Let us begin with some statements—first of all, a big old apology to Ras Rody’s Jamaican Vegan food truck for omitting the beloved biz in last week’s edition about finding Black-owned restaurants (and also because SFR literally just featured the truck in our regular paper but also because it’s amazing). We’d also be remiss to not point out that Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen’s Les Samuel has been rockin’ it since October, that Dulce Bakery, as we’ve discussed before, is one of our all-time favorites, and that we’re sorry that ABQ’s Pasion actually closed a bit ago and we were working with some outdated information.
We're embarrassed by the oversights, and thank everyone who reached out kindly! We do not, however, apologize to or thank the "All Restaurants Matter" set who are clearly missing the point of pretty much everything right now. You dorks still reading this newsletter? Pretty sure we asked you to move on....
Oh, and also real quick, a plea to our readers to just...be...cool. Just be cool. There's a lot going on in Forksylvania right now, where we're from, and we started thinking about how there are only so many ways we can remind people to be decent about dining out during a pandemic. Don't take this to mean we don't care or we're out of ideas, we're just trying to level with you about how we're very tired and just wanna use the newsletter to talk about stuff right now; as in, nothing in particular; as in, we're just gonna ramble (as opposed to our usual highly curated and impeccably planned content).
We can tell you that we ordered Posa's (tamales and enchiladas, thank you very much) and it was AMAZING, and how the nice guy at Bumblebee's Baja Grill drive-thru was like "You look like a cool young person, would you like some chips with your order?" To which we were like, "Uhhhh, yeah, thanks!" Side note, if burritos aren't the smartest food of all time, well, we don't know what is.
We can mention how we love that the new world order means ordering food is one's civic duty as opposed to a laziness thing, and that we love cherry season (the best we've found are at Natural Grocers, by the way, because we've cut the Whole Foods cord because Jeff Bezos is trash). Seriously, though, we love cherry season so much, we're gonna point you in the direction of this-here piece, which should not only give you info about the season, but directions for making sweet-ass cherry treats!
And with that, we're gonna close out this week's opener with fully full-on historically accurate info about cherries, because you KNOW we love doing a good history lesson when we're out there forkin' it up.
It is thought that sweet cherries as we know them originated someplace near the Black and Caspian Seas, that they predate recorded history (in your FACE, Herodotus!) and that they get their name from the Turkish town of Cerasus. Apparently pits have even been found in caves where ancient cave-folk (like Mel Brooks) lived.
Some jerk named Seth Lewelling is credited as the guy who, in 1847, brought some cherries from someplace to the Pacific Northwest, kicking off the region's longtime love affair with cherries. Lewelling also invented grunge that same year, and to this day, Washington state still grows more cherries than anyone (and flannel).
The name of the Bing cherry can be traced to Lewelling, too. Seems he had a buddy/orchard foreman named Bing who—get this for some reason—was, like, 7 feet tall.
The maraschino cherry (aka, the reason your kids order Shirley Temples and/or Roy Rogerses) was created in Italy where folks started soaking the marasca cherry in liquers. Meanwhile, in America, where nobody likes fun, cherry dorks experimented with similar soakings, only sans-liquer. They landed on grenadine (which, oddly, is a pomegranate thing) and the rest is history.
There are something like 10,000 kinds of cherries grown in the US, but only about 10 are sold commercially. Who even knows what kind of cool cherries you're missing out on, and in what they're being soaked?
George Washington didn't chop down shit.
Cherries have been found to cut down inflammation and strengthen the immune system against things like gout. Maybe Washington SHOULD HAVE chopped down a tree—for its healing prowess!
Well, whaddya know—we pulled out a lengthy diatribe in the end after all. Thanks for being cool!
-The Farmers Market Del Sur kicks off on June 30, which means no more getting up at stupid 5 am to get the good tomatoes for Southsiders. You'll find it at 4801 Beckner Road (in the Presbyterian lot) through September 29.
-Local food news is otherwise a little slim right now. Pretty much everyone is falling into the same categories of "we're open now, we've had to change how we do things." Please note, though, that we're going to touch on something AWFUL in the next item (for which we apologize, we're just reporting information and trying to give you a quick heads up that it's a sensitive topic). Before that, though, just hope everyone is doing OK.
-Beloved downtown eatery India Palace and its owners were subjected to a vicious and hateful attack this week when parties unknown as of this writing broke in, trashed the place, and spray painted racist, white supremacist messages all over. SFR's Cole Rehbein was the first on the scene and describes the situation in this piece (side note, Rehbein beat the cops there by, like, a pretty significant amount of time). Rehbein also followed the original story up once SFPD designated the attack as a hate crime. Meanwhile, we'd just like to say this is complete bullshit, we hope the Singh family who own the restaurant can recover without too much hassle or fear and that racism is obviously alive and well in a city whose residents seem to think is without fault. Let's keep our eyes open, let's follow the lead of people of color, let's be kind and human (except when it comes to Nazis, who should always be knocked the fuck out when one is given the chance).
Let's diffuse (but not forget) the previous tension with this amazing '90s commercial. We'd point out that it's weird how long kids were expected to understand a cartoon parody of an old Jackie Gleason show about threatening spousal abuse (and that Fred and Barney clearly drive a car without the hole for their feet in the bottom in this commercial), but still—it's amazing, especially in its attempts at cloning that Public Enemy sound.
-The Atlantic's Matt Goulding says that restaurants as we know them are dead, and that we'll have to make way for a new version from now on. This sounds obvious, but really let it sink in—the way most of us have eaten out for our entire lives is over. That sounds like a high-class problem, but it's something that affects us all.
-Since this week features SFR’s annual Pride issue, this piece from eater.com (sue us, we love them!) about how lesbian bars might survive the pandemic feels particularly apropos (though you should remember that queer people deserve your consideration and kindness all year). Note as well that while straight folks often don’t “get” queer spaces, try to put yourselves in a frame of mind wherein having a bastion of light at which one can freely be who they are is nothing short of necessary. To say anything else is the height of privilege.
-We don't eat meat (in case you didn't know from the BAZILLION TIMES WE MENTIONED IT BEFORE), but even we're about to give up the pipe dream for this delish.com recipe—a spinach and artichoke-stuffed burger. Oh. Em. Gee.
-You may have heard the Aunt Jemima syrup brand will retire its long-standing and oft-maligned-for-its-racist-tones portrayal of a black woman in its branding, but families of early models, including former enslaved woman Nancy Green, on whom the original design was based, say they're not sure that's what they want. Elsewhere, brands like Eskimo Pie and Uncle Ben are rethinking their branding as well. We've seen two schools of thought about this: One saying that changed branding is but a symptom being addressed so long as companies continue to sell unhealthy products filled with crap that kills people; and another which says it's about time, the Washington R*dskins branding is garbage and it's beyond time to make changes to stuff like this.
-That's already a lot of information, plus we gave you all those cool cherry facts, so we're gonna cut it right there. Just be cool, remember?
In the print edition of SFR, find some more awesome Cole Rehbein work wherein a veritable world tour of cuisines available locally are unlocked for your eating pleasure. Note that we understand you've probably been to some of these places, so don't tell us we suck.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork's Correspondence
Number of Letters Received: 43 *Y’all like Ras Rody, we’ll tell you that.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (an unedited letter from a reader): ”What about equality?” *We’re not sorry we highlighted black-owned restaurants, and by doing so we in no way said everyone else is bad. Get real, vitamin breath!
Actually Helpful Tip: Carol Wight from the Greater Santa Fe Restaurant Association reached out to let us know that no restaurant workers who are already at-risk should be returning to work unless they absolutely cannot help it. Wight says that not only should unemployment continue to be available, as are waivers for immune-compromised people, there are Medicaid options as well. We have not done a deep dive into this, obviously, but it’s something to think about. *You’re awesome, Carol, and we appreciate your insights!
Cheery-O! The Fork