Monday, January 23, 2012

2002: Ocean Beach

My very thoughtful and perceptive sister-in-law gave M.F.K. Fisher's The Gastronomical Me for my birthday: a collection of essays and excerpts from her writings on food - I highly recommend it! In the introduction, she talks about how people often accusingly ask why she would write about food - such a trivial thing compared to "wars and love."  In essence she says that the food we eat link us to all the people, the places, the times in our lives and our needs for love and happiness.  I loved that she said that - it's exactly why I started this blog in the first place [yes I've only written about 4 times and it's been 2 years...] I mean I love the tastes and I love the rituals of it, but I also love to think about where I was, what I was doing and thinking, who I was with and what life held for me at the moment I had that meal.

After college I moved to San Diego to house-sit. What was supposed to be four months turned into almost three years. After my house-sitting duties were over, I lived with my BFF in a tiny apartment within earshot of crashing waves and within walking distance to Ocean Beach - one of the seediest, dirtiest, tackiest and most interesting places I've found. There we found some of the best Mexican food I'd ever had [even considering all the travel I've done in Mexico!] at a dark little hole-in-the-wall called Ortega's. Ah - I so enjoyed my cold PacĂ­fico with lime and those salty hot tortilla chips as a friend and I waited for the meal.  I rarely ordered anything but the grilled fish tacos - the best fish tacos I've ever found to this day. They executed them perfectly: moist, grilled white fish, soft and flavorful corn tortillas, avocado slices, cotija, shredded cabbage, a white sauce and wedges of lime.

I haven't been back to eat there but once, and was actually slightly disappointed that time. Maybe things have changed: new cooks, poorer quality - who knows. I'd rather maintain my memory of Ortega's amazing fish tacos - they're tied right in with those casual, endless summer days in San Diego: the good friends, the perfect climate where I could wear my hoodie and flip-flops every day of the year, the walks along the cliffs and down to Newport Avenue... all the experiences that I so fondly associate with that time in my life.

 Orchard Street - taken with my Holga.  
We lived down by the water on the left.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm. sounds wonderful! I really hope you keep up this blog- I have loved every post- all four of them-hee hee. Seriously, though, like you said, we have to keep our brain juices flowing and I think this is such an ANNE way to make that happen. Plus,a fun way to get to know you apart from your mothering self. See ya in the morning!