if you didn't read part 1 here it is
With his vision shifting tricks on him, Davis woke up tussled in a strange bed of a strange room in a strange apartment. To add more confusion to his aching head, blurry vision and parched mouth, he was stripped down to his boxers. Fearing the worst, Davis wondered how many drinks he had? Did he do something stupid? What was the outcome of the evening with viv? He wondered if this was her Egon Scheile print staring back at him. Noticing his pants, Davis struggles out of bed and almost knocks over the wastebasket smelling of dried vomit and things not too ticklish to tell. This was bad, he thought, going home with viv and then just when the mood for animal sex is set, he ends up throwing up in her apartment in front of her.. What an impression, what grief, what a horrible smell. The events of last night flashed in front of his eyes, bringing a sharp stabbing pain gushing fake blood all over the floor. He ate meat.. he ate a fellow living animal.. he propagated the idea that cannibalism was ok.. The cold air above the covers sends shivers through his guilt-riddled body, and then he smells something all too familiar infiltrating his nostrils, something that reminds him of home. Fresh pumpernickel bread..
Exiting the room, Davis encounters his two best friends and resident couple of their group of pals, Jake and Rain. It was sometime during senior year in college that Jake and Rain hooked up and they haven’t looked back since. It was a beautiful summer day in which the constitution of the vegan icing held up, the experimental indie band “broken taillights lead to love” folked it up on the dance floor, and their wedding cake was consumed by all. Although Davis sometimes feels like a third wheel hanging out with them, they see things completely different.. Handing over the fresh bread and some softened almond butter to help settle his stomach, Rain begins with the grilling.
Well it looks like our upchucking troubled romeo is up, care to explain yourself nicknolte? You look like a train wreck, what the hell happened to you? Mustering an embarrassed smile, Davis approaches his friends and begins to mouth an apology for his antics, whatever they were.. Secretly, he was thankful he wasn’t doing this walk of shame in front of Viv.. His shrugged shoulders invited his friends to relate to him the events of their evening. After a scrumptious dinner of Jake’s famous vegetarian spinach and mushroom lasagna followed by a movie, the duo is awakened by the drunken cheers and jeers of someone out their window. Lo and behold, the drunken sot just so happens to be their dear friend Davis, who is looking like he desperately needs to sober up.. once helped inside their until just recently quiet abode, Davis regales to his friends the marvelous encounter with viv and how this is the happiest he’s been in years. He tells them of the wonderful laughs they shared, the interests in common, the connection, and most importantly the way her hand fit in his.. it all felt so natural.. and then, in an emotional train wreck his mannerisms take a 180 degree turn from his very drunk and happy self, to the manic depressive they never knew him to be.. Squawking on about not being able to live with himself, the hypocrisy, his wicked soul, the despicable despicability of his evening.. It was soon after announcing how disgusted he was with himself that his awareness began to flee his body. Feeling the slump, Davis ends up passed out in Jake’s lap.. the gurgles and burbles jake felt in his lap prompted a swift response leading to the disposal of their inebriated friend in their newly redecorated second bedroom.. Davis kept the peace disturbed for the rest of the night alternating between concert acoustical projectile vomiting and loud snoring.. Rain did mention that the only thing that kept her from throwing her friend out on the street was the hilarious early morning drunken rendition of “we built this city” by starship, in which Davis awoke, threw up, belted out a couple of lines hanging on the “rock and rollll” bit and then fell back asleep.. Davis, embarrassed, but slightly pleased that it wasn’t viv he was explaining himself to, apologized to his friends and chalked up the evening up to the foolproof defense of lots and lots of alcohol, and probably some unwashed vegetables.
*Cell phone ringing*
Davis fumbles through his pockets and produces his cellular phone which has “viv” blinking all over it.. the screen is showing off a picture of viv, taken last night with her lips puckered up.. good sign, at least she’s puckered up. Answering the call, the air suddenly feels cleaner.. the sound of her hello launches our man Davis back into a lull of serenity.. the pounding headache is soon a distant memory as the laughs and connections from the previous night are quickly brought back into the forefront.
Dropping the rules and dating standards of the late 90s and early naughties, Viv abandons the 2-3 day callback rule or whatever that silly movie pop culture inference was. She felt like talking to him and wanted to see if he felt the same, so she called. On this day, this very particular day, she wasn’t prepared to sit there and wonder what if. After all, it felt very right with Davis, in fact, it felt more right with him than anyone else in a longtime.. the idea of everything all happening too suddenly did strike her like a blunt object upside her head, or was that her own hangover? It didn’t matter because whether it was too early or too sudden, it wasn’t really registering in her head, she will do what she wants.. Viv composed herself and was just calling to see if he was suffering from a hangover like her, and if he’d like to continue their date aided by the perfect hangover cure…
Stepping into a puddle of sunshine, Davis couldn’t believe his luck - another date with the dame - this time lunch… viv asks for a little time to look somewhat presentable, a request happily agreed upon by the crusty looking dried vomit breath granola.. a quick trip back home, shower change and then meet up outside her building - very promising..
Staying in radio, they reconvene from their previous evening outside her delightful rennovated brownstone. Strolling down the neighborhood, a hodgepodge of identities.. Colombian flags hanging out the bodegas, the Pakistani curry palace and butcher shop, the bike messenger gangs, artists lugging their supplies, junkies passed out on the sidewalk, yuppies and their puppies, a lot of hodging and quite a bit of podging too. Taking a turn down summers they arrive at their destination… little defe.. The clientele and staff in the main room are all glued to the TV bolted to the ceiling, the number one Hispanic soap opera in terms of viewer-ship, Esmeralda.
Pedro greets his regular Saturday lunch crowd with much love, because they are like family, and that’s how the burly man does business, on a familial level. On Saturdays, they come for one thing and that’s his Menudo fin de semana. People drag themselves from all over both sides of the river for his famous hangover special. Today was turning into a soso day he thought, guess it was a tame weekend for many, an opinion soon altered once he spotted one of his regulars, who smiles back as she drags a companion in tow. Borracha, Cómo estás? I’m fine thanks, can we get a table for two? Jaayys of course, la casa de pedro es tu casa. Y tu novio? Yeah we just had a little to much to drink last night.. need a little recovery.. vamos, take that table there and I send someone. Gracias Gordo. borracha..
Viv’s two finger raise sends the waiter off with the mental order – he knows what to bring and soon scurries back with two orange sodas, and then scampers off again as the straws begin to bob up the bottles … back to their date, the two fall back into that easygoing conversation that just seems to work wonders for them. On the right foot, they have enough in common and enough not in common to make the whole polar opposite and parallel concepts seem more than just promising. She finds out about his parents and their organic tendencies, while he pictures her descriptions of spending her summers growing up at the beach. Prompted by his inquisitive looks around the restaurant, Viv does a little introduction to la casa de pedro, your own slice of little defe, Mexico city.. Pedro, originally from Guadalajara, came here and spent many years as a dishwasher, working his way up as a line cook at a fancy restaurant until he managed to save up some cash and open up a little piece of home here on foreign soil.. Incorporating the recipes of his mother and grandmothers, they make a mean mole (pronounced mohlay) and real Mexican food, none of that texmex mexas mumbo gumbo.. briefly touching on last night, they both admit to not remembering much other than that it was a great night, one to be relived again. Their level of comfort with each other, a clear indication that they’re more than just clicking together has them thinking all sorts of interesting thoughts lacing their conversations in the sexiest of talk. Davis mentioned the alcohol and how he really couldn’t stomach the idea of meat this midmorning, truth be told, he couldn’t stomach the guilt again and wanted to forget the carnivorous events of the previous night.. Viv told him to sit back and relax, she’s already ordered the dish with the magical hangover healing properties.. meat or no meat, this was the only thing on this planet that will cure their pain..
Strolling over in his checks and chef whites, pedro carries two steaming bowls over to their table. Although he now spent more time at the counter watching the Mexican soaps, Pedro still liked to dress up in his chef getup - just incase he had to teach those incompetent cousins of his a thing or two about real Mexican cuisine. Pedro noticed table six were suffering from a bad presentation of Guillermo and his shabby tamales, pendejo. The Menudo was all him though, aided by his wife Begoña, Pedro picks the choicest cuts of unwanted meat for this traditional soup and starts up from early Saturday morning to prepare for the breakfast/brunch/lunch/afternoon Menudo rush. Placing the two bowls of reddish soup in front of his customers he plants a crafty aluminium foil basket containing some warm tortillas, chopped onion, dried oregano, freshly chopped cilantro, and a couple of lime wedges on their crowded table.. bon provencho borracha. Gracias gordo.
The aroma wafting from the bowl up Davis’ nose was definitely foreign – yet alluring at the same time. There was a sun kissed touch of funk, a chilli citrus scent which excited his nostrils – but it all seemed to calm the throbbing pain in his head. His admittance of never having tried Menudo, prompted a Try it first and let me know what you think. Dutifully listening to his siren, Davis sprinkles some oregano, cilantro and chopped white onion into his soup.. a squeeze of lime followed by a stir of his spoon and prepares himself for his first bite.. his spoon reveals a number of little tidbits: some onion, chillies, hominy, but one thing’s for sure there’s meat in there..
A lifetime spent without ever having meat grace his lips and he’s forced into a situation twice in less than 24 hours.. Davis shudders looking at his date tuck into her soup and immediately notices a change in the demeanour in her face.. nothing kills a hangover like Menudo.. he nods off and stares at his spoon.. Although her company was enough to put his mind off the dehydrating effects of the alcohol consumed last night, the slice of pumpernickel and almond butter did very little for soaking up the pains in his stomach and his head.. The smell was starting to invade and convince him that a spoon would be worth it.. maybe he didn’t have to try the meat.. just a quick slurp of broth, little taste for curiosity’s sake. another little taste later, and the spicy chilliness of the broth with a crunchy sliced white onion and zesty lime juice combined for an incredibly tangy and nourishing taste in his mouth.. it didn’t just go down well, it went down great.. another spoonful of the broth tasted even better, wow, pedro really knows his Menudo.. Maybe it was time to try the meat he thought.. his body was telling him something, that whatever he was feeding it was working and he was actually feeling better.. quickly closing his eyes, Davis shoved a spoonful of soup into his mouth, this time with a little bit of meat. The wavy texture of the meat releasing tangy bits of soup onto his tongue carried a multitude of flavours.. the chilli, lime, onion, tang and a little bit of funk worked great. Feeling foreign in his mouth, the meat rubbed against his tastebuds and pushed a little bit of funk into his mouth.. the chew was slightly easy and slightly rubbery.. Going down his throat the wavy texture went down easier than he thought..
You like it? A question Davis replied with a serious nod and another spoonful.. I don’t like telling people what Menudo is until people have tried it. Keeping information from people isn’t the best way to have a meal of something you don’t know. Pedro probably has the best one in town and I just wanted you to have a taste see if you can handle the soup and then see if you’re man enough to handle the truth. Of course he is man enough, Davis and his sundried tomato and grilled zucchini panini sandwiches are definitely man enough, the fact that he’s shoved his principles to the back of his throat is proof he’s man enough, but she doesn’t know that.. Perturbed at how his wonderful date has been constantly surprising his morality, Davis remembers the caveat to this quandary: he never mentioned his vegetarian ways, no fault of hers – how can he fault her, she’s just acting on the information he’s given her.. I just thought it was latin america’s homage to Puerto Rican boy bands.. to remain polite, viv employs recycled laughter track 23..
Really enjoying her soup, she gets underway in her explanation of the time-honoured tradition of global peasant food. In the days long gone, the Patrons of the haciendas used to get the choicest cuts of meat from the animals, leaving the offals and waste parts to the peasants. It was through slow cooking and experimentation, that led some cook to the discovery of the edible and deliciousness of this unwanted bit of animal meat. I mean who would’ve though that the honeycomb pocket texture of a slow cooked cow’s stomach would be the best method to deliver the tangy spicy broth onto the diners palette. She explained that beef tripe soup was almost a national dish in Mexico and is known to have magical healing effects on alcohol beaten bodies - a replenishing quality Davis was feeling throughout his body.. Menudo normally takes a long time to prepare, with the meat being so tough and all, and is normally served after a wedding or new-years eve to help with people’s hangovers. Halfway through her explanation, Davis comes to an impasse, his hangover is calling for more of this funky cow stomach soup, while his head is telling him he might as well go out and try freebasing cocaine while he’s at it. The evil bastard that he is has just disappointed everyone close to him, from his parents to his friends to his ideals and to the animals, the poor little animals... Luckily or unluckily for his conscience, the irresistible charms of viv have helped ease his guilt and push his principles at the bottom of his worry pile.
I know I should’ve told you earlier on about Menudo, but I just wanted you to try it, and if you were as hung-over as I was then maybe this helped. Some people can’t handle the fact that they’re eating the stomach, but then they turn around and eat different cuts of meat off the animal.. to me, I say, if they’re going to butcher the animal to begin with, then we might as well eat everything we can. And with that, Davis finds a rope of logic in her words leading him to another spoonful of the soup and wavy honeycombed meat once known as a buttercup’s belly..