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Important Food Advice for Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor's identity as a woman, a Latina, a judge, a professional, and even a single adult have all been front page news recently. But only Politico's Ben Smith has the courage to get at the core of Sotomayor's persona: Her identity as a foodie. He heads back to her 2001 Olmos lecture -- the same lecture where she famously said, "I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society" -- and finds a delicious digression into Sotomayor's comfort cuisine:

For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir — rice, beans and pork — that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events. My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs' feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs' tongue and ears. I bet the Mexican-Americans in this room are thinking that Puerto Ricans have unusual food tastes. Some of us, like me, do.

Sadly, Sotomayor will find Washington, D.C. a bit bereft of good Latin food. As a native Californian, that's done the most to slow my adjustment to District-living. But there are exceptions. Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights can occasionally taste of home. Pollo Sabrosa has wonderful Peruvian chicken, fried yucca, and Mexican-style tacos. Taco District Federal has a chorizo, goat, and pork skin tacos that will make you want to firebomb a Cosi, not to mention the outdoor grilling they do on weekends. And the delightful Taco Pepitos Bakery 2 stands in silent rebuke to the nearby Mixtec, which charges $12 for a couple of tacos and a handful of chips.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 27, 2009; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Food  
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Are you saying that Peruvian or Mexican food are interchangeable with Puerto Rican? Isn't that a bit like telling Justice Alito, so mindful of his Italian forebears, that he should be happy in DC because there are French restaurants? (Or Ethiopian, and don't they speak Italian in Ethiopia? ;-))

Posted by: vancemaverick | May 27, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

If she brings some pernil and some mofongo (or even mondongo...mmm) to the SCOTUS pot-lucks there won't be a dissenting opinion up in that piece...

Posted by: ThomasEN | May 27, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I mean, I know it would be nice to have more choices and all, but why doesn't anyone ever talk about the positives in DC Latin cuisine? We've got LOTS of great Peruvian, Salvadoran. Even some pretty decent (dreaded!) Tex-Mex. These are all their own flavors. Instead people always just moan about what we DON'T have.

The same thing happened to me on moving here 15 years ago: I noticed a serious lack of really good Italian food (Justice Alito, I am NOT looking at you!) and missed it, because it was all around my home town. (Eventually, of course, I found a decent place. Hooray!) But in between, I made new discoveries of the wonders of Indian, Thai, and Salvadoran, none of which were available where I grew up.

Abi, here I come!

Posted by: ajw_93 | May 27, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

References to yucca as food more often than not stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca .
Cassava ?

Posted by: gadzooks1 | May 27, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it kind of sad that she makes claims like this. Because she is Latina she gets to enjoy these foods? Is there some reason why a white guy, say like Bobby Flay, can't also enjoy these foods?

How does she know she wouldn't like Russian Borst better? Or maybe she would fall in love with Ethiopian cuisine.

She seems entirely wrapped up in her personal identity, to the detriment of having an open mind.

Because I'm Latina these things are best, because I'm Latina and a women, I can do a better job. She seems to have an overblown sense of identity.

Should the Washington Post give Ezras blog over to a Latina women, since we would get a much better end work product?

Have we all been tricked by Ezra's recipes and health care positions because they would have been so much better if only a Latina Women presented them?

Posted by: Singer4321 | May 28, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Geez, you can even get good Puerto Rican food in Cleveland for chrissakes (Lozada's), surely there's got to be at least one decent Puerto Rican restaurant in DC?

Posted by: labonnes | May 28, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Ezra, it is "Taqueria Distrito Federal" on 14th St.

Posted by: whall42 | May 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Um, that's gandules y pernil, not gandoles y pernir. No wonder D.C. is bereft of Latin food; you don't even care enough to learn even the most rudimentary things about it, like the correct names.

Posted by: r_wolfcastle | May 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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