting your sex from,” he replies in a panty-wetting British accent. “At least our chocolate offers consistent pleasure.” So true. Green & Black’s organic chocolate is available at Super Freshmart at four bucks a pop, and it’s worth it.
Finally, I sit down to watch The Story of Rock ’n’ Roll Comics, a documentary about a man named Todd Loren, who published more than 300 comic-book biographies of such sordid rock bands as Alice Cooper and Skid Row and was then found stabbed to death in 1992, probably by Andrew Cunanan, which in itself is a distinction.
Loren attracted the ire of the bands he profiled in his famous Rock ’n’ Roll Comics of the early 1990s. New Kids on the Block sued him twice. It didn’t help that Loren’s writers leaned heavily on urban legends, like the one about Led Zeppelin members putting a live fish into a groupie’s pussy.
But Loren was also deeply closeted. His colleagues didn’t even know he was gay until after the murder. Anyone can have the bad luck of going home with a cute serial killer. The real problem with the documentary is that he just wasn’t a very likeable person, so it’s hard to care.
Hey, I just got a great idea — a restaurant that serves only expensive chocolate on plates made out of old comic-book pages. Served by monkeys! I must call my sister and ask what she thinks.