It’s time to talk about the Flying Biscuit.
It was never supposed to happen like it did. Gretchen, Jess and I had grand plans to consume copious amounts of sushi and see a movie on Tuesday night—a foolproof idea that wildly derailed the second that I mentioned cake.
I blame myself. Cake has always been our downfall, and CAKE was all I could think about after being introduced to Hayes Barton in Raleigh last week. Some sweet friends had taken me, and one look at their dessert display left me stammering like a pre-pubescent, acne-ridden, braces-mouthed middle school boy. After one bite of their unspeakably fudgy chocolate pecan pie, I could neither think, speak, nor perform differential equations.
I didn’t even have to try to sell it—before you could say “coconut creme”, sushi and a movie were yesterday’s news and Gretchen and Jess had loaded me into the car to make the 45 minute drive from Chapel Hill to Raleigh in pursuit of dessert.
We drooled over the online menu the whole way to Raleigh, each girl judiciously planning to eat half a salad in anticipation of the decadence to come. We were celebrating being young and being alive, and also getting out of bed that morning! [Because why not?]
Imagine our utter horror when our elated quest was met with locked doors, and dimmed lights. The dessert case taunted us from inside as we pressed our dejected noses to the window and dolefully stared at the picture-perfect rows of cakes that would never be ours. Apparently, Hayes Barton thinks it’s acceptable to close on Tuesdays. Because that makes sense.
I went back to the car to grab tar and a pitchfork, only to realize that I’d left both in Albany. Which left me no choice but to gloomily plant myself on the sidewalk in front of a very closed Hayes Barton Cafe wondering what would become of me.
I went through the seven stages of grief, and ultimately decided that it was probably for the best. Too much cake makes too much Ashley, as my parents used to say! We still needed dinner, and after Gretchen mentioned a close by restaurant called The Flying Biscuit, we decided to give it a whirl.
The menu looked deceptively…normal. Tasty, even! A BLT with chipotle aioli? I’m still making up for two baconless years spent in a Muslim country, so it was an easy choice. Intrigued, we each ordered a side of “moon dusted potatoes” with our respective sandwiches, and merrily chatted away as we assumed the chef went to work on our orders.
Let’s talk about that, shall we? To protect the guilty, I’ll call the “chef” Billy Dean. Dear, balding, just-out-of-prison-and-I-ain’t-never-seen-a-cell-phone Billy Dean. With his greasy, pit-stained t-shirt creeping up over an impressively hairy potbelly, he was much too busy making his way through a pack of Marlboro Lights to concern himself with minor details like sanitation scores and personal hygiene. Meanwhile back at the ranch, our premade meals cozied up under dirty heatlamps. Efficient, Billy Dean—but not delicious.
Our other-worldly looking sandwiches arrived looking as though they’d waved the white flag of surrender days ago. Limp, gray lettuce halfheartedly draped off of a soggy piece of wheat bread as the pumpkin orange sludge masquerading as chipotle aioli oozed off the side like so much toxic waste from a nuclear reactor. And the aforementioned moon potatoes? I can only imagine that the Flying Biscuit intends to market them in outerspace once we’ve populated the actual moon, because they had enough salt to be preserved to infinity and beyond.
We soldiered on, both southern charm and Emily Post dictating that we eat no less than ¼ of our respective dinners with plastic smiles and no fewer than eight quiet pleas for more water. Thank God the Flying Biscuit is bound by the rules of the Geneva Convention, just like everybody else.
Grimacing, we paid our bill [HIGHWAY. ROBBERY.] as quickly as we could, and waddled towards the door to make our escape. We were only four or five short steps away from fresh air and freedom when Jess stopped dead in her tracks beside a table of white-haired geriatrics happily scarfing their senior specials and loudly groaned, I think I need to have my stomach pumped.
That was it. The white gloves were off, the proverbial flood gates were thrown open and out came a disgusted torrent of emotion as we began to realize what the Flying Biscuit had just done to us. We had been FOOD NINJAD. Top buttons were undone and PTSD began to set in as I collapsed in the backseat and a green-faced Gretchen swerved all over the road as Jess moaned that she felt as though she’d eaten her cast-iron dutch oven. Intent on leaving a digital trail in case we all succumbed to the moon potatoes before we had a chance to tell the world our story, I pulled out my iphone and began to tweet direct quotes from that conversation, making sure to tag the #FlyingBiscuit in every single one. Cries of “Where is BEANO WHEN YOU NEED HIM!?” and “I can’t breathe when I sit up straight!” were recorded for posterity, as ever-cheerful Gretchen chimed in with “…at least the diet coke was good?”, seconds later admitting that she wished that she could go back an hour and simply not eat.
If only, Gretchen. If. Only.
Alas, irreparable damage had been done. Food was ruined for us—and there was nothing that we could do about it. With every bump and turn in the road, those blasted moon potatoes and the alleged aioli threatened to reappear. Every labored second of the forty-five minute drive home added insult to injury: we’d actually gone out of our way for this.
Vowing to never eat another biscuit, stationary or airborne, we somehow found ourselves back in Chapel Hill and proceeded to lay on the floor in a food coma for the remainder of the evening. My last indignant barb flung at the Flying Biscuit over the interwebs in the form of a tweet read simply:
#FlyingBiscuit, you should be ashamed of yourselves. #immobile #send help
Nonplussed, The Flying Biscuit had the audacity to tweet back, “Sounds like you all had a great time at dinner! :)”
…and that, my friends, is the sort of callous behavior that hallmarked Ted Bundy.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have my stomach pumped.