Tapas Restaurants are Terrible
Stop suggesting tapas. You mean well, but it’s not “fun” and most importantly it’s not dinner.
What tapas actually is, because it’s not dinner, is a bad negotiation for food mass amongst the sociopolitical factions at the table. The waiter, who controls the entire supply chain, will inevitably count the number in your party then suggest you order triple that amount of items. Each small plate is always nearly the price of an entree at a normal restaurant.
First, you wheel and deal — someone agrees to let you annex part of their risotto in exchange for tasting rights on your shrimp ceviche. You work out a side treaty over some churrasco with the friend-from-work somebody brought whom no one knows. Works in banking or something? Who cares, they seem on the up-and-up about the churrasco. Someone, usually the very asshole who suggested the tapas place, will insist on lobbing out decrees about getting four orders of meatballs “for the table.”
Is that enough to eat? Who knows? It sounds like a lot of things and it certainly takes a while to order.
Surprise, it’s not!
If it were states instead of plates, you all got a bunch of Rhode Islands when you thought you were at least negotiating for New Jerseys. Rhode Island isn’t enough for dinner, not even three of them. Three of them isn’t half of New Jersey.
Divvying up this underwhelming bounty becomes an exercise in anxiety, an internal debate of how much of each thing you can take while leaving enough for others. Two spoonfuls of the risotto or just one? One spoonful is an idiotic amount to serve yourself but three people are trying to split a ramekin that normal restaurants use for dipping sauces. You’ve been served more ranch dressing with Buffalo wings than there is risotto in this thing. The meatballs are all the size of nickels. Whoever decided the portions was also a dark wizard of mathematics, a morally lost apostle of Euclid. Somehow no dish can be evenly divided by the people who ordered it. If three people split the prawns then there’s two prawns; if four people got two orders of stuffed chileno peppers then each order has three peppers. Everyone is fighting each other not to take the last bits of each dish, a battle of politeness that explains why you’re all marketing managers and doulas and software analysts instead of anything that involves being cutthroat.
You all leave hungry, with single mouthfuls of coriander crusted tuna and eggplant roulade and a lone meatball you’d all kill for left on the table. Everyone has to stop and pick up something more to eat on the way home.
So stop with the tapas. If we all need to eat some of each other’s dinners for you to have a good time, let’s just go to a regular restaurant with normal meals. We’re allowed to share there too, there’s no law against it.
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Tapas Restaurants are Terrible' in the style of Roy Lichtenstein, Kennedy's artist of choice.*