Cilantro and I are having a tough time recently. Or to put it another way, cilantro is kicking my ass recently.
Vignette 1: Cinco de Sucko
This all started last week on Cinco de Mayo when, in a fit of everyone’s-doing-it, some coworkers and I decided to get something Mexican-ish for lunch. So we go to this place the Rocking Horse Cafe in Chelsea. I love vegetables and crema and cotija and fried plantains and spicy salsas and beans and all kinds of Latin flavors, but it’s no secret that Mexican-ish restaurants are probably the most dangerous place for cilantro haters to eat. Nonetheless I’ve gotten pretty good at asking the right questions–Does this thing have cilantro? What about this part of this thing that always has cilantro? Are you sure?–even if it’s sort of an annoying process for everyone involved. So I’m between the chile relleno and quesadilla (because I’m eating dairy and even a bit of fish and meat again, but that’s another story). Those are historically pretty safe choices with relatively few components, each component of a dish presenting another opportunity to sneak in some cilantro. So the waiter assures me the chile relleno is both delicious and cilantro-free as is. Great, I’ll have the delicious and cilantro-free thing, thanks!
Well you already know where this is going, kind of. So of course the dish comes out with cilantro. There’s this mushroom stuff inside and there’s all kinds of super chopped up cilantro mixed in. So the waiter comes by and I’m all “Hey there’s cilantro in this!” and he’s all “No there’s not!” and I’m all “No, I hate it, there is, look, see, there it is!” and he’s all “No that’s just part of the pepper,” and at this point it’s clear I’m not talking to a person who knows what they’re talking about at all. “Part of the pepper” looks nothing like chopped up leaves of cilantro, or what could reasonably be mistaken for parsley (without tasting it of course).
In all my dealings with ordering no cilantro and getting cilantro, a staple of this blog, I’ve never been called a liar! OK so he didn’t explicitly call me a liar, but it was kind of like that. Eventually a manager comes over and doesn’t acknowledge the cilantro mixup but does offer to get me something else. This takes about 20 minutes, to get a plain cheese quesadilla, which I pay for.
Lessons learned: 1) Don’t eat Mexican-ish food on Cinco de Mayo and 2) Trust no cilantro means no cilantro at your own risk. That brings me to…
Vignette 2: Fool Me Once…
So then today some different coworkers and I go to lunch and someone selects Salsa Y Salsa (for the record they’re very nice here and the house salsa amazingly has no obvious signs of cilantro). I consider dropping out of the group lunch at this point, after last week’s experience, but I’m a team player and all so I go along. Long story short I’m told no the veggie tacos don’t have cilantro if you get it without the, duh, cilantro, and guac and pico de gallo. Great! So that’s what I order but it’s cilantro town anyway, plus the rice (as in beans and rice) is pretty much a cilantro pilaf. Cilantro 2, Erin 0.
Vignette 3: You’ve Got To Be Kidding!
So then I go home after a good gym session tonight and have it in mind to make a turkey sandwich (hormone, antibiotic free etc, but slaughtered turkey in any case). So I buy some turkey and arugula and tomatoes from the store, make my sandwich and I’m most of the way through it when… what? Yes a distinct taste of cilantro (see evidence in photo above). So obviously some cilantro got mixed up with the arugula at the triple washing factory facility or something. Now that’s cross-contamination!
Well all of this has been pretty sucky, but there’s really only one way to read the stars here. Life is telling me to get back to the old blog gig and blog I shall.