Tag Archives: mayo

A brief history of tuna taco time

26 Mar

Canned Tuna fish: love or hate her she’s here to stay. Delicioso dinosaur: aqui ahora antes us y will be despues. And like the very air we share, tunafish has touched all of our tongues if not at least our nostrils – whether we asked for it or no – as this white and gray matter Del mar has shapeshifted to round out dishes as diverse as a dilettante Italian white bean bruschetta topper or a down and dirty truck stop tuna fish salad wedge.
Serving as many culinary roles as Mc Donald’s sells hamburgers; a veritable Zelig de la lengua – like the Happy Meals of our youths and the custom Starbux beverage of today’s contemporary our lifestyle – this grave y feo pescado, like any web browser worth its gigabytes in NSA spyware serves as a history menu listing of our life and times. 
And sooooooo heeeeeeereeeee’s mine:
A Brief Personal History of Tuna Time, if you will and I don’t mind if I do – replayed in the voice of Steven Hawking:
1970 – nature vs nurture vs nutrition
Hola first forkful of the family casserole: 

Tunanoodlepea, made by Mom.. A Miracle Whip based conglomerate, as essential a Az summer staple as air conditioning (with a side of salty plain potato chips, washed down con fruit punch), a source of comfort and controversy (See: Mayonnaise vs Miracle Whip epic rap battles) and anchor throughout the red ‘you are here’ dots mapping my peripatetic vida. 
Significant how? The binding genome for a family of four adopted kids.  
1980s- Soundeconomies

For those of us bypassed by the greed gene, this decade painted in hues of excess, pastel and acid wash – but for the saving graces of late punk rock and early Camper Van Beethoven – well it like totally kind of sucked. The currency plugged into my rebellious jukebox twernt coke nor junk bonds not sushi but canned tuna fish and cloves and nicked Buzzcocks tapes. A cupboard stocked with Bumble Bee meant an empty checking account and a menu rich in creative approaches to cooking with tuna tuna tuna: tuna helper, tuna Mac and cheese, tuna burgers, tuna melts, and gracias grande to you both Sassy Magazine and Sonic Youth for printing a glorious recipe I still punk rock today: tuna tacos.
Economics covered, onto the sonics…
How I survived the 80s has been noted and memorialized on or is it in this agui IFLAG by working getting fired then working again getting fired then rehired again and again by my dear, bittersweet late mother: sole proprietor of the award-winning Tempe,Az hoagie shop Bellyfillers. The lay-offs rained whenever Teen Anst got the better of me and I got snappy with either customers and/or the sole proprietor. 
And yeah, maybe I once got caught answering the phone ‘Bellykillers’ only because the caller just so happened to be the sole proprietor. Never, I repeat never I did I once taint – with or without my taint – even so much as a crumb served to our outstanding clientele. Making the best fucking food you ever tasted was a priori. Forcing you to listen to ‘Orgasm Addict’ (on cassette) at an ear-piercing pitch while you waited for TBFFYET, well, that may have accounted for one or two of the grievances passed on to the sole proprietor who passed on to me mi pink slips.
Diga me though, has not my 1981 pre-Pandora practice of playing pre-recorded music in a dining establishment so loud you couldn’t even hear yourself chew (and I could not hear your complaints about its volume) become the norm? Escuche: try whispering your order at any bourgeois burger joint or Starbucks. See what that gets ya.
One might have easily assayed Pete Townsed-sized hearing loss by stopping in Bellyfillers before the sole proprietor handed over the spatula to her 13 year old son or the award winning tuna fish salad supply needle neared ‘E’. 
Escuche: What the tuna salad recipe lacked in original ingredients – kind of like diction in IFLAG analogies – it made up with an invisible secret ingredient: sound. The tone deaf need not apply as my replacement. Each and every last employee (including my 10-year old sister who holds the silver medal in firings with 4) need pass tuna tuning training. A harmonious blended batch of canned tuna in water, chopped onions, relish and ahem – miracle whip, which we always referred to as mayo – had to achieve a certain pre-slosh splkurth but never so much as a slosh. Turning and folding and mixing each pungent batch with as delicate and deft a hand as that of a soufflé chef you’d think the greater concern be that it risked bruising the pescado all the while holding an ear tuned to each turn: Magic. Put a fork in as soon as it sounds as if recorded could easily pass for the foley effect of a zombies head being bashed in by a cricket wicket.
Nose Scientists press states that 87% of food & beverage taste comes not from brain IM from la lengua but invisibly via Smell. Escuche up ear scientists: what’s your cut? The ear scientists hypothesize music fires up more neurons at once than any other human activity. Then Check this hypothesis out for super size: If you mute the OST at say random sample say McChipolte, upon first bite into a burrito dragged through the jardin a brain freed from Adele’s undulations nourishment neurons will properly light up like a scoreboard, teeetimg to the rest of your gourd how aforeforaged burrito now sounds and tastes like a cilantro and lime perfumed Taco Bell special. (Hold the helping of hate on TB, my being both a fan and stockholder of their superior hot sauces)

The 90s: http://www.tuna.com
We’ll lets just leave what this might mean to your id.

The Aughts: the great recession-proof pescado.
Were it not for gratis elk and food stamps I’d have been reduced in both income and economic stature to have inhaled enough tuna To sport gills. More than Quite a few links down on the food chain did yo slip, noting a notable uptick in Starkist and Bumblebee stock, me. Notable new variations on this veritable steak of the starving masses: nada one.
2010 – present: a tuna melt Medicaid for the millennium.
Student loans and gainful employment were this blog’s roux, where lard is lord, carne king, queso Queen – is it obvious kids books influence? – pork prince, beans boss, eggs some superlative word starting with ‘e’, chile the caca, butter beatific along with all the other loyal servants of the Az-Mex empire gathered to feed mi estomago and fill mi Corazon. My Held Steady upright forages and ruminations ahora along with previously undocumented, at times messy yet never not ecstatic, weekly assignation with double Chicago cheeseburgers of every stripe have been a source of binary joy I made an ass out of u and med twert accessible sin Googling la palabra porn. Tambien, according to my previously private until aqui medical records this la Comida Del Santos spiked my previously held steady cholesterol content. Because I’ve yet to concoct an AzMex plata con oatmeal (oatmeal as to cholesterol as Sherrif Joe Arrapaio is to ‘Mexicans’) brings me back to Tuna
Lo-Cho Nuevo-Mexi-Talian Tuna Tacos
Chop ½ cup onion


Open and drain can-o-tuna




Soy sauce splash


Salt & Pepper & pinch-o-Mexican oregano

Stir & set aside

Seed, stem & chop defrosted fresh roasted NM green chile approx 4 Big Jims (a small can of hatch will pass)
Pre-heat Oven: 425
Open pack small corn torts (El Milagro en Chicago)

Open Trader Joes tub-o-parmasean/Regiano/or any other dry/sharp Italian queso

Open/drain canned sliced black olives from California.

Layer on tort: tuna chile cheese – heat till bubbly and/or kitchen smells like Chinatown in July.
Cue up ‘Orgasm Addict”


11 Jan

Once Upon A Time en La Zona Rosa

As both history and literature and cinema would have it: usually, when gringos roll into Mexico, people die. Think Cortez the Indian Killer, William S. Burroughs the Wife Killer, any number of characters ambling the pages of later Cormac McCarthy, Warren Oates in “Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia”.  And even gringo were to not say, meet with The Scythe, according to deeply entrenched gringo myth, event the briefest pass through Mexico guarantees a return to Gringotopia carrying within his bowls the volcanic remnants of a vengeful bout with Montezuma.


All of this morbidity – and a rumor that an unlucky North American tourist recently hailed the wrong cab; his kidnapped, stripped, mugged, raped, scalped, decapitated, charred remains found smoldering near a monument just outside of La Zona Rosa – were the ruminations of a 30-something gringo just outside of La Zona Rosa ordering what are known in the popular Norte Americano gringo press as a “Sonoran-style” hot dog. (Across Mexico seems to me they just call em un perro con todos.)


Like those before me, I’d crossed the line to escape into whatever Mexico chucked at my face, fully intending to survive several amazing meals with many a story to tell and perhaps score a pair of those fashionably insane pointy boots.

For brevities sake, I’ll only mention the food this time out as a singularly miraculous bowl of Xalapa sopa in the time of several natural disasters has already been documented on the blog. But in order to put in that order towards the end of my sojurn I first had to survive what became a sacred communion and/or self-sacrifice with and/or to our great brown neighbor.


I stood slack-jawed as the vendor piled layer upon layer upon layer upon a bacon-wrapped wiener, wondering if this were to be both my first and last supper. So antes taking the first of several thousand bites out of Mexico over the next two weeks I decided to write out a quick in case of emergency note/last will and testament on a napkin.


My name is XXX XXXXXXX. In case I meet my untimely death here in Mexico please contact the following persons:

Call my mother at XXX-XXX-XXXX and tell her I love her.

Call my girlfriends at XXX-XXX-XXXX, XXX-XXX-XXXX, XXX-XXX-XXXX,

XXX-XXX-XXXX ext. XXX and tell them not to wait up.

Call my ex-wife XXXX at XXX-XXX-XXXX and tell her I’ll see her in hell.

Obviously the note went unread.

There two good reasons for this:

1.) When I arrived I learned – immediately and rather terrifyingly – people in Mexico speak & read only Spanish, a beautiful language I only mar at each scribble or utterance. As the back of the note read:

Mi palabra es XXX XXXXX. Yo sin la vida en Mexico, por favor, llamamos las personas en estados unidos:

Mi madre: XXX-XXX-XXXX. Hablar yo amo ella.


XXX-XXX-XXXX ext. XXX. Hablamos yo voy vivir nosotros en los suenos.

Mi esposa equis XXXX at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Habla ella reunirse con migo en infienro.

2.) Had someone read the note it is not unlikely they would have helped me on merry way hell-ward if only to save Spanish from any further torture.


At the risk of sounding like I’m now writing a Harlequin romance about a man and his hot dog eloping to Mexico, washing down the last bite as it rolled around on my wet tongue with an ice cold pull off a green glass bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola, beads of sweat glistening on its rippled torso, so succulent and delicious – I gotta say it felt as if maybe I had died and gone to Heaven. This was my first, my virgin bite, the furthest south I’d ever gone down in Mexico, one of thousands to come. My heart swooned and my stomach let out a peculiar – albeit happy – churn.  I placed into my puckering puss a deliriously amazing perro wrapped in bacon, smothered in pinto beans, drizzling with mayonnaise and hot sauce, jalapeños and cheese – “holy crap, is that fresh flippin’ avocado?”- nestled in sweet and soft roll/bun thing, taking it all in whole, along with a considerable amount of DF soot/smog/pollution/air gravy (the ingredient secreto?) AND I LIVED! (Nary a spot of the trots paid me a visit that eve nor the entire tour. Twas a sacred face-stuffing indeed.)



Yeah, yeah, yeah…this is a blanca dude’s ‘merican blog about Az-Mex and Mexichago food, verdad. But before blogging about a local grubbing out downer I felt compelled to provide readers with my Mexico City hot dog cart street cred. It don’t get more ‘real’ than inhaling un perro todo en DF, okay, maybe if it all went down at a cockfight with Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo feeding me bite after bite during a revolution.


Anyhow….. here in home of the most highly decorated and condimented American wiener, the Great Chicago Hot Dog, I’ve seen signs spring up advertising “Sonoran Hot Dogs” and decided to investigate. Regrettably, I let the Googles do my walking for me and ended up at Big Star in Wicker Park. This highly regarded taco stand advertises once such dog de Sonora. Yelpers love it! (I should have know, right?)

So, let’s forget for a moment how Big Star charges for chips and salsa. Let’s also try to forget that chips and salsa should be free, especially when served stale and straight outta the factory bag.  Surpise! Deleting that memory is a lot easier than one might think.  Simply order the Sonoran Hot Dog. To quote the poets Beavis and Butthead:

Seriously chef? It is really, really, really, really hard to fuck up a hot dog. Big mistake. Especially in Chicago. You plated what would be the equivalent of, I dunno, a pizza made with catsup and Cheez Whiz in Rome, Italy, Ritz cracker crust.


Por favor chef, ask yourself: “How can I possibly not fuck up a hot dog?” Ask again. Make it your mantra. Then get on a plane. Fly to DF. Write out your will. Eat a Perro Con Todo near La Zona Rosa. (Please don’t get kidnapped, beheaded, set on fire, etc.) Return and re-think whatever that rash was you spread on a tube of meat that in flavor and texture reminded this eater of one of those truck stop hot sausages made from pig lips.

Gracias al Senor a new Chicano Batman release is on the horizon. Please make your existential cycles of rhythm make this seem all a bad dream: