Robert Duffy 1 p.m., May 30
What French Cooking Can Learn From TJ’s Tacos
Oh man. Having an erotic dream…shrimp tacos with pineapple inside and raspberry sauce on top and walnuts on top of that…
I know a place that does that. Honest.
And I’m thinking about it ’cause I’m reading about…well, the French Revolution.
I mean the one going on now. Between the old-school French cooking (frog legs, goose livers, snails), and the “Young Turks” (okay, Young French) who’ve launched “Le Fooding,” a bust-out philosophy that’s got Gauls aghast and gastronomes agog.
Or so I read. Yes, I’m actually reading a book the lovely Carla bought me. Crazy expense! No pictures either. It’s called The Table Comes First, by Adam Gopnik, New Yorker kinda guy. Loves Paris. French. My weakness too, from afar.
But he goes the Full Monty on what it is about the French and food, and that image of sitting around a big table just like in Le Divorce," wondering aloud whether the roquefort is supposed to smell like that or is just, like, off. ’Course they have the income to make these long languid lunches possible. Me, I'm more Sideways, with food.
Whatever, Le Fooding is out to “save the preeminence of French cuisine from going the way of the Roman Empire.” Whoa. The main thing they seem to be saying to the traditionalists is “Lighten up, for Chrissakes. Come down off your French Cooking pedestal.”
Feels like a gastro-truck movement, French-style. Like, Le Fooding's into picnics, prepared by 3-star chefs. “The atmosphere is somewhere between a buffet dinner and the Woodstock festival,” he writes.
Is Le Fooding happening here? I say yes. Take this whole gastro-truck idea: it’s about bringing good food to “the people.” Taking the mystique and BS out of fine dining. And the whole rediscovery of Mexican cooking is part of it. The Street's our energy source for new and interesting and – yeah! – cheap ways to fill our bellies.
Maybe next time, Gopnik should abandon Paris and let us show him some jewels in this Garden of Eatin’, San Diego/Tijuana.
…Which brings me back to that taco fix I was drooling about: shrimp tacos with pineapple inside and raspberry sauce on top and walnuts on top of that…
They come from Tacos La Ermita (officially known as Tacos Salceados, Avenida Ermita Norte 30, La Mesa, Tijuana ) which to my humble mind is the taco gastronomical capital of the world.
So Adam: open invitation! Git out of tired ol’ Paris and come on over to this hot energy center of street food – gastro trucks here, taco pioneers in TJ - and great culture con-fusion.
Le Fooding will never look the same.
Meanwhile, guess I’m going to have to get back down to La Ermita myself for a very delicious update.