The Austin Chronicle

Dear Glutton

Have you no heart?

By Emily Beyda, July 1, 2016, Food

Dear Glutton,

What's the best restaurant in Austin for a breakup?

– Over It

OK, I'm going to answer your question, I promise, but first I have a question for you. Or, I guess, for the culture at large. Why do people still think it's acceptable to dump someone in a restaurant? As in most things, I suspect Hollywood is to blame: People are always breaking up with each other in restaurants in movies, but even there we can see that it's a bad idea. Do you remember that scene in Legally Blonde where Elle's boyfriend takes her to a fancy restaurant, which by the looks of the patio is probably California French haute cuisine, because let's not kid ourselves, she is definitely that variety of basic white girl, and she thinks he is going to propose to her, but instead he TOTALLY DUMPS HER OVER THE FOIE GRAS? See, that's a dick move. She'll be fine, he was a loser anyway, but think of all those poor people who just wanted to enjoy a nice night out slurping overpriced oysters and staring into each other's eyes and have, instead, found themselves enmeshed in some rude stranger's dramatic moment, ruining their meals and, quite possibly, their entire evenings. Even if you have passed the point of contempt for your partner where you don't mind the idea of them crying into their gazpacho, think of the rest of us, your embittered fellow diners. Don't be that guy. Don't break up with someone in a restaurant.

The graceful thing to do is, of course, go to a bar, open a tab, order a few whiskeys for the table, tell them the bad news, and then get out of their sight as quickly as they need you to, keeping your tab open so they can drown their sorrows on your dime. Say what you will about emotionally inspired binge-drinking; this is the classy move. And if you're writing me, you're a classy person, someone who cares about doing things right. Which in this case means being a little bit of an enabler, but hey, you don't get to criticize this person's life choices, you just dumped them, remember?

But you didn't ask me for life advice; you asked me for food advice. If you absolutely insist on breaking someone's heart while you're breaking bread (maybe symmetry is important to you?), have them meet you at Llama's Peruvian Creole, a food trailer in a lot just a block away from Sixth Street. Get some lemony, onion sharp ceviche (since you won't have to worry about bad breath), and an order of anticuchos, marinated beef hearts on a skewer, served with crispy grilled potatoes and Peruvian corn, whose enormous kernels make it look reassuringly cartoonish, something for your date to toy with while you give them the bad news. They don't serve booze, so an Inca Kola, bright yellow and tasting like some long-lost childhood summer, all saccharine melted bubblegum and burnt cotton candy sugar, will have to do. I know this all sounds a little on the nose – break a heart, eat a heart – but this way, at the very least your ex will be left with a good story. And beef hearts are, in my opinion, a criminally underrated form of meat. Aside from their macabre symbolic punch, they're delicious, tender, a little gamey, apparently incredibly nutritionally dense. Plus, you're a block from Dirty Sixth, so when the heart is gone your date can cheaply get as obliterated as emotionally necessary, even if it's not on your dime. There are worse ways to eat your heart out.

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