ManBitesWorld: The Postmortem
Well, we made it. After 102 consecutive days of eating I followed it up with one more day of writing and research to see if I could feasibly extend it to 103. Then, when it seemed like this was really it, I went on to give myself 48 hours of essentially uninterrupted nothingness, where I’m pretty sure I only left the house to walk the dog. My time has mostly involved sitting outside on the balcony for a few hours listening to music and drinking a tropical cocktail. Beyond that? I honestly have no idea what I’ve been doing. Sometimes to convince your brain that you actually have a day off, you have to prove it by sitting on your ass for all of it.
Now that I’m giving myself the opportunity to look back, I have to say that this was one of the best experiences of my life. Here I am, dead broke, unemployed, with no job prospects whatsoever and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long, long time (Note: If anybody out there is hiring— for anything— please let me know. Seriously.). I was pretty depressed for a while before this whole thing started, but thanks to doing something I love every single day in a row— I’m feeling damn good. It took the help and support of a lot of people for this to come together the way it did, and I’m extremely grateful for all of it. So now, without further ado, it’s time to offer up some statistics, give out a few awards and say thanks to a few important people.
Best Soup (Restaurants Only): MALAYSIA
Seafood lemongrass soup from Belacan Grill. I liked it so much that I admitted to being willing to kill a sickly hobo for it.
Honorable Mention: Ecuador Chicken soup from El Caserio
Best Sandwich (Restaurants Only): ARMENIA
Do pita sandwiches count? What about burgers? Welll, luckily, it doesn’t matter. The best sandwich I had was the basturma from Sahag’s Basturma.
Honorable Mention: Lebanon Chicken shwarma sandwich from Sunnin.
Best Chicken (Restaurants Only): PERU
Pollo a la Brasa in Koreatown. Yeah. It’s that good.
Best Noodle (Restaurants Only): JAPAN
The cold soba with pickled plum from Ichimiann in Torrance— and it’s not even close.
Italy – The lemon pasta from Terroni. Laos – Chicken curry noodle soup from Vientiane Thai Lao Restaurant. Vietnam – Pho from Pho Mien. Burma – Yellow curry noodle from Golden Triangle.
Best Salad (Restaurants Only): BURMA
The ginger salad at Golden Triangle. Now that’s a salad.
Fermented tea leaf salad at Golden Triangle.
The 10 Restaurant Dishes I Still Find Myself Craving
- The basturma from Armenia Day
- The seafood lemongrass soup from Malaysia Day
- Nehari from Pakistan Day
- Bouillabaisse from France Day
- Whole baked catfish from Vietnam Day
- Cold soba noodles with plum from Japan Day
- Ginger salad from Burma Day
- Fried plantains topped with beef from Honduras Day
- Fire roasted chicken from Peru Day
- The seabass from Thailand Day
Most Full After a Meal: CANADA
Poutine. French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy. A not-so-great version, but I decided that I should see what happened if I tried to eat the entire thing by myself. The result? Cutting six years off my life.
Poutine, or fried sausages with cheese fries? Well, they both have french fries and cheese (although there’s a lot more cheese on the poutine). Which means it comes down to fried pork sausages vs. gravy. Which means it doesn’t matter at all, since both meals would easily kill an elderly man.
Best Meal That Most People Would Think Was Indian Food: PAKISTAN
Al-Watan in Hawthorne. It will make you question your allegiances to Indian food.
Best Meal From the Axis of Evil: IRAN
My friend Dara’s parents are amazing.
5 Places That Actually Have Tasty Food But Are Also Good For a Date or Dinner with Your Mom (excluding France & Italy)
- Ecuador El Caserio in Silverlake
- Malaysia Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach
- Poland Warszawa in Santa Monica
- Thailand Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas
- Belgium Brussels Bistro in Newport Beach
Best Place to Go With a Big Group: SOUTH KOREA
Masan Restaurant in Koreatown. They’ve got beer, shochu and enough live seafood to take over the restaurant and kill all the patrons. A.K.A.: My kind of party.
North Korea Dansungsa in Koreatown. Awesome food designed to be eaten in large groups while drinking heavily. They also just recently got menus in English.
Cuisines That People Would Realize Were Really Accessible If They Would Just Go And Eat Them Already
Most Surprised Upon Walking Into a Restaurant: NIGERIA
It’s one thing for three white people to walk into a Nigerian restaurant in Inglewood. It’s another to interrupt them while they’re all watching the Obama-McCain presidential debate.
Note to self: ExileKiss is a very dangerous (and generous) human being to be with in a Japanese restaurant that serves booze.
Meanest Comment by Yours Truly: SAMOA
“This corned beef tastes like a retired wash cloth that had been used to scrub cow testicles for the last five years.”
Most Absurd-Yet-Positive Description of Food by Yours Truly: BURMA
Referring to the yellow curry noodles, panthe kaueskswe:
“It manages to be both spicy and soothing, like a husband that slaps you in the face then feels bad and buys you an expensive necklace, except if you’re in a fight club and kind of like being slapped.”
The Golden Camera Award: ULTIMATE MANILOW
In his short time as a fellow foodventurer, Ultimate Manilow crafted some of the best photos of the entire project.
Folk hero Jason Bernstein, Mr. Meatball, and Bosque
Best Out-of-the-Blue Restaurant Find: SUPER FOOD-BLOGGER TANNAZ
This one is for the miraculous uncovering of Nana & Naa International Enterprise for Ghana Day. This place had nothing written up about it and, even after finding the name, I could barely confirm that they actually served food. So how did Tannaz find it? By e-mailing a friend who at one point lived in Ghana, then forwarding me the following response:
“…I asked a few friends for recommendations
Word on the street is that the best Ghanaian food in town is a Nana and Naa’s in inglewood”
Abba: Latvia Day
The “Swiss Army Knife” Award:
This man did a little of everything for the project. He was at the first meal of the first day (on a weekday morning, no less). He took tons of pictures, went to 14 meals and even took over as editor for GirlfriendBites for a few weeks (doing the best editing work of anybody on the project).
The “Who the Hell are You? Oh Wait, You’re My Friend” Award:
She had just met Bosque on some sort of social networking site (probably adult friend finder). Bosque forwarded her my website, she loved it, he invited her to join for Serbia Day, she did, then within a few days she was meeting Mr. Meatball (who she did not know at all) and me (who she barely knew) for a Taiwanese dinner on a weeknight in Temple City, then wound up going to
18 21 total meals. So kudos.
Jeff and Claudia, who probably would have become bigger parts if they’d caught wind of the whole thing earlier. But in a perfect example of how weird the friend networking has been because of this project, “Danielle” and Claudia, who met through the blog, are now good friends.
The “One Bad-Ass Lady” Award:
She not only bought the most lunches and dinners for me over the last few months, but also offered the tremendous support that only a mother can. She joined for 21 meals, picked me up more than a few times on our way to restaurants and generally just made the whole endeavor a lot more enjoyable and endlessly more feasible. Thanks mom.
The “Lebron James” Award:
When the project was launched, Mr. Meatball was immediately anointed with very high expectations. He’s one of my oldest friends, he loves food, he can afford to go out to dinner a few times a month and he also genuinely enjoys doing so. So everybody knew that he was going to be joining for a lot of meals. When I would tell friends from New York about the project I was about to start, one of the first things they’d say is “How many meals is Meatball gonna go to?” So he was put in the difficult position where the only way to stand out is to actually exceed the already daunting expectations.
Well? He exceeded them. While working a full time job and studying for the GMAT, he managed to join for a whopping 32 days— which is especially impressive since we don’t live together, he’s not my girlfriend and he couldn’t go to any far-away weekday lunches.
The “Holy Grail” Award:
Where do I begin? Well, she helped me come up with the idea, helped me develop the idea, designed the website, edited around 70% of the posts, shared her car with me, joined for 49 meals, put up with all my nervous breakdowns, kept me from giving up before I started, dealt with the absurdly exhausting lifestyle of living with someone who has something scheduled every single day for over three months, loves me seemingly unconditionally for no reason whatsoever, made me a better person and helped me to feel good about myself for the first time in a long, long, while.
So yeah. She’s awesome.
And thanks to everybody for coming along for the ride and helping me through an incredibly fulfilling time in my life. Stay tuned and keep on reading.