Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Local Flavor by Andy Scheer

A breakfast burrito at a delicatessen? Why is a place called the East Coast Restaurant & Delicatessen — especially one that touts its pastrami, corned beef, and bagels — offering burritos?

Perhaps it’s no more unusual than a supposed New York-style deli existing at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Across Colorado, burritos appear on nearly every menu. 
I still remember my first encounter with one — in the late 1960s. My parents drove the family to a camp on Lookout Mountain, west of Golden, Colorado. There we discovered something not found in the northwest corner of Ohio: a Tex-Mex restaurant.

My parents convinced me to try something exotic: a burrito. And with it a soda pop not sold in the Midwest — something tasting vaguely of carbonated prune juice called Dr. Pepper.

These days, restaurants seem homogenized. It takes work to find authentic regional cuisines — the distinctive touches a writer can use to insert local flavor into a piece of fiction.

Breakfast at RJ's
Were I writing from a visitors perspective about Kansas City, Id find a reason to risk polarizing readers by include a scene at Gates Bar-B-Q rather than Arthur Bryants. Or I might take them for a breakfast of burnt end hash at RJs Bob-Be-Que in Mission.

Writing about Floridas Space Coast, Id let readers sample the corn fritters and rock shrimp at Dixie Crossroads — with a special mention of the aquatic-themed murals. Love those manatees!

A "slopper" at Gray's in Pueblo, Colorado
And if I wanted to evoke the old steel town of Pueblo, Colorado, Id take readers to Grays for a “slopper”— an open-face cheeseburger served in a soup bowl and drenched with freshly made green chile sauce. Nothing quite like it.

If you were writing a scene in a restaurant nearby, what menu specialty would give your readers a true local flavor?

1 comment:

Davalyn Spencer said...

I live west of Pueblo and now I have to try Gray's. That slopper sounds too good to pass up. Thanks for the local flavor.