13 June 2008

40 Degrees and Killer Tomatoes

This may be my last post. I'm about to do something very brave - eat a raw tomato.

It never ceases to amaze me how the collective conscious blows tiny risks completely out of proportion while ignoring larger ones. 200 people over 2 months have been sickened by tomatoes – out of untold tomato eaters across the country who enjoyed their meals without incident – and suddenly we cannot purchase any tomatoes at all? One clueless crazy guy tries to light off his shoe on a plane, and forevermore we must walk barefoot through airport security? Not to mention the fear of men in gray suits, who in reality attack very infrequently. Apply this logic to cars, and we would all be walking everywhere; they are far more dangerous than vegetables and flip-flops. Strangely I cannot recall ever hearing that restaurants stopped serving all beef products during the more frequent outbreaks of meat-borne illness. Society is wildly irrational, but I object when it imposes its silly fears on my life.

Two restaurants this week have prevented me from taking the dangerous risk of consuming a tomato, but my Tofurky sandwich just wouldn’t be the same without a juicy red slice. Fortunately we still have a few illicit vegetables in the refrigerator, purchased nearly a week ago before the irrational fear of produce reached its frothy pinnacle of panic. And we surfers are risk takers, after all, so here I go, taking a nice big bite of killer tomato! Mmmm.

Yesterday I planned to surf HMB again or Linda Mar, before the Surfrider meeting at the Montara Lighthouse. And indeed, the wind and waves looked to be amenable. But at the last minute S decided to come with me, so I took him to dinner at the Half Moon Bay Inn instead. When we left Palo Alto, it was 95 degrees and sunny. Thirty miles away, the coast was 55 degrees and partly foggy. No wondering the wind howls so often at this time of year.

Alas, not only was the HMB Inn Kitchen & Cocktails restaurant still out of ciabatta bread as they have been for a month, they were also out of aioli, and had rid their kitchen of all traces of evil tomatoes. None for sandwiches and no tomato vegetable soup – although ketchup was somehow still on offer. Our vegan burgers were thus pathetic shadows of their former delicious selves. It may be time to find another favorite coastside restaurant.

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