I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival last week. After years of living in the Bay Area, you’d think I would have made it out there before now, but I haven’t. There was always some sort of excuse to miss it.
I’m glad I finally went. The event has all of the community charm of a county fair minus the crazy fried foods and farm animal smells. Instead, you’re left with garlic. So. Much Garlic.
So, I try to post at least once a week but lately things have slipped by me. For better or worse, I’ve been quite the busy bee these days.
I can’t believe eight years have passed since my first year of college. I’d like to think it wasn’t long ago, especially since I don’t feel like I’ve done too much with my life since then. Maybe I’m exaggerating about that last part. April 18th marks an important day for me as it was the 8th anniversary since the boyfriend and I first held hands. Perhaps that’s overwhelmingly and disgustingly cute, but what can you expect from a dorm couple who’s still hanging in there? It gets weirder when I say that it was Chris’s roommate who declared that the day of our anniversary. It’s been a fun eight years and I hope for many more. But really, who wants to hear about that nonsense?
We celebrated this year at Espetus, a churrascaria (otherwise known as a Brazilian steakhouse). I’ve never gone to a churrascaria before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In all honesty, I was expecting something along the lines of the smoky barbeque house of any all you can eat Korean barbeque joint. But alas, it was quite a different experience.
The meal started with an assortment of appetizers. We were presented with cheese bread, fried polenta, fried bananas, and empanadas. We devoured the empanadas. I tried not to eat too much of the cheese bread, but really, I couldn’t resist. Loved the fried bananas. Actually, the polenta was great too. I could have had a great meal just from these appetizers, but there was more.
Our next stop was the salad bar and buffett. I tried not to spend too much time there as I wanted to spend more time with the meat. However, did try a Portugese sausage and pork dish and some basque salad.
But one doesn’t go to a churrascaria to eat buffet or appetizers. No, no, no. I have had my fair share of AYCE establishments from my aforementioned Korean roots. So while I did not think the task would be easy, I also thought the idea of sampling all of the meat selection would be too difficult. Hah. I surely had much to learn. In spite of the many breaks we took to catch our breath, we did not even make it through their entire selection. It is quite the experience. The food was wonderful, though. Although I was not disappointed with any of the meat I tried, my favorites were probably the pork loin and the sirloin steak. I also loved the grilled pineapple.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get great pictures of the key part of the meal. I have a few, but you’ll have to put up with my messy plate. But we’ll have to make do.
2. Pork Loin
Once over dinner, we discussed our favorite foods in the world. With so much good food around the world, it’s hard to find a place to start answering the question or which foods I would put at the top of my list. So, instead of listing them all out, I thought I’d make it a feature on this aimless blog to write about my favorite foods from around the world.
We’ll start this adventure in Italy. Florence, to be specific. In the heart of the historic center of town on Via Tavolini is Perche No!, the best gelateria that you will ever visit. In some respects, I should hate this place. It killed gelato for me. Ever since I spent my summer in Florence, every bite of gelato I’ve had has been compared to the gelato I had at Perche No!. It doesn’t compare. It never does. Few have come close, but nothing ever reaches the absolute perfection of this gelato.
Perche No! came as a recommendation to us from our Italian professor. I had not expected to fall in love with the place, but it became a daily trip for us that summer. He had later recommended other gelaterie, most notably the more well-known Vivoli, but the damage had already been done by then. Since the summer of 2006, I often wondered whether I imagined Perche No!’s greatness. We’ve all experienced things that we later hyped up in our minds. But when we returned to Florence in 2008, the gelato was just as good as I had imagined it. We actually ended up going twice that day to get in as much gelato as we could. Sometimes we surprise ourselves.
My flavor combination of choice was fragloa (strawberry) and pesce (peach), but frutte di bosche was also amazing. Actually, their flavors never disappointed.
Oh Perche No!, how I miss thee.
There are many ways to tell that summer is just around the corner. For instance, the only thing standing between me and academic freedom are five hours on SoftTest (two hours on Monday and three hours on Wednesday). However, nothing quite screams about the impending summer days as much as the sudden abundance of cheap summer fruits.
Face it, fruits are one of the best things about summer. Nothing cools you down like watermelon on a hot day. I spent my last summer eating strawberries with my sister’s dog, Bruce. Now that many of these fruits are finally in season, they finally start tasting good. They’re also cheaper.
For instance, when I went to the grocery store the other day, I found mangoes on sale for $.39 each (or something ridiculously cheap like that). Nothing beats cheap mangoes.
Just so you know, it was just as delicious as it looks.
And you may argue all you want with me, but there is really only one way to eat a mango (see above). If you’re not having the all-out messy experience of eating a mango, you’re missing out.
*This title shares its name with one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs. For me, listening to Jimmy Buffett in the summer is like listening to Christmas music around the holidays. Listening to him sing about relaxing with margaritas by the beach is torture any other time of the year (the masochist in me loves playing “Boat Drinks” in the winter). So, now that the warm weather appears to be here to stay, it’s time to add some JB to my playlist.
If you ever get the chance, I also highly recommend seeing him live. A Jimmy Buffett concert is like one giant party. In fact, it’s almost sad how a sixty-three year old man’s concert was almost too much partying for a dweebus like me.
And while I’m at it, here’s one of my other favorite JB songs.
And yes, I know I’ve outed myself as a Parrothead early into this blog’s existence. Judge me all you want.