I was out to dinner in a town I visit infrequently. It’s a nice place with some good dining options. I eat at restaurants frequently and have worked in a few, so I have a clue when it comes to getting a decent meal out. I was overwhelmed with the number of Italian joints and frankly there is no lack of those back home so I decided to go for Mexican.
Decor was cute, music was good (if a bit loud), and service was prompt and friendly. Soon after sitting, I was brought the requisite homemade tortilla chips and salsa. The chips were spot on–just the right amount of salt and super-crunchy. The salsa was tomato-heavy and spiceless. “Okay,” I figured, “maybe they’re saving the heat for the main and they don’t start you off with the three-alarm.”
Well, I was wrong and I instantly began to suspect something was off when they brought out a rack of no less than eight types of hot sauce well before my plate hit the table. I really should’ve been tipped off when I was first seated and found an unmarked bottle of orange-brown mystery sauce waiting for me.
In sum: the lime-cilantro rice tasted neither like rice, lime, or cilantro. The chimichanga was only rendered edible with a bath of Cholula Chili Lime sauce (disclaimer: I do not work for the hot sauce company or receive any benefits from them or their subsidiaries).
To add insult to injury, the meal was barely warm. How does a deep-fried chimichanga arrive to the table with cold spots? It was precooked and then reheated in a microwave. This is the only explanation, I reckon.
Which brings me to a biophysics question that has puzzled me for quite a while. I am not a fan of scalding hot food and drinks, but how is it that one person can eat or drink something at a high temperature and be fine, while other people find their tongues burned and the skin on the roof of their mouth peeling for a week? I haven’t been able to find a reputable, scientifically based explanation for this phenomenon. If I find out, I’ll let you know.