so today . . . i ate two new things. i can't say it was a totally positive experience.
i am not an adventurous eater. i know what i like, and that is what i choose to eat. we are surrounded by restaurants filled with exotic and unusual foods, but i choose to have my dinner at jack in the box. or sizzler. and on those rare occasions when, through no fault of my own, i find myself in a new restaurant, i always order the chicken. i figure you can't go wrong with chicken, as long as you ask for the sauce on the side . . .
today we went to rubio's for lunch. ( i know, big surprise.) i usually order one of the three things that i like there, but today i happened to look at the specials. actually, i noticed the specials a few days ago and saw that they had a salmon taco. i really like salmon, but i have this pact with my nephew about fish tacos . . .
troy and i have an agreement. we made this pact almost 10 years ago when we were visiting southern california and noticed that some restaurants put fish in their tacos. we discussed how many, many ways it was wrong to put fish in a taco, and agreed that we would never let one pass our lips. (it was much easier to keep this pact when i lived in oregon, where they put real meat in their tacos!)
i don't know about troy, but i have honored our agreement--even when surrounded by fish taco eaters. but today i was just not in the mood for any of the other items on the menu, so i decided to try the salmon taco special. i had no idea what it would be like, so it was a simple order--"i'll have a salmon taco." this is quite a contrast to my usual order--"i'll have a baja grill burrito, with chicken, no fresca sauce, sour cream on the side, and a whole wheat tortilla." next time (if i ever order the salmon taco again,) i will know what to add and what to take off. but the first time is always a gamble . . .
so it came. with a side salad. usually i like side salads, because they tend to be mostly iceberg lettuce which is my favorite lettuce! but not this one. this side salad had fresca sauce (which i do not like) and black beans (which i like, but not on a salad!) so i quickly set the salad aside and moved on to the salmon taco. i could not see the salmon. i opened up the shell, and there was a nice strip of grilled salmon, but it was buried under a mountain of chopped up green vegetables. i couldn't recognize any of the vegetables except the onions, and i am not a fan of onions. so i scraped it all off and just ate the salmon. which worked out really well, because without the tortilla it wasn't a taco, so i didn't break the pact. but while the salmon was good, it was not much of a meal without all the other stuff.
so by dinner time, i was hungry. which was good, because we had a dinner to go to. it was one of those situations where the menu has been pre-selected and you just eat what they bring you. this is usually a nightmare for me, because what usually happens is that the person choosing the food tries to pick something that will be special (meaning different) and you know how i feel about that!
when we got to the restaurant, there were a selection of beverages. which was good. (sometimes at this sort of dinner, all you get is water or coffee.) we sat down at our table, and soon our server came and removed all the salad dressings. ok. it is never a good sign when there isn't any salad dressing on the table. that means we are getting some kind of specialty salad, which usually means full of stuff that i will not like! my ideal side salad is made up of lots of iceberg lettuce with some shredded carrots and maybe a broccoli floret. with ranch dressing, but our server had just whisked the ranch dressing away . . .
the salads came. i looked at them and knew i had to make a decision. i could see lettuce, walnuts, golden raisins, craisins, and something else green that was chopped into little pieces, and it was all covered with some kind of shiny, clear dressing. i was pretty sure i wasn't going to like it. but i didn't know what we were having for dinner yet, and what if i didn't like that?!? i couldn't just sit there all evening and not eat!
so i had to eat it. the question was, should i just eat the parts i knew i liked (the lettuce and walnuts) and try to pick out all the other stuff? or should i just try to choke it all down?
and then, for some reason i thought about diandra.
diandra is a pretty picky eater too--probably because she was raised eating by my standards. but several months ago she told me about going to a mexican restaurant with some friends, and they ordered a bunch of food. and when it came, she looked at it and realized that there was a lot in it that she didn't like. but she decided to try it anyway, without picking it all apart. and she was surprised to find that even though she didn't like the individual foods, when they were all put together, it tasted really good!
so i decided to just eat the salad the way it was. the first few bites were a little hard to get down, but once i got used to the unusual flavor, it wasn't that bad! i was really surprised! so i ate several bites and was feeling pretty good about my personal growth, and then i bit into something gooshy and slimy. i almost gagged. i had no idea what it was!! when i had looked at the salad, i didn't see anything gooshy in it. suddenly all these thoughts started going through my head--could it be a snail? a slimy mushroom?? neither of those things made any sense--this was a kind of sweetly flavored salad. but whatever it was, i knew i didn't want it in my mouth!
so there i was. what to do, what to do. there was too much food in my mouth to just swallow it. we had cloth napkins, so i couldn't really spit it out. but i also really didn't want to chew it anymore either. i started frantically (yet surreptitiously) looking around at other people's salads and digging through my own to try to see what could possibly be squishing about in my mouth.
and then i saw it. in my salad bowl. a mandarin orange.
the mind is a funny thing. i like mandarin oranges, but i have to be prepared for them. finding one in my mouth, out of context, and not knowing what it was, was not a pleasant experience for me. all the emergency lights and sirens in my brain were going off. "eject! eject!" was the message i was getting. thankfully i was able to override what was going on in my brain, and finally swallow what turned out to be the last bite of my salad.
maybe i should just stick to jack in the box. at least when i order a sourdough jack, i know what i'm eating--as long as rollie remembers to order it with no tomato or ketchup and light mayo . . .