Louis CK is a modern-day hero to those of us who think the world can be a stupid, terrible place. On his groundbreaking FX show Louie, the ginger-haired comedian plays the cynical everyman in all of us who's just trying to make sense of a world in which finding real love and being a good person are equally impossible tasks. It may sound serious, but it's really fucking funny. While Louie deals with major issues, he also goes through things we never knew were so major, like finding the best combination of food to eat before you start a diet. Check it out:
In case you can't spare 54 seconds to watch the clip, here's the takeaway: When you know gym/kale is on the horizon, the only way to calm your impending sense of doom is with a proper Bang Bang, i.e. two consecutive meals of different cuisines. Louie and his comedian pal Robert Kelly settle for Indian/diner (bold move) after nixing Mexican/Italian (a gold-standard Bang Bang), sushi/pizza (a.k.a. the Wolfgang Puck), and the “is that a vanity license plate?” delight of BBQ/IHOP. It all got me thinking: what would be the best Bang Bang of all time? I spent hours brainstorming and finally came up with the top 10. Let's do it count-down style, shall we?
Bang Bangs are double the fun when you include a historical context to the combination, and with Italy's repeated attempts to annex nearby Ethiopia, it only seems right to start with an oversized Maggiano's type meal before moving on to the injera-fueled Ethiopian spice-explosion. It's like you're dining on colonialism itself. Now that's wat's up.
9. East Coast seafood shack/Baja-style fish tacos
When you start with lobster rolls and end with Mexicali fish tacos, you're telling the world that you don't just love seafood, you also love geography. This one is a study of America's vast differences in coastal cuisine and the luscious chunks of sweet, fresh lobster meat from Maine counterbalance the almost-tempura breading of a proper fish taco. These are two sides of the same seafood coin and one damn fine Bang Bang.
8. Hot dogs/Halal chicken & Rice
A tribute to New York food carts. Start with a Sabrett dirty water dog (add in a peach Snapple for true authenticity) and finish up with a giant plate of flame-kissed chicken and rice smothered in white sauce. Hey! I'm walkin' here.
7. Ramen/State fair
This would be so hard to accomplish if it wasn't state fair season, but that's half the fun. In this limited edition Bang Bang, build a base for your stomach with some rich tonkotsu ramen, then start layering in the fried craziness. Funnel cakes, corn dogs, deep-fried Snickers bars: they're all invited to the party. Just think of the ramen broth as a hot tub for all the deep-fried delights to soak in before they go down the Gravitron that is your intestinal system.
Let's call this one “Do you believe in hell?” Start with a giant plate of saag paneer, then wash it down with a ribeye. With India's near-nationwide kibosh on beef, eating like this is like taking the devil on your shoulder out to dinner with you. So wrong, but so so right. Actually, take that saag paneer to-go and compare it your steakhouse side of creamed spinach. Is that you, cousin?!
5. AYCE Korean BBQ/American buffet (Sizzler/Golden Corral/Olde Country Buffet)
Shout-out to resident Food Republic Koreophile and Michigan native Matt Rodbard for this one. The combo of unlimited galbi, bulgogi and banchan followed with rows of steam-tray casseroles is an exercise in true American excess. It's like a gauntlet of gluttony and if you make it all the way to the end, your reward is a soft-serve machine that's yours and yours alone.
4. Buffalo wings/Thai food
The Spicecapades. Go as hot as you can with the Buffalo wings, then hit the Thai food hard for a spicy duo that may result in a third bang the next morning.
3. Greek diner/Greek
It's no secret that the Greeks have mastered the American diner game. While their menus may feature a few Hellenic specialties, this Bang Bang succeeds in tracing a culinary lineage from where some modern Greek-Americans thrive today all the way back to the Greek Isles where steak fries are replaced with horta greens and that weird plate of diner spaghetti morphs into pasticcio. Follow the whole journey to the final plate of baklava and you'll be screaming “Opa!” before they load you into the ambulance.
2. Fast food Mexican/Chinese take-out
If you decide to embark on this particular Bang Bang, you may not make it to the gym on Tuesday. You know you're not just going to order one of those hard shell ground beef tacos. You're going to order ten, along with whatever cheesy tortilla and meat combo they're advertising for the day. Spicy chicken quesadilla popper? Sure. Take two. Then you're eating Chinese. Not the good Flushing/San Gabriel Valley kind of Chinese. The corner chop suey kind of Chinese. Your blood will be replaced by hot sauce. Your brain will be invaded by MSG. You will regret this in the best possible way.
I'm well aware that every Bang Bang listed before this is more exotic. In fact, pizza/burger sounds downright pedestrian in the face of ramen/state fair, but this is about comfort. When you know for a fact that you won't be able to eat shitty food anymore, this is what you're going to want. You want pizza because pizza's been your best friend since you were a baby. You want a burger because there's nothing more satisfying that a big bite of a juicy cheeseburger with grease and ketchup running down your face as you savor each chew. This is the classic combo to end all classic combos. Pizza and burgers, baby. It doesn't get much better than that.
“Today we gotta say goodbye to all that.”
“So… bang bang, right?”
More Kessler Report on Food Republic: