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The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Food for Thought: Arroz con Pollo edition

Hannah Agpoon
Graphic by Hannah Agpoon.

I will never understand people who are die-hard potato fans when rice exists. I encourage you to Google “the importance of potatoes,” then open up a new tab and Google “the importance of rice.” Our world runs on rice. I run on rice. D-Hall runs on rice. Mexican food runs on rice.  

After consuming Los Girasoles’ Arroz con Pollo and building a bowl at Maria’s Fresh Mex with the same components, I have arrived at a conclusion. Want to know my take? Read on while I take you on another food journey.  

The plate at Los Girasoles was essentially overflowing; the flavors of chicken, rice, cheese, onions and a “special sauce” mingled before me. I took the first bite and chewed. The chicken was remarkably soft and my teeth cut through it with ease.  

My mind and soul struggled to pin down the exact flavor of this special sauce. I want to describe it, but there is no single word that can accurately convey the feeling it incited in me. The dish took me underwater. It created peace within me. The flavor of the special sauce was akin to the noise that overpowers every other thought that enters my head when I sit at the bottom of a pool. I hope you can understand.  

My plate was full. Every bite consisted of different combinations of flavors and textures. I was in a groove, my mind entirely consumed, chomping away and away until…   

As I sucked away the special sauce of the bite I had taken, my tongue met a remarkably smooth surface. It was a mushroom. It was a texture shock. To me, chewing mushrooms is like chewing tapioca pearls at the bottom of boba. That’s not to say I hate tapioca peals, but I am opposed to such a texture present on a plate of chicken and rice.  

To make myself feel better I added beans and sour cream to the dish. My stomach approached max capacity, but I had only consumed one third of my plate. I would be able to have a second and third date with this savory chicken.  

Thus ended the first act. Los Girasoles exited stage left, and Maria’s came into the spotlight.  

In my bowl there was a sturdy base layer of rice with beans on top. Next came a layer of beautifully shredded chicken; the chicken was as fluffy as my pink sweater that I loved so very much. (It disappeared from Loose laundry shortly before Spring Break. I am offering dinner to whomever is able to find and return it). On top were fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a dollop of sour cream.  

It was beautiful. My meal had so many colors, which was refreshing. With every color came a different flavor that complemented all the others perfectly. The crisp lettuce danced with the warm beans. The sweet tomatoes flirted with the rice, bringing out its unique flavor. The cheese punched through every flavor with a sort of gentle authority which is hard to create as a chef.  

There was a brawl on my tongue. The flavors and textures fought it out but to no avail. Ultimately, I was the real winner.  

It took me home. It came so close to my mother’s own chicken and rice. Maria’s rice wasn’t as soft as hers, but the amount of saliva I produced while consuming the dish just about made up for it. 

I am usually not one for poultry. Wings bore me, and my preferred barbecue and sandwich meats come from quadrupedal farm animals. There is something about chicken and rice, though, that makes my mind go blank. It warms my soul. For a long time I attributed this passion to the rice, but after this food adventure I now appreciate the chicken just as much.  

What makes the chicken and rice combination from Maria’s come out on top for me is the way the chicken and rice hold hands together as they dance on my tongue. The special sauce of Los Girasoles’ arroz con pollo has two left feet; I would love to see their chicken and rice have a chance in the spotlight alone with each other.  

End scene.  

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