August 23, 2011

Beyoğlu, Istanbul. June, 2007

De-tox salad, anyone? Know your audience, I guess, especially in this hopping section of town. I love to see slightly off or mistranslated menu items in my travels. Once, in Rome, I saw “Grilled Jewess” among a restaurant’s seafood selections. What could it possibly have been? At a nearby Chinese restaurant in the Eternal City, the menu listed “Ciao mein,” entirely correct phonetically but still remarkable. And a Prague eaterie not long ago tempted with an appetizer of “Smoked Language.” Early one post-disco Manhattan morning many years ago, we passed an outdoor chalkboard menu from the night before that was a bit startling. Passersby must have erased the third word from the shocking entree listing, “Roasted Baby.” I am reminded of a naughty trick my late friend Dali once played at Boston’s gay-popular St. Botolph Restaurant. When she saw there was a large gap on the menu between the fancy italic-scripted “St. Botolph proudly serves...” and the hours of operation several inches below, she removed a calligraphy pen from her bag and filled the gap with her own words so the sentence now ended seamlessly with “...proudly serves every fag in town.” I wonder how long it took someone to notice.

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