Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Cheddar Bay Biscuits?" "Endless Shrimps!"

So there are a variety of things that I probably should write about, including a diatribe on the fact that it was 7 degrees here yesterday, and “7” is not an appropriate number of degrees, ever. But first I have to talk about last Thursday and the joy that is Red Lobster.

Now, there are two kinds of people in this world. Take this mini quiz to determine what kind of person you are:

You just read the sentence above. Did you:

A. Think to yourself, or maybe actually yell out loud, “Red Lobster! I LOVE Red Lobster!” Or,

B. Think, “Seriously? Red Lobster? Isn’t she in Washington DC, a city in which actual seafood restaurants exist?”

Because these are the two kinds of people in this world- those with an unrelenting and utterly nonsensical love for Red Lobster, and… well, everyone else. It’s actually a strange cultural phenomenon. It’s one of things that no one really talks about and rarely comes up into conversation, but as soon as it does inevitably one person in the room will look at you with this gleam in their eye and go, “Cheddar bay biscuits?” and you will answer, “Endless shrimp!” and I am telling you, a lifelong friendship will be born. Two summers ago at the beach house I ended up permanent beer pong partner and sleep arrangement sharer (we slept, on average, 5 to a bed, not because there weren’t enough beds, but clearly because we didn’t have enough brain cells) with a guy based solely on our mutual love of the Lobster. This Christmas, Wonderful Kate brought E and I along to her work Christmas party, and somehow Red Lobster came into conversation and while the rest of the table engaged in a perfectly legitimate conversation about where people were from and where they went to school, the girl next to me and I had a 25 minute conversation about shrimp that ended in hugging. Hugging, y’all. And I bet that there are at least a few of you who are reading this entry while surreptitiously googling the nearest Red Lobster and discretely calling others like us. As for the rest of you? Sigh. You’re missing out.

A is a Red Lobster person, just like I am. And even with the startling number of things we have in common, it still took us over two years to discover this shared passion and even then we were a little incredulous. “Really? You like Red Lobster? I mean, like it, or LIKE like it??” (Yes, we treat the Lobster much like a fifth grade crush.) “No, I LIKE like it. I love it!” “Cheddar Bay biscuits?” “Endless Shrimps!” And a new tradition began.

Given the fact that I live within walking distance of a Red Lobster, and go out to eat all the time, the sheer amount of ceremony that goes into a Red Lobster night with me and A is astonishing, (unless, of course, you are a Red Lobster person, and then you understand.) It starts a week in advance, someone saying, “We need to hang out. I think shrimps are in order.” “Endless shrimps??” “….Of course! Are there any other kind?” And we pick a date usually about a week in advance.

But oh, it doesn’t stop there. The entire week leading up to the Red Lobster night is a flurry of shrimp related activity. There are “number of hours until shrimps” countdowns. We go online and peruse the menu and discuss our options. We debate the merits of seafood fondue over king crab legs. We accuse everyone and every thing of stealing our shrimps. (“But that’s ok, because they are ENDLESS!”) Each day is a little sadder because it is not Shrimp Day. Seriously, y’all. We try to do this once a month, most likely because we would not be able to handle any more than that.

Last Thursday was a scheduled Shrimps Night, and the Peanut was having a bad day, and the Peanut? Also TOTALLY a Red Lobster person. So the three of us met for endless shrimps and a nice dose of alcohol.

And… ok. It’s the Red Lobster. If we want fine dining, we go to restaurant week. Part of the love of the Lobster has to do with its kitsch, we are aware of that. We don’t expect world class service.


I would suggest to Red Lobster that even it might do a little better if it refrained from throwing food onto its customers, a situation we observed not once, but twice, before we got our salads. Which is also a tad deceptive, because it took a good 30 minutes before we got our salads, a situation that would not have been nearly so bad if our alcohol had at least arrived. But no, it was a good thirty minutes of sitting at a table, with nothing at ALL, including cheddar bay biscuits, just watching the slapstick comedy routine of the waiters throwing food on the customers. Honestly? It was fabulous.

Our waitress was actually very sweet, and once we got our food everything was fine. We drank and ate ourselves stupid, which is totally the point of Red Lobster.

I can’t wait until next month.