This piece was sponsored for Gwen from Andy, who wishes you many belated birthdays. He’ll do better going forward.
The Secret Olive Garden
You start with a cholera epidemic and end with something truly magical.
Carnivores frequently dismiss salad as rabbit food. In this restaurant, it really is.
Comfort food from New England accompanied by the surprisingly tasty delicacy of pickled limes. Don’t be alarmed by the scent of burning hair emanating from the kitchen.
The Merchant of Venison
Serving size: a pound of flesh. Prepared rare. If you prick it, it will bleed.
Deli sandwiches served with a Brandy Alexander and a dash of homoeroticism.
The Scarlet Pumpernickel
Order a hero sandwich from a seemingly frivolous proprietor. Upon eating the sandwich, all will be revealed. Proceeds benefit the Displaced French Royalists fund.
The Brief and Wondrous Life of an Oscar Meyer Weiner
This hot dog stand is equipped with endless disclaimers in a tiny font. No one will judge you if you can’t be bothered to read all of them.
The Grapes of Wrath
This bar features wines grown in vineyards staffed by migrant workers, so pretty much your standard bar.
Alternatively, a milk bar.
Cream and Punishment
Cross five bridges to find this establishment. An old woman serves you tea and scones. Kill her. Then think about what you’ve done for a long, long time.
The Prime Rib of Miss Jean Brodie
The meat in this joint is past its expiration date and is quite self-conscious about it. The proprietor is very strangely pressuring you to try the younger, more attractive restaurant next door.
Skinny Chicken Legs and All
Do not be alarmed if your food starts talking. It’s just a Tom Robbins acid trip.
To the Smokehouse
Lovely smoked fish from the Isle of Skye. But the experience is so drawn out that you might forget what you’re doing and why you’re there.
Lord of the Fries
No, you cannot eat Piggy. For crying out loud, people. NO ONE EATS PIGGY.
Tess of the Doughnut Holes
A naive but soulful young woman serves you doughnuts. It ends badly.
A Sprinkle of Thyme
A delightful experience as long as you don’t order the Black Thing. And, of course, the secret ingredient is love.
And Then There Were Buns
A thrilling experience. You start with ten sticky buns on your plate that disappear one by one. The final bun goes out with a bang by voluntarily impaling itself on your fork.
The Phantom Tollhouse Cookie
For Milo, who has plenty of time…to bake cookies. Tick tock, Milo, tick tock.
Please sir, may I have s’mores?
It’s worth being a Dickensian orphan for these desserts.
Ruth Hupart is based in Washington, DC. You can follow her on Twitter at @parallax18, but she doesn’t see why you would bother since she is a lurker who never posts anything.