I spent the afternoon researching the proper techniques to grill these babies and it paid off with juicy medium rare meat that I could not quit eating. I eventually entered a state of "meat coma" and do not have any recollection of getting home on my own. Now, I can understand why people do soft drugs. I don't do drugs. I do meat. It gets me to the same place. Knowing that some poor creature donated his life so that I can masticate on his rib muscle makes me feel at one with the world in a way that eating vegetables never can. And it tastes good. And besides: the New York Times this week pointed out that vegans can't hear plants cry. Meat coma was also the goal when Aron found a Calexico Carne Asado burrito cart in Soho yesterday - he had seen this featured on some food network show. When my incredibly mature and sophisticated son saw this cart he actually started whining... for the first time since he was a matchbox-toy-car-obsessed six year old (a decade ago) I heard the familiar rythymic incantation of "The Kid Wants Something:" "Pleeeease Papa!... Pleeeease Papa!... Oh... Pleease Papa..." Except now it was not directed at an alluring Matchbox car glimpsed in some toy shop window, it was directed at a burrito. He's growing, my son, and learning. And as we all know: Baby Cries? Papa Buys!I have to admit, this was a great burrito. Actually... it was a fantastic burrito, an apex of burrito technology and knowldge, it was the Mack Daddy of burritos, the Pope John Paul II of tortilla wrapped meat. It was that good. Aron has been getting burritos at the Arriba Taqueria near Oktogon in Budapest, and I have been telling him that as good as they seem, they ain't the real things. And this... damn... was. The real thing. Full of coriander and tender stewed beef, not too much rice. Why can't East Europe suffer from Mexican emmigration a little more? As Emma Lazarus inscribed at the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor... your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... the wretched refuse of your teeming shore... send these, the amazing cooks who use coriander and tortillas and goat meat to me... I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Or something like that.
We started our day in Fort Washington, the Dominican neighborhood in Northern Manhatten where our bus lets us off from Jersey. It's just like visiting the Dominican Republic, only frigging cold and with subways instead of palm trees. Mexicans have moved into this area with a wide selection of fast, cheap Mexican food carts serving the Mexican workers communiting to and from New Jersey via the bridge, so you can stroll about sampling tamales and gorditas and tacos al pastor to your heart's content.
Aron and Fumie needed tacos... the real kind, not some crisp salty thing at a highway fast food stand. We found a truck on 183rd St. offering the real deal: soft corn tortillas (always two of them) with more salad, avocado, and hot sauce than you can actually pick up. Carnitas de Puerco, Chicken, or chorizo for only $2.50. Can't beat that for fresh food value, even out of a truck on upper Broadway in freezing temperatures.Oh... and I almost forgot. To all our friends out there who await Santa and his reindeer sleigh full of gift certificates: Merry Christmas!