Time to admit it: Last year when Jay McInerney spent over 4,000 words describing his dinner at El Bulli in the pages of Vanity Fair, our head was shattered after being flash frozen in liquid nitrogen practically exploded. We had finally lost patience with that special brand of journalism that Noreen Malone now calls the “I Ate at El Bulli” piece, or the IAAEBP. In Slate today, she argues that there’s nothing left to say about the institution, and so, even as writers try to one-up each other (“Oh, you ate a 35-course meal there? I ate a 37-course meal, and managed to work it into my New York Times wedding announcement”), “the IAAEBP is something akin to a profile about bright new thing Angelina Jolie and her most compelling pair of lips. Viewed charitably, the IAAEBP is a service in the religious-celebrant sense of the word; it’s an offering left by the faithful at the ‘temple of avant-garde dining.’ Viewed less kindly, it’s public masturbation.” Best of all, she goes on to outline the tired tropes of an IAAEBP — everything from gloating about how you scored the reservation to comparing Adrià to Dalí to making “a dramatic statement about [your] near-transcendent state after the meal, with sex and drugs being the most common references.”
The funny part about all this? Hours after the Slate story went up, the Feast ran a slideshow of Jose Andrés’s recent tweets from a meal at the restaurant, with comments like “Andrés said these petit fours were ‘amazing,’ and by the looks of them, we agree.” Which raises the question: What do you call an “I Admired Someone Else’s Meal at El Bulli From Afar” piece?