The Sated Gourmand: Part I

Doug Feltz, food critic, wipes the flop sweat from his forehead. He is sitting in the dining room of Le Gaz, a French-Vietnamese molecular gastronomy cafeteria he has come here to review. The wait staff revolves around him.

“Now—now, wait a second,” Feltz says nervously. “Maybe we should call this off, I ate before I—“

A waiter in a double tuxedo vest pulls a satin handkerchief around Feltz’s neck. Feltz reaches up to loosen it, but another waiter stops him and arranges Feltz’s hands on the table.

Monsieur,” the head waiter says. “The menu d’jour is, of course, table d’hôte. We are operating exclusively using crème fraiche, and the wine of the day has currents of boysenberry laced with absinthe. Now the first course—“

“Wait! I have to clear something up,” Feltz says, dabbing his head with his napkin. “I stopped at a Philadelphia cheesesteak cart before I came here! I know, I know, stupid me. But I’m really stuffed. I couldn’t eat a bite. Now,” Feltz begins to get up. “I really should be getting home to my—“

An assistant waiter pushes Feltz back into his chair and stuffs a knife and fork his hands, which immediately begin trembling.

“No! You’re not listening! Look, I’m sorry but, I—“

The classical quartet in the corner has begun playing a waltz.

Monsieur,” the head waiter says, not listening. “This is Chopin’s Waltz in C major. It was written in 1852 and—“

“Why are you telling me this?” Feltz says, shaking visibly. “I really don’t care. I’m going now.“

But two of the assistant waiters hold him down before he can get up.

“Ah monsieur!” the head waiter says. “Here comes our first dish!”

Feltz’s eyes widen as he sees three waiters carrying out a platter. Strawberries and crème fraiche!” the waiter announces. “With chilled asparagus soup, pink peppercorn, and crème fraiche. Also a side of crème fraiche.”

“Gentlemen, it looks delightful, but I really couldn’t eat a bite—that Philadelphia cheesesteak has really done a—” Feltz says.

But in unison the wait staff have already raised five individual spoons of strawberries, asparagus soup, and crème fraiche to Feltz’s mouth.

“Here, why don’t we call this off and I’ll give your restaurant two and a half stars—“ The spoons all jump closer to Feltz’s mouth. “I’m sorry,” Feltz says, correcting himself. “I’m sorry. Not two and a half. I meant three stars! Three Michelin stars! Now, that’s a perfect score. You couldn’t ask for anything more. Just please, gentlemen, I can’t eat a thing.”’

Suddenly, all five spoons pop into Feltz’s open mouth. Without thinking he swallows. The restaurant pauses, the waltz stops playing, and the entire wait staff stares in anticipation at Feltz.

Huh,” Feltz says, slowly chewing. “Not bad.” He smiles. A moment passes. The waiters all look at each other happily. Feltz continues: “Yeah, not bad at—“

He then begins vomiting, continuously, in an extravagant fountain, on the entirety of the restaurant. He vomits on the head waiter, the woman in pearls, and the lovers kissing in the corner. He vomits on the classical quartet playing Vivaldi. He vomits on himself and onto the priceless abstract paintings hanging in the corner. He vomits into salad bowls, the bread baskets, and the flower vases. He vomits into his own cupped hands, which simply makes the vomit overflow, spring up and hit him in the face in a very silly looking way. After eighteen continuous minutes of vomiting, mostly into the head waiter’s face, Feltz shakes vomit out of his bowler hat and leans onto his vomit-laden hands.

“Okay,” Feltz says, getting up to leave. “I’m never doing that again.”