I just don’t get the jaded traveller. The second I get a ticket to go somewhere I’m in a warm and rosy fog, smiling at strangers, dreaming of monstrous machines glinting in the sun above the clouds, imagining what my first glimpse of the place will be like.
Waiting in line to get through security I’m always reminded of the sweet, wrinkly Dutch lady, aboard the KLM 747 that brought us to Europe for the first time, who treated me and my brother to handfuls of candies meant for her grandchildren back home. I close my eyes and cross my fingers hoping to swim blissfully unaware into a school of giant jellyfish, to feel afraid, and then to surrender somewhere very far from home as Douglas and I did in the Andaman Sea, a million ghostly creatures dancing beneath the surface of the water around us, the two of us a mile from shore. I can’t wait to be the object of a wacky old cab driver’s amorous and toothless come-ons, to feel ungodly heat, to watch gorgeous Italian boys in white sneakers trying to charm gorgeous Italian girls over aperitivo at the foot of the Grand Canal, to wonder, really wonder, if eating that thing on the stick is going to kill me, if this is it, if I’m finally lost and everything, absolutely everything, is strange and new like it was in Tokyo.
I’m leaving for Dubai in a few hours with some of my favourite workmates. We’re going to shoot caviar for a wealthy Russian oligarch, a friend of Vlad’s. There are a million jokes to be told about underperforming and meeting a radioactive end, but I’m just too excited to worry.
Douglas and I have been going out on dates all week, like two obnoxious teens during the last week of high school, convinced we may never see each other again. We’ve been going for broke. Last Sunday I brought him to a sweet, new neighborhood pizza place. We sat outside where I pointed towards another new neighbor The Tuck Shop, home to some of the best burgers I’ve eaten. As always, Douglas was game for a challenge so we finished our pizza, wiped our chins and went out for burgers afterwards. It is the season after all.
I’ll leave you today with a well-travelled burger sauce. This one purposefully takes you out of your usual mayoketchupmustardpickle realm and drops you somewhere new. I can assure you, the trip is worth it – it may be the best pork or chicken burger sauce I’ve ever tried.
- ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1-2 bird's eye chilies, finely chopped
- ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup (250 mL) peeled and chopped ripe tomato
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) fish sauce
- 12 makrut lime leaves
- Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar, reduce to low and simmer until jammy and thick; remove and discard lime leaves. It really is that simple.
- pork burgers, baconbaconbacon
- chicken burgers, baconbaconbacon
- delicious as a dip for beer can chicken
- grilled fish!!
- try it on a smoky ham sandwich