Dish 37: Fried Chicken, Biscuit, and Miller High Life, at Meme, 22nd and Spruce, http://www.memerestaurant.com/
I have made many a crass remark about hipsters, unkindly referencing everything from their multi gear bicycles to their spastic dance moves to their heartless theft of plaid. Today, for nearly 3 minutes, I felt guilty for all of these remarks. Hipsters don’t deserve that kind of treatment. Think of everything they do for society! Gentrification of decrepit neighborhoods. Introduction of crappy beers into the repertoire of upscale bars. Popularization of plaid, all over again. We owe them a thank you, or at least, a respite from harassment.
Meme Restaurant is a bastion of soul floating proudly in a hipster stronghold. You enter through the side door and might walk directly into the kitchen if you aren’t careful (although the cooks look a lot friendlier than others I have met, and I wouldn’t be afraid of making such an accident). The tables, chairs, and floor are a medium stain wood finish, plain, and the walls are a clean homey yellow. Large picture windows flood the space with light, and a large chalkboard informs you of today’s options. The warmth pulls you backwards like a hook put through your belly button to Steve Martin’s youth in The Jerk. You are home, even if your home looked nothing like this.
A friendly, lanky young man helps me to a Miller High Life and we both laugh about how jealous my coworkers will be of my single bottle of the champagne of beers; then I get comfortable on the window seat while he scampers off to find some soul food for me. He hands me a box wrapped in plastic, bids me luck on my 239-dish journey, and it’s back to the office. I hope the chicken and biscuit doesn’t get cold on the way.
Back in the cubicle, I unwrap the box to find a leg, a thigh, and a buttered biscuit, with a light dousing of Thousand Island-colored buffalo-ish dressing. I have agreed to two bites of chicken and two bites of biscuit, and then lunch will be fruit and oatmeal. (Must not get fat.) It won’t be hard, I tell myself, the chicken skin will be chewy and slimy, and the biscuit will be average. You can do this.
The chicken pulled apart like the fat had liquefied and flown away; somewhere the Colonel cried because his 11 secret herbs and spices could never compare. The biscuit was so light, mealy, and flaky, it cried proudly: the South will rise again! The Thousand Island-buffalo dressing invigorated the taste buds and reminded you to eat slowly and savor, for a full week will pass before you may order this dish again. I had only four bites, yes, it was only 3 minutes, but in that time one dish, one piece of chicken and one biscuit (and one still unopened bottle of High Life) changed my view of hipsters forever.