A place where rules for normal human behavior are suspended.
A place where a man would willingly coat a McDonald's cheeseburger in pancake batter and then deep fry it.
And then eat it.
I went to that place last Saturday night and my digestive tract has almost recovered.
Kerri and I were invited to a Birthday Party/Housewarming/Fish Fry at a friends' house.
The menu, a gustatory tease that was tantalizingly hinted at, revealed, and augmented over the weeks leading up to the party, was a veritable cornucopia of deep fried delicacies so comprehensive that several guests suffered congestive heart failure simply by reading the menu.
The menu included some basic fried fare: pickles; Oreos; egg rolls; etc., but then, with many great minds working as one well lubricated unit, the food selections quickly became more exotic and thrilling. The menu quickly spiraled to dizzying heights of stunt frying and concoctions so elaborate that they boggled the imagination and made you question the limits of human ingenuity.
Appetizers? Why fry boring old french fries when you can deep fry a Cadbury Cream Egg? Or flatten out ground beef to the thickness of a tortilla chip and turn it into a Burgacho? (I predict that it will not be long before spell check is forced to recognize Burgacho as a legitimate word.)
For the main course, you might have sampled the macaroni and cheese balls, coated with bread crumbs and deep fried to a golden brown sphere of transcendent beauty and deliciousness. Or you might have sampled the wonton wrappers, stuffed with salsa and sour cream then fried into a creamy, tongue-scorching treat, the gooey center of which maintained a steady internal temperature of about a billion degrees.
Need some condiments? Deep fried mayo and hot sauce were on the menu.
Looking for some dessert? You didn't want to miss the Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tart dipped in Funfetti cake batter then deep fried into a culinary atrocity so profoundly horrifying that brave men wept in its presence.
When we actually arrived at the party, laden with Rice Krispie Treats (I do not recommend them fried), whipped cream (ditto), and chocolate coconut macaroons (do not even think of frying those), the smell of hot oil drifting out of the apartment and into the street was so bold, I was shocked not to find a squadron of heart surgeons waiting at the door, scalpels agleam, awaiting our departure.
And now, several days later, I have finally scrubbed the last of the lingering deep fried aroma out of my hair and can once again walk across a room without becoming lightheaded.
I'm wondering what might be on the menu next year...