Rich Simons | 11th Street
Q. I have noticed an extraordinary number of dogs in town this summer, so I have begun checking their collars. A great number of them are carrying out-of-town tags. What’s going on? – a.c.
The inevitable, that’s what. As has been noted previously in these pages, Del Mar has been going to the dogs for some time. We have a Deli for Dachshunds and a Spa for Spaniels, plus Parks for Pooches with Drinking Dishes for Dalmatians, and then there is our ever-popular Bowser Beach.
These amenities have been popularized world wide, to where we are now a vacation destination for Tyrolean Hounds who Travel. Seeking to cash in on this Papillon Popularity, our lodging establishments are now advertising Suites for St. Bernards . They are also pushing Terraces for Terriers, Lanais for Llaso Apsos and Bathrooms for Boxers. Also Saunas for Sheepdogs. Maybe this is their idea of Revitalization for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. But anyway you look at it, it’s a Neuf world.
Q. Did you go to the Fair. If so, what caught your interest? – s.d.
As in previous years, my only interest in attending the 22nd Agricultur . . . (oh, to hell with it – the Del Mar Fair) is to sample the culinary thrills, the gustatorial delights rolled out by the Kings of Cooking, particulary the Pharoahs of Fat.
This year the New Snack of the Year award went to the Brazilian Fire Ants deep-fat fried in a reduction of dark chocolate and cumin, with an encrustation of garlic-infused macadamia nuts. According to the judges, “We find that the acidity of the fire ants pairs well with the off-sweetness of the chocolate, while the spiced nuts provide a crunch that is almost other-worldly.”
The Best of the Midway award this year was again won by the perennial favorite: a terrine formed of lime sherbert, beets and goat cheese, soaked in an absinthe confit and then deep fried (of course) in honey-cured bacon fat.
Every year I try to draw out the guy who grills the turkey hindquarters. I say something like: “These are sure tasty. What’s the secret?” He eyes me like maybe I am from Arizona. “We cook ‘em,” he says dryly. I lead him on: “Yeah, but I mean the preparation, y’know?” He looks at me blankly. “We use real charcoal.” I give it one last try: “Maybe a special sauce?” He turns away and goes about his work. I wander away, knowing that he intends to take his secret to the grave.
We end on a sartorial note. It is heartening to see the Hot Dog on a Stick people once again cloaking our youth in their turn-of-the-century harlequin outfits. How many Del Martians growing up have worn this uniform, I wonder? I know my daughter sure looked perky in it. I’ll bet my granddaughter will, too.