The Verdict


Justice DICK announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion of the Court which Justice TORRES joined.

I. “A meal is more than just a piece of meat with two sides and a dinner salad, with some homemade bread, a diet and rum and a banana cream pie for dessert. It is the essence of who we are and what we will become. It renews life. It is life.” Those words were uttered by the lovable character Woodbury in Justice Dick’s tragic novel, “Fahrenheit 375” (1999, pg. 25).

II. The facts of this case are not in dispute. Boca Grande is located on Massachusetts Avenue. After a bitter argument over where to eat on a slow Saturday in October this Court resolved to settle once and for all the value of Boca Grande as a Mexican restaurant and, thus, whether the Court could eat there.

III. The question before this Court is whether Boca Grande, a restaurant that openly serves and sells Mexican food, is worth going to?

IV. Today we write for the little people; the little people who are on the frontlines of grilling and broiling and baking. Such culinary saints cannot hide behind golden arches that detract from the small burgers and greasy fries that are meant to pass as a “meal.” They cannot put a giant and strikingly frighteningly oversized and gluttonous boy in front of their restaurant as a way to entice the masses to try what they think passes as a “meal.” No, the little people must wade through stained pots and pans, complaining customers, outrageous orders in order to produce for each individual an aesthetically pleasing and edible meal. A true meal.

V. But what is a meal? What distinguishes the delights served at Boca Grande from the dread at Burger King? While I cannot give an exact definition I can say I know a meal when I see it. Unlike the Chief Justice I do not talk about concrete rules binding on all restaurants at all times and in all places. What we propose today is a standard that a meal is a meal when I know it is a meal. And what Boca Grande serves are meals, and delicious ones at that.

VI. I want to use the remainder of this precious space to personally attack the Chief Justice. Although I used to be a big fan of her three-volume series, “Breaking Our Fast Together,” “Lunch and Alcohol Do Mix,” and “Dinner for the Bitter,” from this day forward I will no longer follow her elitist reasoning. No longer will I stand with the Chief Justice outside small restaurants protesting an establishment that serves so-called “common people.” I will not join her in throwing $3000 worth of caviar at whole families while they scream and attempt to run for cover inside their local fast-food restaurant. I am officially backing out of my deal with the Chief Justice to write a book together on elitist eating, “Starvation: An Alternative to Bad Eating.” I now tout myself as a champion of those people the Chief Justice hopes to run out of business. I do make a better door than a window when I stand between her scowling stare and those who simply want to make a living by selling meals that take less than ten minutes to prepare. Be gone Chief Justice Pettinato, before someone drops a house on you!

VII. The Court finds that Boca Grande is worthy of a student’s limited time and money.

It is so ordered.

Chief Justice PETTINATO, dissenting.

I. My distinguished colleagues (and I say “distinguished” only in the most obligatory and condescending sense of the word) today usurp the democratic process in spite of the utter incompetence of the judicial system to determine the quality of Mexican cuisine. They would have you believe that the juiciness of a burrito ought to be determined not by the people, but by an elite group of philosopher-kings. I must protest such elitism when it is used in such a way that I am not in charge of it. Thus, I am forced to dissent for the following reasons:

II. Boca puts pico de gallo on nearly every dish, in spite of the fact that it is not always identified as an ingredient in the text of the menu. If it is going to be used in such an unwieldy fashion, then the menu ought to be amended to reflect this – otherwise it is meer judicial activism to excuse it’s use. And the random use of pico de gallo should never be excused unless the minds of the people compel it. As I said in my off, off Broadway Street play A Street Vendor Named Chipotle, “Some things are not forgivable. Pico de gallo is not forgivable.”

III. The nachos at Boca are so drenched in cheese and sour cream as to make a clean eating of them totally impractical. They tend to be soggy from these toppings and yet remain hopelessly lacking in guacamole. For anyone who points to the fact that small tubs of guacamole are available on the side, I would argue that such an integral element of Mexican cuisine ought never to be delegated to an inferior status. For a thorough analysis of this issue, I refer you to my latest treatise on the dialectic of love and food, The Mismeasure of Mangoes, wherein I say the final word on the subject: “A good nacho is like a good lover: crisp, fresh, and slathered in guacamole.”

IV. I further dissent due to a perpetual, though I don’t think unhealthy, desire to disparage the bad taste of my fellow justices. It brings me great joy to point out their failings in the public square, as I am an ardent supporter of free speech so long as the speaker is not an idiot. I find this position consistent with my reading of the constitution, and I refuse to reread it as I’m quite positive I read it right the first time.

V. Last but not least, I dissent because precedent has shown that I am rarely wrong about anything (see In Re: Comic Book Stores).

VI. For the above reasons, and because they get on my nerves, I call for the impeachment of both Justice Torres and Justice Dick. Since, however, no one would be willing to take their places, I will settle for the recognition that they both have really, really, really bad taste in Mexican food.

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