I’ve been having trouble getting to sleep lately, so I downloaded this app to my iPhone that is supposed to help you relax and fall asleep faster. It’s narrated by a Scottish dude who sounds like Liam Neeson in the movie Rob Roy, which, all by itself, made the thing worth the $2.99 I paid for it. So, last night, I tried it, and I don’t know if it was the app, or that icy Grey Goose martini I had beforehand, but I fell into a deep, dreamy sleep, and didn’t wake up until almost noon today. Whew, I needed that! While I was out, I had a really vivid dream that I was riding around in an SUV with Madonna–she was driving–and she was insistent on finding a place that served “chicharrón de queso.” She was pronouncing it correctly, too, in a very exaggerated way, like when white, midwestern news anchors suddenly bust out a latin accent when they say the word “Nicaragua.” Anyway, I kept trying to tell Madonna that the only place I knew that served it is in Mexico City, and she said “That’s fine, we can be there in 20 minutes.” I guess that SUV could transform into the Concorde! After I woke up, I turned on PBS while I was sipping my coffee, and there’s Rick Bayless in Mexico City, eating chicharrón de queso at a taqueria! How weird is that?
So, I feel like the universe–and Madonna–are telling me to find and/or make this delicious, cheesy snack, as though my life might depend on it. I’m not sure where to find it in San Francisco. The only place I’ve ever had it, as I repeatedly told Madonna, was in Mexico City. My friend Bruno introduced me to it at a D.F. taqueria in the middle of the night, after we had been out and about. When he suggested it, just from the name, I was afraid it had something to do with pork rinds, of which I am not a fan. But, no…it is just cheese. Nothing but cheese. Cheese, cheese and more cheese, grilled on a hot griddle until the fat comes out of it, and then it’s shaped to cool into a perfectly crisp cylinder. Oh, cheeses-mary-and-joseph, it is out of this world fantastic. It’s the Mexican cousin of the Italian frico, the lacy, dainty Parmesan crisp. Ain’t nothin’ dainty about the chicharrón de queso, though. Just like Mexico itself, it is big, and salty and caramelized and imposing, and absolutely worth every ounce of plaque in your arteries that it may deposit. Although, since they brush the fat out of it as it cooks, it might actually not be all that bad. Yeah…let’s go with that.
If anyone knows of a place in the SF Bay Area where I can find a good one, please let me know. Barring that, I’m thinking I may need to make it myself. Thank goodness for youtube! Check it out — it actually doesn’t look that hard (although this guy isn’t going with the traditional cylindrical shape–we’ll forgive him, though, because of his groovy soundtrack):