09 January, 2009

Adventures in San Francisco

Well, it's been a crazy couple of months since I posted. I guess I've passed right over Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Pretty much every holiday that could possibly be associated with food, except maybe St. Patrick's day. Somehow in the middle of my own cooking, I didn't get the time to sit down and write up a recipe.

So, I'll start at the beginning. Way back in November, I flew back to California to see my family for Thanksgiving. While I was there I hopped up to San Francisco for a few days to visit a friend. And while I was in San Francisco - in the fabulous, happening, bar-and-restaurant-filled Mission District - I had my first Mexican Food Experience in an entire year.

I managed to make it back to my table with a wobbling stack of three over-filled salsa containers and one precariously-balanced pickled Jalapeno, spilling only a minimal amount of salsa on my shoes in the process. Most people were polite enough not to stare, even after I whipped out my SLR camera with it's zoom lens and started photographing my salsa as if it were a work of art. And really, isn't it? Tangy-limey-hot-cilantro-y goodness dumped all over...

... two sizzling hot tacos filled with carne asada and carnitas, respectively. Smothered in cilantro and chopped onions and served in a warm corn tortilla... wow. I made pretty decent tacos in Germany, but there is really something extraordinary about tacos from a good taqueria that just can't be replicated.

My friend looked at me from across the table at one point - I had a Jalapeno in one hand and a taco in the other, with one bite taken out of each, and what I imagine could only have been an expression of pure bliss on my face. "You look so happy right now," he said.

And I was. Being a tourist in your own country lets you experience simultaneous novelty and nostalgia. It floods you with old memories, and at the same time makes ordinary activities exciting and new. It makes ordering food in your native language a special treat. And it makes you eat ridiculous things like this, just because you haven't had a pickled Jalapeno in 12 months:

Yes. I did eat all but one of those peppers. And oh wow, do I need to figure out where to buy those in Berlin!


Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back. Am looking forward to more of your adventures, especially in the kitchen. Those tacos do look fantastic.

David said...

I am so happy to see that there is someone else who likes photographing food as much as I do. I just have to get up the nerve to

Kristal said...

David - don't worry about "working up the nerve" - just start somewhere! My first-ever food photos had terrible perspective, bad lighting, and often had the focus in the wrong spot. But I just kept plugging away at it and eventually things started going better.

Good luck and keep at it! :-)