Monday, June 4, 2012

Part Two: The Festival of Bites

I love going to festivals obviously, but this is one of my favorite reasons why:

Educated people sat in ergonomic chairs around a smooth wood-grain conference room table and brainstormed about this banana. Someone suggested “Jazz Age Banana,” but was shot down.

A co-worker countered with “Sweeney Todd Banana,” but it was met with disinterest.

That guy no one likes wrote “Don Draper Banana” on the whiteboard with a marker. That guy that everyone likes erased it slowly without saying anything.

“Village People Banana” was cost prohibitive because, as it turns out, novelty-sized cowboy hats and feathered headdresses are more expensive than you think.

Then the recently promoted lady who always wears scarves simply said “Rasta Banana.” And it was suddenly crystal clear why she got that promotion. Nailed it.

Among the things I firmly do not like are banana flavored things that are not bananas, every single parking enforcement agent in Southern California, and meals not followed by dessert-which apparently to a lot of people means breakfast.

BUT, at their very simplest, that is what birthdays are for. They are for not having the things you don’t want, and for having many things that you do. For me that means food, family phone calls, and friends. And when I’m really lucky, it also means festivals where I can eat a specialty item, then ride on something high into the sky after narrowly meeting the height requirement.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a food festival super fan. Strawberry festival in Louisiana? Did it. Avocado ice cream at the avocado festival? Ate it.

Cherry Gelato at the Beaumont Cherry Festival? Had two.

And this year for my birthday-The Citrus Festival. Swish.

(Is “swish” appropriate there? It’s a sports term of some kind, I cannot tell if it’s positive or negative. I think I heard it in a song, and that sentence just felt like it needed some kind of grammatical punch at the end. Ok, keep me posted.)

The La Habra Citrus Fair features the legendary carnival prize “Rasta Banana,” a gentleman dressed as a free-spirited lemon, and that which dreams are made of (mine at least)…a true food truck frenzy.

The Lime Truck uses local organic and sustainably sourced fresh ingredients, but all of those adjectives dissolve into the either when you eat their ceviche. You guys, one of the most absurdly delicious things I have eaten this year came in a plastic cup with a tortilla chip planted in it. To sample this ceviche is to taste California on a crunchy triangle chip. Blue crab, shrimp, and scallops taste of sweet ocean, their sunny salty bite made acidly effervescent by un-messed-with lime juice. Nothing fishy here-it’s the freshest bite around.

And ceviche this good needs a partner-in-crime. The lookout guy. The bag man. The driver. It needs a beverage that has its back. Enter The Lime Truck’s strawberry limeade.

This is a frosty summer citrus sip that can be drained in one straw session. Because it’s strawberry. And it’s lime. And it’s cold. And it wets your whistle. You’ve just had the best ceviche of your life, and have a newfound affection for limeade. Trust me, you’ll at least consider whistling.

And just when I felt ultra-zesty, freshified, and accidentally healthy, I turned my head to bring “Rasta Banana” back into my peripheral vision, and there it was. The Panfiniti truck. A peripatetic panini palace. And the home of…the Apple Pie-nini.

Some background: Apple is my least favorite pie. I tend to be suspicious of fruit in desserts. I always feel a bit tricked. The kind of thing I would probably do if I were faced with an apple pie, and no way around it, would be to scoop out the saucy innards of that apple pie, pile it between two pieces of sweet soft bread, and grill it.

HA! You are NOT dessert-mighty apple, starchy instrument of trickery! You are…lunch.

The Panfiniti truck has gotten inside my head. They crawled in through my nose while I was sleeping like a spider, and stole my sparkling innermost wish for the fate of apple pie. They scooped out those saucy cinnamony innards! They piled it between two pieces of sweet soft bread! And they grilled that mother.

It is brilliant! They have beaten the apple pie apple at its game! It can no longer be allowed to tarnish the chocolatey whipped creamed ideal of dessert! Its fruity plan to infiltrate dessert with vitamins and fiber foiled, it is now left to defile the notion of a healthy lunch!!!

Not too soft, and not too saucy, and sequestered between crunchy grilled bread, the apple pie-nini is absolutely UNregrettable.

Apple pie on a sandwich in the middle of the day! We were floored by the genius of the idea! We ate it messily! “Rasta Banana” looked on from his perch in envy!

Sometimes the best possible day is defined by not spilling your coffee down your shirt.

Sometimes the best possible day is defined by spilling your coffee down your shirt, but having worn your coffee-colored shirt by happenstance.

My best possible day is Lady and the Tramping a dessert sandwich with someone who thinks it’s as hilarious as I do, and quietly deciding that naming a fair ride “Michael Jackson” is at best nonsensical, and at worst wildly inappropriate.

 Thank You And Goodnight, La Habra!

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