And so here he is again, throwing up behind a Michelin-star restaurant at eleven o'clock at night, one hand on a dumpster to keep from falling over, bringing up very little but bile.
"Always," Jean says, absently, already distracted by the simple visual stimulus of the food. "...do you do your own pickling?"
“How could I not?”
This is apparently the correct answer; he nods, approvingly.
"Your pickles keep their color well."
He beams, taken a little off-guard and so failing not to look as nervously gratified as he feels.
He's already too engrossed in the food to respond, mouth full of noodles and accoutrements.
...that’s pretty cute, actually.
He’ll set up his other weird lamps in the meantime.
He doesn't have Jean's attention again until the bowl is empty.
"What are you making tonight?"
"Same stuff as last time you were here, mostly — plus I'm trying a tempura cauliflower thing, I know everybody does a tempura cauliflower thing but tempura cauliflower is good okay, and I'm letting some old regulars test the créme brûlée with passionfruit as long as they promise not to slander me on Twitter."
"What, you think they're not going to slander me on Twitter if I make them promise? Best possible way to get bad publicity from people who hate fun."
"Then why solicit the promise in the first place?"
"Leaking secret shit makes people feel special."
"I don't suppose I could pass as a regular...?"
"Hey, you've already bought, like...fifty peach things. Basically counts."
He runs off back into his truck.
The passionfruit version has a small edible flower on top, along with the sugared rosemary. He sweeps away the box from the noodles as he sets down the tin.
"They were excellent peach things! I survived on them for three days."
He investigates the flower suspiciously.
"I'm not totally married to the flower yet. It's cute, though. And my fruit hookup keeps sneaking them in with the peaches."
It is a garden-variety candied white violet. The sugar twinkles at him innocently.
"Sounds like an interesting fruit hookup."
Having determined that the flower is not an alien in disguise, he proceeds to consume it, followed by the rest of the dish.
“Pretty sure we’ve got different mental images, here.”
He takes a seat while he waits for the verdict.
"Better than the other one," he decides, finishing off the last of it.
"Didn't end up — resin-y?"
"Resinous. And no."
"Ha. Fixed it. —glad it worked for you."
"It could use some iteration. I'm not sure your spice blend complements the passionfruit ideally."
"Got any recommendations?"
"I'm a critic, not a chef."