Do you ever get the feeling that life is passing you by? That you’re weighed down by a sense of ennui? That you’re not really living?
Well, snap out of it. Do something new. It’s never too late to try something for the first time.
Like guinea pig. In Peru. It’s their national delicacy. You could get it at Paititi, a lovely little restaurant in Cusco. In Peru, they call guinea pig cuy, pronounced quee. When I ordered it, it arrived at the table, whole, on its back, eyes shut tight and its little paws clenched. No joke. I literally closed my eyes and cut a little piece off its bony body. And somehow put it in my mouth. And chewed. Hmm. Tastes like chicken. Cool. I like chicken. Okay, so it wasn’t the best dish I ever had, but hey, I was living.
If you don’t want to go all the way to Peru to do all that living, how about trying something new in New York? You know the TV chef Mario Batali? The guy with with the red hair and orange clogs? His restaurant Babbo serves Warm Tripe Alla Parmigiana, Pig Food Milanese, and Testa with Pickled Pearls and Thyme Vinaigrette. Beef tripe is usually made from the first three chambers of the cow’s stomach, but if you use your imagination, it can look like pasta. Pig Foot – well, that’s self explanatory. And I’m not sure what Testa is, but I think it’s the head of something. I ate cow’s brains when I was a kid. The texture is … well, it’s different. If you try even one of these items, no one can fault you for being boring.
You want to be adventurous without eating large rats or strange organs, you say? You want to try something new, but you want it to be a recognizable, palatable animal part? Fear not. I have just the thing for you. “Extremely hot pepper” at Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant in San Francisco is certain to give you the kick you need. It’s a combination of egg and beef, and, you guessed it, extremely hot pepper. Really, really, ridiculously hot pepper. Pair it with the very refreshing scallion and bean curd salad and get some rice on the side, and you are good to go.
Get out there and taste something different. You’ll be happier for it. At least, that’s the idea.
Photo courtesy of Phillie Casablanca/Creative Commons