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Summer Blockbusters, Artery Blockers and the Art of Turning 50

29 Aug

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Admit it. Jaws best scene comes when a great white’s guts bloody contents slosh onto the dock. We all want to see a limb or two but instead get better: car license plates, a lava lamp, and a bunch of junk that suggests this great white invented the South Beach diet, along with the Hollywood Summer blockbuster.

Some fishermen bring in a fairly large tiger shark. Hooper knows it’s not the shark they’re after, even though the mayor and the rest of the town are convinced their troubles are over.

Summer simmering down to its wet end here – or perhaps those are curt cobain’s tears falling on the Foo Fighters fest @ Wrigley 2night (Rewind: Pearl Jam’s Friendly Confines gig 2013 rain delay also awash in The God Of Grunge) or sweat maybe staged an unlikely play of thoughts starring Jaws, Junk and El Preferrido canned tamales.

 

The tin can tamales I wolfed down back in July. And I felt a responsibility to my loyal readers and family to wait until the test results came in. Over the span btw tamales and The Foos my biological calendar reminded me yo lived to be Fifty:

 

Up until now, I treated mi vida antigua as a series of pop quizzes. At the half-century mark, true standardized testing begins. The format runs from true or false to multiple choice, essay, a greasy finger slid up your butt, to basic arithmetic.

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Me, I performed a modern mid-century durability self-test of sorts with said tin tamales (ahora the alchemy of the meandering metaphor madness) by first cooking up (Cobain reference) the gelatinous BP grease slick floating atop the tamales y the tamales then shot up the red hot sabrosa greasy mess into my maw igniting hallucinatory visages of a cross section of my wax paper arteries clogged up with lava lamp lard (Jaws).

 

We the help of some large cued cottage cheese: aces.

A Torta Worth Killing For

1 Jan

Have you ever found yourself hungrily watching another person eat in such a way it made you want to eat not only what they were eating but also the hand holding the eats, on up the arm, past the shoulder, neckchlipsnose, their whole flipping engorged, orgiastic, blissed out face? To not just jump in for some sloppy seconds at their taste bud orgy but to flat out deprive one of one’s life. Surely we’re blogging about something primal and instinctual here – moi métier. As the incident coming into focus via Google earth 2011 this time out stars a dirty blonde CNA at the glass-topped dinner table of my late mother’s Youngtown, Az memory care unit not-so-daintily dredging flaming hot cheetoes (crunchy) through a soft brick of generic cream cheese. Not comida tipica of murder one. A diet of donuts and farmer brothers truck stop coffee though will drive a man hot wire Sly’s ‘Death Race 2000’ ride straight down desperation blvd.

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 Another  but actually my first ever autonomic nervous system overload facing down starvation – fight hormones MMAed flight ones – can be located by google mapping a Houston, TX Astrodome parking lot in an era when Astroturf was the Google of its day and turned out to be little more than Krispy Kreme.

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Why would responsible parents think waiting for a bus after a Major league sporting event in a unfair city, in the dead swamp of summer, seem the sensible alternative to driving to and from the motor hotel? True, the station wagon was loaded to the dome light with all the personal effects needed to survive our cross-country summer from Phx, Az to Coco Beach, FLA and back. (Years ahead of the Griswolds, we.) ((But seriously folks, is it because we kids were all adopted you deemed us as replaceable as diapers?))

Far past midnight the other 5 of family sat, starving and delirious and nervous and yeah sure very very white watching waiting and pacing and panting while I stared rather ignominiously at the mouth of an extremely drunk black dude rather passionately devouring a double Whopper with cheese in about 5 bites. I’m still not quite clear whether he even bothered to remove the wrapper or use his hands.

 

Now if only my own starving college student days ended in my twenties. Instead, I cued up for the twenty year plan. Es verdadm The Fire Cheetoes era ran concurrent with both my fourth decade out of diapers and the finishing up of bachelor degree. Obviously I did not expire from malnutrition. But most days – whenever the 4 for $2 JITB tacos wore off – the brain fattened on knowledge as the rest of me ran famished.

 Too old for dorms, credit fucked, and un pello away from foreclosure on the underwater residence (La Madre’s Loco’s condo) forced to sell for a b-side, rather than live out of my LandCruiser I took a room in the home of a quadriplegic man.  “J” paid me ‘in kind’ to wash, dress, feed and ready him each morning and should I be home between classes, cover lunches – my landlord, my leash. Since I’d never held another man’s penis in my hands before, let alone wrestled a prophylactic onto one not connected to my person (NOTE: notably easier sober), and always being one for a new experience to add to largest collection of jokes ever assembled, that tome being my life, I figured it was either “Go Jimpy*” (*J’s vanity licence plate) or set up camp in the Wal-mart parking lot.

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Back to school: Of all the psychology lessons college taught, that which resonated with me – due in no small part to my living arrangement – was studies in highlighter-penned ‘altruism’; mas research suggesting it’s something akin to Santa Claus. Conclusion: Moving in with Jimpy grew not out of some faux kindness but Darwinian survival. What was at work working on Jimpy was an extend dance remix of the other psyc 101 concept that stuck: ‘Change blindness’. (You can You Tube this one ’till yer actually blind – and still not quite believe it.)

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For this second most viewed memory of undergrad multiple choice psych exams of yore when faced with the aforeblogged Jimpy duties – including occasional doody duty – got me through even the leakiest morning.

As fine and dandy as a handi-wipe, verdad?

Yeah, about that…

Neither change blindness nor cognitive dissonance nor altruism nor even singing a happy song* could derail the homicidal tendencies aroused whenever Jimpy inquired once I got one foot out the door: ‘Are you going to be around at lunch today?’

 (*Heard or read outside of psych class how when forced to complete a less than desirable task, singing removes some of the sting. Unless of course you’re Sting, Then you can only hope the children love the Russian’s too. On those mornings when Jimpy took longer than the  change blindness lasted – pun ragin’ full on – I broke into song. Since I only know the words to three

1. Happy Birthday by Preston Ware Owen

2. Take Me Out To The Ball Game by Harry Caray

3. The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5

I often skipped off to school smugly satisfied in a job well done leaving Jimpy in my wake in a puddle of befuddle.)

Personally and perhaps even spiritually I believe no person on earth, except maybe Jeff Bezos, should ever have to suffer hunger. I say spiritually because the same beige agnosticism aroused when churchgoing scrambles my ceso whenever traipsing down my local grocer’s aisles. Unless there’s some invisible race of gluttons and/or drunk frat bruhs who ravage every last shelf of every last grocery store everywhere every night, how is it possible any mouth goes to bed unfed?

That e-belched, the act of feeding Jimpy did not wake my inner-Lechter one iota. Nada. Twas what Jimpy ate had me reachin’ for the cleaver. As a Wisconsin farm boy from a large German family of farmers = incredibly well-stocked Frigidare.

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A couple times each year Jimpy’s loving and wonderfully sarcastic sisters flew in to fill the house with aromas wholesome, mid-western and beefy. The menu they cooked up, then froze, ran from ground beef chili to chuck beef stew to roast beef sandwiches. And they always arrived bearing chocolate chip cookies with a hint of mint. I only ever got a taste of these. And if their lustful notes were suggestive of the beefier dishes I might have regretted not simply stealing into the freezer** for one of Jimpy’s juicy roast beef sandwiches w/ cheddar cheese had I not crafted a vastly superior mid-southwestern torta with recent batch of magnificent machaca – today’s featured comida.

(**Stealing another’s lunch is the only crime I consider punishable by death. So even though I could have cleanly blamed nicking Jimpy’s beef on our junkie/tweaker roommates – who actually stole from me [cheese] and Jimpy [Pace salsa] and met an untimely eviction and accidental demise – I’d have not been able to live with the guilt .)

 Today’s Featured Killer Comida: 

photo (29)Sloppy Machaca Torta con Queso

Kaiser roll

Mexi-mix Pre-Shredded Queso

Machaca

Canned refried beans

Nuked

 

If you know the rhymes you should rap along w/ yer bites…uh huh huh….

How Chicago’s Love of The Terror That Be Tavern Tamales Can Best Be Explained As Nothing More Than A Gianormous Case Of Cognitive Dissonance

30 Aug

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When not blogging on AzChiMex comida and literally juggling dos los ninos withinin spare 60 second blasts I’m slightly consumed with thinking about the brain. Not ceso, gracias very mucho, rather the electric, dappled jello-mold bobbing blissfully – hopefully – between my ears. This stems from the right side (or is it left?) of my recently earned college degree from the mega-U, pre-baristacademic Arizona State University. Filmmaking and psychology were my majors. And because I am a “lifelong learner” who passionately loathes that term, I can’t help but continue to view “films” with a critical eye and perform psychological experiments on my children.

Before you get all Child Protective Servicesy allow me to be the first to inform you that I am joking. (Though El Nino Numero Uno may require a session on Sigmund’s sofa upon discovering here how I once substituted his diapers with tortillas, unless he kills me first, then he will be Oedipus.)

On a similar B-flat, if I could improve one thing about all this electronic communication it would be to replace JK and LOL, LMAO et al with a subtler means of alerting readers when sarcasm, innuendo and humor happens.

Then again, to paraphrase the Martian in Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories”:

“You want to do blogging about AzChiMex comida a real service? Tell funnier jokes.”

En verdad, the only psychological experiments performed around here are on my own ceso when depressed by lusty AzChiMex food in limited supply.

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Which is how I’ve come to self-diagnose myself and my fellow Chicagoans as suffering from a serious case of comida Mexicana cognitive dissonance.

Por que Cognitive Dissonance?

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Take it away Dr. Festinger:

Hypothesis A – “The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance”

Hypothesis B – “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance

Mira: If “dissonance” = Mexicana comida Chicago mediocre then according to hypothesis ‘ A’ the reduction sauce to achieve consonance = “Killer”  ‘Pitbull’ et al Margaritas  and/or beer by the gallon.

KillerMargarita

I tend to lean towards hypothesis B myself and avoid all “situations and information” likely to motivate me to take leave of my family for a Oaxaca Special at Carolina’s in Phoenix, or Oaxaca Mexico for good due to comida dissonance though on a recent Saturday night I abandoned my family (and mind) for a work outing. Gallons of beer, several ill-advised en fuego shots, and pool all contributed to a bout with hypothesis A whence upon I inhaled a hot dozen tavern tamales whose brilliance moved me to sing over the karaokeers a cancione original de amor por tamales de oro de dio y authentica, sabrosa y delgado in my best Ronnie James Dio to the tune of Holy Diver. Hell, I even let los tamales take selfies, so ‘consonated’ fue yo.

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And por que even with restorative pills now availble there’s always a ‘the morning after’. 600full-the-morning-after-poster

This ‘the morning after’ would not be the first time I fished ‘the night before’ food from out of my pockets, and ( con apologias mi ninos ) will likely not be the last. Though this ‘the morning after’ was different:  the first one while (still) married, with two children I honor all husbandly and fatherly responsibilities. So damn skippy I cooked the found food prior to eating it.

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Argue all you want about whether one can objectively judge the quality – y mas importante the authenticity – of any comida typica (obviously were not blogging about The Frontera Grill here – gracias dios) pulled from the lint-lined confines of one’s trouser and/or satin bomber jacket pockets. But, the most sublime uneaten half of Philadelphia Cheesesteak I’ve ever eaten ‘the morning after’ spent ‘the night before’ pressed up against my heart, nestled as it was within the satin sanctum of a beloved nut brown suede car coat.

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Can we put aside for the moment the suggestion that I sleep in my clothes and/or am homeless?

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Back to the matter at hand:

How Chicago’s Love of The Terror That Are Tavern Tamales (and when you think about it, pickled eggs) Can Best Be Explained As Nothing More Than A Gianormous Case Of Cognitive Dissonance.

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Cognitive dissonantless confession time: I’ve never eaten a microwaved tampon. Nor will I ever, no matter how cossonated I become. For I can’t possibly imagine how one might taste even slightly better than a tavern tamale. Insert appropriate penance for my transgressions here.

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Not sure what worked – and I ate all six masa mistakes – and because even Jaques Lacan couldn’t explain divine intervention and even if he did I wouldn’t even pretend to understand him, Los Dios dropped onto my grocers’ shelf that very same afternoon the following masa milagras:

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I shall refrain from sharing the location of my nearest grocer and these tamales. Though nuking a couple dozen then hauling ’em in an igloo down to my corner cantina might not be the worst kind of intervention. Nah…they’ll keep just fine in my 501s.

Escuche la musica del Killer Pussy para Arizona circa 1980s:

If it looks like fish, smells like fish, and tastes like fish…

20 Jul

it must be fishy. Verdad? And if it’s a fish cake, should it be cakey? Served on a hamburger bun, bunny? Yet we’ve  been told bunny is supposed to taste chickeny, just like her cold-blooded anicmal friends froggy, alligatory and rattlesnakey?

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And if this all sounds mildly insaney that’s because waking hours ’round here pass interpreting the caterwauly requests of a 4 week old and/or re-re-re-re-reading books written for the under 4 set to the nearly 2 tortilla model which makes this blogger’s brain jell-o-y.

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So dig this big crux: even with dbl dad duties I managed to corral ingredients for a flippin’ rico patty as salmonly as it is Az-Mexi.

Before heading onto the recipe – and possiblamente the cooking secret of the century – as is my habit, I must clear my head:

Where is the logic in tossing out fishy fish? I mean, if it were gummy or furry or gnawing on your testicles, yeah, fish gotta go.

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Whomsoever won’t eat their meat meaty, fish fishy or elk elky can head on over to the latest vegan blog for a Satany seitan dish (conspiracy theory sidebar: veganism no doubt is the work of Satan. Mira, el diablo figures if he can convert Homo sapiens over to not eating and killing animals, well unless the Internet beats them to it, once the rest of animal kingdom friends up on Facebook, they will surely rise up and destroy us all.)

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But because as I blogged antes, ‘my idea of seafood is a cow standing in a puddle’ one might pensar I’d be the last person on earth – save the few remaining teetoaling vegans foraging for twigs and loam – to delight in a fishy dish concocted from pungent Puget sound canned pink salmon
(actually from Trader Joe’s, Chicago).

Message to ‘The One’ doubter, in the words of the prophet James Brown, ‘Get Up Offa That Thing” and get up on this:

Stinkin’ Salmony Salmon Green Chile Gringo Fishy Fish Cakes

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The Innards:

1 can of canned Pink Salmon (skin, bones and all)

1 quarter bag of roasted, peeled, defrosted (duh) NM green chile (in a pinch roast, peel and seed a fresh jalapeno)

1 egg

1 handful binder (I used saltines, flour and bread crumbs will do)

1/3 cup of roasted cut fresh from the cob corn (0r canned)

chopped handful of fresh cilantro, parsley and scallions

salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

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Optional toppings: lime, sour cream, crumbly queso blanco, fried egg.

Optional edible delivery vehicles: hamburger bun, english muffin, etc


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The How To:

Mash together the fishy, stinky mess with your bare hands then form patties. Size does not matter. Fridge till firm. Fire up the grill to medium. Grill 3-5 a side. NOTE: Don’t blame me if the cakes lose their firm grip on the grates and jump to their own fiery death.

Orale, ready for that how about that Cooking Secret of The 21st Century? Glad you reminded me – wait for it –

How to prevent a fish cake freefall through the grill grates.

Option A – My Great Idea:
Add binder. Fine and dandy if you prefer your fish to taste, um, ‘bricky’.

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Option B. y mi esposa gets full credit for aqui y ahora: Fry the patties up on a piping hot griddle. No caca, right?

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You, in the back row with your hand up, pinching your nose, you have a question? How do I compensate for the essential and superb deliciousness of ‘grilly’ness?

Uno word mi amigo: butter.

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Anyone who has a beef with ‘buttery’, I say let’s feed ‘that one’ to the salmon.

On ‘The One’ now if you please, JB:

 

Top Chicago Taco #6: El Piojo Pollo asado con faux-mole y sweat

3 Jul

Q 1: wouldn’t it be something if in our charts and stats mad mad mad mad World Cup world some mad mad mad mad statistician concocted a formula for measuring the statistical significance of match sweat?

A 1: No, you are right, that would be gross and has no place on a food blog.

Q 2: What can I blog but deranged contemplations under the influence of binge Fifa viewing and/or the sleep deprivation dementia which accompanies the arrival of a new son? (Hola El Niño dos, welcome to week two on el mundo and El Cupo Del Mundo 2014.)

A 2: Mas mad mad mad mad pensars, at once deeply profound and slightly culturally insensitive, por ejemplo:

1. It is not against Fifa rules to field a rhinoceros aka the The Belgian Lukaku

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2. Now that the White House has made it a personal GOOOAAAALLLL to kick out some 100K Mexican/South/Central American immigrant children, come World Cup 2018 when faced with any opponent south of The Border Wall Team USA's fans will take to chanting 'Give us back our Latinos'

Get it? No? Then bone up on yer NED bike history with this here good book before reading any further:

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3. NED Team Oranje’s Arjen Robben’s pre-match playlist:

Q 3: Doesn’t all this pensando make you hungry? Sweaty?

A 3: No, but eating this brilliant taco honoring the madness of El Tri’s El Rey El Piojo did/will/do:

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Marinade boneless chicken breast overnight in this faux-mole:
1/4 cup olive oil
Tsp/tbsp chipotle powder
Tsp garlic powder
Tequila shot
Lime squeeze
Pinches of cocoa powder y cinnamon y Mexican oregano y allspice
Salt and pepper enough to taste

Grill @ 450 5 minutes per side
Cover w/foil, set aside for 5 minutes

Warm up corn torts on dry, hot skillet.

Top chopped pollo con finely diced raw onions y fresh porch garden to mesa cilantro and tu favorito queso blanco.

Photograph, eat, sweat, scream, repeat.

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You Will Know Us By The Trail of Blue-haired Cross-dressers

17 Oct

You may know him as the tortilla/diaper model, having been featured on IFLAG last June. No need to name names. Protect him from the NSA and future stalkers and/or bullies. Besides, he only really answers to dog barks, wolf howls and food. I mention the little critter here because our canine conversations inspired me to set the alarm clock early enough to hammer out a catch-up post. I have approximately 90 minutes to complete a post chock full of sabrosa feedings (and feelings) before said boy starts howling for his Chi-Mexless mix breakfast. Such is the schedule of a new/old papa grande.

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If you’re still with me, great, though I figured maybe the mention of dogs and wolves on a mostly food blog might send even the most adventurous eater running to the ASPCA. Other major turn-offs: diapers and hummus.

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There is a method to all this meandering.

It occurred to me yesterday how vital reconnecting to this blog, and the English language as communicated by grown-ups, albeit at a 3rd Grade reading level. Too much son can turn the brain into Gerbers.

Running late to work and confounded by Ventra, Chicago CTA’s latest public transportation pass upgrade/get-rich-quick-scheme/fiasco I hoped on a DIVVY – CTA gem  – to pedal Wicked Witch of the West fast to work. (Note to DIVVY designers: a 4th or 5th gear please? And maybe slow down on distribution. Rode past three full docks last week. Hey CTA! Two words: supply & demand.)

I didn’t get all Wizard of Ozy and cackle and screeh “I’ll get you my pretty,” yet spending most non-work waking hours immersed in the vernacular of a toddler finally overtook me at a traffic signal. A young Taylor Swift fan pulled up next to me in her forest green Saturn, this blissfully mild autumn morning, windows rolled down, stereo crancked. Riding shotgun her fellow blissed out traveler, her rescue mutt, hung his head out the window for a good pant. Overcome by this still life, I began to bark and say “doooogie googie doogie poochie poochie pooh”. Taylor Swift yanked her pooch in by the collar, rolled up the windows and nearly knocked me off the DIVVY making a hard right away getaway from this barking loon.

If only this weren’t the second public baby-babble/holwing outburst this week.

Background: In a desperately hilarious sad sack SAHD tome I read prior to the tortilla model’s arrival the author slyly creates a mix CD of his favorite animal songs to play for his kids that also serves to provide the reader a hip-ness check list.

Cut To: Taking a note from this book (hyuck) and upping the ante, I created both a iApe and iDog tunes folders. Obviously Snoop is number one with a bullet (hycuk 2.0) with George Clinton riding shotgun. The lesser known – to my middle/indeterminate aged ears -is a ‘Big Bad Wolf” (NC-17 video closes out this post), which is, as they say on the BBC, “a real banger”.  Even though dance tracks are really songs and don’t really have choruses, this chorus of this song is incredibly danceable and sing-a-ble “The big bad wolf, hoowwoooooohhh”. The UK sausage comparison becomes obvious.

If you are still with me it’s obvious where this new paragraph is heading. So yes, with the tortilla model faced out, strapped into the Bjorn for all the world to fawn over and adore, we strolled merrily along north up Halsted street. Lost in the bliss known only to a 1 y.o . tortilla model and his pop aroused on such outings, I unconsciously broke out singing “Big Bad Wolf”, replete with howls and beats…at top volume causing a 6’3’ blue-haired cross-dresser to scurry, no, sprint through traffic towards safety.

Or the tortilla model might put it:

Q: Why did the blue haired cross-dresser cross the road?

A: The Big Bad Wolf.

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All of this of course, an exhaustingly prolix explanation and/or excuse for the dearth of posts – it’s not like I’m not eating – while a lot of comida rico continues to go in my mouth all that’s come out – until now – is HOOOWWWWLLLLLll….anyway, onto the the vittles:

Colorado Cantaloupe w/ Lime and New Mexico Chile Powder

Rocky Ford Cantalope with lime and NM Red Chile powder

Inhaled this astounding combination daily in DF, 2000 – along with a considerable amount of smog. No better way to have melon. Same holds true for a Southern (as in Dixie) version: Honeydew w/ lemon and black pepper.

Taost and Hot Honey Monkey Toast

toast

Taost

Layers: butter, cream cheese, raspberry preserves, green chile

Hot Honey Monkey Toast

Layers: butter, peanut butter, banana slices, hot honey

Pollo Asado del Magico Realisticimo

This one talks in stereo to your lengua – not unlike those parrots in Love In The Time of Cholera.

Seriously, if you can whip up a better marinade shoot me an email with directions: to you casa, for dinner, pronto….

Before:

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After:IMG_3589

Marinade boneless chicken breasts overnight in the following mix; adjust to your preferences:

¼ cup Trader Joe’s Virgin Olive Oil

tsp salt

tsp black pepper

pinch Mexican oregano

tbls red chile powder

tsp red chile powder (from same spice section as oregano: “ethnic foods”)

few shakes of garlic powder and Goya Adoba

juice of 1/3-1/2 lime

Splash of tequllla

The Next Day:

Heat grill to 500 degrees min

Let pollo reach room temperature

Grill covered 5 minutes a side

Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes

Serve chopped/sliced/whole/on a stick/in a tortilla/etc

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Exhibit A: Torta

Torta

Layers: smushed black beans, tomatoes, PAMR, roasted jalapeno, avacado

Pan: La Boulangerie

OwwwwhooooooooOooOooooOooo….