I SAID SOMETHING MEAN
There are times in a person’s life when they say something that is so outlandish, they have to look back after their emotions have settled down, and publicly apologize.
For me, that time has come.
I recently tweeted “Burritos are an overrated food.” I was proud of that tweet at the time because there’s something exciting about a hot take.
Particularly when you are in the moment with your emotions.
THE PANDEMIC HIT HARD
I’m not going to lie. This pandemic has been challenging: stay-at-home-orders, quarantine, re-opening of all the things, losing my job, searching for a job, wearing a mask, people not wearing a mask, dealing with politics, dealing with injustice, gaining weight, trying to lose weight, trying to stay hydrated, keeping my parents out of harm’s way, and then having to put up with the conspiracy theories around everything I just mentioned.
Add to that, I am not alone in any of this. I have friends going through the same stuff I am, and many of them have even had it worse. I hate seeing them dealing with stuff like this.
Having said all of that, I’m not here to tell a sad story. I’m here to apologize.
One afternoon last week, I saw something completely harmless on TV about burritos on the Food Network. I snapped and sent out that gnarly tweet.
While sitting in that dark place, I talked to a friend of mine who pulled me out and knocked some sense into me. I was reminded of all the great things and experiences I’ve had in my life, and I’ve been pretty resilient through a lot of tough times.
Through this forced epiphany, I thought back on that burrito tweet. I was taken back to a place where I realized that I actually DO love burritos, and there was one, in particular, that stood out for me.
It was a burrito that connected me to the western culture that I struggled to connect with as a kid.
It was an Indian burrito. Before we get into “Indian burritos”, it’s important to talk about what these really are. They are a real thing, and I never knew about it until I went to India.
There’s more about my India trip if you go to DaveDoesIndia on Instagram.
I had one really delicious AND indulgent meal that sticks out more than all the others. It was called a roll, not a “burrito”. Pretty boring name.
This thing was incredible: a fresh-made roti (you will probably call it a tortilla), topped with an egg that was scrambled into the roti, then rolled up with meat and onions. SO greasy, and SO good.
The roll was definitely a highlight on my trip to India mostly because for the first time, I viewed my culture’s food as street food. It reminded me of burritos in the United States. It was as if my Indian heritage was infiltrating my childhood memories to say, “Hey, you are just as American as everyone in school!”
And yes, I realized the irony of Burritos originating in Mexico, not the United States.
I’m not going to beat myself up over never experiencing an Indian burrito because my childhood was spent in suburban Salt Lake City. This is not something I ate in our house while growing up. My mom was pretty traditional with Indian cooking. ANYWAY…
IN A GAS STATION?
As I mentioned in the post about the lampredotto sandwich, I’m a pretty adventurous eater. My friend (who I spoke of earlier, appreciates this about me, and when I paid her a visit, she immediately took me to a Chevron station in West Los Angeles.
I was a little skeptical at first, and it had nothing to do with the trust I have in her. She’s a great dining partner.
Indian food was always been one of those things enjoyed at a table except that one time I went to India. Never at a gas station!
We pulled up to the Chevron off Santa Monica Blvd and the 405, parked and ran inside because we were STARVING.
The back half of the gas station was a large counter that looked much like a Chipotle. It had a few barstools on the window. The menu was simple.
Everything was centered around the “Frankie”. I had never heard this word before (I was in my mid-to-upper 30’s!). After a quick google search, I realized that a Frankie was that Indian “roll”. Turns out that the Frankie is very common throughout India. Whoops!
The Chicken Tikka Masala Frankie spoke to me. It all started with a nice, pillowy, chewy, and seductive garlic naan. The filling was a beautiful medley of potatoes with cumin, crunchy cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. This was all finished off with three delicious drizzles of raita, spicy mint chutney, and tamarind chutney.
I took my food and ran outside to take a photo (I do this all for you), before taking my first bite.
The entire rush from this bite was enough to send electricity throughout my body and produce goosebumps. It began with the chewiness of the naan, followed by the crunch of the vegetables, the coolness of the cucumbers, the beautiful texture of the tomato, the warm heat, and the collection of spices in the chicken, the spicy mint notes, the tang from the tamarind.
It was one big journey, just in the first bite.
Eating the rest of this thing was a state of bliss that I could never describe in any paragraph, but if you want, re-read that last one several times. It might come close to that feeling.
MY PUBLIC APOLOGY
Ok, that was a wild detour to India, and Los Angeles…all to justify my apology.
I am so sorry to burritos, fans of burritos, and the rest of the world. Burritos are definitely not overrated as food.
They are diverse. They are versatile. They come in all shapes and sizes and can come from all over the world.
Burritos are just like me. There was no reason to hate.
Next time you have a bad day, and you take it out on food…think about it a little more. You might be hating on something you actually love.