Two Dudes, Two Answers: The Last Meal

In the latest of the TDTAs series, Travis and Justin each contemplate what they’d like to enjoy in their final hour

You know the drill! Another in the super simple, endlessly entertaining Two Dudes, Two Answers series.

And this time out we’re tackling what we’d each like best as we wait for the final hours to slowly tick down until we reach the looming, inevitable end. But, don’t worry, we don’t talk about how we’d go. Maybe that can be next week’s topic? No? I think that could be funny! You think I’m insensitive? Touché, dear reader. Touché.

This week’s question? “What would your last meal be?”

Travis: No self-respecting 240 pound man can make this decision without weighing all the options.

I went back and forth for what seemed like days. I say “what seemed like days,” because it was, in fact, more like weeks. I had a few top choices along the way, like some gourmet mac-n-cheese, maybe an endless stack of blueberry pancakes. I just wasn’t finding anything that really jumped out to me. I mean, I LOVE food. It needs to be something that fills me up the PERFECT amount. That amount that you reach when you’re not bursting at the seams, but you couldn’t take more than 5 or 6 more bites. The amount where the only suitable thing to do when finishing said meal is to cover your plate with your napkin, and just slide your chair back about an inch, just to give yourself some breathing room.

Then it hit me, like a Mike Tyson sucker punch straight to the kisser.

A Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich from Parkers.

Wanna know how good the Parker's version is of this sandwich? This one here doesn't even INTEREST me.

Wanna know how good the Parker’s version is of this sandwich? This one here doesn’t even INTEREST me.

That’s right ladies and gents, Portland, Maine’s very own Parker’s Restaurant on Washington Avenue. Trust me, this thing is exquisite. One time, a diner who accompanied me on this crazy journey thought that the bun had slid down the chicken because it was SO damn big.

The perfectly cooked chicken breast, the special sauce, and the cheese that just seems to drip forever. I’ve had to force myself to walk away from this keyboard multiple times for fear of short-circuiting my laptop due to extreme saliva. It helps that the french fries that sit casually on the plate next to this behemoth are quite the treat to behold even by themselves.

This one’s not even close, it’s the C-C-B Sangwich, and it ain’t close.

Travis’ Last Meal: Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich from Parker’s Restaurant

Justin: This wasn’t even a judgement call.

A big, fat, juicy steak? Sure, but… it’s a little blase, isn’t it?

An elegant Italian dinner? Boring. And I don’t care if Emeril himself makes it.

Get that shit out of here! I’m a man of higher class and higher tastes than that! Who the fuck wants to eat something you can get at a million restaurants across the country? If and when I’m counting down the hours till they pull the switch, I want the last thing to sit in my stomach to be the best kind of comfort food there is: street food! And what kind of street food is better than something that hails from the Orient? The problem, however, is what specifically? Fried rice? Lo mein? Sushi? Mapo Dofu? No, no, no. I need more contrast in a dish. There has to be contrast to make it interesting… but, what?

What has lots of flavor, has great contrast in texture, is unique, and isn’t going to sit in my stomach like a cinder block? Easy. Pad thai!

GET! IN! MAH! BELL! AY!

GET! IN! MAH! BELL! AY!

Flavor? It’s tough to argue against a nicely seasoned dish of pad thai. It’s sweet, sour, savory, spicy, salty and has a pungent bite all at once. I don’t want to say, “it’s got too much flavor,” but if you asked me how much flavor it had, I’d say, without hesitation, “too much!” Interestingly, the way those different flavor notes all come together and strike the same chord, it’s basically an orgasm across your taste buds. In fact, it could be the perfect combination of tastes: pungent fish sauce mixed with sour tamarind and sweet palm sugar make up the base for the sauce, which is served over stir fried egg, the meat of your choice and rice noodles, the perfect, neutral vehicle for such a tangy, distinct flavor as the pad thai sauce. Top it all off with fresh veggies, generally green onions and bean sprouts, and it’s a simple yet highly sophisticated and refined flavor. To make matters infinitely better, the succulent, sauce-laden noodles contrast beautifully with the fresh, crispy vegetables accompanying the dish, both texturally and aromatically. It gives the meal a light, fresh, clean flavor missing from most Asian and stir fry dishes, elevating it to something else entirely. Ground roasted peanuts top everything else off, literally, to round out the flavor with just the right amount of saltiness. To take it really over the top, though, the Thai have a very high tolerance for heat, and will crank up the dish into the “nuclear” level of heat if you so desire. Bring. It. On. Baby.

Doesn’t that just paint the perfect picture? It’s like, the food version of an erotic novel. It’s like, food porn. My own take on 50 Shades of Grey. Goddamn, I’m hungry now… There’s not much else to be said for it. If you’ve had it, then you know. If you haven’t, then please turn off your computer, throw it out an open window, cancel your internet subscription, get a helmet and a roll of paper towels because you’re clearly drooling all over yourself.

And not because I made the pad thai sound so scrumtrulescent.

Justin’s Last Meal: Pad Thai

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