The Mind-Blowing Quesadilla at Salazar

I was just about to tell you about this quesadilla at Salazar in Frogtown here in L.A. — I’d just posted the picture — when the room started wobbling and the pictures on the piano started rattling and Winston gave me a worried look and I realized I was experiencing my first feel-able L.A. earthquake.

Wow, that was unsettling! I do feel a little woozy: it’s hard to talk about quesadillas. But I’m going to soldier through, just for you.

Tortilleria Nixtamal

Yesterday I made a journey I’d been putting off for a while.

Actually, it wasn’t even a journey I knew I could make. See, for my cookbook, I needed to track down fresh corn masa. I wasn’t sure where in New York I could get that until I read this excellent post on the Cooking Issues blog which details Dave Arnold’s attempt to make fresh corn tortillas in the French Culinary Institute kitchen. Dave ultimately finds fresh corn masa at a place called Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens.

Quesadilla at The Brooklyn Flea

Hyperbole is the crutch of the lazy food writer. Take the post below this: “The Best Broccoli of Your Life.” With a title like that, of course you’re bound to read that post. And my enthusiasm, while authentic, is expressed in the most simplistic language possible; like all polarities–“good and bad,” “right and wrong”–“best and worst” are overly reductive, a 4th grader’s tools of expression, not an adult’s.

It is therefore with great humility and restraint that I must avoid titling this post what I wanted to title it: “The Best Quesadilla of My Life.” For the quesadilla I had yesterday at the Brooklyn Flea Market was, without question, the best quesadilla I’ve ever had in my life; yet, I’d lose all credibility if I had two “best of” posts in a row. So let’s just say this quesadilla, which doesn’t look at all like a quesadilla, is much closer to the “best” end of the best/worst spectrum that simple-minded folk like me revert to when writing about food.

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