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The shortness of life

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The shortness of life

Jefferson Scher | Aug 18, 2000 12:11 AM

I was reading Chowhound when, inexplicably, I became quite hungry. I noticed it was already 8:00 which, here in Silicon Valley, can really limit your dining options. As I drove over to my favorite local taqueria, I had a revelation: for a year now I have been mostly ordering the grilled chicken burrito to reduce my fat intake, even though their carnitas is the best meat on the menu (and, my friends and I agree, head and shoulders above that served at any other taqueria we know of).

If the expression "life is short" has any practical application for a chowhound, I thought, it must mean "order what you really want." Well, tonight the carnitas was not as transcendent as usual, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. What was most unusual, though, were my dining companions at the short counter in the front window. I really can't ever remember having ants on my table at a restaurant since I left college. Maybe 1 or 2 here and there, but certainly not a good dozen. They were wandering from the windowsill onto the counter, making forays toward my bits of dropped onion and discarded fat lumps and tentatively examining a small puddle of tamarindo.

As I gently blew the ants back toward the window, I mused on the basis for my loyalty to this restaurant. I don't speak Spanish, and have never had a conversation of more than a few sentences with the people who work here. Watching them handle tortillas hot off the griddle, making individually tailored burritos during the lunch rush, I developed a deep appreciation for how hard they work. Still, if the food wasn't good, I'd be somewhere else right now.

It's all about the food; that's the bottom line. I don't intend to let a spoonful of ants deprive me of my burrito. Life is too short.

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