As I grew up, I encountered other regional dishes in my country, thanks to friends who had different linguistic and culinary heritages. The icing on the cake, as it were, is my great luck in traveling the world and encountering food across the globe. I’ve tasted the many, many ways that our species bakes, broils, sautés, steams, boils, bastes, blanches, roasts, simmers, fries, chops, trims, coddles, carves, filets, juliennes, tenderizes, and generally makes appetizing all that is edible.
So from the smelliest dried and salted Bombay duck—a pungently delicious fish eaten by those who could not afford meat—to the priciest Maryland crab, from the most eye-wateringly spicy goat organ meat curry to the subtlest tofu broth, I have tread the path to food fulfillment.
It is cosmically appropriate then, I suppose, that even with my frantic, long-distance apartment hunt, the place I managed to find should be in a food mecca. I often arrive home to find take-out menus from Chinese, Japanese, Ecuadorian, Indian, and Italian joints pushed under my door.
Within a few blocks, there are take-out places for Chinese,
sit down places for pizza,
and places where you can skip the chewing and go straight to imbibing.
I live in a predominantly South American neighborhood, so Colombian, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian food is everywhere.
There are places that sell cholados (some sort of cross between slushies, shakes, and smoothies)
some appear to be downhome-food-turned-chain restaurants,
and others are a bit more gussied up versions.
Pio Pio, El Anzuelo Fino’s competitor in a game of (Peruvian roasted) chicken, has two locations : one’s a full-fledged, tablecloth-and-wineglasses deal
while the other is a To Go store
that is just across the street from the restaurant.
One of these days, I have to stop in and ask why the chicken crossed the road…