Let’s get it out in the open: I might not be the most reliable judge of poor eating habits. I recall a date back in middle school at Arigato where I stealthily tried to eat my salad with my head turned so I wouldn’t be caught with something hanging out of my mouth. Sure enough, mid-chew, my date called my name and I turned my head with a huge chunk of iceberg flopping against my chin. I muttered “I’m an iguana” and slowly sucked the rest of the piece into my mouth. Not my finest moment. • I want to spare you the pain of such an embarrassing experience, so here are four foods you should avoid when on a date, especially one as important as homecoming.
--Michael Newcomer is a senior at Tarpon Springs High.
Photos by Gabrielle Dalip, Tarpon Springs High
Our test sandwich came from Dooner’s in St. Pete and is called a Dooner Sandwich, but any packed pita will have the same effect on a special occasion. The Dooner is a double whammy: Not only will you look like a primitive beast eating this delicious Greek-ingredients-of-your-choice monstrosity, it will also give you breath that will ward away the opposite sex for miles around. These sandwiches are dangerously addictive, and though it might seem like a good idea to introduce your date to such a yummy classic on your special night, it’s just not. Save it for that long-term relationship when neither of you care as much.
Lady and the Tramp got it all wrong. Eating spaghetti isn’t romantic, even at a cool restaurant such as Primi’s Urban Cafe in St. Petersburg; it’s actually kind of disgusting to watch. I never got the whole twirl-it-around-your-fork-against-your-spoon concept, so I usually just end up looking like a maniac slurping slaughtered earthworms. Plus, this is a dish traditionally served with a side of “ruin whatever you’re wearing” red sauce, which even a Tide stain stick is helpless against.
There are many places to order this dish, but Burrito Boarder in downtown St. Petersburg is my favorite; if I had things my way, I would eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But there are certain menu items (steak burrito) you just shouldn’t choose in certain situations, like a first date or an otherwise really important date like homecoming. As appetizing as beef, rice with pico de gallo and sour cream sounds, it really isn’t when it’s oozing from the corners of you mouth. You might chase away your partner before you even get to pay.
Word of advice: boneless. If you do feel it’s appropriate to take your date to a sports bar, chomping into a greasy chicken wing like Bruce from Jaws doesn’t really scream “let’s go back to my house.” Our tasty mild bone-in version came from Ferg’s in St. Pete, but there are plenty of other options on the menu. If you really can’t resist, make sure there are plenty of Wet-Naps.
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