It was a dark and stormy night, and I was on my way to Henle for an Eating Society party. Did the Eating Society technically reject me? Yes (sticks and stones). But did I hack their email list and add my netID? Also yes (I won’t let Georgetown club culture defeat me). How to find the Henle, however, was a mystery to me. I was lost within the godforsaken maze of Harry Styles cutouts and upsettingly ambiguous stains. As I roamed, the path ahead got even darker, until there were no more glowing purple dorm windows to light my way. Above me, the yellow, light-polluted sky had gone black. Fear dawned on me as I realized that I had stumbled into a tunnel network under Henle. The dripping sewage echoed around me, tap tap tap. The air grew cold and damp. Yet, surprisingly, a savory, mouth-watering smell wafted to my nose. Out of the darkness, a string of fairy lights appeared. A recording of accordion music rose gently over the incessant Cooper Field music I could somehow still hear. As I drew closer, I made out a sign above a quaint storefront with the words, “Chez Jacques.”
“Bonjour! How are you, mademoiselle? Are you ready for a fine-dining experience on this beautiful evening?”
I looked down. There was a rat … talking to me.
“You are the critic we were expecting, yes? Allow me to introduce myself. I am Chef Jacques.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell this rat donning a chef’s hat that I was just a lost Georgetown freshman.
“Um, yeah … I’m here to review your restaurant … for The INDY …”
Chef Jacques ushered me to a Parisian-style café table, where a rabble of rats arrived with a bread basket in their claws. Should I be eating food prepared by rodents? Oh well, Leo’s has reduced my standards. I bit into the bread, and the crust crumbled as easily as MSB kids’ dreams during consulting club recruitment. The warmth that filled my mouth outshone even the goods at Boulangerie Christophe.
“It is good, yes?” asked Jacques from where he was now perched on my shoulder.
“For the first course, would you like Mediterranean-Indian fusion, or Korean-Italian fusion?”
Perplexed, yet intrigued by such odd combinations, I replied, “Mediterranean-Indian, please.” The dish I received contained a tikka masala curry with za'atar fries sticking out of it. I briefly considered the possibility that the ingredients were scavenged from the garbage bags outside of Curry and Pie and Falafel Inc. Regardless, it was astonishingly delicious. The fries were not too crispy but not too soggy, and the curry was an interesting replacement for the typical Habibi sauce. My meal continued with equally high standards.
When Chef Jacques was able to take a break from his miracle work in the kitchen, I asked him for an interview.
“What led you to become a chef?”
His adorable black eyes filled with pride. “Cooking is in my blood. My great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Remy, was a famous chef in Paris. Disney made a biopic about him—perhaps you’ve seen it. Since then, my family has immigrated to America, but we don’t forget our roots.”
“Wow, very impressive.” Then, a problem occurred to me.
“Now, this restaurant is situated under Henle Village, correct? Have you considered the implications of the upcoming construction plans?”
Jacques’ whiskers quivered.
“Yes, the construction is of great concern to me. I have put so much heart into my establishment, and now they’re going to tear down my ceiling? These tunnels will be unearthed, and I will have to relocate the restaurant. How will I afford it? Oh, mon dieu!”
I pitied poor Jacques and told him I would do my best to increase his patronage. He thanked me with tears in his eyes, rivaling the cuteness of Puss in Boots. As a parting gift, he shared with me the recipe for his special of the day: Buffalo Chicken Oatmeal. Here’s how all of you at home can make this innovative dish from Georgetown’s best new restaurant:
Put three wings from Buffalo Wild Wings in a bowl.
Add Quaker Oats to your heart’s desire.
Add 2 cups of blue cheese.
Add a pawful of cinnamon.
Open your garbage and remove a random item. Put it in the bowl.
Mix well with a blender.
Grace Stephenson is a freshman in the College studying linguistics.