Saturday, October 11, 2008

The annals of endless all-you-can-eat

Three of us tonight dined at the Red Lobster, where they currently have an "endless" all-you-can eat special on shrimp.

None of us went for the all-you-can-shrimp deal, but I asked the waitress, Mandy, how much a serious all-you-can-eat eater can put away.

She immediately launched into a story about a chap who ate 282 shrimp the other day.

"Was he a big guy?"

"No. He was little. They're always little. Boy, I wish I had his metabolism."

(The waitress, fairly young, maybe pushin 30, had a slight paunch, but nothing serious, but you know how it is, girls, a paunch, no matter how small, is a paunch too many in this day & age, but that's another story.)

Mandy said the small-fry all-you-can-eat shrimp consumer was seated from noon until 6 p.m., pacing himself, one surmises.

A crowd of servers gathered not far from him, marveling at the spectacle, Mandy recalled before leaving to check on other diners. This gave me a chance to wonder aloud, how many shrimp in a pound?

One of the group volunteered 80.

Well, there you go, I said, that's about 4 lbs of shrimp.

Let's ask the waitress, someone else said, so when Mandy returned we asked her the question.

"I'll go ask the manager."

"Oh, I don't want to put you to any trouble."

"No, no," she insisted.

She returned a few minutes later and said, depending on the size of the shrimp, of course, there's usually about 45 to 55 shrimp in a pound.

"Well, there you go. About 5 and-a-half pounds."

The serious all-you-eat eaters uusally opt for the shrimp scampi, Mandy said. They eschew the fried shrimp because there's breading involved in the dish, and they also will pass on the shrimp linguini, because that would entail the consumption of pasta, taking up valuable stomach space that could be occupied by all-you-can-eat shellfish.

Makes sense.

But 282 shrimp, well, that's a lot of damn shrimp, I said.

"I'll bet he didn't feel too good later," someone else opined.

Next month at the Red Lobster, there might be an endless all-you-eat special on crabs, Mandy said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, just so you know, I have restrained myself from rhapsodizing on tales of past Fishin' Fiesta shrimp eatin' contests.

For which, incidentally, we had specially graded (i.e., sized) shrimp, to keep one person from getting a random advantage in shrimp.

Incidentally - eating without shelling the boiled shrimp is not a good strategy - seen people try it way too many times.