One of these days I'm going to die and won't be able to try any more delicious food throughout the world. Although to be fair, my world in the past year consisted of New York, Detroit, Paris (and Brittany), and Chicago. That's not a bad mix actually... but man, there's not enough time in the world to enjoy all that exists. As much as I would love to just live as a hedonist and be concerned about present consumption... how do I pay for future consumption? Hmm.. tough question, and there's way too many tough questions in life. Why don't I just worry about what to eat? Thankfully when Steph and I were in Chicago, it wasn't a big concern because Jonathan and Grace took care of it. And I don't even know if I can get around to posting all of it, but we had a Memorial Day that was memorable because my stomach almost exploded. One of the hightlights (and there were many) during the day (and that doesn't count the dinner that night... on my jeebus), was a stop at Don Pedro Carnitas (yelp).
Located in the Pilsen area of Chicago, Don Pedro Carnitas is just like a homey joint you would find in Sunset Park (Brooklyn). It's a place that's honest and unapologetic in a way that hearkens to our days of sleepovers, cereals, and Saturday morning cartoons. A Michelin star requires you to know which farm the pig was raise and what temperature your sous vide fish would cook. Modern day restaurants especially in a big city like New York serve as confessionals for yuppies and for middle to upper class denizens who need to feel good about something. Eating Creekstone Farm humanely and sustainably raised beef will absolve you of your sins, my son. But father, I feel no guilt whatsoever in eating this tripe stew of unknown provenance. But it doesn't have to matter because it's fucking delicious and it doesn't have to because of the target audience. This food is tasty and served to people who just want a good meal. You got so much free time you're concerned about if you're doing your part? Some food is for people just happy to be getting by. We wanted some carnitas, and they serve a huge platter of it (enough to feed 4) for just $12 dollars. They were out. So we got the menudos soup. They brought us a big bowl of it with three little bowls. We were four, and when we asked for an extra bowl so we could all share, they just gave us another small bowl of soup. It's the way your friends mom would take care of you if you went over to have a sleepover.
It helps of course to share food with old friends and create new memories. Fried pork skin helps too. It doesn't matter what kind of cow delivered this tripe in the stew or what kind of pig died to give me this crunchy skin. It doesn't matter from where where the onion condiments came. Factory raised or humanely raised is all the same to me at Don Pedro Carnitas. I don't need to feel better about what I'm eating because with eyes closed and stomach expanding, I just feel better. I'm don't need to save the world one farmer or one animal at a time. The complexities of saving the planet is too much for my puny brain to handle. I'll give you an example... How do you solve the hunger that exists in Haiti, one of the poorest country in the world? Do you offer up free rice in aid as the U.S. does? Would that put the rice farmers in Haiti in ruins? Would that destroy local economy and prevent growth? Would genetically modified crops help in an equatorial country where growing conditions might be harsh? Would yuppies in New York be willing to eat the same type of modified food? And do you have widely-accepted peer-reviewed data to back you up? The world doesn't need my saving. I don't need to have control over some random aspect of life in order to feel better about the order of things. It's impossible to calculate the externalities of every single action or every single meal. Fuck where this meat came from because it's good. I just need to eat more of what the world has to offer and enjoy all the experiences forthcoming.
Don Pedro Carnitas
1113 W 18th Street.
Chicago, IL 60608
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