Snippets From A Traveler's Journal: Guerra's Gourmet

IMAGE.JPG

I rolled my car to a halt on a backcountry road in Yakima, Washington, opened the door and stepped out. My elongated and distorted shadow streamed across an open field directly in front of me. A nearby orchard burst with multiple shades of cotton-candy pink and white amongst a labyrinth of twisted branches. All around me, Yakima Valley farms glowed with the golden light of dusk. 

***

It was the evening of the Travel and Words mixer. I mozied over to a table, picked up a food sample, and began to chomp on a mini portion of chips and fresh salsa. “This is delicious," I said, and extended my hand to a man in a white apron. "I'm Ingrid. What is your name?" 

"I'm Chris," said the chef. He shook my hand. 

I looked around and noticed a postcard with the name, Guerra's Gourmet Catering, on it. “Tell me about your catering business," I said, opening myself to a lengthy, yet entertaining, conversation about a classic red Chevy and sourdough bread.

”The longer you allow your sourdough starter to ferment, the sourer it becomes. Use it when it is young, and your sourdough will be sweeter, ” Chris said during our chat. A small loaf of lightly browned bread sat in a basket next to him. He picked it up, sliced a sample, and handed it to me. I placed it in my mouth and bit down. 

“I see what you are saying,” I said, and finished chewing. The loaf had a mild tang with a sweet twist.  

“Your flour makes a difference. The fresher your flour, the better your bread," Chris said. “I use a special flour, ground from a 2000-year-old grain species. It is grown right here in the Yakima Valley.” 

“Wow!” I said as the aroma of oven-roasted pizza from another food vendor wafted our way. The smell reminded me of my husband's fleeting dream of owning a pizza restaurant.

He continued, “I wanted to use local, fresh, organic ingredients from the Yakima Valley.” 

I nodded in admiration. A fellow travel writer walked up and stood next to me, and Chris educated us on roasting water out of asparagus.