Wednesday, January 16, 2013

And It's Been No Bed of Roses, No Pleasure Cruise

For some reason, this month I am fondly recalling my mom and dad's restaurant dishes. I was young(er) and so I usually ordered the same thing, a combination platter. Always a piping hot platter of wonderfulness. My dad put together his burritos differently than you see them most everywhere. He never added beans and rice, always kept it minimal using small tortillas stuffed with seasoned ground meat, a mixture of chuck and round. Then if I'm not mistaken he used Colby cheese instead of cheddar melted on top and put under the broiler. The flour tort got all crisp and toasty. Honestly, I think this was my dad's genius. He wasn't the cook, he was more the mastermind. My mother made all the food. These were her recipes. She invented the sauces and salsas, which are still talked about to this day in that town and beyond. She laid a foundation of perfectly spiced and seasoned staples. He put the plates together. But he thought to mix the cuts of beef and assorted other difference making nuances. He had an idea of how to exploit everything (including my mom but that's another blog). In the restaurant my dad was up front like a rock star behind the hot lights, usually sweating his ass off but smiling a huge grin. Everyone came and shook his hand, not my mom's. Great job Sid! Amazing Sid! Thanks, everything was great Sid! No one really knew my mom's role. She was like the quiet virtuoso lead guitarist in the band. A real Brian May or Mike Campbell. Then there was my dad, the front man. I remember he would even come off stage so to speak like he had just performed a long set at the end of the night. He's sit at a booth and drink an ice cold beer from the tap with one of the towels around his neck. He looked exhausted. My mom didn't come out and sit with him. I think she put a chair outside the kitchen and got some fresh air in the back of the building. They both worked so hard, every day and never took days off. They both did so much.

The refried beans and rice were not an ignored side garnish on the platter by the way. They were a major part of the meal. My mom's Mexican rice is unbeatable, no question. It can bring tears to your eyes it's so good. Best I've ever had anywhere and unfortunately no, I can't make it. Mine pales in comparison. Similar to an oreo cookie, there was a best way to eat the beans and rice. Combine them, add lots of her warm salsa and then scoop it up with the just made salted corn chips being sure to add all the bits of lettuce and tomato that may have been left over on your plate.

But tonight, I start new traditions with my low fat beans and wild rice dressed with yogurt and cilantro. Yawn.

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