Many Happy Returns

At this annoying cafe every day is your birthday. Imagine singing waiters serving your meal, every course, to the tune of “Happy Birthday” at full volume! It never stops. You’ll find colorful sprinkles in your salad and on your soup, and whipped cream and cherries on your “B-day Boy Mac-n-Cheese.” Roving clowns make balloon weenie dogs, and there’s a piñata over each table. Everyone gets birthday cake with a candle, of course. Make a wish!

(No, you’re still here.)


You may not want to know what the triple “D” stands for but you ought to before you make those anniversary dinner reservations: Dumpster Dive Diner. Yes, you’ll be mostly pleased with the cuisine which is all “found” by Chef Beggin’ Bill Boomer who will amaze you with what he can do with soggy pizza crusts, wilted lettuces, and unscraped cans of pet food.

Try the “Really Leftover Spaghetti with Eggshells” (a crispy treat) or the “Abandoned Eggplant Parmesalmost.” Desserts are a specialty. Indulge in the “Crusty No-Filling Green Pie Crust Bits with Soured Cream,” or the “Formerly-Choco Tart and Raspberry Sludge.” However, beware the “vintage” coffee which is brewed from grounds of an indeterminate age. In fact, all the beverages are suspect. The ambience is a bit off-putting as well since the “tables and chairs” (overturned trash cans and upended milk crates) are unpleasant, and the aroma of the kitchen unfortunately permeates the dining room.

Be advised not to go on the overcrowded, undeservedly popular “Trashy Taco Tuesdays.” And never, but never order a “Recycled Margarita.”

Mt. St. Helens’ Kitchen

Flambé okay! You’ve had flaming food before, but never like what’s being served at the old fire station #6 on Buchanan Street now a hip eatery. Fire up to try blazing salads (who knew ash could be so tasty with the right dressing?), skewers of flaming meats and veggies, the famous Lake Hades Soup, and the still smoking black rolls. Even the water contains ash and smells like fire sale goods. This is attention to detail!

Chef Chet has thoughtfully placed a fire extinguisher at every table and he uses them often, delighting in educating his guests about the etiquette and safety precautions of flamed dining. Asbestos aprons are available for rubes and tyros. It is recommended that diners keep their hair pulled well back at all times, and please, no ties.

Ed’s Garage

Forget barbecue. The new method of charring fine steaks, chicken, and seafood on a running Ford truck engine goes over the taste limit! The exhaust-smoky goodness will rev you up. Change gears after your working day by polishing off a potent and tasty “Blue Windex Martini.” Appetizers like the “STPan-fried Whitewall Scallops in Potato Airbags,” the zesty “High Octane Nachos,” or the “Turtle Wax Soup” will turn on your high beams. Prepared in a drip pan in just the teensiest bit of Pennzoil, the “V-8” veggies will collide with your last year’s model broccoli, kale, and pork. The whole wheat “Tuck-n-Rolls” are pillows of tender goodness recalling a luxurious 1957 Buick.

Don’t forget dessert: vintage hubcaps full of “Chocolate Lube-Pudding” will spin your wheels. This is strictly a drive-in, so pull up and honk for the “hop” to skate your way. But don’t be fooled by the Happy Days vibe. The food is pricey but worth the trip!

The Caf

Think back to your hazy youth and the wonderful Mystery Meatloaf of your school cafeteria! Do you remember slurpy Sloppy Joes on squishy white buns? Cardboard pizza with unnatural orange tomato sauce? The butter sandwiches on the side of “chopped steak” (was it truly gopher meat?) with gray-vy, and mucus yellowish jello cubes? Relive the madcap food fights and milk-through-the-nose laughter of your carefree year in fifth grade at the Caf!

The mac and cheese is a toxic neon yellow here, just as it ought to be, and the pudding has that metallic tang of U.S. government surplus foodstuffs you remember so well! Seating is at low, long hard tables with benches, and the lighting is buzzing fluorescent tubes. A roaming, hair-netted elderly woman in a dacron uniform and rhinestone cats-eye glasses makes sure you finish that milk and don’t hide your peas under your napkin! And don’t think you can just get up and walk away, Mister! Enjoy that surrender to authority as you raise your hand to be excused. Yes, ma’am!