March 14, 2007

The Picadillo Challenge (or, "I have issues with poorly made food")

Ok, so you know all about the cassoulet, so I'm glad that's out of the way. [[phew]]

Now I have to tell you about the Fiasco de Picadillo.

On Saturday, Kelly and I spent the whole day running errands, the major one was to find some attractive pots for the three citrus trees I just HAD to have. So, I have a Meyer Lemon, a Mexican Lime and an orange that I forgot the name of, but I do know it's not a navel. Longhorn seems to stick in my mind, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, I digress. We were on a quest for some pots. After the third pottery store, it was feeling kinda like being in Cabo San Lucas, which, of course made me hungry for mexican food. In Cabo, a square meal for me means chips, salsa, guacamole and Coronas. You kinda have your food groups covered, if you have some sour cream with the guacamole.

Anyway, I digress.  AGAIN.  So, we bought the pots (cute, and what a bargain!) and by now, it's getting late, and I'm in the mood for Mexican. We thought we'd head to Casa Granada: It's close, it's REALLY good, but it's also popular, and on Saturday night, that could be bad. We didn't want to wait for over 30 minutes before we got our fix of chips and coronas, so as we drove past a Chevy's Mexican Food, Kelly said, "Hey, that place is big, I bet we can get in there fast." I'm cursed with a husband who doesn't even have an appetite most of the time, but if he says he's hungry, you KNOW he's serious, and you gotta feed him fast. So we tried. 15 minute wait. Ok, what the hell.

Chips and drinks were on the table instantaneously. (Thank Xenu for small favors) but when it came around to the entrées, what the hell was RIGHT ON.

We ordered the combo platters, one with picadillo, and the other with chipotle chicken, with the agreement that we'd trade enchiladas so we'd have one of each. When they came, I was appalled. The rice and beans were slapped on there like it was a prisoner's slop. No garnishes to speak of. It was all hot, at least.

The chicken was plain and the sauce tasted like it had been poured straight out of a can. Upon tasting the picadillo, we both looked at each other and said. "Sloppy Joes!" because that's exactly what it tasted like. Too sweet, too runny, all one flavor. We plodded through dinner, sated but not delighted. I love picadillo and I was let down by the crap they passed off as dinner.

You're a chef who just ate a nasty excuse for a meal.
You were looking forward to eating a favorite food, and they gave you stuff not even suitable for grade school hot lunch.
You know the recipe for this favorite food by heart.
      So, why don't you make it more often, then? Uh, no good reason.
You have an embarassingly well-stocked pantry and freezer.
What do you do?
You go and make a huge batch of picadillo, the RIGHT way, with raisins and bell peppers and capers and tomato and cinnamon and green olives . Man, doesn't that sound like a mess? If you've never had it, it's way better than you'd think: it's simply divine. Salty and sweet and aromatic and rich. MMMmmmMMMmmMMM. It's definitely a 'portion control required' thing, because you can eat WAY too much of it and feel stuffed. I have lots of little containers of Pica-Dee-Liciousness in the freezer, just enough for these DINKs to indulge in a little quick and easy picadillo goodness. Enjoy with brown rice or French bread, and a salad, and you're good to go.

Sometimes it's good to eat out so that you know how lucky you are that you don't have to eat like that too often!

Last thing I ate or drank: a quarter of an avocado, sprinkled with salt, and eaten with a demitasse spoon right out of the shell.

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  1. My mom used to make a homemade picadillo. Unfortunately I do not have such fond memories of it. I'm not a ground beef fan to begin with and then you add raisins and I am out. No can do.

    I'm sure yours is great though!

  2. OK, let's make a deal. You can eat all my weird shellfish things that don't have eyes, and I'll eat your picadillo.

    Who are we going to foist the sweetbreads on, though?


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