If you don't live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you probably don't know how cold it has been this summer, how Siberian the evenings, how gray and disspiriting the mornings, how completely isolated we feel from the August rituals of the rest of America -- cookouts, afternoons at the pool, perspiring. Yesterday, I wore boots, tights, and a long-sleeved dress and it was actually one of our warmer days. In the garden, not a single tomato has ripened, though a few have molded and rotted, still green. It is August 18.
But we do our best. Friday night the kids and I went to an event called Off the Grid, which is basically an open-air convocation of food trucks where hundreds of people in Irish knit sweaters and Peruvian wool caps flock to eat Asian tacos and hot dogs and empanadas and other comestibles sold by mobile vendors and pretend they are having a brilliant summer experience. Isabel and I wanted to eat something from every truck. We did not succeed.
Here's what we tried:
-Malaysian crepe with chicken.
The crepe when submerged in sauce was more like a yummy noodle. I gobbled up the "crepe" and picked at the chicken, which was harshly seasoned and not delicious. The children boycotted.
-a cupcake. Owen had to nag a lot before he got this because I believe bought cupcakes are a rip-off. He got a "Twinkie" flavored cupcake and was disappointed that it didn't taste like a Twinkie. Next time I'm just going to buy him a Twinkie.
-some Chinese dumplings
-two creme brulees, one vanilla, one dulce de leche.
I thought these were quite good, Isabel thought they were middling, and Owen disapproved. Owen: "This is one of the foods that you don't want to take a giant bite of because if you accidentally get too much of it in your mouth it feels really gross."
He might have a point.
We were chilly and had to keep scavenging for seats and none of the food was as tasty as what you'd get in a restaurant. Still, walking back to the car I had this feeling that we'd done something incredibly fun, that we'd shared in a communal celebration of the chill of high summer before the chill of autumn and winter sets in. I guess this is a seasonal ritual people require, even when it's completely absurd. We won't go back, but I'm glad we went.