December 9th, 2011 / 10:39 am

ToBS R1: the Georgia Review vs dinner at Chili’s

[Matchup #30 in Tournament of Bookshit]

I’ve never read the Georgia Review.  I have eaten dinner at Chili’s probably 50 times throughout my life.  My favorite dish to get at Chili’s, the dish that has remained my favorite transitioning through all of the various eating habits I’ve had (being no-restriction to vegetarian to pesceterian to vegan), is the fajitas.  The fajitas at Chili’s are exciting because they are a spectacle.  Looking at the website for the Georgia Review, I see a complete lack of spectacle.  Chili’s was my favorite restaurant growing up because it took me a while to develop any sort of palate for foods that are not ultimately mediocre.  While it would seem that both the Georgia Review and Chili’s are ostensibly mediocre, Chili’s maintains a specific midwestern magic.  Chili’s is, I guess, supposed to be “Tex-Mex” food, though that term really has no meaning whatsoever.  My dad always gets Country-Fried Steak when we eat at Chili’s.  I have fond memories of eating at Chili’s, mostly because I like Chili’s fajitas.  If you are vegan you can get your fajitas with mushrooms and peppers instead of meat.  And when you tell your kind, tan & undoubtedly blonde server that you don’t want cheese or sour cream with your fajitas, the sunny server will offer to give you guacamole and beans and everything is terrific.  I have no fond memories of The Georgia Review.  As much as I have a penchant to date southern boys, I don’t think I’ve ever dated someone from Georgia.  Alabama, Tennesee, and Kentucky, yes, but not Georgia.  I have been to Georgia before, it seems like an OK place.  I’ve heard that Atlanta is pretty alright, I think Blake lives there.  Unfortunately, none of the good things I’ve heard about Georgia seem to shine-through browsing The Georgia Review website.  I don’t think I care about this “lit journal.”  I generally don’t care for journals that follow the structural titling of “The [Location or School] Review.”  Seems really lazy.  I mean, okay, really it’s just boring.  I think it transcends laziness in an attempt at utilitarianism.  Do you know what I like about Chili’s fajitas?  They are a snacktivity.  My old roommate invented that term, or at least brought it to my attention.  It’s a term that she used to described food that was fun to eat in the sense that it often took some construction.  An active sense of eating.  I enjoy when I am at Chili’s and the waitress brings out my fajitas and the peppers & onions (or steak or chicken if you’re so inclined) are still searing on the hot black plate, the wait-person will also inform you that the pan is hot and that you shouldn’t touch it.  My mother used to have me melt cheese for her on the skillet while it was warm.  You are provided with several warm flour tortillas which you then get to construct into fajitas, and this freedom to build your own meal allows the perfect opportunities for managing the proportions of the contents of your fajita. The last time I had fajita’s was actually one of the last times I saw my parents, but this was like 8 months ago.  I wore long sleeves even though it was like 80 degrees out because I was nervous about having to deal with discussing my tattoos with my parents.  Turns out it completely doesn’t matter, oh well.  When I think of Chili’s I think of my family and when I think of The Georgia Review I think about how much I fucking hate certain parts of “writing culture.”  When I think of Chili’s I think about fajitas and their shitty almost booze-less sangria, which I continue to order every time I’m there because I just want it to taste better than it does.  When I think of the Georgia Review I think about the literary publications I see at bookstores that I have never even picked up to flip through.  Ultimately neither Chili’s nor The Georgia Review will amount to much to future generations, both are simply by-products of our time, our cultural zeitgeist.  I would like to eat Chili’s fajitas soon but I don’t think that there is a Chili’s in San Francisco. There’s not, I just checked, the closest one is in San Bruno, and because i’ve only lived in California for all of four months I have no idea where that is.  By “where that is” I don’t necessarily mean in terms of cardinal directions, but rather I mean like “where that is” within the idea of how California operates.  Different parts of California mean different things.  I think maybe it’s weird that there are Chili’s in California at all, considering the fact that I insisted on ascribing it a specific “midwesternity” above.  This is how culture develops.

Anyway I’m supposed to pick a winner and despite the fact I don’t believe in strict binaries and this is constructed within the framework of one, the winner is Chili’s because I know nothing about The Georgia Review and I don’t know completely don’t care I guess.  Also I’m hungry.

Impossible Mike

– – –

WINNER: dinner at Chili’s

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  1. Dan KrissKross Halen

      “And when you tell your kind, tan & undoubtedly blonde server that you don’t want cheese or sour cream with your fajitas, the sunny server will over to give you guacamole and beans and everything is terrific.” Think you mean “offer” not “over”. Also, what was the spread on this game?

  2. alex crowley

      looks like a bunch of Sunderland supporters

  3. Helen

      I always read ‘Chilis’ as Chijis, because the logo makes it look like that. I would rate Chijis as a more likable version of the name, but hope that it does not become a popular pronunciation a la Tar-jeh.

  4. Daniel Bailey

      “Ultimately neither Chili’s nor The Georgia Review will amount to much to future generations, both are simply by-products of our time, our cultural zeitgeist.”

      whatever dude, chili’s will live forever.

  5. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Chijis is very similar to the smaller and more “authentically” Tex-Mexican Midwestern-associated chain Chi Chi’s.

  6. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I like Chili’s deserts, the chain restaurants have the best deserts, fuck that creme brulee type bullshit, give me hot pastries with gobs of ice cream and chocolate sauce.

  7. Bobby Dixon

      I am kind of having fajita sadness right now. 

      When I quit being vegan, like ten years ago, I made a personal choice to try every burger on the Chili’s menu. That particular section of the menu is protean, it changes and rotates. It became a race for me to try every burger, to do so before the blue cheese burger was left behind and its place a sauteed mushroom gravy burger would happily and readily show up on the menu. 

      Then the menu would change again, and I couldn’t remember which burger I had or had not tried already. 

      Then the sliders started showing up. And I didn’t even really know what a slider was. So I just started getting the chicken finger meal, w/ honey mustard and subbed out the corn for french fries (it also came w/ mashed potatoes). 

      I still feel like I’m always chasing the Chili’s burger that I never had. 

      And I never got to try the fajitas. I am fucking depressed.

  8. Helen

      That sounds like a classy place to go dancing in the 30s.

  9. Jonathan Safran Foer

      One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family.
      The advance I got for TREE OF CODES could buy every copy of every issue the Georgia Review ever printed. Or a Chili’s franchise. How’s that help, yuo meat-eating motherfuckers?

  10. Jonathan Safran Foer

      Milk is 90 percent pus you fucking sicko

  11. Jonathan Safran Foer


  12. The Incredible Kid

      This is the part of “writing culture” I hate, nonsense and dumb essays about stupid shit.

  13. Jonathan Safran Foer
  14. Nick Sturm

      TGIF injects its wait staff with broccoli and cheese soup before every shift.

  15. Matthew Simmons

      I used to get fried ice cream at Chi Chi’s.

  16. M. Kitchell

      This comment is better than my post.

  17. Mason Johnson

      Last time I went to a Chili’s my waiter decided to share the fact that his wife divorced him after they lost a baby, then explained that he was kicked out of the military for the “shit in his head.”

      And THAT’S why I love Chili’s.

  18. Leapsloth14

      I’m at Chili’s and my bro sends back his meal and I look at him and say, “You do know you’re at Chili’s, right?”

  19. Leapsloth14

      Fucking relax.

  20. davidpeak

      accidentally read your second sentence as “When I quite being a virgin…” and thought “That was probably an easy decision.”

  21. M. Kitchell

      have u heard of this site called “Thought Catalog” i think u’d really like it

  22. E. A. Beeson

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  23. C W Kelly

      I strongly associate Chiji’s with “writing culture” and “fine literature” because growing up it was located in the parking lot of what was probably the first Barnes & Nobles in Minnesota (my dad and I called it “Barnes and Noble’s” for years), so I would go shopping with my dad, get fajitas at Chiji’s, then go to Barnes and Noble’s and peruse the Clive Barker and “Eastern Philosophy” sections.

      They were open until 11!

  24. Bobby Dixon


      I don’t know what that means. The embarrassingly titled web site, acronym geek, returns sixteen results for YNY, none seem to fit any context I can think of. I did laugh out loud when you said milk was ninety percent pus. Seems pretty accurate when I think of the purulent texture of many cheeses. “Yny” is also Turkish for acknowledge. 

  25. Bobby Dixon

      I quit being a virgin a couple years before I quit being vegan. Both were personal choices. 

  26. deadgod

      I returned a Georgia Review once–too many boogers in the salad.

  27. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      This one is my favorite so far.

  28. Madison Langston

      I will feed you Chili’s fajitas!

  29. Madison Langston

      I don’t even rly care if you’re willing or not

  30. Jonathan Safran Foer

      “I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live.” 

  31. Michael

      The Georgia Review published William Gay’s first story, straight out of the slush and has a history of publishing fresh, distinctive work. I have more faith in TGR than the Crushed Roadside Possum Review of Experimental Fiction.


  32. M. Kitchell

      But does The Georgia Review bring you a fried brownie covered in ice cream with a lit sparkler on the top when it’s your birthday?

      Didn’t think so.

  33. Michael

      Yes, I realize this is all in fun. I just wanted to point out that The Georgia Review is more than its name and known for publishing work that pushes boundaries. 

  34. Jonathan Safran Foer

      To be fair, not quite as daring as TREE OF CODES or EATING ANIMALS. Natalie Portman credits EATING ANIMALS with turning her vegan. Bet you’d eat that meat through a hole in a sheet!

  35. Madison Langston

      so basically you’re just saying you hate writing culture?

  36. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Passive-aggressively not liking my encouraging comment but liking everyone else’s comment. Shit. That’s cold gangster shit.

  37. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Almost as hardcore as those Border’s employees who left an unsigned list of complaints about customers after they had already lost their jobs.

  38. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Best response to this would be to feign ignorance (“lol whut”) or just not respond at all.

  39. Caleb Powell

      Hey Jonathan (If that’s really you and not some wise guy posting as “you”), I’d eat dog. Mmmmmmmm!

  40. M. Kitchell

      actually i totally thought i had “liked” that comment and am now just discovering many days later i had not I APOLOGIZE MR FRANK TAS, THE RAPTOR, please forgive me, the internet is hard

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  45. James Yeh

      “Bet you’d eat that meat through a hole in a sheet” is the best line I’ve heard all day.

  46. Anonymous

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