Things I Have Put in My Mouth Lately(ish): the Schwifty Steak

By now, we’ve all heard about last weekend’s Szechuan Sauce debacle. Many a hot take has been written over the past few days about the confusing attempt at marketing by McDonald’s, as well as the behavior of a bewilderingly large segment of the Rick and Morty fandom that seems to be missing the point.

I’m going to take this as an excuse to write about a related limited-edition dish that I got to eat myself back in June. During this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia, two Reading Terminal Market vendors teamed up to make a Schwifty Steak; that is, a cheesesteak with the infamous “Mulan sauce.” They probably reckoned they’d make bank off of the influx of geeks, and I can’t imagine they were wrong. Hell, they got my money.

It should be noted here that I’ve never even seen a full episode of Rick and Morty. The extent of my viewing is pretty much Gazorpazorpfield, “get your shit together,” and the scene that started this whole mess. Oh, and learning the awful truth behind “wubba lubba dub dub.”

Nevertheless, I was curious. When my then-partner mentioned the Schwifty Steak, I thought that if nothing else, it sounded delicious. That Sunday, I took the walk to RTM to try it for myself. (It also happened to be my 30th birthday. Oh yeah, I’m 30 now. Time is a ceaseless horror and that seems very on-brand for this whole experience.)

The Schwifty Steak was created by Spataro’s Cheesesteaks, with an assist from Condiment, who created the Schwifty Sauce that was slathered on each sandwich. (They also make a transcendent lime curd, and I’ve eaten truly embarrassing amounts of their toum.)

I say that it was slathered on each sandwich. I should have said “each sandwich but mine.” I waited in the long lunchtime line and got my sandwich all the way to Dilworth Park to eat in the sunshine, only to open it and find a regular non-Schwifty steak. Disappointment seems like an essential part of this whole experience.

Usually I just resign myself to eating whatever’s in front of me when this happens, unless it’s something I can’t stomach. But, damn it, it was my birthday and this was a curiosity, so I made the walk back and awkwardly stood in line waiting to get someone’s attention. Thankfully, Spataro’s was great and sent me off with not only a fresh Schwifty Steak, but the original sandwich as well. Two cheesesteaks for $13 means you aspiring financial planners can cool it.

Gazorpazorp blorp

Not a tremendously photogenic sandwich. Also, there’s a reason I haven’t used Instagram in ages.

But how was it? It was: fine. Tasty. The sauce was appealing with a decent spicy kick, though nothing overpowering. I can’t speak to the nostalgic “accuracy” of the Szechuan sauce, as I missed the boat on the original stuff back in 1998, having been a spice-averse tween. (I’m willing to bet this stuff was spicier than the original and my 11-year-old fears were overblown to begin with.) The fried onions were great and always welcome. The American cheese felt like a weird choice, except as a McDonald’s pastiche.

Was it worth it? I mean… sure. It was a good sandwich, as was its cousin, devoured the next day. I only had to wait in a long-but-not-more-so-than-normal lunch line 1.25 times, rather than clamoring to a nearby franchise to battle over a few handfuls of sauce packets. As gimmicks go, you could have it a lot worse, but gimmick it was. 1998 isn’t coming back. Your favorite show won’t save you from what’s coming around the bend. There’s no escape.

Wubba lubba dub dub!

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xyzzy

I think I’m brushing up against the singularity. I’ve been more or less hard-wired into the internet since I was 12 and I presently have 40(!) tabs open in my browser, so I guess it was bound to happen eventually.

This morning I visited the original Prancercise video again for some unfathomable reason, only to have my coworker link me to this takedown of the new “Romancercise” John Mayer music video not five minutes later.

Today also saw a bunch of reports of Paula Deen allegedly being a racist jerkass, which made me feel more than a bit weird about inexplicably zoning out on a bunch of her more ridiculous videos last weekend.

Confirmation bias tells me I’m mentally tapping into the zeitgeist. Soon I will be able to predict the near future, but in this modern Cassandra myth, I’ll only be able to convey the truth in memes.

I’ve already been mentally drafting my last several days as a post in the style of interactive fiction, which is kind of an ongoing fixation of mine because I never really got over Choose Your Own Adventure books. How I imagined it would begin:

You wake up. It is still dark outside. You don’t dare check the clock for fear of spending the rest of your precious sleep time thinking about how little of it you have left.

>>sleep

You manage to fall asleep again, only to wake up an hour or so later. It’s still dark. Also, why does your bladder think you’re pregnant?

>>sleep

You do, but you wake up again. Your cat sighs and rolls over in her sleep.

>>sleep

Haha, no, fuck you.

There’s a good reason I didn’t see the whole thing out. No one wants to read Kafka’s LiveJournal.

(I should probably get around to trying to write real IF. I should be able to figure out how to use Twine, if nothing else.)

—–

I realize this entry is incoherent. If anyone hopes for better, tell my brain to figure out how melatonin and serotonin work. (Good luck with that!) Alternately, blame it on the interwebs destroying my attention span.