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Friday, March 05, 2004

In Praise of Pinquitos

Since I was away all last weekend in beautiful San Luis Obispo, this week has been catch-as-catch-can, especially since I have been fighting cramps and a bad sore throat. I am actually looking forward to doing some cooking this weekend.

(Not that I needed much food after the way I ate in SLO. Dinner at McLintock's downtown and breakfast at the Creole place by the hotel was plenty of food! And soooo goood.)

I got some tri-tip sliced and to-go from a deli downtown ("The Old Country Deli", and I'd go back). So on Tuesday night I thought, well, if I go to Andronico's and get some potato salad, I can have a Central Coast 'Que dinner.

Even better, Andronico's had canned pinquito beans in their canned goods section. I was looking for pintos. The pinquito is unique to the region and one of the staples of "Real" Santa Maria style 'que. So I had the genuine article - tri-tip, salsa, potato salad, pinquitos - as served up on 'que trucks in the central coast, without soaking and cooking the beans.

Those beans were really tasty because they are cooked with some spices. They were utterly fabulous the next morning in my breakfast burrito. They will definitely become a staple.

The "beef, beans, bread, and salsa" is a meal that's been around the Central Coast cattle country since before the Americans were, but pinquitos seem to be a fairly recent innovation, as is the marinated tri-tip (which used to be "junk meat" but is now expensive - sorta like flank steak and skirt steak).

I got some local seasoning blends and will look forward to trying them out on things.

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