United Nations of Meatz on Stix
One afternoon in March, when unexpected clouds shadowed a long-awaited BBQ, some pals and I brainstormed on what would make the perfect cook-out. We realized that all of us hail from different cultures hosting rich food heritages. The Mexicans can offer carne asada marinated in a secret concoction that may involve Sunny Delight. Viets like to soften chicken, beef and pork in a sesame sauce enhanced with lemongrass. As for Minnesota-bred Norwexicans (Norwegian + Mexican) like Miguelito, the culinary combination yields corn dogs. Salivating with the possibility of so many gastronomic options at one location, we hatched the idea for the first United Nations of Meatz on Stix.
The first assembly was scheduled some five months after that cloudy BBQ on a sunny summer day. Stan opened his home in Eagle Rock to host the hungry hordes.
Stan refused to divulge the name of the East Los Angeles shop that pre-marinated the carne asada.
So we ate in blissful ignorance.
Stan's missus, Xenia, took over the second grill shift: my Viet-style chicken on sticks.
I marinated the chunks of dark meat for 48 hours. It took a bit of patience and skill to flip the tender chicken without burning or dropping them into the flames.
Though the Viets traditionally eat grilled meat over a bowl of cold vermicelli noodles and fresh greens and herbs, I decided to skip the carbs. Instead, I offered red leaf lettuce, cilantro, Vietnamese basil and mint in which to wrap the chicken.
The wraps were the perfect snack for a beautiful sunset.
South Africa was represented by Jesse's contribution of boerewors, or farmer sausage. He picked up this fresh batch earlier in the day at a South African pub in the San Fernando Valley, where he had watched his native brethren lose to New Zealand in a rugby match. We mourned the loss with some meat and margaritas.
Packed in a foot-long case, the sausage required some creative strategizing for where to place it on the small grill. We had to evict some corn cobs to accommodate the meat. Carnivores rule!
The traditional sausage from South Africa was hearty and chunky.
The three-handed monster couldn't wait to dip the boerewors in some chutney.
Some days later, I closed the first assembly of the U.N. of Meatz on Stix with some caramel that a co-worker brought back from Mexico. Globalization isn't so bad after all.