He Can Make It With Bok Choy
That statement was spoken to me this past weekend while out to dinner with my husband for our fourth anniversary. I’d called the restaurant earlier in the day to make sure they had vegetarian options for me and was told of course in a more than a little snotty tone by a man whom I’d clearly inconvenienced. Hubs and I decided to try the place and discovered upon arrival that of course meant not on the menu, but the chef will make you something. Oh, did I mention we were at an Italian restaurant? And that I’m Italian? And that my mom makes the best Italian food ever?
The waitress said he could make whatever I wanted. Liar. I asked for gnocchi. No dice. She said he could make pasta primavera. Why does every chef in the world think that all vegetarians like pasta primavera? I don’t get it. If I wanted pasta primavera, I’d buy a Lean Cuisine and call it an evening. Is pasta primavera really that creative? So when the waitress suggested it, I promptly responded with a polite no, which translates into no way in hell, you’ve gotta be kidding me.
So I did the unthinkable. I asked if the chef (who, as it turned out, was the dude on the phone who’d said of course in the first place) could make me eggplant parm. It was a risk. A huge risk. No doubt my mom makes the best eggplant parm on the planet. I’ve never tasted it better elsewhere and I’ve tried it at a gazillion restaurants. The waitress checked with Mr. Of Course, returned with a yes, and then spoke those dreadful words: He can make it with bok choy.
Oh no she didn’t. Yes. Yes, she did. She just said that. For real.
This, my friends, is bok choy:
According to my trusty Merriam-Webster, bok choy is defined as a Chinese cabbage that forms an open head with long white stalks and green leaves. According to me, bok choy is defined as a vegetable that has no freakin’ business making friends with eggplant parm EVER.
I don’t even want to know the expression my face wore at the very moment she uttered that awful sentence (and with a straight face, I might add). I even paused briefly to see if she was kidding. She said it as though bok choy was the most obvious choice. Not garlic. Not roasted red peppers. Not onions. Not even mushrooms or anything else that would have remotely made any kind of sense. You know in the cartoons when a character’s head spins impossibly fast and then just pops off? That may have happened to me.
So I went ahead and ordered the eggplant parm (sans bok choy). In hindsight, I’m actually kind of amazed I didn’t gracefully exit, convinced this could not possibly be a real Italian restaurant. It was okay. It’s always okay. It never tastes like my mom’s. I’ll need to make peace with that on my own time.
But the cool thing? You didn’t catch it, did you? The bok choy was just too disturbing, wasn’t it? The cool thing? My husband and I went out!