Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Don’t get me wrong. Oregon is great. Pacific Northwestern winter consists of fog, rain, and variations on a grey theme interspersed with brilliant sun like you see cascading across that bowl of salsa verde. The temperature hangs out between 40-55 degrees F during the day, mid to low 30s at night. However, something hasn’t quite sat right with me since we’ve settled in. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until my favorite Chicago girl popped in on g-chat the other day.

Oregon is really white. And I forgot about the implications of living among such a homogenous permanent population after being in Chicago. On that note:


Chicago, I hate you. You’re cold, dark, loud, and petulant. Your infrastructure is mind-boggling. Basic daily activities like getting groceries or doing laundry always end up being a “thing,” even when the weather is favorable. Plus, sales tax. Fuck sales tax. And roaches too. Despite all this, I’ve come to identify your culinary diversity as a gift, despite the fact that the population driving it is batshit insane (myself included while I was there). I miss my well stocked mercados where affordable chicken comes in all necessary cuts. I miss the taquerias. I miss the Polish butchers, the posh Lakeview butchers – hell, I just miss being able to go to a butcher that sells something other than frozen elk and bison jerky. I miss Devon Ave. where we had our pick of 3 blocks of South Asian restaurants, as well as the pickle bar at Patel Brothers. Phantom sensations of vinegar and cumin burn the back of my throat as I type. I miss the rainbow of sausage at the German places. I miss the fact that you could get good mangoes at 4 for $1.00 and cilantro was usually no more than $.79. I miss the thrill of discovering there was a sale on beef shanks or just beef shanks at all for that matter. I miss non-hoppy beer, well balanced cocktails, buying hard liquor at the grocery store (for cooking, of course), soup dumplings in Chinatown, dim sum on Argyle, old school bakeries, French food, Italian food, and the general notion that coconut milk is not exotic in the 21st century and should be affordable and available at all grocery stores instead of just at Trader Joe’s. I’m not coming back; you’re no place to grow old. However, you did get under my skin – I spell “chopped” as “chapped” for some reason – and it was good sometimes. I’m sure Portland will scratch my urban itch, but, right now on this sunny day in Corvallis, OR waiting for the salsa verde to chill, I miss your cosmopolitan deliciousness.

Salsa Verde for when you would commit a crime in exchange for some decent Mexican food

Get thee:

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, papery parts removed and finely diced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely diced (leave the seeds in if you like it spicy)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cumin

1) Chop your tomatillos, chiles, and cilantro as instructed. Run your garlic through a garlic press. Add salt and cumin. Mix. Taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Mix. Store in fridge until you make fajitas. Dream about the salsa verde at Los Portales in Rogers Park until such time.