A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
Half the Malaysian population thinks that annal means having a constipation problem. Like how an employee goes, “My boss is so annal!!” Or, “Touch my annal and I’ll make sure you go down in the anus of history”.
My obsession about this topic stems primarily from an encounter I had last week. My anus was set on fire by a certain gentleman called Larry, not to be confused with Leisure Suit Larry, or Larry who used to spin at 11 LA (this bit should flush through the anus of anyone born after 1980), at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Jaya One called Frontera.
What started out as an innocent celebratory birthday dinner for two to contemplate the deeper meaning of amoeba life turned out to be a rambunctious affair, thanks to one surprise guest (who happened to be the owner who happened to be called Larry who happened to have his stash of prized tequila nearby). Three ain’t a crowd, and four, even merrier, as our new friend Tim, an American who was perpetually quizzed on the authenticity of the food at Frontera, joined the merry bandwagon of anus worshipers. Well, it wasn’t all fun, no sirree. Larry made it his goal to educate me on the complexities of Tex-Mex cuisine after pointing out that I did not have a Tex-Mex category on my blog. “You don’t like Tex-Mex food, do you?” he asked in an accusatory tone. Eep. I really do, sir. I’ve eaten it all of five times in my life. Gulp.
Tex-Mex food should not be confused with Mexican cuisine; should the muddle take place, aficionados of either cuisine would most likely fart on you (by virtue of being bean eaters), much like if you confused annal with anus. Seriously, though, I learnt in a mini lecture (Larry can be pretty intense about food when he’s not drinking his tequila) that fajitas originated in Larry’s kampung in Texas at a li’l eatery called Ninfa’s in 1973. A customer had ordered “tacos al carbon”, but Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo jazzed it up with various other condiments like cilantro, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese and onions, and voila, the fajita was born and Texas got its little green pin on the food map.
Thus began our exploration into the world of Tex-Mex cuisine at Frontera. From the crispy popiah lookalike Taquitos de Pollo with freshly made guacamole (not always available, apparently, so call early and beg for it ‘coz it is soooo goooood) to chicken sour cream enchiladas (corn tortilla filled with minced chicken), San Antonio style chicken with a very North Indian-tasting Cilantro Cream Sauce (Larry gave me a look of disdain when I expressed the Indian bit…*amateurs*), crispy beef tacos and chicken chimichanga. The predominant ingredients in all these dishes were tortillas, minced meat, sour cream and cheese. Personally, there’s only so much tortilla that I can eat. My favourite had to be the Chili Con Carne, a potpourri of minced meat, garlic, peppers and cumin, very dense in texture, and tasting rather fiery. To say that we were stuffed would be an understatement. I didn’t get to try the bestselling burgers, but according to Friedchillies, “each bite is filled with pure meat on meat action plus a pleasing tongue tingling spiciness”. Wow.
Human beings are rarely satisfied, even when they know they already have a good thing. At a microscopic level of this theory, Larry teased and dangled a carrot, and birthday boy, Jek, and I rose to the challenge. Looking back, I think the awesome margaritas clouded our judgement. Anyhow, what’s a bit of chilli, eh? We’re Malaysians, man. The first challenge was to attempt at least three chicken wings slathered with a sauce prepared with habanero chillies. (Note: Habanero chillies vs our local cili padi is like prostitutes matched against primary schoolboys who can’t rise to the occasion.) The reward? Bragging rights. No prizes for guessing who won this. A picture speaks a thousand words, and no amount of photoshopping can remove the beautiful pink flush on the cheeks. My Indian genes come in handy occasionally.
Then Larry brought out the second challenge, one that Jek declined – the habanero chilli in its raw form. The truth is, I’m a wimp. I shed tears even when I’m eating nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis, but I had to defend my honour, and so I looked it in the eye, tipped my sombrero, and chucked it in my mouth. “This ain’t so bad,” I said. At that moment, a burning sensation crept to my throat, and before I knew it, I was screaming in my head – “Arriba! Arriba! Make it stop! Make it stop!”. I couldn’t cry. Tears would have caused my mascara to streak all over my face. Not cool. As Larry described it later, “She didn’t even bat an eye”. Hehe. I fooled them all. Oscar nominations should be coming my way any day now.
Barring the heat factor of the chicken wings, they’re actually quite tasty as the sauce has a tart piquant quality that I imagine would go wonderfully with beer. There are several heat levels for the chicken wings, so one does not have to be suicidal to enjoy the tasty morsels.
A great remedy to combat the fiery sensation from the habanero (which lasted up to 15 minutes in my case) is to have the key lime pie, a quintessential tangy American dessert. I reckon the milk in it neutralizes the pain caused by the chillies. My personal solution to fight the heat is to gulp down some really hot water which ends up numbing the tongue and makes you worry about other problems (like burnt tongue hehe). Works way better than iced water.
And so, we come back to the anus. When consuming the habanero, always be aware that there are consequences. My anus was on fire the morning after, thanks to my stupidity and an American named Larry H. Martin. Beware of him.
Frontera Bar and Grill
No. 19-8-2 Block L,
Palm Square, Jaya One,
No. 72A Jalan Universiti, 46200 PJ.
Tel: 03- 7958 8515
Bookings can also be made through theQguides.com.
Opening times: 12.00 noon till late
Note: Whilst this was not an invited review (our sole intention was to celebrate Jek’s birthday at the restaurant and I had planned on footing the bill), our friend Larry surprised us by paying for the meal, and since he is the owner of Frontera and did all the ordering, some elements of an invited review may be present. Thank you, Larry, for a fun-filled evening. Your generosity is much appreciated.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.