On one of my many forays into the deep south of Quebec – Montreal to be exact – I chanced upon a friend who really could understand the gastronomically inclination of eating out. My general rules for munching in strange countries would be to order something that I couldn’t either cook myself or the ingredients just aren’t readily available for me to use.
Without a doubt, eating out is an adventure, whether your chewing down on a soggy coffee-dipped donut or delicately picking the caviar off an expensive sushi roll with chopsticks, not having to do dishes afterwards does have its appeal to many people on this side of the continent.
On this particular sweltering hot evening, I chanced upon a friend on facebook, who had the same idea I did – eat, eat, eat. But what? After much poking back and forth, Buddy had managed to get away with all due seriousness during the course of his important meeting to come to an agreement that we would go and taste the intense flavour of our Free Trade partner, Mexico.
Now, it was just a matter of deciding which hot tamale service we would go to. The usual suspects came to mind, but we wanted more than just the standard fare of nachos, beans and other foods that uninteresting people consume… we wanted authenticity. Finally, we decided to go to a place where English and French were not spoken.
The GPS guided us unerringly to our destination, albeit, the long route, where after many kilometres of following the quickest way to get there using the street signs to guide us, we finally reached our destination, with parking to boot. We entered the small out-of-the-way restaurant to be greeted by a mixture of mouth-watering smells and temperatures. We were quickly guided to our non-discrete table near the cash register.
Buddy and I looked like banditos with an appetite and quickly mastered the local lingo enough to utter “gracias” and “senorita”. When ordering drinks, I got the Dos Equios and actually pronounced it the way it sounded in the TV commercials. It was a most interesting beer, with a quarter of a lime and strangely enough, smooth as silk going down my parched throat, interesting indeed.
Soon it was time to order and Buddy, having a difficult time trying to make his order understood to the exasperated waitress, who only spoke Spanish, got his heap of hot stuff soon after. I settled for the seafood stew, which had just about every type of little critter of the Gulf of Mexico floating around in a sea of incredibly hot sauce.
The fiery plate sent my internal temperature soaring practically to a meltdown, as I occasionally gasped for air and beer, commented that this was probably going to be a rare plate once things settle down after the huge oil spill. After going through several napkins to swab off the sweat rolling profusely off my body, I came up with a name for my meal – the BP Platter, named in honour of British Petroleum.
Our talk switched to the massive oil spill in the Gulf and we wondered about the geese that would fly down there this fall’s migration. Will we be affected by this environmental disaster? After arguing that eggs are not laid in the water but somehow, geese will eat things higher up in the food chain, we determined that we will feel the effects of this oil in the spring.
I guess we just have to take the wait-and-see approach next summer, when the first goslings emerge from their shell and enter a world full of environmental dangers. Now a new danger is on the horizon, a danger that just might creep up here in full force: the need to feed an energy hungry world, or are we there already?