I get e-mail. I get letters. I get calls. I got a voice mail on Friday from a reader named Jerry. Jerry reckoned I'd ignore his message. I won't. Here's a quote from Jerry's call:
"You eat some very weird food. Not really American food or anything else that the average person would want to go to. Your tastes are different from most people."
After I checked my front lawn for burning crosses, I got to thinking: Of The News Tribune's readership, I'm not sure which or how many readers read my reviews. Like all newspaper journalists, I aim for a broad audience. It's difficult to eat by consensus. So I try to do what journalists and critics do: dig in, examine and report. Like swinging for the fences, when you write for the masses, often times you miss.
My tastes are catholic. I'll eat anything twice. I can't physically travel the world as much as I'd like, so I'm eager to eat anything that's from somewhere else. All's the better that some of it's served here in the South Sound.
Korean tripe soup? Gimme some. Grilled cactus, Salavdoreno style? Bring it on. An Italian-Mexican mash-up of mole salami? Mmmmmm, mole salami.
I also like smoked salmon and meatloaf and prime rib and chowder and cheeseburgers and hot dogs and ribs and pizza and fried chicken and steak. You know -– the American food I presume an average person like Jerry is talking about. I eat and write about that food regularly. I'll praise any restaurant that makes great roast chicken with brussels sprouts.
This week, I've been loving raw beef. I've enjoyed steak tartare and beef carpaccio at classic American steakhouses, an Italian restaurant and a Korean restaurant. There's a legitimate story in raw beef, and I jumped on it for the perk of eating raw beef. Yeah: Mmmmm, raw beef.
I know that digging raw beef makes my tastes different from many people's tastes, but not different from everyone's. I dined on steak tartare the other night. A college-age couple sat next to me. They split two salads. I wondered what they thought of my raw beef. They looked like meat-is-death kind of kids. I swallowed my judgment when their steak tartare arrived.
Are your tastes different from Jerry's? Are your tastes different from mine? What kind of weird or un-American food do you like to eat? And where do you get it, because I want some, too.
PS: Have you tried the Mama Africa vegan burger at Hilltop's Quickie Too? Mmmmm, Mama Africa. It's so good.