The Legend of Cheetorch


What are you thinking about right now? Because I am thinking about this.

Silicon Valley Beef

I don’t know what this type of cuisine is called or where you can get it, but I want to try it. The one thing I know is that it is some kind of beef.

I wouldn’t have even known that much if I hadn’t watched a recent episode of Silicon Valley (the HBO show) titled “Bad Money.” After the death of actor Christopher Evan Welch, who blew me away during the first season of the show playing Silicon Valley (the location in California) mogul Peter Gregory, it was hard to tell if the show could bounce back. However, with the introduction of Russ Hanneman, a venture capitalist who made a fortune “putting radio on the mother-f***ing Internet” played by Chris Diamantopoulos and the return of Big Head as a key player, the second season has picked up some needed momentum.

Getting back to the beef, I only know what I gleaned from the show. I know that Richard and Russ enjoyed this delicacy at an Asian restaurant where they don’t speak much English. I know that Russ recommends not to even chew the piping hot meat, but rather, he says, “Just let it dissolve.” I know that he pays $800 for a small portion of beef because he wants it. Finally, I know that the beef adventure began with the following dialogue:

RUSS: Let me ask you a question, Richard. Have you ever had beef?
RICHARD: “Like, with someone? Like fighting?
RUSS: No, the food.
RICHARD: Oh. Yeah.
RUSS: No, you haven’t. Get in.

If you have any information about this Asian beef, I request your assistance. I would like to know what this particular food is actually called. I would like to know if there are local restaurants (in West Michigan – that’s my locale) that serve this. And here’s the big one: if this scene is based on an actual restaurant in Silicon Valley, I would love to know what it is called.


I posted the following text on Facebook the other day as a prologue to a potential dating advice column (as if I would ever be requested to write one of those):

If you want to date women, you have to love women, and love them with all the other things that accompany love: respect, curiosity, admiration, devotion, and commitment, among other things. If you don’t love women, then you shouldn’t be dating women. If you don’t love women, then there’s nothing I can do for you.

It was a little bit of wisdom I’d picked up over the years, but it ended up shedding some light on my ignorance. You see, I had imagined that this was a statement for men who are putting themselves out there and dating women. (Women can certainly love women, as men can love men – I have no intention to limit who can love whom – but I’m not going to presume that I am any kind of expert about the nuances regarding these loves that I have never experienced. I hope we’re on the same page about this.) In fact, this was a statement for women, as I learned from an overwhelming number of women who contacted me either publicly or privately about these words.

I wish I had the skill to put the lesson I learned properly to words. Don’t get me wrong: I am definitely going to try, but I’m just not sure I can present the whole feeling. What I wrote was nothing new, and it was something that most women believe themselves, but for some women, seeing these words written by someone else in a public forum had a redeeming quality, like their past suffering had a name, like maybe they could put down the burden left by those who didn’t love women for just a moment.

I guess what I’m trying to say before I sound entirely too self-involved, self-important, and self-obsessed, is that if some truth like this occurs to you, you should really have the courage to put it out there, because there’s a good chance somebody really needs to hear it. Maybe the people who spoke to me weren’t as profoundly affected by these words as I was by theirs, and that has its own value too. I’m glad it is out there. I’m glad this conversation happened.


When I lived in Brooklyn, Flaming Hot Cheetos were all the rage. I haven’t seen a lot of people eat them in Michigan, well not until today. In fact, a co-worker had the grace to give me a quarter of a bag of Chester’s Flaming Hot Fries, which are basically the same thing. She also hipped me to the idea that the Cheeto itself does not burn. The outside will hold a flame for quite a while as it burns through the flavoring — you know, that stuff that gets stuck on your fingers and everything you touch — but that the substrate, the Cheeto itself, does not seem to be consumed.

When I got home I went to the source of all information about urban myths such as this which you know so well as YouTube and found a whole slew of information (ie, people burning Cheetos) about the phenomenon. Here’s a short video that will give you the basic gist.

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