What Is The Best Plate Shape?

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Photo: Angelica Alzona (GMG)

Today, we’re talking about Game of Thrones, pizza pilgrimages, movie knowers, bad candy bars, and more.

I was playing FIFA 19 with my son the other day and he was beating my ass all over the field. We’re closing in on the 90th minute and, out of nowhere, the kid talks trash to me by saying, in a super low voice, “This must end.” And then he scored one more time. Just a complete and thorough humiliation. Never play video games against your children if you aren’t 100 percent certain you’ll win.


Your letters:


What is the best shape for a dinner plate? I feel like we’ve all been brainwashed into believing round is the preferred shape, and anyone who has plates in some other shape is probably this close to becoming the next Unabomber. But think about it. You can’t corner that last delicious bite of couscous on a round plate. Turn that plate into a square, though, and you’ve got a nice, clean right angle to force that final mouthful into. Tell me I’m wrong.


I think round is the preferred shape more for aesthetic reasons than for practical reasons. It’s because of people who put plates up on mantelpieces for display and shit like that. A round plate looks nicer, which is what used to matter more to royalty and to snooty Victorian types than the actual eating of food off it. I’m with you in that a round plate bunches food together (a dealbreaker if you’re the kind of freak who needs all side dishes on your plate to be segregated) and is prone to having food spill or fall off the edge. It’s not perfect, which is why every Chipot-Green-Poke-Cava-R-Us franchise out there now gives you your lunch in a bowl. No need for careful eating when you just ordered a ropa vieja nacho salad served in a beach pail. Why bother with a plate of any kind when you can have a personal trough instead?

I still flinch at non-round plates, but I know that’s strictly because I was conditioned to eat off of them. Luckily for you, the enterprising minds at BIG HIPSTER RESTAURANT do not feel so constrained by traditional plate shapes. If you go out to Cask & Hickory or wherever the fuck, they’ll bend over backwards to serve you food on anything except a regular-ass plate. You’ll get food served on sticks, on boards, atop antique leather-bound books, in still-sizzling copper mini-cauldrons, in graduated cylinders, in tin cans, hung from a mobile, on the back of a live turtle, and fired out of a T-shirt gun. It’s been a vicious overcorrection. You wanted crab soup, you got fucking THEATER instead. They’re also toying with plates that are square but have rounded corners, so that you never feel as if you’re looking away from your fucking phone. There’s a happy medium where you get your food on a square/rectangular plate and then they leave you the fuck alone. Only everyday sushi joints have embraced this technique.

That brings me to the best plate shape there is. I’m talking, of course, about a SUSHI BOAT.

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YARRRGHHHHH ME HEARTIES! Feast thine eyes and thy hungry bellies upon such treasures! There’s even a bonus maki roll on the quarterdeck! SWOON. When I die, put me on an aircraft carrier-sized sushi boat and surround me with all of the ikura nigiri and dragon rolls my corpse can eat. Put sushi ON my corpse. It’s fine. Put dabs of wasabi right on both eye sockets. A wad of pickled ginger in my bellybutton. Let’s really nail the presentation. Oh, and bring my loved ones. I guess they can come on the boat, too. They all have to carry seared yellowtail handrolls on them, though. Can’t waste an inch of precious boat space.

Whatever shape the plate is, I want it to be BIG. I want it to have tiers. There’s a reason they sell seafood towers for $200 at big swinging dick steakhouses. If my plate can’t be a boat, I want it to be a fucking skyscraper.


Also, honorary mention to bento boxes. It’s a serving dish, but also a floor plan!


Do you think dogs fantasize about having sex with their masters? Or are they just humping our legs because they have no better option in the moment?


Why can’t it be both? If your dog humps you, he’s clearly put some thought into it. Maybe he’d like to bone a more attractive master, but he’ll take what he can get. It’s a dog. If it’s not thinking of eating everything, it’s thinking of fucking everything. It’s an offensive lineman, basically.


If you could be Leonardo DiCaprio or Tiger Woods, which would you choose?

I’m gonna say Tiger Woods even though I’m probably just still buzzed from Sunday’s golf porn. DiCaprio is the easy choice because, despite being a year older than Woods, he’s better looking, he’s far more charming, he’s still a swingin’ single, he has no apparent back issues, and there isn’t a TV audience of tens of millions of people watching whenever he blows a line. He’s got a goodass life. He’s so relaxed, he can allegedly vape during intercourse! Truly the dream come true. The man can guzzle Moët & Chandon and go jumping off the side of an anchored luxury yacht anytime he pleases.


But Tiger Woods’s job is to just play golf. Granted, golfing competitively can be tense and aggravating, but it’s still golf. One thing Tiger Woods does NOT have to do for his day job is report to a shooting location at o’dark thirty to sit in a makeup chair for hours on end, and then finally get called to the set only to stand around for another hour because the DP wants to move some box lights around. Acting is a boring, tedious job, even for its richest and most famous practitioners. I’ve been stuck on a set in the middle of the night. It’s existentially dull, and that’s not even with a director screaming “Faster, more intense!” at me. I would love to be a famous actor so long as I didn’t have to do the acting part. And what about all the PR horseshit? How pumped do you think the average movie star gets to be asked what it was like to work with, like, Stephen Frears 9,000 times in a single press tour? Shoot me in the balls.

Also, I know DiCaprio won an Oscar for The Revenant, thereby reaching the pinnacle of his craft. But honestly, would you rather win an acting trophy on TV in front of an audience that’s suffused with intense fatigue, or would you rather sink the winning putt at a major not once, but 15 fucking times? Short of being a rock star, I just don’t know that any experience compares with being a pro athlete winning something in front of a raucous, drunken, adrenalized crowd. I’d shit hot knives to experience that. Hell, I watch athletes do it on TV just so that I can experience it vicariously! I’m pathetic. Anyway my answer is Tiger but I already regret it. Gimme Tiger but with a healthy spine.



Am I justified in being irritated by people who call themselves a “Movie Buff”?

You are. There really are people out there who are into movies—into filmmaking, really—on a scale that’s far beyond your standard Movie Enjoyer (Damien Chazelle comes to mind). But you still got 60 million dudes out there who are self-described movie buffs because they love Tarantino and because they comment at, like Ain’t It Cool News and shit. It’s like a non-musician telling you that they’re really into music. No shit, kiddo. It’s music. You may as well posit yourself as passionate about inhaling oxygen. At least pick a GENRE to be pretend-obsessive over, and Star Wars movies don’t count.


Movie Knowing is an especially widespread epidemic now because everyone can post reviews and because everyone has access to information about box office tallies, on-set gossip, palace intrigue at studios, and all kinds of other “inside” information that isn’t locked away inside of anything at all. Like politics, the business of show business now has its own little horse race coverage for insufferable dipshits. So you can pretend (as I do!) that you’re super in-the-know about movies and that you can tell people, with great authority, who WON Shazam. But that ain’t shit. Just watch movies like a normal person. Find something else to be an expert in. Like sports! So few guys out there are super into sports!


Why is it that none of the major brands ever buy seats behind home plate during the MLB playoffs? I’m shocked I’ve never seen the GEICO caveman in full makeup sitting back there casually taking in an entire game (even better if he’s wearing a Marlins jersey).


You think MLB is gonna just let a brand do that without extracting their pound of flesh? I don’t think so. They want a taste of the hustle, and they’ll even sell out fucking Jackie Robinson to do it. The Nationals have a No Soliciting policy at their park, and every other team almost certainly does as well. So you can’t just hold up an INFOWARS sign during a telecast without security putting you out on your ass (you deserved it). Those seats are reserved for true fans. Like Rob Lowe, host of Mental Samurai! He’s here tonight, taking in the festivities! We didn’t plan on seeing him here at all! Watch Mental Samurai Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. EDT, only on Fox!


What would happen if it came out that Trump was a huge Game of Thrones fan? Not just like he watched it regularly, but was deeply knowledgeable about the entire series and as a result, tweeted constantly about it? We both know this is impossible because his attention span is .03 seconds long, but would viewership be affected? Would people just be less vocal about watching/loving the show?


I don’t think it would matter at all. The President has a knack for ruining certain moments, as he proved in short order after The Masters. Anything he can ruin, he will. He will waddle into your wedding during the vows and be like, “So many people are saying that the bride-to-be was and is very, very into Trump. Showing her cleavage to him at parties and other desperate acts. Embarrassing, really!” But Trump could wipe his stink all over that show and it would still thrive. It was huge before he got elected, and it’s not written by members of QAnon (though give it time). People who are GoT “buffs” will still slavishly tune in and then compare characters on the show to different pizza toppings. You can willfully ignore the President barging into your pop culture if you put your mind to it.

Also, his tweets about the show would be INSANE. He’d be ALL about the incest shit. I’d much rather hear Trump’s Throne takes than standard TV Recap Guy’s analysis. Huge congrats to Walder Frey for the Red Wedding, a very big (high-rated) massacre! I’ve been beating the drum for Americans to get tougher on the “no-good” Stark family now for YEARS! Good to see Walder take matters into his own hands! Dems (going) crazy over it! Watch out Dems or things may get “red” for you too! Bloodbath? #MWGA!



My wife and I realized at dinner last night that we both heard a lot of “elbows off the table” as kids, but have yet to say that to our 6- and 4-year-olds, b/c really, who cares. Are we doing a shitty job as parents (probably), or do manners just get progressively worse across generations?


Well if you LET a generation’s manners get worse, they do. My parents used to nag me about manners all the time when I was a kid and I would roll my eyes. What do I do now? I nag my kids about manners all the fucking time, and they roll their eyes. The cycle begins anew. I can’t help it. I don’t want them putting their elbows on the table, or leaving the table before everyone has finished, or doing handstands in the chair, or eating yogurt barehanded, or looking at fucking screens at the table. This is draconian and annoying and very fussy and I groan at myself for enforcing basic dinner table etiquette when I could be housing a sushi boat myself elsewhere.

But it’s worth doing, because while you may forgive your kids being sloppy at the table, you won’t appreciate going to a restaurant and seeing OTHER kids making a racket and eating french fries off an iPad and whatever the fuck else that lackadaisical parents let them do. You should care about manners. I know it’s yet another goddamn thing to gnash your teeth over, but you don’t have to be Emily Post about it. It’s worth teaching kids about basic courtesies, even if some of those customs feel forced and arbitrary. That shit pays off on the rare occasions when you see your kid instinctively have good manners out in public. Your kid will thank a waiter, unprompted, and you’ll feel like you won the fucking Super Bowl.




Is Butterfinger a terrible, terrible candy bar? Think about it, as soon as you take a bite it breaks in random spots and pieces fall to the floor. The same thing happens on every bite. Whatever it’s made of also immediately locks onto your teeth and gum line, causing instant cavities. A guy I work with, Jose, said he hates it and when I actually thought about it, I decided that I hate it too.


I love Butterfinger and cannot go with you on this. They even re-engineered the recipe specifically for you!

“The chocolate-flavored coating is less waxy, less cloyingly sweet, and more cocoa forward.”


Love to be cocoa forward. Yeah, the thing is a fucking mess that breaks all over the place, but there are plenty of candy bars like that. If you break off part of a Lindt bar, it sends chocolate shrapnel all over the counter. Still worth eating, though. And yes, Butterfinger also locks onto your teeth, but it’s not a full-on tooth clamp the way a Jolly Rancher is. All candy is bad for your teeth anyway. A real dentist once legitimately told my wife to chew on a Jujyfruit to get a crown that needed to be replaced out. That’s the cost of doing business with such sweet poison. You have to WANT it. You have to be willing to sacrifice what is necessary for that crispety, peanut buttery burst. You have to have the guttiness necessary to WIN that Butterfinger. Also, it’s one of the best Blizzard/milkshake ingredients. It can’t make a mess when it’s trapped at the bottom of your straw!

You want a bad candy bar? Eat a Mr. Goodbar sometime. So it’s got peanuts. Big fucking deal.



How many pairs of underwear does a man actually need? I maybe do laundry every other week, so I say 15 pairs.


As a man you should own a minimum of the following:

10 Bath Sheet Undies

10 Bath Undies

10 Hand Undies

20 Wash Undies

Preferably more

In all seriousness, Ian, you’ve come to the right man. I wrote this story about underwear for GQ last week and, as a result, I now have 700 pairs of boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, brief-boxers, thongs, hotpants, and booty shorts in my drawer. One of them even had a built-in cocksock. Fun! And yet, despite that bounty of unmentionables, I cycle through the same dozen pairs of undies every week. I don’t think I need more than that, and yet if I reduced my supply to just two weeks worth, I would somehow run out of them on a family trip to Busch Gardens, or I would use all of them over the course of a single day when swamp-ass season commences here in the D.C. area. Only lasts seven months a year!


So if money isn’t a huge issue, I would suggest having more than two week’s worth of skivvies. You can have your base rotation, and then an emergency supply just in case you fall into a time warp and are sent away to Camp Herpewood for a full summer. To paraphrase Clarence Worley, better to have extra undies and not need them than to need extra undies and not have them.


If you stick to your guns here, what would you suggest as a suitable replacement for mayo in certain foods?


You can avoid mayo in, like, 50,000 ways. I know because I’ll gladly replace mayo with spackle if I have to. I’ve made chicken salad with vinaigrette. I’ve made tuna salad with Greek yogurt. I’ve made deviled eggs with tzatziki (weird but good). And, of course, I’ve eaten Connecticut lobster rolls, which sub out mayo for drawn butter. My companion in takes Albert Burneko and I bought ourselves buttered lobster rolls in the middle of Manhattan years ago (New York: Lobster Capital Of The World!™) and they were so fucking good that we turned right around and bought another round of them. Then we charged that shit to Gawker Media. That’s just solid business traveling right there. I regret nothing.

I’m open to pretty much any mayo substitute because while I hate that shit, I’ll eat similar-but-somehow-not-grotesque-to-me foods like sour cream, yogurt, crema, etc. I have one friend that avoids ALL cultured dairy, so don’t offer him sour cream or else he’ll smack it right out of your hands. That’s an even tougher life to lead than one that’s mayo-abstinent, in my opinion.


Also, that Takeout post that I wrote (linked in the Timothy’s email) caused a shitload of certified ketchup haters to come out of the woodwork. I had no idea. All this whining about mayo bullies and I instantly turned into a ketchup bully the second I encountered this faction. You don’t like ketchup? WHY BUT IT’S JUST TOMATOES SALT AND VINEGAR, SON! Lotta mustard haters out there too, but for some reason I kinda see where they’re coming from, even though I like mustard. People who hate ketchup REALLY fucking hate it, and they’re not shy about saying so. It would dismay them to watch me CRUSH an all-ketchup lobster roll. But the flavors commingle so perfectly!


Say tomorrow they announce Bob Kraft sold the Pats to James Dolan, how quickly do they fall apart?


Three days, maybe? Let’s make this sale happen.

For real though, dumbfuck owners win titles all the time. Art Modell won a Super Bowl, for shit’s sake. I know Dolan has infected the Knicks with his proprietary obliviousness, along with diapers full of poseur blues demos, but it would still take him time to destroy the Patriots in his image. If he dumped a bunch of money in Belichick’s lap for him to stay a few more years, the franchise would stay somewhat respectable before Josh McDaniels took over, Dolan hired Isiah Thomas as GM, Thomas signed two dozen drinking buddies playing in the AAF to start, and the whole thing fell to shit. I would kill to make this happen. Literally. Present me with The Box and I’ll push that button without hesitation to make the Dolan Patriots a reality.



If Trump uses the national emergency text line and sends the nation a dick pic, would that be an impeachable offense, or would it just get spun away into some MAGA nonsense?


Oh, the latter. Notre-Dame just burned down and the Take-Industrial Complex somehow managed to contaminate it instantly (guess who was at the forefront). Whatever can be spun will be spun. So yeah, if Trump sent his dick to everyone, it would cause a massive uproar, but that uproar would result, as always, in him suffering no real consequences of any sort. He’d just lie and say it was Jeb Bush’s dick, and all the orcs below him would fall in and agree. Then he’d turn around and tacitly admit it’s his dick but that his text was just “satire” and that liberals are just humorless prudes. Then he would brag about the dick and accuse his enemies of being intimidated by such a mighty phallus. Then that Avenatti guy would chime in like an idiot. I’m exhausted by Trump’s dick already and I haven’t even seen it.

Also, I know the THIS IS NOT NORMAL brigade is still doing their best, but Trump says and does appalling shit every day. As a bystander, it’s hard to not become numb to all his bullshit, if only for the sake of preserving your own sanity. You don’t have to worry if he’ll tweet something vile when a tragedy happens: He’s already posted it from the toilet. He’s got you covered. Even his damp hog would end up getting spun into hideous nothingness. It’s what his penis deserves, really.



I am an east coast transplant living in Chicago. At this point I’ve been here for as long as I’ve lived anywhere. But damn it, I still crave a real slice of NYC pizza which you just can’t find here. I found a $104 round trip ticket on a Saturday that I want to use to go get my pie on, and maybe see friends/family if it won’t interfere with my goal of pizza nirvana. Am I crazy? Even if you ignore the cost I still have to fly twice on one day on what will be easily a 20-hour day. And if I’m being real, I mostly want to use “Chopped Champion Drew Magary agrees with me,” when my wife rolled her eyes at the idea. I’ll probably still do it either way.


You’re crazy. You’re in Chicago, man. You can eat like a fucking god in that town. Even if you don’t like deep dish pizza, you can find a decent thin-crust pizza there to call your own. I know that’s not the EXACT New York slice experience. You’re not strolling into Joe’s in the West Village and getting a slice of pepperoni that’s slicked in orange grease, and then watching that grease go clear through the paper plate as you fold up your slice and eat it over a trash can out on the corner. Fuck man, that’s good pizza. Lemme go look at trains to NYC right now so that I can go wolf down 67 slices at Joe’s and then throw up off the High Line.

I get craving a very specific food, even a relatively common, affordable one, in a very specific place. The town you’re eating your pizza in—its air, its bustle, its people—is part of the whole package. It’s what makes the experience indelible. I spend a lot of time hoping to go back TO Chicago all so that I can get a sandwich at Portillo’s, and that’s just a fucking chain! They have Portillo’s in Arizona, for shit’s sake. No matter. I want a dipped beef sandwich there, and I want it in Chicago. I wouldn’t plan an entire trip around that pilgrimage, but I’d certainly hunt around for excuses to make it. Figure out some phony, larger reason to go to NYC to justify your pizza needs.


Email of the week!


My girlfriend’s co-worker just returned from her honeymoon in Europe. The co-worker and her husband did some travelling and ended their trip by attending the Man U/Newcastle match this past Saturday. Earlier in the day, they purchased a “half and half” scarf to commemorate the game and the trip. The scarf was half Man U colors, half Newcastle. It also included the date and some other decorative BS. The happy couple takes a ton of pictures with the scarf, and the co-worker considers it to be the best momento they will take home to the US.

The couple heads to a pub to get some beers before heading into the stadium, draped in their scarf of course. They choose a relatively unassuming place and head inside. Immediately all the other patrons stop and stare at them. A guy carrying a big trash can walks up to them. In total seriousness and with the backing of the entire bar, the guy demands that they throw the scarf in the trash. No option to leave with the scarf. Just demanded it be thrown away. Apparently there is a very strict “No half-and-half scarf” policy. The co-worker pleads with the guy and eventually starts crying. But nobody seems to give a shit. She throws the scarf away. Is this common across the EPL?


I have no idea, but it’s always safe to assume that you will encounter unbridled belligerence if you make ANY wrong move around Begbie and whatever other certified soccer hooligans await you at The Gurblorf Pub.