taco salad with mango salsa: browning ground beef after browning our bodies.


I love breakfast places. I have to say, the Nice Cafe might become one of my favorites. Tucked away off of Main St. on 8th Ave., it is a charming brick-walled establishment with the smells of the-best-kind-of-Saturday-mornings wafting out of its doors.
I sat there with my glorious breakfast, and a good cup of coffee, while listening to Stelna expound the positive attributes of free-range eggs while Josh discounted them. They ended the conversation with Josh making the statement: "mmmmm, oppression tastes so good" (in reference to the non-free-range eggs).
All in all, a good morning. The boys left Stelna and I to do a slow boutique-crawl up Main Street. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the sun was in its ray-filled-glory, and so we became distracted quite easily - deciding to put our bodies to a more leisurely use.
I have never seen Kits beach so busy as it was on Saturday. The people were literally stacking up like sardines beside us. Row upon row of small groupings, having their own intricate and intimate interactions. Naguib Mahfouz was my best friend on the sand; he took me to a different sandy place through his prose - Cairo. However, occasionally I closed my eyes and let the snippets of life from the other occupied towels invade my thoughts - realizing that my own was just one story, while so many others swirled around me.

When the sardines finally came within hand-holding room, Stelna and I decided to leave for more familiar company. Yet the day had been so hot, and food seemed like an unappetizing notion, with its heat and heaviness. I decided that taco salad was in order - light, with enough protein to get us by, but definitely not heated.
Taco salad isn't really a true mexican dish - its more of a North American adaption of all the good things we could draw (yet things that would still interest five year old kids with the simplicity of flavors and ingredients) from the Southern cuisine that so many enjoy, yet are not inclined to partake of often (think - beans!). The 1960s marked the advent of this pseudo 'salad' into common day dinners.

After a light meal enjoyed by all, we left in search of a rooftop patio and enjoyed a meandering walk across the Granville Street Bridge (and many other adventures later on). If you ever have the chance to do the walk on a balmy night with the sun sinking in the distance, please do - trust me, its worth it (the camera was left at home to wallow in disuse at this point in the day's escapades). Just make sure to have a light dinner before you go - it is a long walk. I suggest taco salad.
Light and Breezy Taco Salad with Mango Salsa

1 lb. extra lean ground beef (please use this - the others are so oily, it just makes everything a little more . . .slippery and not as lovely in the salad)
1 tbs. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. dried basil
salt to taste 

1 mango, chopped
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 head garlic, roasted, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 lime, juiced
handful of cilantro (also to taste - and ask your guests about this fine herb, some do not like it!), chopped finely
salt to taste

1/2 head iceburg lettuce, thinly sliced

corn tostadas

1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add garlic and onion and saute until brown and caramelized.

2. Add spices and ground beef to the frying pan. Cook until brown and cooked through.

3. Add all the chopped veggies together in a bowl. Add salt to taste, drizzle lime on top.

4. Place tostadas on a plate. Place iceburg lettuce on top. Add salsa. Add meat mix. Chop up a little more cilantro and sprinkle on top.

5. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Walk across the Granville Street Bridge.