On our travels over the weekend, we find ourselves hungry and far from home, so we stop in at a restaurant called Baba Ganoush. The menu is an almost exact duplicate of that of our favourite restaurant in Budapest, Semiramis, which was of course Syrian right down to the framed portrait of Assad the Elder. This place, on the other hand, is in North Carolina, and nervously insists that it is Greek.
I point out the picture of Beirut on the wall above the till, but the server says that it is Athens. ‘This is a Greek restaurant” he repeats, eyeing the exits. “Hi! I’m Bashir” confides his treacherous name-tag.
There is some intermittent raffia-work and a poster of the Acropolis, but one can tell that their hearts weren’t really in it.
The food is outstanding, but the drinks are mostly the standard God-awful American sodas. We spring on three Fruit Punch Snapples for the kids, in view of their lower than average E-number count. As an added bonus, printed inside each bottle cap is a “Real Fact”, intended to mug the children with education when their guards are down.
This bounces harmlessly off of my brood’s heavily-armoured carapaces, they being mostly illiterate except for brand names, but I find myself informed willy-nilly, in quick succession, that:
- bamboo makes up 99% of the diet of the average panda
- penguins have an organ above their eyes that converts seawater to fresh water, and
- the square dance is the official dance of the state of Washington
I once thought that the true killer fact was the work of months of dedicated research, a la Hutton. I’m therefore vaguely disappointed to discover that he’s probably just addicted to these tooth-rotting sugar-fests. No wonder he gets all hyper and abusive.
These uninvited nuggets of information are strangely unsatisfying. They raise more questions than they answer, especially considering that no-one asked the original question in the first place.
- what makes up the other 1% of a panda’s diet? Is it just stuff resembling bamboo, like supermodels, or stuff that just happened to be near the bamboo at the time, like abandoned baby girls? If the latter, does that explain why they’re all so fat?
- why can’t we just ring the south coast of England with factory-farmed genetically engineered borg-penguins, all chained up in the shallows and merrily pushing out fresh water like billy-o for our gardens and water features? I can’t think of any downside.
And of course
- what the Hell is up with those plaid-clad freaks in Washington State? No wonder Kurt Cobain shot himself.
Fretting over these weighty matters quite ruins my appetite, so I leave an insultingly low tip as we leave. Whatever Bashir mutters at me as we pass, it isn’t in Greek…
Some Snapple, yesterday. A regular liquid academy.