They were supposed to be her consolation prize.
I didn’t even really want them.
The only reason I’d picked Veggie Grill for my mother and my lunch together in Orange County was because I was trying to eat healthy.
“I need to take care of myself this weekend.” I’d told my mother when she’d raised an eyebrow. I know she was secretly hoping I’d suggest getting a quiche at Old Vine Cafe or even a chicken wrap at Panini Cafe.
“I don’t care where we go.” She’d responded with an air of motherly indifference.
I loved her for it. Which is why I suggested we order Veggie Grill’s famous Sweetheart Fries ($4.25) – seasoned sweet potato fries served with chipotle ranch dressing. She loves sweet potato fries.
I wasn’t planning on having more than a couple. I had a huge All Hail Kale salad with blackened tempeh ($10.45) that was threatening to collapse my plate with its load of marinated kale and red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts, quinoa, and ginger-papaya vinaigrette. Clearly, I didn’t need any additional sustenance – especially fried sustenance.
But one fry turned into two. Two turned into ten. And before my poor obliging mother had time to secure her fair share, I was scooping up the overly crisp dredges at the bottom of the bowl and smothering them with chipotle ranch.
The combination of the salty fries and my sweet kale salad was addicting. A bite of greens, a lick of the mango dressing, a savory fry – I was shuddering with satisfaction. And soon enough, shuddering with revulsion at how quickly my plans for a “healthy” lunch had soured.
“I’d go back there again!” My mom announced as we retreated to the car, my tail firmly planted between my seemingly engorged upper thighs.
She hadn’t even needed her sweet potato fry consolation prize to enjoy our lunch and her Baja Fiesta salad at Veggie Grill. I had been the catalyst for my own diet demise and subsequent self-loathing.
But I’d go back again. Especially if someone offered me a consolation prize.
4213 Campus Drive
8000 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA