By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Jack GouldOur first presenter is OC Weekly's managing editor and producer of the hilarious column A Clockwork Orange, or at least that's what I've been told. Ladies and gentlemen, Matt Coker!
[Applause. Coker emerges from the wings in a chocolate-brown corduroy suit and heads directly for Swaim, who is walking toward him. Coker puts out his hand; Swaim ignores it and walks offstage. Coker looks out into the audience which has long since ceased to clap. He walks uneasily to the podium, his suit pants making a whooshing sound.]
MATT COKER: Thank you, Will. For centuries, food has been man's greatest foe: challenging our values, mocking our ways, stroking our . . . What? This doesn't make any sense.
SWAIM [whispering offstage]: Teleprompter screwup . . . unions . . . ad lib.
COKER [swallowing hard]: Food . . . is . . . a good thing. It is good to eat and to taste, and sometimes it is . . . tastes . . . good.
COKER: We at the Weekly have always believed that food is one thing that people like to do—eat . . . and so we have written food so they . . . eat. You know, food. And coffee, too. Which isn't food. . . . Well kinda, except you drink it . . . but I guess that's what you do with soup. . . . But coffee doesn't have vegetables . . . although it comes from beans, which I think are vegetables . . .
ANGRY VOICE FROM CROWD: Imposter! Beans are legumes! He mocks our ways!
COKER: No! No! I like your ways . . . our ways. . . . The ways are . . . good. I just want to give out the awards for Best Restaurant, Best Fast Food and Best Coffee. And to do this, I'd like to bring out OC Weekly food writer Kelly VON EMERT.
You know, around the office, Kelly has the reputation of being the perfect woman. She's beautiful, smart and sophisticated, but most of all, she's kind. You know, we joke that Kelly not only looks like Snow White but she's also just as nice. Ladies and gentleman, please give a warm welcome to the Queen of Serene, the Nice Princess, Kelly Von Emert!
[VON EMERT emerges from the wings. She struggles to walk to the podium because she is tremendously pregnant,USS Enterprise-like pregnant. Coker walks over to help her, but she slaps him away and leaves him in her wake. She finally gets to the podium, looking straight into the camera with a severe expression.]
COKER: You know, Kelly, as a food expert, I know a thing or two about buns.
Kelly VON EMERT: Eat me.
COKER: But when I look at you, I can safely say that nothing looks more radiant than a woman with a bun in the oven.
VON EMERT: Shut your goddamn pie hole.
COKER: I'm just reading what it says.
VON EMERT [in mocking whiny baby voice]: Oh, are we just weading duh itty bitty Tewepwompter? Be a man! I'm about to drop a kid right here, and I'm stuck with Shirley Temple with a 5 o'clock shadow. Would someone please find my husband and have him feed me ice chips and make the heeh-heeh-heeh noises from Lamaze class?
COKER: Is there anything I can do?
VON EMERT: Just read the nominees, pencil dick.
COKER: But I thought you . . .
VON EMERT: Pussy! The nominees for Best Restaurant this year are an eclectic mix of styles that share a common touch.
Matt: That's right, Kelly.
VON EMERT [pulling salad shooter from behind her back and pointing it at COKER]: Just gimme a reason, slime hole! Just gimme a reason!
[COKER puts his hands up and backs off.]
VON EMERT: All of our nominees are establishments run by chef/ owners who also cater and have managed to keep a hands-on, personal touch at their restaurants.
First we have Table 10 Grill of Placentia.
COKER: Placentia? That really must hit home for you, huh, Kel?
VON EMERT [cold stare]: . . .
COKER: You know . . . because Placentia . . . you know . . . Placentia, placenta . . .
COKER: . . . You know, the placenta, the flattened cakelike structure formed by the intimate union of the allantois and chorion with the uterine wall of the mother that serves for the respiration and nutrition of the growing young. . . . You know, because you're preggers . . .
VON EMERT: I want to make you a promise. And I want you to listen to this promise. Are you listening?
COKER [meekly]: Mmm-hmmm.
VON EMERT: I promise that as soon as I get this demon seed expelled from my once-taut body, I will endeavor to become proficient in the art of Krav Maga, the self-defense method of the Israeli Defense Forces. And then I will grow anxious to follow through, and I will go out and find me a big metal stick, a beam really, and I will take this beam, and I will find you, and I will kill you with this beam in ways I'm not sure of at this moment but will most assuredly be messy. This is my promise to you.
COKER [shrinking]: . . . Mmm-kay.
VON EMERT: Table 10 Grill is a progressive restaurant that not only features creative dishes such as corned beef tacos that are to die for, but is also moderately priced and has excellent service. In fact, partners Treva Caron and Kathy Jordan split duties in this regard: while one is cooking, the other is serving. And they are serving a lot because Table 10 has become a destination restaurant in North County.