Luckily I have weird tastes in lots of things; women, food, drink, and humor seem to be my mostly controversial likings. Being couped up in the house from my return from New Orleans this weekend for two days drove me to find a reason to fly the chicken shack this evening after a much needed nap. I was starving so decided to allow my higher being guide me to wear to eat. I took Lola with me in the car (as she loves car rides) and we eventually headed south on Western Avenue.
I called my favorite Chinese place Chinese Lanterns, a hole-in-the-wall chinese joint on the northside of Chicago near the lake run that I fell in love with when I used to live around there. They, of course, pick the most inconvenient times to be closed. Like, every Tuesday. Every week. Like their menu says. Like I’ve known for the last 8 years. Yet I continue to want and call them on Tuesdays . I then got the idea of getting Puerto Rican food. I remembered seeing a Puerto Rican joint on Fullerton and Western so I headed over there. They were closed. WTF? OK. It was 9:30 PM on a Tuesday night . So, I then headed over to another place called Cafe Bolero. They were closed as well. So then I remembered I was by Cafe LaGuardia, a place I’ve eaten at many times before and thought that maybe they’d be open. They were!
As I parked my car across the street, I saw a huge banner on top of the building reading "Live Music Every Tuesday". Instantly I knew this was my beckoning and calling. Thank you higher self for guiding me here! The band was a traditional Cuban salsa group and they were really good. While I waited for my take-out order to be served up, I watched them play and listened to them all the while harking back to memories of listening to my Dad’s records (involuntarily) for years on end. These guys were the real deal, and they were tight as hell. The bassist played as if he could do all these songs in his sleep. Their harmonies were joyously good and the drummer/percussionist played the cowbell and guiro like a pro. I was incredibly inspired to come home and take the sound they had created and warp it into something of my own.
I waited by the bar/dance floor area and asked the waitress to get me a Malta. She was surprised by my order ,which in turn, surprised me. I figure this place would be selling out of this stuff. The best thing about Malta is that 99% of anyone I’ve asked to try it can’t drink it. Which means more for me! I’ve only met one person who likes it and she now lives in California (thanx Patty) and is far away form my stash. The girl proceeded to ask me if I was Puerto Rican. I answered "yes" to her and she asked, "Did you just have a sudden craving for it?" I laughed and told her I was waiting for my oder and knew they sold it there. Unfortunately, they ran out of cold Malta so they had to get me one from the backroom. Once it came up, it was warm, thus, I got it for free because the waitress felt bad it was warm. Holla!
So, try Malta when you get a chance. You can find it in every Chicago grocer. If you don’t like what you buy, put it in your fridge and call me to come over to finish the rest!
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Hustle & Flow (Widescreen Edition)
Release date: 10 January, 2006
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