Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Re-Open Mind

It is certainly vital to successful eating adventures to be willing to try new things.  You may confronted with a new opportunity and who knows if you will have the opportunity again.  This has become almost an instinctual element of my life.  The thing that can be more difficult can be the willingness to try something again that you have had previously and written off.  Some of my favorite things to eat are also things I didn't like the first thing I tried them.  Some of these are fairly common, such as beer.  This is, of course, something that gets easier and more enjoyable to drink as you get a little older.

I grew up trying new foods.  I was always encouraged to do so.  I was always told to try it, and if I didn't like it, I could have something else.  However, it is now difficult to imagine not having the experiences I now have with foods that I had previously tried, disliked and (for a while) avoided on menus and in choice of restaurants.  Some of these include: Sushi, gin, mole.  

My experiences with each of these has built my desire to seek out a quality representation of a food before writing it off (not that it is ever really written off).  I can chalk up my sushi experience as not liking it as a kid and being fortunate enough to get pulled by a group to a sushi restaurant as an adult.  More specifically in the sushi category, my first experience with Uni (sea urchin) was horrible.  I never spit out food mid-bite, but this one was close.  Uni is one of those things that hits the extremes.  When it's good, it's very good, when it's bad, it's horrible.  Gin was another example of poor representation in my initial experience.  In my first experience with gin, I had a glass of gin with olives.  I really tried to make it through the glass by dipping the olives in the gin and eating them, but I think the ice was melting faster than I was eating olives.  Later I learned that, even if it's not the drink I would first order at a bar, it is more than possible to pick a gin that is very drinkable.  

My first experience with Chicken Mole, my impressions are best described as "Chicken in mud sauce".  It was terrible.  Now for those unfamiliar with Mole (meaning "sauce" when translated), it is a classic Mexican dish with hours of grinding hundreds of spices to create this rich dark gravy-like sauce that is complex and, when done properly, incredible.  Oh, and by the way, they put chocolate in the sauce too.  There are different kinds of mole, but the most common one you will find is the mole poblano, the one with chocolate.  

I have had mole many-many times at many different locations and none was even unpleasant like that first place.  Sometimes you can get a vibe for when to order the mole and when it's best to just order a quesadilla.  Is there something you don't like to eat?  Try to find something you know will be a good representation ($10 glass of gin or authentic mexican restaurant) and try it again.  Maybe you won't just like it, maybe you'll love it. 

Live in the SF Bay area and want to have some good mole?

Try one of these:

Mexicali Grill  (note:  I've never had anything good there except the mole, but I love it.  Order with care)

Fiesta del Mar (One of my favorite mexican restaurants)

Estrellita Restaurant

Casa Vallarta



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