Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Let's have lunch!

So the other day, look what showed up in me old mailbox:

A present from one of my favorite blog pals, the awesome Jen of use real butter. I already knew what was inside, but that didn't make it any less fun to open.

Look! I had to unwrap them. Can you smell?? I have all sorts of plans for them: First, I'll make some homemade vanilla extract (good timing: I just finished a bottle I started over a year ago, the beans finally having pooped out), then there's always ice cream, custards, creme brulee, and one of my favorite uses in the winter: in poaching liquid (like Madeira or Riesling) for pears. I'll toss one in my baking sugar too. And most of my infused wines have a bean in them as well. Whoohee!

My only disappointment is that when Jen visits California soon, she will not make it up to the bay area. She said if she were able to, she would say "Take me to your favorite taqueria!" Which I would be happy to do. Instead I'll have to thank her by taking her on a little virtual lunch expedition. Want to join us?

Cancun Taqueria is located in downtown Berkeley, conveniently between my office and my gym. I stop by to pick up my lunch every day I work out (most weekdays) and take it back to eat at my desk.

You can probably get more authentic Mexican food in San Francisco's Mission district, but I'm happy with the lard-free organic Mex Cancun serves up.

Friends of mine remember when this business was a little take-out window across the street.I remember when salsa came in two squeeze bottles on the table: red and green. Over the years, it's grown and is now one of the most successful businesses in Berkeley. It couldn't have happened to a nicer group of people.

These lovely men make my lunch, which is the same thing every time: a soft veggie taco, no chips. (In proof that the acorn doesn't fall too fall from the tree, my father used to order the same thing every day at his work cafeteria, no fries. When Jen comes someday, I will have chips.) Surely because I am so pleasant and friendly, my order is usually sitting at the end of the counter by the time I pay and walk down there. Or maybe they just want to get me out of there sooner. Regardless, it's nice to bypass the line of people waiting for their food and be on my way.

And please notice the THREE salsa containers. Everyone else gets one, but I get three. Because I'm special. This is a really good thing because one of the main attractions of Cancun is this:

The salsa bar!! With FOURTEEN (go ahead, count 'em) kinds of salsa!!! My favorites are the tomatillo, the strawberry, and the mango.

When I'm having dinner there (it's a great place to grab a quick bite before a movie), I have something different, like a prawn burrito. Husband often has the special, which is displayed when you walk in the door.

We also get our Christmas tamales here. During the holiday season, they sell them by the dozen, and we've found that people are happier to see us over the holidays if we show up with tamales.

Thanks for the beans, Jen! Now, when are you coming???


J said...

Yum, I wish that could be my lunch everyday!

Jen Yu said...

yay! you got it! wow, you really know what to do with vanilla beans. i feel like i ought to give you the rest of them ;)

so how long to drive from south lake tahoe to bezerkeley if we take a scenic route? we may kidnap you yet, missy!

Monica said...

Ooh...that salsa is total food porn. Yum!

I enjoyed your Yellowstone photos...hopefully we can make it out there someday!

Jennifer H said...

I am so hungry right now! That all looks so great. Yum.

Jackie said...

I LOVE tamales and I have yet to see them on a menu at any local PA 'mexican' restaurants. You are a lucky gal!

Libby said...

A SALSA BAR!?!? I think I've died and gone to heaven!! I actually hosted a salsa party once a few years back- as many different recipes as I could do served with chips and margaritas on the side.

Cindy said...

Jen: If there were snow in them hills, I'd be up there in a flash! But in the meantime, I'm totally open to kidnapping. xo

Bonbon Oiseau said...

such lovely vanilla beans! and a great virtual taqueria tour---i am in NY but used to live in San Francisco so now i am homesick for the taqueria's that only exist in CA!