Monday, June 13, 2016

going commando with the japanese

I am Peck's Bad Boy.

Well, at least, I have a good measure of that in me. And it may be why God is giving me payback by putting Barco in my life.

I have been been noted to say (and write) things not necessarily for their accuracy, but for their intended effect. Let's take a recent example. In moving to mexico -- cost of living I mentioned that I did not move to this part of Mexico for the food.

But that was not good enough for Mexpatriate. I had to add: "the food is -- well, not to put a fine point on it -- boring."

And I got the reactions I expected. A handful agreed with me, but most responded with variations on what the mother of a friend would say when he complained of being bored: "Only boring people are bored."

Because food was not the topic of that essay, I did not narrow my attack with the subtlety it deserved. So, here we are, back on food in my local area.

A close Mexican friend delights in chiding my dislike of "folding food." By that, he means the tendency for our regional food to be wrapped in a tortilla -- whether a taco, an enchilada, a burrito, or the like. He likes "folding food" because it all tastes the same. He revels in its simplicity and consistency.

My Spanish teacher confessed today that she finds the local food to be rather boring with its reliance on beans and tortillas for each meal.

Before I move on, we need to deal with the elephant in the room. Even though a large portion of my Mexican neighbors are middle class, much of their food tastes were developed when their families were poorer.

Beans and tortillas fill the stomach for a minimal cost. And those food habits die hard even when the revenue stream increases to enjoy other material goods.

As I said earlier, I did not move here for the cuisine. My palate was developed under different circumstances where mixing cuisines kept me interested in food. Maybe too interested, considering my ever-growing girth.

And that is where Japan comes in. Actually, Japan is just a symbol of the non-traditional food offered in our local area.

In our small communities, we have two Japanese restaurants and, at least, two sushi joints. I have not tried the sushi places -- well, you know, there is that fish issue. But I have eaten at both Japanese restaurants. Each is on my usual rotation of restaurants to avoid food boredom.

And then there is German food at Marlena's (in the northern tourist season), Canadian breakfasts at Rooster's (where I can put my wild blueberry syrup to use), lamb at Papa Gallo's, pastas at Figaro's, grilled chicken at one of several roadside stands, the best pizza in the area at La Braza, French-Mexican fusion at Tinto del Mar, and chicken soup with huge chunks of chicken at Lety's.

Of course, that leaves out the best place to eat in the area: my kitchen. I am not an outstanding cook, but I do know what I like, and I am noted for being experimental simply to avoid getting into a rut in my own cooking. I read somewhere that the average American family subsists on no more than 20 different recipes at mealtime. 

I could have driven over to La Manzanilla tonight to enjoy chicken tangine or meatballs with lemons and olives at Magnolia's. And I may do that tomorrow. It is another restaurant on my normal circuit that offers an ever-changing menu.

Last night we had our first rain of the season. Not much, but it was rain. As a result, today was notably more humid than normal. It was not a day for a lot of cooking.

So, I made a salad with ingredients only from Mexico: arugula, watermelon, and a premium soft goat cheese sprinkled with fresh lime juice. It was absolutely refreshing. (And I made far too much. It was a perfect size for company, but it was just Barco and me for lunch.)

The heat must have then driven me mad because I cooked up a couple bowls of home-made chili con carne (and a lot of vegetables). The chili was not light and cooking it heated up the kitchen. But it was good -- and I have a bowl available for breakfast in the morning.

Even though I did not move here for the local food, there is plenty of variety around to fend off food boredom. And, after eating my fusion specialties long enough, I may even get back to "folding foods."

Pssst. If you will not tell anyone, I enjoy a plate of huevos rancheros at Lety's every Friday morning.

There are always exceptions to every exaggeration.

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