Tuesday, April 4

The Tortilla Fiasco

I think its a pretty safe assumption that people keep to their native food as their favorite food. I'm Filipino and when food is the subject there is nothing i think of more than Rice & Chicken Adobo. The typical Filipino eats everything with rice, including breakfast... and eggs with ketchup. When it comes to breakfast i actually prefer American breakfast so that makes me somewhat Americanized. But anyway the typical Filipino... yes we eat anything with rice. Once my friends and i were thinking of ordering pizza during the NFL playoffs. Jerome grabs his Pizza Hut coupon thingy attached to the fridge and starts to dial. 'Wait' i clamored' Dude they don't have rice there'. Conrad immediately pondered the thought with a finger on the chin ala the thinking man 'hmm we can order buffalo wings and cook come rice' he exclaimed.... Haha a Filipino NFL Playoff moment 'Buffalo wings & Rice', shit thats deserving of a Budlight commercial.... I never eat KFC or Popeyes Chicken by itself, its always accompanied with rice, and so do many many Filipinos i know. So beside the occasional American breakfast and Mexican food i am the consummate, unwavering, unrelenting Filipino food loving Filipino...

I once had a military buddy of mine who i spent 3 years with in Italy who grew up in the Midwestern state-Mormon white people country-Salt Lake City Utah spent 4 days here in LA with me. He drove his rinky-dink 1988 Nissan Sentra here to LA with a large bag of Marijuana (sorry potheads but i'm not versed with pot size terms). Anyway we had a great time. But what i liked most about his trip was, knowing the fact that he hates rice and that he only eats stoner foods such as hamburgers and nachos, i made him sit down with my family when we had Bangus (milk fish) complete with bagoong (fish sauce... no we don't bother with tar tar) for dinner. He faked it quite well but i could tell the food wasn't to his liking. Even after my parents were gone he remained gracious and never said a word to me about it, fearing perhaps offending my sensibilities. I called him a week later to confirm and he called me a mother fucker in his white boy gangsta voice.

So as much as i eat Filipino food i am also a food lover in general. Being Filipino and having lived more than half my life in the Philippines, i've eaten anything and everything edible under the sun. You can say the Filipino appetite is the adventurous kind. Insects, reptiles, animal brains, dogs you name it... if we can kill it its edible. But anyway i also eat the occasional Italian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese cuisine but more than any other Mexican food. I mean who doesn't like Mexican food??? Mexican food probably has the most variant of all foods. Think about it, every damn tamale i ever had was unique tasting. Anyway lets not get into that... Eating Mexican food is very artsy. See when i eat, unless i'm on a first date i eat very rapidly and business-like, sometimes no talking. You can not do this with Mexican food. You've got the essential chips & salsa 'chips may come in different colors', the side-dish rice & beans 'black or pinto beans', the main dish carne-asada or chicken, you've got the tortilla 'corn or flour', a dozen salsas chipotle 'pico de gallo' or sauces to choose from ranging from non-spicy to mild to spicy to very spicy , then you have the all important lemon, Jalapenos guacamoles onions cilantros etc etc i mean it gets very very complicated. However, i think its what makes Mexican food so great. It taste good and its fun to eat. Lets not even get into Mexican Sea-Food, thats a blog series all on its own.

I do, however have one major quirk about Mexican cuisine. I think it is the single greatest culinary mistake the Mexicans ever committed. Maybe the greatest error in culinary history ... Not making the corn-tortilla large enough (lol). I'm not sure if i'm the only Mexican Food loving person in LA, California, United States or the whole world that ever thought of corn-tortilla Burritos but apparently they don't make those, what is the deal??? When i discovered corn tortilla several years ago i immediately liked it better than flour tortilla and figured they're the same sizes. I ordered a carne-asada Burrito wrapped with corn tortilla in a Mexican Restaurant somewhere in Simi Valley and the girl looked at me like i was ridiculous 'uhmm we don't make corn-tortilla burritos here' she scowled. So i decided it was a geographical error (keyword: Here). Several weeks later I ordered once again a corn-tortilla carne asada burrito in my favorite Mexican Restaurant called "El Chollo" located in Los Angeles and once again i was turned down. The kind waiter made a concerned face and explained to me that they don't make corn-tortillas big enough to make burritos... 'thats why they can only make tacos out of corn tortillas' he proudly added. I considered asking if the rule included the entire country of Mexico but decided against it realizing how absurb the question. This restaurant boast 'The most-authentic Mexican food in Los Angeles County" with their numerous culinary accolades so i believed the waiter but was deeply saddened by the revelation. Such travesty.

I would like to thank my good friend and co-worker Alex Ramirez an authentic Mexican for pointing out that Burritos is spelled without an "E". (Burritoes ... hahaha)


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