I’m from Noo Yawk. Where food is food and the pigeons know it. So for me to lift myself up and stay with friends elsewhere for six weeks…is a terrific sacrifice…culinary-wise. Unless of course we’re talkin’ Paris, Rome…Singapore. Uh-uh…this is the great state of California, we’re talkin’ about.
Beautiful place California…gorgeous topography, green, beautiful homes, sunshine, healthy looking people…always smiling. Just lost a job? Never mind..smile! Broke up with your boyfriend? …Smile! Everyone’s tall, blond, and slim. I could slit the women’s throats…easily. Food? Booooorrrriiing!
I’m fortunate enough to have some very nice, generous friends living and barbequing in California. Well, that’s what they do. They barbeque everything. cow, fish, lamb, fowl, hot dogs, veggies, the works. Watch your hand. If it gets in the way, ya’ got yourself a barbequed hand.
God forbid a meal should be cooked in the kitchen. California blasphemy! Everything is outdoors and bbqued. Hey, it’s delicious, but whatever happened to platters of food, served steaming from a cozy kitchen? Nah! Stick it on a spit; and while your serving talk the diner to death about yours and your neighbors recipes for barbeque sauce. Talk talk talk…shaddup and eat for Gawd’s sake. Don’t wanna hear about dry rubs, wet rubs…I wanna taste it!
Okay, so I tasted it. And it’s good. But where’s the variety? I’ll tell ya where. California Spa Spaghetti! Ready? Californians make whole meals of this. Spa spaghetti is made not from semolina or Durham wheat, but usually from something called spelt. No, I didn’t misspell it. Duh…it’s some kind of “healthy” grain.. Right away the alarm sounds. .So okay, you cook this thing and then what they do is pour cheap tomato sauce over it and serve it with…you guessed it….a smile. Tastes like shredded cardboard. So waddya do. You execuse yourself, and tell your hosts you’re meeting a friend, and going shopping! They think clothes.. Ha! Nah! You’re on the hunt for FOOD!!!
You likkety split to your rented car, and drive. Anywhere…where there looks like they serve decent food..On the way you pass an apartment building with one solid brick wall on which is painted a huge sign. HERE!!! HOT DOGS! NEW YORK STYLE!!!
What a joke. Hot dogs with chili peppers., relish, fried onions, tomatoes, even chick peas and the ever lovin’ alphalpha sprouts. But when you ask for sauerkraut and mustard, the New York style, you get the look… the look that’s really the finga!
You return to your host later that evening, and they invite you out to the candle-lit patio…very nice…for some drinks and and little finger sandwiches with Monterey Jack cheese and… you guessed it.. alfalpha weeds. Oh Gawd! That’s the appetizer! There’s an entree? What? .. grass and fresh imported barbequed giraffe? By now, you’d kill for a greasy Manhattan diner.
You excuse yourself saying you’d like to take a swim before the sun goes down. Sure, they say… Little do they know you’re planning on swimming and not stopping until you reach the Pacific Rim and maybe some pot stickers, soba noodles, a little chicken tandoori….
But that’s another story.