The Willow Street Café is my brother’s favorite kind of restaurant. It surprised me to hear this because it is so far from mine. Not that it isn’t a good place to eat. It is good. Everyone that we were with enjoyed everything that they ate. My chicken was cooked perfectly and tasted exactly the way I expected it to taste. I’ve eaten a lot of other chickens that tasted exactly the same as this one, so I knew I would like it. It’s the kind of place where you already know what a thing will be like when you order it, so all you have to do is decide whether you feel like eating, for example, a big salad or a chicken dinner. This is fine with me; it’s an easy place to go with a group of people. It’s even the kind of place I would gladly agree to, and maybe even suggest, if I were super hungry and just wanted to be someplace I could trust to feed me. But it would never occur to me to call it a favorite.
But here I’ve just exposed a part of myself that I should maybe not feel so proud of. I get deeper into my 30s every moment and yet I’m still stuck with an adolescent need for cool and exciting. I might truly love the Willow Street Café, but if you ask for my favorite dining experience, I’m going to try to impress you with a story of some vegan-organic-raw-Eritrean-Burmese fusion cuisine that was so spicy I had to go to the emergency room, but boy was it ever a memorable night. My brother, however, will just say that he loves the Willow Street Café. The food will always be good, you will always be able to find things for everyone to like on the menu. It makes me think that my brother will get to be truly happy in his life, while I keep chasing cool.