“And on the third day, he ate a half-way decent meal”— #TGIMondays
I forgot to take photos today because my hunger was great and the food was distractingly decent. I consumed only black coffee and an apple prior to tonight’s Fridays feast. Whereas I ordinarily suffer emotional diabetes if I miss meals, I find intentional fasting calming and focusing. To wit, I was unusually productive during a slow day at work and arrived in Union Square a couple hours before the appointed time to sit and read a paperback in the park. When I caught sight of the Fridays sign, I said aloud to myself — “Behold! the source of all sustenance and suffering,” unsettling the New Yorkers around me not at all.
This sennight stunt is fast becoming a journey of self-discovery.
Here’s a summary of day three.
34 Union Square East, New York, NY 10001
Yelp rating: 2.0
Meal for the day, 7:45–9 pm
My friend Mark, his friend George and myself
What (I ordered)
- House white wine
- Warm pretzels and craft beer-cheese dipping sauce
- Bourbon Barrel mahi mahi
- Side of cheddar mac & cheese
- Side of tomato mozzarella salad
…was the food?
This was by far the best meal I’ve had at Fridays in all my three days of eating there. I had Mark and George verify my taste assessments since, admittedly, I can’t trust my own senses — warped as they are in a vacuum of nutritional context and Stockholm Syndrome.
Heat is the best flavor on the menu at TGI Fridays. Many dishes will taste well enough when warm, but let them cool and their true flavors emerge. Knowing this, I plowed through the warm pretzels.* The cheese sauce was thick and sick. Ignoring it I savored what was not so much a pretzel as a fried breadstick. Hot tip: tear them open and salt the insides for an even better tasting carb log.
* Even Fridays knows that heat is the best thing they have going for them: they put it in the title of the dish!
My sides were better than expected. The top layer of the mac & cheese was sprinkled with salt, garlic and smeared with orange cheddar. This greasy goodness The depths of the dish, however, proved that hot is not always good. The noodles were covered in a melted white cheese that tasted like neither cheddar nor cheese. Mark posited that it was identical to the “dipping sauce” for the pretzels. If so, the queso is the biggest loser of the night.
The tomato mozzarella salad was composed of apparently fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Much like myself in summer, however, it was overly dressed.
The mahi mahi was an A+. It was crispy, carefully cooked, tender and only gently drizzled with whatever sauce they keep in the kitchen. I ate most of it within a minute of its arrival for fear of its tastiness declining with temperature. To my surprise, it’s even good when cool. Conclusion: if you find yourself at Fridays, order the mahi mahi. You won’t be disappointed.
The white wine was white wine. Its palatability was a surprise. Its vintage is a mystery.
- The bathrooms were single rooms, unisex, and only one of them was usable on account of it being the only one with a functioning lock. No Fridays bathroom thus far has been what I would call clean, but this one smelled truly foul. The air was rancid with an odor a human body alone cannot produce. My guess is that it was a mixture of recently flushed vomit plus an invisible scented candle burning rubber. I didn’t breathe through my nose to further investigate.
- My chair was wobbly. Fortunately, Fridays anticipates the needs of its guests by furnishing the table with stacks on stacks on stacks of napkins. One folded was sufficient to level my seat.
- Mizan K I was the friendliest server yet. He alerted Mark and I to the waning minutes of pre-8 pm drink specials and was genuinely apologetic when my first choice of appetizer — tuscan spinach dip — was unavailable.* He told us that Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest for this location, and they open upper floors to accommodate the crowd. Mizan was excited by customers making eye contact and polite conversation and missed the opportunity to drive home the party line: “In here, it’s always Friday.”
…am I feeling now?
Actually all right. I’m downing a liter of water and a diet caffeine free ginger ale like I do every night before bed.
I may be experiencing heartburn, though. Is that the same thing as having an elevated heart rate for an hour and a half? Either way, it’s far preferable to the last two nights of 🤢.
Emoji Haiku Executive Summary