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Posts Tagged ‘tres leches’

I’m a sucker for buying anything kids are selling on card tables in front of their houses. I don’t care if the lemonade is watery or if the cookies are stale; I’ll buy them.

When I was a kid, my sister and our two friends used to try to sell stuff to neighbors all the time. Shrewd businesswomen that we were, we set up our table at the end of our friends’ driveway, which faced the town ball field and tennis courts. Less-than-shrewd businesswomen that we were, once we added blue food coloring to 7-Up. (We actually thought we could market this stuff in cans!) Two worn out tennis players approached us and when they saw the color of the drinks, one said to the other, “You go first.”

Oh, the foolhardy days of my youth.

Recently I drove past a building in my neighborhood, one I lived in some fifteen years ago. Behind a table on the sidewalk were three beautiful Latina girls about ten years old. On the table was not a pitcher but a curious red-and-white machine. Holy innovative beverages, Batman! Was this what I thought it was?

I parked and called out to them, ‘What are you selling?’ and in unison they answered, ‘Snow cones!’ Well, sold, obviously.

‘What flavors do you have?’

‘Just cherry.’ (Not blue, in other words. English was their second language and they still knew more than my sister and me.)

They grinned and got to work. The machine gave them a hard time; it took a lot of elbow grease to hold the machine with one hand and pulverize the ice cubes with the lid with the other, so they called their mother out to help.  And I took French, not Spanish, but I still understood the conversation between the two because it was the same as it would have been between any antsy daughter and her aggrieved mother:

‘Mom…it’s taking too long!’

‘Don’t start. You were the one who wanted a snow cone machine for your birthday.’

‘I didn’t know it was going to be such a pain!’

‘Well, aren’t you glad I didn’t have to work today and could help? Thank your lucky stars.’

Ten minutes later (it really was, but who cared?) I was offered a plastic cup of crushed ice with streaky squirts of cherry and a bendy straw. One of the girls said, ‘Do you want this, too?’ She held up a little open can of sweetened condensed milk, which I use when I make caramel and which is a staple of Latin cuisine, especially in that voluptuous knockout, Tres Leches cake.

‘Of course!’ I said, and she poured some of the stuff on top of the mixture, less like a snow cone now than like a slushie with a Spanish accent (but again, who cared?) and paid them. They were so excited.

Told a few friends about this, and one commented that a drink like that lacked rum and nothing else to be a perfect summer drink. While I’m inclined to agree, it really was perfect the way it was: A buck for a trip to the tropics.

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Soft shell crab sandwich, The Circus Drive In, Wall.

Been chowing some of our best-loved treats here at the Shore and wanted to share them with you.

My mom loves the fried soft shell crab sandwich at The Circus. It’s somewhat unnerving to lift the bun and see an entire crab lying there in state, but one taste—just utter sweetness—and you’ll get over it. A seasonal restaurant, The Circus’s site announces their opening day not as opening day but when ‘Flaps open’ 🙂 Here, a waitress comes out to your car and delivers your food on a tray that she hooks onto your window. Mom’s been coming here since her high school days in the 1950s. The pulled pork has a bit more kick than others I’ve tried—a welcome change.

Pulled pork sandwich, The Circus Drive In, Wall. Shot this on my lap in the car.

The best fries at the Shore are at the Windmill, and everyone here knows it. If you’re going make a point to consume a positively alarming amount of fat and carb calories, you might as well love every minute (words to live by).

Windmill french fries, Allenhurst Boardwalk, facing Asbury Park.

Okay, Freehold’s not really the Shore, but it’s only twenty minutes west and I’d be remiss to ignore this cake. Had a slice of it when visiting my friend’s restaurant. It was saturated with creaminess—cold, rich, and delicate all at the same time—and so good that I actually got emotionally involved with it. But I ate it anyway.

Tres leches cake, A Little Bit Of Cuba Dos, Freehold.

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