Friday, April 22, 2016

Q for Quesadillas

Are you a foodie? A gastronomist? A chef? An awesome mommy cook? Yes, you are most probably my friend (I have at least one of each kind), and you know how not into food I am (except desserts, of course). But, I am an experimenter. Of food, clothes, jobs, entertainment. So, I don't always end up going to the same restaurant every single time. And then, there is the travel, when I have to experiment with a lot of things, primarily food (strict vegetarian at that).

Every single time I walk into a Mexican restaurant, be it in Aamchi Mumbai or far away Croatia, I am STUMPED. Does a quesadilla look queasy? Does a chimichanga look like a chimpanzee? What about tortilla? How is it pronounced (tortiya, turtila, tortila, totiya), let alone how does it look? So many times have I ended up ordering the chimichanga, only to realise that's the queasy little thing I wanted to avoid, while my favorite stuffed paratha look-alike is actually a quesadilla. 

Thanks to smart phones, free wi-fi across the world, and the ever ubiquituous internet, the nomenclature no longer poses a big challenge when I travel outside India. As soon as I walk into any restaurant / cafe, I ask, rather demand, my free wi-fi details (generally ignoring their "we are full now, you have no place to sit" apologies), check that it's working fine, then get the menu, check for vegetarian items while googling them up to confirm the WYSIWYG point, then find a table to seat myself at, and then place the order. In parallel, I also do some mental calculations of quick foreign currency->INR conversions to ensure I don't have to sell my kidney to ingest some kidney beans. As for India, it is pretty simple. I just ask the server / waiter / maitre d'hotel (at the Udipi / mid-market restaurant / five-star cafe) to describe the dish and then place the order. Only that their description is quite off the actual dish that arrives on the table. For instance, I have had paella being described as an exotic yet balanced dish of carbs, green veggies, and original Spanish sauces, only to receive tomato rice as an outcome. But, then, no one in India gives free wi-fi, so Google doesn't get my august presence in its midst, and I prefer the free human interference to the never-working-3G-powered automated support. 

Yes, today's post was written with some extensive assistance from Google baba. I still get confused between those Mexican dishes, but I have it programmed in my mind never to walk into an Italian place and order anything other than pasta / pizza. Because, I have no intention of buying expensive tomato rice or upma, when I won't taste it even if offered free!

P. S. This post is the seventeenth in the A-Z blogging challenge series for April. 

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