Was walking down the street exploring the new neighborhood today. Part of it is packed with a bunch of small seafood shacks. Some with enticing offers such as “free shot of rum with an order of a dozen crabs!”. There was a chalkboard menu viewable from the doorway of one which I was taking a look at, no immediate intention of walking in. Lots of good soul food on the menu from ribs to catfish, including chitterlings, frogs’ legs, and pigs’ feet. And a decent selection of affordable sides. As I was about to step away de repente “BAM” Emeril-style in the form of a big bright smile greeted me at the door from within. She made me come in to grab a take-away menu. I asked her how one goes about eating pigs’ feet, saying that it was a favorite of my father’s, but that I had not been adventurous enough to try. She said she didn’t know. So she calls to the back where the grill was and this unshaven guy comes out, bandaged wrist, short brown cigarette hanging out of his mouth, saying he didn’t know either. Maybe just suck on the bones to get the juice or the meat out. (Now I am looking around to check out just how fresh their fish selection is, as they’re not giving me much confidence on their pigs’ feet seeing as how it seems they’ve never had them. Just taking it all in …) So they call one more guy out and ask him, and his response is a heavy two hands holding himself up on the counter and a blank gaze accompanied by a moment of silence. Finally a “just like any other meat … you wanna try ’em?” Another time maybe. But he goes on about how good the frogs’ legs are. And how are they prepared? Fried. Just like much of the menu offering. I suppose anything and everything tastes good fried. Says I could take some of them home with me too. I’ll save the $5 for another time when I have some adventurous company to share it all with. After an 0 for 2 on trying to get this white boy to try some soul food, he gives one last shot a “Ray’s Special” and his offering of buy a dozen crabs, get a dozen free. So does that mean that I get two shots with that?!
And I’m just gettin’ started. Wait’ll I tell ya about having half the neighborhood glaring at you at the post office outfitted with bullet-proof glass as you try and assist a suspiciously-lacking-in-identification El Salvadoran try and get his mail without speaking a lick of English …
P.S. I really am excited to explore more of the area as I get the chance. And I do like the people, regardless of the tone of the post :). The area has got culture and color and no lack of interesting occurrences.