Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The following is late, celebrated food-and-travel journalist Hurl Finch's review, recently published by Valid Dining Experiences magazine, of Hell's Hell-themed restaurant.

Being that I was never given the opportunity to believe in patented Otter Pant Faith-Systems as a child (both of my parents were Science-Poets who harbored no small amount of disappointment, by the way, in my chosen literary discipline: composing critiques of food) it came as little to no surprise when, upon dying recently, I found I was a candidate for residence in Hell.

Actually, it was a tremendous surprise at the time of the actual sentencing. I had never been more surprised by anything during my time among the living, and, as anyone familiar with my work will know, I have eaten some surprising things.

Needless to say, upon arrival I had worked up quite an appetite. Occasionally, my charming obsession with food correlates with actual hunger. In fact, nothing makes me hungrier than cultivating a personal delusion where ceaseless, unsolicited culinary talk is exempt from the natural laws of conversational physics imposed on any other number of topics.

It is easy to resent food, by virtue of the fact that it's possible to be alarmingly reliant on it. Thankfully for most VDE subscribers, this is something of an alien sensation. Hopefully, over the course of my life, I helped instill in my readers a more exotic form of dependence on humanity's most ubiquitously co-opted art-form. Ideological starvation occurs everyday, all over very small tracts of the world, unbeknownst to the vast majority. While some must starve purely in body, many (among whom are countless of my dear friends) must wither helplessly as their minds atrophy for lack of even basic abstract stimuli.

So, imagine my joy when I walked into Hell's Hell-themed restaurant. First-time proprietor Satan has found a way to completely untether sustenance from principle. In fact, everything on the menu, which changes nightly, is entirely conceptual. The fatal flaw of the valid dining experience has always been that gastrointestinal limitations never fail to impede on ideological appetite. If one is determined, as I was, to not resort to uncouth and immoral performance-enhancing elimination-techniques, it is nigh on impossible to appease the enlightened mind's demand for sensory immersion.

Every concept lives or dies (both in this case) by the efficiency of it's parameters. The crux of Hell's is that it is, in effect, the anti-food experience. You are not intended to become "full", nor will you "enjoy" anything that emerges from the "kitchen". You will, however, be able to try everything, in as much quantity as you like, or must.

The hallmark of our formerly free market, as we all know, was choice. It was what enabled us to transcend the natural world. It made us divine. Unfortunately, this system was incapable of giving us the means to enjoy all of these divine choices simultaneously. Taste has evolved at such a rate, some of ours faster than others, so as to ensure that in the limited time, and with the limited resources, that plague the human experience, none of us will ever be able to critique all the world has to offer.

It's worth noting that Hell's Hell-themed restaurant is the only of it's kind, in that it is completely impervious to Bed Bugs; a selling point Satan has in no way attempted to downplay. For those unfamiliar with Bed Bugs, one of their few vulnerabilities is intense heat. In recent years Bed Bugs have been surfacing just about everywhere: the mall, Big Sur, Mont Blanc, high schools, the allegorical islands featured in hypothetical video game proposals; deeply personal, thinly veiled memoirs masquerading as non-linear satirical narratives, jet-pack retailers, futuristic space-modules housing bundles of conscious, organic light; just about anywhere you can think of. Fortunately for those of us in Hell, we can at least eat in relative peace. There have been murmurs of constructing a temperature-controlled wing, Jet-Pack and View-Tainment compatible, to accommodate the Bed Bug customer-base, complete with their own entrance, restrooms, and drinking fountain, but for some reason the Bed Bug consultants seem uncomfortable with the proposal. My understanding is that Satan is prepared to franchise the brand and is in talks with several malls about bringing Hell's Hell-themed restaurants to a few patented Food-Court test markets. Allegedly these locations would have a modified menu, with most items featuring a DMT and sodium component, so as to simulate the chemical experience of patented Death-Euphoria. This, as any competent business man will have realized by now, would serve to eventually entice people to experience the Original Hell-Themed Restaurant, or Hell Classic.

Here in Hell there is no body, no real need, no fear of consequence, no hope for anything better, no guilt, no shame, no longing. There is no paralyzing anxiety brought on by believing that with each exotic meal I consume I am constructing a redeemed effigy of myself. I am no longer frantically gorging to undo an adolescence sustained solely by patented Instant Avocados and Mac 'n' Dust. It is pure terror, pure isolation. I am lost and no amount of inspired cuisine can save me now. I can eat countless courses of toil without fear of judgment. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I haven't sacrificed a patented Simple/Antiquated-Joy by intellectualizing it. There are no tortured midnight deliberations in front of the fridge, debating the homiest, most classic snack choice, unable to shake the sensation that someone is watching me turn all the labels to the front and spritz the produce.

On top off all this, they have strippers, a 70's themed, rock-band-themed rock band that plays three nights a week, and a river running right through the middle of the restaurant.