Valentine, shmalentine. What if you’re not looking for romance? Why does your mother/sister/aunt feel the need to set you up on yet another blind date that you know will fail miserably? What if you believe that finding love will come naturally? You’ll be at a party or catching beads at Krewe du Vieux and accidentally bump into a mysterious stranger and he or she will look up, yours eyes will meet and the rest, as they say, is history. But, for now you’ll be set up on date after date, and until you stand up to the matronly matchmaker in your life, you have no choice but to grin and bear it.
On rare occasions, the match your mother picked is attractive and might even be fun for a short fling, but most of the time, you desperately need some way to keep your dubious date at arm’s length. There’s no need to demean yourself by say forgetting to shower or brazenly picking your nose at the table, the solution is right in front of your face. All you have to do is order the most odoriferous dish on the menu.
One of the finest restaurants in the French Quarter, the Rib Room in the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel is sure to impress your date whether you want to or not. Anyone would be hard-pressed not to feel a sense of awe gawking at the expansive dining room with high wood-beamed ceilings and marble columns while sitting most comfortably in a well-cushioned, high back chair. Although you won’t be able to resist their signature Bone-In Rib Eye with horseradish crème fraiche, be sure to load up on a few orders of the P&J Oyster Gratin. Poached oysters are swimming in casino butter chock full of minced garlic and topped with a Parmesan bacon crust, so that all you need to do is simply breathe in your date’s direction.
For something more casual, you can always head towards the Riverbend for a meal under the stars at GB’s Patio Bar & Grill on Maple Street. The hand-ground sirloin burgers are a delight, not to mention the home made desserts, but there is another item on the menu that’s more appropriate for your situation. Try one of their hot dogs fully loaded with spicy chili and freshly grated cheddar cheese. Be sure not to skimp on the toppings, as all GB’s dogs come with a side of chopped, raw onions. A demurely placed burp in the confines of the car after dinner should deter even the most amorous of suitors.
One of the simplest options would be to head over to Tulane Avenue for a few, delectable slices of pie at Pizzicare. You could go for the Pancetta & Brussels Sprouts Pie with lots of roasted garlic or a Stuffed Muffalata with garlic-infused olive oil and Genoa salami, but one of the best solutions is usually the easiest. Just scarf down a slice or two loaded with pepperoni and a small order of chewy Garlic Knots and your breath is bound to offend. You might even be able to intensify the odor by not drinking anything, but a few sips of water. Just keep your mouth closed until they lean in for the goodnight kiss and then whammo! Let ’em have it!
For something stupendously smelly, head across the Causeway for an refined lunch at Del Porto Ristorante. Luckily for you, one of the tastiest (and most popular) items on the menu is also surely the most malodorous, a warm, house made mozzarella that’s topped with tomato confit, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil and Sicilian white anchovy. If you are careful, you can scoop up both of the anchovies in one fell swoop on a large chunk of crostini. Not only will your breath be atrocious, but such rude table manners are sure to disappoint any potential admirer.
Finally, there’s simply nothing stinkier than a well-ripened cheese. To truly put a damper on any ardent behavior, you could always try having lunch at St. James Cheese Company on Prytania Street. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Isn’t cheese and fruit and wine too romantic? Too sensual?” Well, it certainly can be, but if you’re careful it can be a powerful repellant as well. Simply (and subversively) request that your cheese board include the stinkiest of stinky cheeses like a ripe Stilton, Limburger (reminiscent of sweaty feet) or, if you’re really lucky, St. James will have and exquisite Epoisses, a cheese that is so noxious, it has been banned from public transportation vehicles all over France.
If none of these options are effective, you’ll be forced to tell the truth and possibly hurt your date’s feelings. But consider this, if you’ve found a person who will put up with all the stench and adore you anyhow, you may have just discovered your soul mate.
*Article originally published in the February 2014 issue of Where Y’at Magazine