I am a very picky eater. A difficult thing for a guy who loves to eat in restaurants. An especially difficult thing hopping from strange country to strange country with strange foods. Strange, of course, to me – the visitor. As foreigners we sometimes gag at things others eat. Food can stir up such emotions. Just spend a moment with a vegan.
My palate has grown more adventurous as my travels have increased. I will now try any local weird food, but the weirder the smaller the bite. Guinea pig (they call it cuy) in Ecuador or Peru? Okay, but just a sliver. I didn’t say my taste buds were wild and carefree 🙂
So today, that taste for food adventure emerged. A hankering for something different for lunch. So out into the wilds of foodland I went in search of some local fare, perhaps some mean cuisine with a twist and a bit of flair. I walked to the center of Calama, Chile, where there’s a concentration of restaurants, looking at menu after menu. Nothing struck me. I made my way back across town in the direction of a particular restaurant that seemed to have some local items. I ordered an Italian cappuccino and asked the server to give me another minute to decide what to eat. Impatient, she gave me a half-minute. I asked for another minute, please. She stepped aside, but hovered. Feeling rushed, I couldn’t decide what to order. None of the items on the menu sung “O Mio Babbino Caro“ to me. When that happens I’ve struck upon a heavenly delight.
[Impatient server moving closer] Okay. I think I will really go wild: how about a Caesar salad? Yep, a Caesar. This is what it looked like:
So much for adventure today. But what’s with all this cheese in my Caesar? Under that thick layer of yellow was just lettuce and a few chicken strips. Mustard on the side. Croutons on the perimeter. Okay. You are not in your homeland. Things are done differently elsewhere, I reminded myself. Dig in!
Well, not bad with the spiced up mustard added. And the chicken hidden below the cheese was cooked to perfection. So, too, I gather, was the long strip of hair I found as I went for another bite. This is what I found:
Well, I did have a taste for something exotic, didn’t I? Brunette? Hmmm…yum!
I calmly put down my fork and called over the server nearest to me. My impatient server had gone AWOL. When she reappeared, the other server whispered in her ear – presumably not sweet nothings, but the problem at Table 9. She came over and offered to make me a new salad – yeah, right, I’m going to fall for that fresh plate of salad trick – or order something else. Well, I think I’m done eating, thank you. I’ve suddenly lost my taste for food adventure. Then again, on the way over here I think I saw a McDonald’s.