Driving home from work the other day, I found myself making a mental list. I wondered: Who would I have lunch with if time, money and social standing got thrown out the window? Would I pick an actor, singer, artist, politician?
I established a few rules:
1- It can be anyone in history (no fiction), alive or dead. No one from the future. That's weird.
2- You can eat anything, anywhere and anyhow.
3- They have to pay. What follows is my Top Five fantasy lunch mates, in no particular order:
1. Tuna Poke with Don Ho
Poke -- pronounced POH-kay -- is a traditional Hawaiian salad/appetizer of raw fish, usually served with some type of crunchables, such as sesame seeds or nuts. The one pictured is a scallion-tuna-ginger ahi tuna poke.
That sounds delicious, or, as they say in Hawaii: delicious.
According to his IMDB entry, Don Ho was "The icon of breezy island entertainment.... [he] became synonymous with Hawaii and all it represented..."
If raw tuna, Hawaiian shirts, ginger-soy dressing and the sweet and sultry style of the late, great Don Ho don't suit you, then maybe the amazingly beautiful volcanic island setting will.
2. Crepes with Young Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon graduated from military academy in Paris, ranked 42nd out of 58 in his class. What is surprising about this is that there was a military academy in Paris, a city known for food, art, culture, fashion and berets. In all honesty, though, France has the 3rd largest military budget, next to the good old US of A and China, at one and two, respectively. They spend the rest of their money on wine, cheese and horizontally-striped shirts. I kid.
I think eating crepes whenever is treat, but watching a young Napoleon Buonaparte (the actual way to spell his last name; he was Corsican, by birth, and only changed after he was exiled) dangle his tiny little legs over a chair and wax poetic about the advantages of constitutional monarchy and Voltaire whilst eating egg-y goodness would be the real draw.
3. Matzo Ball Soup with Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce is one of the all-time greats. He loved cursing, dating strippers and kvetching about the schmaltz that modern society consisted of. He is also on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band." Not bad.
We'd talk about life, freedom of speech and our mothers, and we'd probably end up Occupying something. It just seems like he was that kind of guy. Also, he was extremely funny.
If you've never experienced the warming, comforting and healing properties of a good bowl of Matzo ball soup, then you've never really known what it's like to have a Jewish mother. That's okay. That means you also missed out on directionless anxiety, self-loathing and having to wear a silly little hat. But the stock, the spongy balls, the chicken pieces floating around -- white and dark mingling together like old friends -- it's truly magical. It's a salty, soft, wholesome boon to any sickness or cold winter day. Try it. And if you don't know who Lenny Bruce is, read How to Talk Dirty and Influence People.
4. Liquid Lunch with "The Lost Generation"
F. Scott Fitzgerald drunkenly arguing with Zelda. Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway trading barbs. What could be better? Maybe a giant pile of money with mid-'90s Kathy Ireland on top, but outside of that, not much.
The Lost Generation, as named by Stein, was a group of ex-pat writers and artists who met regularly at cafés around Paris and Madrid. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises contains a similar ethos to what they espoused. It would have been such an amazing collection of talent and ego, the perfect storm of creativity and passion.
Also, they probably got their mitts on some pretty amazing food. I can imagine them breaking their fasts with coffee, fresh-baked baguettes and absinthe. One of my favorite Hemingway quotes stems from this time period: "Got tight on absinthe last night...did knife tricks."
That pretty well sums it up, I think.
5. Burger. Obama. Biden.
In June of 2010, The President and his hair-plugged, piano-keyed smile No. 2, Joe Biden, took a well-documented trip to Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia to chow down on some burgers. It's a fact that when you are in the mood for a burger, you are going to get a burger irrespective of availability, budget, proximity or level or sobriety. Obama and Papa B did just that, and it looks like the definition of a power lunch.
In my book, few things are as satisfying as a juicy, messy, beefy, cheesy burger. It can right most wrongs in this harsh, cruel world, and it's nice to know that my fellow man, no matter his state or station, agrees.
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To me, dinner is romance and breakfast is comfort. Lunch is conversation, afternoon drinking and wondering where the time has gone.
What does your fantasy lunch lineup look like?