As excited as I was, I felt a bit awkward and a little nervous entering George’s place. He has an “international” appeal that is reflected in the diversity of those I met coming and going. The entrance to George’s is actually a bit small and a hangout for the practical tools of his trade, shopping carts. I had to pause for earlier visitors to make their way out the door before continuing.
Once inside it was easy to relax. My olfactory system kicked in identifying scents of lime, tomatoes, and onions. The aroma of meat cooking and something deep-frying made me glad I’d planned to dine with George. But first I’d look around a bit – take in the surroundings.
Even though I knew George was Greek, the first thing I began to notice was his obvious love of Mexican fare. A stack of cactus leaves. A wall full of hot sauces.
(I’ve recently learned that whole cactus leaves are called nopales and nopalitos when they are chopped. They’re a great source of calcium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and magnesium. They can be served chopped in salads. Another serving idea is to saute or stir-fry them with onions and chili peppers and sprinkle with cheese.)
Near the hot sauces was a full rack of spices containing every imaginable dried or powdered ingredient one might need to create an array of tantalizing flavors. Across the aisle freshly made salsa and tortillas. Mexican vanilla and hot chocolate blends. My taste buds were aching.
Then, just as suddenly I was transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean isle of Greece. Colorful Olives and fresh feta cheeses beckoned to me along with fresh pita bread.
Teas from Sri Lanka and London tempted me and won, but I successfully resisted the many displays of cookies and sweets from around the world.
I could stand it no more. I needed to eat. George’s own Mexican Cafe was just the place. Fresh salsa, homemade guacamole, freshly made tortilla chips, and a cheese-filled quesadilla. The freshly made meat tacos were tempting even to my preference for most things vegetarian. An assortment of bottled drinks, including orange soda, were available along with freshly made lemonade. Sitting in a booth by the window, I enjoyed watching the diverse clientele come and go, dipping and munching and people watching. Life is good.
And there’s still dessert and the bakery to explore.
Ponder & Chat: Have a favorite market spot you like to visit? What makes it unique to you?