After the show (which, due to tight Fringe scheduling, was at 6:30 pm), husband and I were trudging back up Florida Ave., to the nearest Metro station which is over a mile away, and wishing we would encounter something for dinner. It was still light, the most amazing huge orange sun setting over the city street. Only a single restaurant offered itself, but its board outside proclaimed $2.75 tacos, so I convinced my husband it was a good idea. It was. The Far East Taco Grille. Far East? Tacos? Maybe just because it was on the east side of the city?
Nope. In some ways these are conventional tacos: you choose flour or corn tortilla, several types of salsa are available. But the fillings are things like Korean short rib, spicy pork, tofu. Topping styles include a kimchi version. Clearly this is a Korean-fusion joint, just like where I work, only so different. Better. Though the menu is more limited and it is just counter service. I order two tacos: flour tortilla, short rib, "#15 sauce," banh mi-style toppings. Short ribs cost $0.25 more each for tacos, so this meal cost $6 altogether, and it is perfect. So, so good. The short ribs are tender and delicious (better than those at our restaurant, maybe even better than the ones Scarlet made for me), the #15 sauce (whatever the hell that means) is a sweet and spicy Asian-influenced sauce, I suspect involving gochujang, and the banh mi toppings are pickly, spicy, sweet. Total flavor bomb. I think it would be overwhelming to eat more than two. My husband ordered more conservatively, as he always does: spicy pork in a rice bowl with their simplest topping option of lettuce, cheese, and lime crema. He said it was very good too. In total we paid $20 (including a tip, which would be optional here) for one of the best meals I've had in a while. I have no idea how they can make any money at all, charging $3 for tacos containing a substantial amount of expensive short rib, but GO THERE while it lasts.
Next day. I've finally had time to organize my recipes and do a more extensive shopping trip at the Whole Foods, so (after a long, busy day at work) I have three dishes planned to cook this evening. One is my second effort from Mridula Baljekar's Best-Ever Curry Cookbook, the Tandoori Chicken. This time I buy the appropriate amount of chicken, and actually look up the spices involved in tandoori masala. So I believe myself to have followed the directions fairly well. I did blend my own tandoori masala out of spices I already possessed, instead of buying a prefab paste, so it's possible I missed out on some ingredients that might have been present in the paste... sugar, perhaps? Because my chicken tasted nothing like what you get in an Indian restaurant. (Perhaps it is just more authentically North Indian, as it appears in that section of the book.)
While the chicken was marinating, I made the Buttery Cayenne Pecans from the October 2015 issue of Bon Appetit. These were a simple matter of melting butter, stirring in Worcestershire sauce and spices, tossing with the pecans, and roasting. Kind of like the chicken, actually. But more successful. The one problem did not lie with the recipe: the pecans themselves were not very good. I bought them in a package from Whole Foods, and they had the bitter aftertaste and discomfiting mouthfeel of unripe fruit. The flavor was worse when raw, but they retained some of their bitterness even after roasting.