Fiesta of Fusion

Years before Korean tacos came into vogue in food trucks across America, my mother was serving them up for lunch at our home in Pittsburgh.  Tacos were on the menu one day at the school cafeteria and having decided they were my new favorite food, I asked if she could make some for us at home.  I'm sure at the time, she only had a vague understanding of what tacos were but she did what she could to make her best imitation.  She seasoned the ground beef as if it were Korean bbq and topped it with baby shrimp, chopped lettuce, onions, shredded cheese, store bought bottled salsa (Pittsburgh was hardly a hotbed for authentic Mexican) and wrapped it in a soft tortilla.  What resulted was probably one of my more vivid and magical culinary memories.  There wasn't a single flavor that wasn't familiar and yet this new combination yielded a completely new experience.  Years later, when I heard that Korean tacos had arrived on the street food scene in LA, I lamented a missed business opportunity, but wasn't at all surprised by its growing popularity.  

For dinner on Saturday night we invited over a couple friends who we were indebted to for feeding us some fantastic bowls of homemade ramen a couple months ago.  After some brainstorming on the menu, T and I agreed on serving up Korean tacos.  As we were cooking for an audience (one that was 'culinarily' endowed at that), we decided to add a couple special touches to our usual spread, including pulled pork made with Korean bbq marinade (yet another reason to love our pressure cooker).  By the time dinner was served, we ended up with one of the most ambitious meals we've ever made.  To top it all off, one of our guests made cream puffs which she filled with freshly whipped vanilla cream... it was like eating sweet, creamy air.  Cream puffs are probably among my top 5 favorite desserts, so you can only imagine how elated I was.  New friends and old favorites... there wasn't much more I could ask for in a night.  





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