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Charlie Hatton
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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Eat It and Weep!

On Wednesdays, I play volleyball. After our matches, the team will often pack up, sweaty and exhausted, to have a late dinner at a particular local bar called Roggie’s. We get there around ten thirty — just time enough to stuff our gullets and have a beer or three before collapsing for the night. It works out well.


The problem with this place is not the food. For a bar, the food is excellent and the selection is superb. Actually, I just noticed that they’re calling themselves a ‘New Age Grille’ or some such thing. I’m not sure what I’d expect from a ‘new age’ grille, exactly — hemp-wearing hippie bartenders, magic voodoo crystals on the walls, waitresses who take your order via phrenology, maybe — but none of that nonsense is in evidence at Roggie’s.

(Guys, you’re a bar. A Boston College bar, with nicer TVs and cleaner bathrooms than most, and yes, excellent bar food. But you’re still a bar. Deal with it. Embrace it. You’ll be fine.)

The service at Roggie’s is also not the problem. Occasionally, it’s a problem, but it’s not the problem. Besides, we’ve all got legs in our group; if we run out of beer, we can always walk to the bar for a refill. We’re not that helpless after a night of volleyballery.

And certainly, the beer at Roggie’s is no problem at all. At least, not for me — they’ve got Guinness on tap, and it comes out cold and wet, so what’s not to like? Nothing, that’s what. There’s nothing not to like.

“Their appetizers are oversized, their burgers look like someone wrapped a cow in a sesame-seed blanket, and their ‘footlong’ subs are at least sixteen inches long. I’ve measured.”

The real problem with Roggie’s lies in the volume of the food they give you. Take my dish, for instance. When I go there, I always get the ‘Chicken Ziti Broccoli’. I just like the variety; those are three tasty things, and they go together swimmingly.

(Not all tasty things work that way, you know. It takes a special combination of tastiness to blend properly.

‘Jalapeno Hummus Cupcakes’, for instance, would be reasonably awful. Or ‘Mustard Fudge Fritos’. Also bad. Or ‘Black Cherry Vanilla Coke‘. Not so swimming.)

The food itself is fantastic. The chicken is tender, the ziti is smothered in garlic sauce, and there’s just enough broccoli to let you believe the dish might actually be good for you. Or would be, anyway, if you weren’t also drinking Guinness and shoving twelve slices of garlic bread into your pants for the ride home.

Here’s the thing — they simply serve too much food. And it’s not just a pasta problem. Their appetizers are oversized, their burgers look like someone wrapped a cow in a sesame-seed blanket, and their ‘footlong’ subs are at least sixteen inches long. I’ve measured. Those things would bring a tear to Takeru Kobayashi‘s eye.

Or for that matter, Ron Jeremy’s. But probably for a slightly different reason.

The biggest problem with Roggie’s culinary pile-on is that they manage to make finishing a dish seem possible. Other high-volume restaraunteurs don’t do that; they break your spirit before you’ve even ordered, to make sure you won’t do anything foolish. Go to Olive Garden, for instance — they’ve got a bottomless salad bowl, for chrissakes. No matter how much lettuce you can cram down your gob, WE’LL GIVE YOU MORE. That’s good to know up front. Because stuffing eight pounds off lettuce into yourself to prove a point is only hurting yourself. Twice.

Cheesecake Factory works in a slightly different way. You don’t get any warning in advance about the size of your food — but when the waiter serves your salad in a satellite dish, with a pitcher of vinagrette on the side, you know the score. You’re either leaving with a doggy bag, or in a body bag. Those are the options. You want fries with those?

Roggie’s is different. At Roggie’s, you’re served a reasonable, healthy, sane portion of food. And then, about fifty percent more, sitting around the healthy portion on the edges of the plate. Just waiting. Biding time. And when you’ve finished all of the meal that you really want, you look at the plate and say:

Well, that’s not enough to take home, surely. I’ll just have a few more bites.

Ten minutes later, you’re stuffed to the gills. But there are only a few meager scraps of food left. And you are a charter member of the Clean Plate Club, aren’t you?

Eh, just a couple more forkfuls. I’ll make it.

Only, those forkfuls were hiding a few more forkfuls — and you feel like you’ve been forking all night already. But the end is in sight; you just have to ignore the chest pains and acid reflux to get there.

Must… finish… meal… Can’t… quit… now…

And eventually, you make it. Your pants are pushed down to your thighs and you can’t feel your left arm any more, but you made it! You hung in there with a heroic, once-in-a-lifetime effort, and you beat that dish. You’ll need a few days — and a dose of rhino laxative, and possibly a blood transfusion — to recover, but it’s all over now. Relax.

And thank your lucky stars that volleyball doesn’t come around again for a whole ‘nother week. Get those pipes cleaned out by then, bub — Wednesdays are Roggie’s nights!

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Eat It and Weep!”

  1. Hazel Hazel says:

    You are so right on this. And it is the reason that:

    1. Every menu item is at least $12.95

    2. Except appetizers, they’re $8.95

    3. And refillable sodas are $2

    4. We are an obese society

    5. People are forced to eat fast food because it’s all they can afford.

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