Monday, October 08, 2007

variety is the spice of life

Here in NYC, I can eat pasta on Monday, Sushi on Tuesday, Thai food on Wednesday....but nothing is better than eating those foods in their original habitats. For me, a large part of travel is to learn the place with my taste buds.

But then sometimes a funny thing happens: sometimes I go to a place and the monotony of the food starts to get to me. And then I feel silly! After 10 days in Greece, I was craving something besides feta cheese. Last weekend, after four days of New Mexican food, in Santa Fe, I was tired of chiles and tortillas (a thing I never thought I'd say!).

New Mexican food is not quite Mexican and not quite Tex Mex, it's somewhere in between. There is a lot of ground beef--something you'd never see in Mexico--and of course, a lot of the native green chile.

Walking through the wonderful Santa Fe farmers' market, one is hit by the complex, spicy and smoky smell of the roasting of green chiles in large spinning drums, being turned by famers' hands. The roasted chiles are then chopped and sold in ziploc baggies, and the smell is intoxicating. The market has a warm, lively vibe that probably can only be created by a community of people eating that level of spice day and day out (at the dinner the night after the wedding I attended, I watched a small boy ask of his mother, before every bite of chips and salsa, "spicy?").

We ate a lot and we ate pretty well, the highlights being huevos divorciados at The Plaza Cafe, and an excellent breakfast burrito with chorizo and tomatillo salsa at Pasqual's.

But in the end, I was happy to come home to variety, the thing I know.