Houston’s – Why Sarah Will Be Blogging Instead of *ahem*… on Valentine’s Day, Part 1

houston's restaurant - burger

Houston’s Restaurant

202 Wilshire Blvd (@2nd Street)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.576.7558
www.hillstone.com

Every year around this time, something weird happens to me. It’s a strange sensation, an odd feeling on which I can’t totally put my perfectly French manicured finger.

Normally, I am a fanstasmagical fairy who gracefully juggles multiple competing priorities, but I can’t seem to focus enough to hold up one single thing. I drop stuff. I bump into walls. I forget appointments. I leave things behind and lose them. I become slightly off center. Unbalanced. A lot of people say the same things about….being in love.

oooOOOoooh. Right. Well, wrong, but that does remind me…

Then I look at the calendar and realize what time of the year it is. What time of the month it is. It’s that time, and unfortunately, we’re not talking about Miller. It’s early February, which leads to the beginning of mid-February, and since February is a short month with 28 days, the middle of February is neither half of 30 days, which is the 15th nor half of 31 days, which is the cusp of the 15th and 16th, but is half of 28, which is the 14th. There is something about February 14th, the dead center of the month.

Dead.

Center.

It’s payday!

Unless, of course, you are paid bi-weekly, which is every two weeks, instead of semi-monthly which is twice a month, which never made sense to me because aren’t they the exact same effin’ thing?!?!

What it is that I really feel is not unbalancementedness, nor is it a desire to manufacture brand new words because I have a limited vocabulary of my own; it is stress. I feel this underwhelmingly overwhelming pressure to perform, and not just perform, but perform in accordance with the standard operating procedure for Valentine’s Day. I have Valentine’s Day performance anxiety. Make royally painfully iced heart-shaped sugar cookies. Bake red velvet cupcakes. Write love letters. Make dinner. Make reservations. Take long sips of sparkling rosé and seduce you like the alarmingly charming siren that I am. In my head.

Easy. I mean, seriously. Drink sparkling rosé?

No, you see, the real performance is here. The Delicious Life. I am expected to compose a brilliantly biting, sarcastic, witty, clever, well-thought-out, thematically unified piece about how much I H-A-T-E Valentine’s Day. I have to spew bitterness about past loves lost, about present loves absent, and future loves impossible. I have to flood my post’s paragraphs with brilliant business analysis about how the Holiday Hell Council composed of the DeBeers, Godiva, and FTD trifecta built an outstanding marketing strategy to frighten men into wild, wasteful spending on a single day. I have to make scathing social commentary on commercialization, capitalization, and punctuation, which is all just a thinly veiled attempt at hiding how much I really just want to be romanced out of my mind…because being a bitter young maid on Valentine’s Day is more fun than a stupid silly sighing fool.

However, and this is a huge “however,” the pressure for high-performance Valentine’s Day writing is purely a figment of my imagination. I don’t “have to” do anything! This is a blog. It’s my blog, for fox ache. I don’t even get paid. Pressure comes from nowhere else except the tiny little editor who is sitting inside my own gorgeous head. Though I seem to think of myself as a mostly rational, logical, and completely sane person, I have very little control over this teeny tiny-but-powerful pearlescent chip embedded in my psyche that actively seeks out melodramatic, high-intensity stress. There is a stress-seeking missile in my brain that wants to explode back at “The Editor” and really, it’s all evidence that I have a massive fear of being a disappointment.

So rather than dealing with the possibility of failing at Valentine’s Day, I’m going to do the mature thing. I’m going to avoid it! Instead, let me tell you about why it is absolutely certain that I will likely still have a chance to write all of that on Valentine’s Day anyway. I will be at home on Valentine’s Day instead of out with some unnamed hot suitor because for some ungodly reason, suitors who come through into my Delicious Life are real winners like one whom I shall call Mr. Awesome, not because he is awesome, but because, well, you’ll see.

Reasons Why Sarah Will Not be Out with Mr. Awesome on Valentine’s Day, or Any Other Day For That Matter:

  1. He chose Houston’s for dinner.

    No. Comment. (And I guess it’s not really fair since I like Bandera.)

  2. He said he likes Houston’s and goes there with his friends who think Houston’s is fun.

    Even if he and I actually ended up dating in some totally stoned version of this universe, we could never hang out with his friends because they like Houston’s.

  3. He chose Houston’s.

    Did I say that already? I did, but I had to say it again because I bet you didn’t believe it the first time.

  4. When we got into his car, he asked me what kind of car I drive.

    For several reasons, this irritated me on the inside (but not on the outside! I still had to eat dinner!). Does it matter what kind of car I drive? No. Is it that either 1) I don’t drive a car that is good enough or 2) I don’t drive a car that is better than his? What the fuck is a “better” car anyway? Am I supposed to be impressed with his car? Cars do not impress me, and his car was not any car that would impress me to begin with anyway. So really, he has no right to ask me anything. If he actually drove a goddamned Tesla Roadster, I would be impressed because a Tesla Roadster is an impressive car and it’s environmentally friendly. His question irritated me, my reaction irritated me even more, and I think that it was just leftover irritation from “Houston’s.” I should have told him that I drive a Ferrari. But only when my driver is on vacation. Or maybe I should have told him I only take the Big Blue Bus because I don’t go out much. Because I don’t shower.

  5. He told me an MBA is useless.

    Ouch. That one stung and I had to force myself to keep my lips clamped into a tight little line so that I wouldn’t start spewing out backwash-laced haterade on his precious little certification that isn’t even a degree, but a TLA (that’s “three-letter-acronym” for the unvernacularized) that he can print on a homemade business card because paid a lot of money to take some tests. Though I very often proclaim that I do not have a “list” of qualifying characteristics, education is actually on my phantom list because education is important to me. I may have been rejected from Stanfurd three times, but I’m still proud of my education, and any diss to my education is taken with a lot of offense. I know education is not synonymous with intelligence, but still, it symbolizes a commitment to something! Or something. At the same time, though, this is a hard one for me to argue because technically, I am in total agreement with his statement. An MBA is useless. However, only MBAs are allowed to make fun of their degrees. I never make fun of how utterly useless, and in fact, almost laughable, a JD is, do I?!?!

  6. At the bar, in Houston’s, he ordered a pink cocktail.

    It was pink. It wasn’t a Cosmo, but I swear its name was something like FruityPebbliciousMetroGaytini, with a Razberri Kiss. I ordered a vodka on the rocks and sucked it down in about 45 seconds. I cannot hang out with a guy whose drink is gayer than mine. Unless he is gay. And my gay boyfriends don’t even drink gay cocktails. I ordered a second Butch-tini and took it to the table.

  7. houston's, 3rd street promenade, santa monica, ca - burger
    for a real man
  8. After I ordered a burger and fries, he ordered a salad.

    This, my friends, was the moment that sealed the deal. I ordered a BURGER. He ordered a fucking salad. He asked me if I wanted to take a picture of his salad, since I basically made our tabletop into a magazine cover shoot for burger porn. I might have glared at him, but I can’t be sure.

  9. He ate only half the salad.

    I was speechless. I still am. Actually, I am kind of laughing at how amazingly composed I was when he asked the server to take the remaining half salad away, while I was grinding through the second half of my burger, lettuce falling out from the sides, rare juices dripping between my fingers. Maybe I was trying to keep my mouth busy so he wouldn’t see me laughing. The burger was sensational, even though it was Houston’s. The fries were okay – slightly greasy, clumped together – but they were definitely better than Mr. Awesome.

Lessons of the day? Don’t stress about Valentine’s Day and don’t ever take Sarah to Houston’s and order a fucking salad.

(Incidentally, I went there for lunch recently and the food aside from the burger is unmistakably atrocious. Houston’s has gone the way of Asian fusion, with a very heavy emphasis on the “ew” of fusion. Spicy tuna was rolled up with what tasted like coleslaw made with Miracle Whip. The vegetable of the day was curried cauliflower, and from about six feet away, it looked promising. When it arrived, the sadly over-steamed florets were drowning in a yellow sauce that tasted vaguely like French’s mustard and garnished with the dregs from a can of Planters Mixed Nuts. I didn’t even venture to try more than a bite of the Thai Steak Salad. The noodles in the bite that were in desperate need of a quick dunk in hot water to loosen them up.)

** a year ago today, my soup was barley legal **

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  • MetroDad

    I’m good friends with several great restaurateurs and chefs in NYC, guys who are amazingly passionate about their food.

    You’ll be glad to know that whenever we want to get together and just have a solid dinner, we always find ourselves eating at Houstons.

    Their spinach dip deserves its own Michelin star!

  • Anonymous

    sarah – you must be in love. you keep talking about it. ;-)

  • GT

    Well, at least you’re “getting something” today as cause for celebration. I’ll have to settle for a Luc Besson flick.

  • RT

    Mmmm, good call on going with the burger. Houston’s does them quite well. Their Evil Jungle Thai Steak Salad is probably my favorite thing there, though; it’s so good that you don’t need the dressing (it’s on the Century City location’s menu; I don’t know if it’s available elsewhere).

  • Huoy

    I feel like you and I are the same person. The day of dread for me – really…

  • elle

    ha-funny stuff-don’t take me to Houston’s either.

  • dospeak

    this is a hilarious story hahaha but what’s wrong with a JD?? :( maybe i should try for an MBA. collecting TLA’s is my hobby. i swear, my parents swear too.

  • Craig

    Be a man, order a steak and a glass of cab and always pay.

    You may not get another date but you will have Sarah’s respect.

  • sarah

    metrodad: i’ll take the burger. you can be friends with Mr. Awesome. :)

    anonymous: i’m not in love…with another person, though i kinda wish i were. sure would make writing at vday a lot easier. then again, what he hell would i write about the other 364 days of the year?

    gt: you, luc besson. me, blog. wow. i’m such a wild and crazy lover girl.

    rt: ooooh dear. i was not fond of that thai steak salad. did they not cook the noodles or something?

    huoy: girlfriend, talk to me about it. talk to me.

    elle: what about cheesecake factory? can we take you to cheesecake factory!??!

    dospeak: hey, collect as many of those TLAs as you can, and as you know, JD isn’t even three letters.

    craigm: he doesn’t always have to pay. i mean, when we’re on a late night run for $1.99 nachos at benito’s, i’m happy to ante up!

  • Michael

    This is easily one of the most hilarious posts I have read on any blog ever. Keep up the good work Sarah.

  • Anonymous

    “For several reasons, this irritated me on the inside (but not on the outside! I still had to eat dinner!).”

    Funny, girl. Funny.

  • jason

    does a manhattan count as gay?

    I need validation.

    Quick.

  • Foodzings

    this posting is why i love blogs! and girl, i would have felt the SAME way.

  • Anonymous

    So I guess I’d have absolutely no chance whatsoever if I asked you out to Olive Garden? :)

    Love reading your blog.

  • sarah

    michael: really? most hilarious? you don’t get out much in the blogosphere, do you? ;)

    anonymous: i mean really, if he’s going to make me suffer through houston’s, gaytinis, and his aweseomness, i should get something out of it, right? the burger was sensational.

    foodzings: haha! glad you like :) and i probably wouldn’t have been so put off by houston’s — my reaction seems a little harsh, don’t you think? — if it weren’t for His Awesomeness. i mean i can pretty much enjoy any place when i’m with the right person/people.

    anonymous: depends. do they still have that all-you-can-eat salad and breadsticks?!?!

  • joanh

    LOL. houston’s salads aren’t even that good. they are definitely overrated and i mistaken tried the rolls when i was trying to keep it light- pretty inedible… i do like the prime rib sandwiches at bandera and the hot fudge sundaes and crabcakes at gulfstream…

    a worthy food companion is hard to find, much less on valentine’s day!

  • joanh

    LOL. houston’s salads aren’t even that good. they are definitely overrated and i mistaken tried the rolls when i was trying to keep it light- pretty inedible… i do like the prime rib sandwiches at bandera and the hot fudge sundaes and crabcakes at gulfstream…

    a worthy food companion is hard to find, much less on valentine’s day!

  • Tiffany

    I had that happen on a date once–my date ordered a salad. Later I figured out that he was poor and had probably eaten at home first.

  • Nina

    ahaha I can’t stop laughing… Suggesting Houston’s… and ordering a fucking salad.

    I g u e s s it’s better that that awful spicy tuna of their’s… which is, sadly, what I got the one time I went there.

  • sarah

    joan h: how about you be my food companion!

    tiffany: well, at least he ordered a salad at houston’s and didn’t take you to olive garden for the free breadsticks and salad that comes with your entree :)

    nina: the “pseu-shi” there is just plain awful!

  • Miss Tiffie

    OMG! painful. I HATEEEEEEE when guys eat like a dieting female. i feel like the more metro the guy the gayer they eat. IT’S SO ANNOYING. And yes, even my GAY FRIENDS don’t eat gay. Kudos on not throwing your burger in his face and topping it off with his pink drink.. EWWWW… hahahaha

    btw, this entry made me almost pee from laughing so hard.

  • Lightcnd

    Saw this and thought of this specific blog entry…favorite one btw.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/09/fashion/09STEAK.html

    Enjoy!

  • http://facebook.com/ashley.white1 Ash

    Hey…..I like Houston’s!

  • http://thegirlblogger.com Adri

    Since I’m late to the party and only now learning about your blog (and your) history… I just had to laugh at this post. This almost exactly sounds like my ex. Thanks for being honest and sharing stuff like this… it’s a relief to think I’m not crazy for judging a man for eating salads, drinking pink cocktails and being a car snob.

    *Also* to end all V-day anxiety my girlfriends and I always treat ourselves to fabulous dinner, cocktails, and hilarity. Curse Cupid and guarantee yourself fun, it’s even better when you wear crowns…

  • http://www.thedeliciouslife.com Sarah J. Gim

    Ashley: I like Houston’s too. Every restaurant has a time and place :)

    Adri: You’re welcome for being honest, though it’s not difficult. Blogging is like therapy :)

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