Flavor of Travel – from Bland to Hot to Searing

If you can’t believe the flavor, try again.

I’m not in the restaurant review business, carefully describing flavor, textures and presentation. This is probably a good thing for restaurants as well as for me. I don’t know how restaurant reviewers snap their jeans.

But since I am traveling I have had the opportunity to try several fast food and slow food restaurants.

The common denominator I find is my tendency to take a bite of something, shake my head in surprise, and then try another bite to make sure the flavor was exactly as tasty/spicy/disgusting/delicious as I thought it was.

Yesterday, for instance, I ate at an Indian restaurant. The décor was charming, the waiter attentive and the food did not need a match to light a fire. I took a bite of chicken and my tongue started smoking. Then I said to myself, “Maybe that was a particularly spicy bit. Surely the next piece won’t be as hot.”

Nope. Hotter.

Today, I grabbed a quick meal at a fast food restaurant. The sandwich looked tasty, and a mountain of crisp perfectly formed French fries towered next to it. The sandwich was as good as it looked, but I took a bite of a fry and thought, “This can’t be right. Maybe I grabbed a piece of the cardboard container by accident.”

But did I trust my tongue? No.

It took seven fries before I was ready to believe all the fries in the pile tasted like box.

And it’s not just dining out. Once I decided to try making the equivalent of Poppers at home. Poppers are the breaded stuffed jalapeno peppers one can find in the freezer section of the supermarket. The commercial version is relatively mild. Unlike the homemade Emeril recipe I tried.

They looked beautiful, plump and symmetrical when I pulled the cookie sheet from the oven, much nicer than the commercial variety. But they were astoundingly spicy. And I couldn’t accept that without trying to eat them at least three times.

Nobody likes being ignored or disbelieved, so I imagine my tongue is feeling a bit offended by now. Clearly it needs chocolate. And not the kind with peppers in it.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.