Last night, Chris pulled together a light dinner for two of chicken salad, multigrain toast, and bruschetta topping. Though I was initally skeptical of eating a mayonnaise-based dish that came from a dumpster, I am still indigestion-free and kickin’ it new school. Admittedly, I have been pondering the pros and cons of dumpster diving ever since I got to Minneapolis.
Fortunately for me, it was Chris who took the first step. He and his friends drove out to a particularly welcoming dumpster (location withheld to preserve the sanctity of the hoard) in the middle of the night and grabbed around $50-$80 worth of groceries, including tangerines, lamb, tons of bread, tomatoes, and convenience food.
One of our acquaintances — Chris’s dumpster field guide — boasts that he hasn’t had to buy groceries for a year now. The prospect is pretty tempting, especially now that Snowmageddon 2009 has already hit the Upper Midwest and the outside temperature isn’t even close to the danger zone for food (40-140 degrees Fahrenheit, last I checked). I’m also living paycheck to paycheck, so the added savings are a pretty big draw. As I’m writing this post, however, I’m chomping on a slice of dumpstered Asiago bread, so I think I’m dancing around a foregone conclusion: snobbery is overrated.
When all seemed hopeless at my dead-end internship gig in Washington, all I needed was a Pedro & Vinny’s vegetarian burrito to pick myself up again. For four measly bucks, one could get a huge burrito with beans (black and tan), salsa and hot sauces of various scovilles and hues
. On top of that, York peppermint patties and samples of the proprietor’s habanero mango sauce were gratis
. The line at the cart felt like a queue on a mountaintop, each of us waiting to ask the grizzled old wise man a question. ”What is the meaning of life?” I’d ask. ”Is there a God?”
“Here’s your burrito. That’ll be $4.”
The cart has since closed, the proprietor lost to the wilds of South Carolina. Thanks Pedro & Vinny’s, for making my stay in D.C. bearable.
The glorious end to our tour of Vietnam brought us to my family’s hometown of Vũng Tàu; who can resist a trip back home to partake in a frustrating trek through unfamiliar neighborhoods to find one’s ancestral home? (We couldn’t find ours, of course.) Apparently the house is cursed or something? I don’t know, Vietnam makes no sense.
When we finally gave up our fruitless search, we took on the vastly lighter task of finding banh khot, the specialty of the city. Banh Khot is a rice cake with a shrimp in the middle of it which is shaped and seared in a special pan and covered with shrimp powder. And yes, you dip it in fish sauce. These were fucking amazing! I highly recommend that you motherfuckers make the trip out to Vũng Tàu to try these, because there is no happier dish in the whole world. Stare at this and salivate, you swine.