In the many hours I’ve sat at the bar listening to the food talk at Rabbit Bistro (now closed and soon to reopen downtown, we hope), I’ve only longed helplessly for one thing I thought I’d never have: Chef Gabriel Gil’s staff meals. He often, it was reported, made food influenced by his Mexican grandma and all he soaked up by her side in the kitchen or out in the neighborhoods of Southern California. So many times, I heard his entranced staff recount, enraptured, the staff meal they had eaten that week…and then they’d fantasize about other things Gabe said he’d make in the future.
Exhibit A: The Tijuana Hot Dog. As described in this charming illustration, the midcentury creation known south and north of the border as the Tijuana hot dog is a fiesta in a bun: hot dog wrapped in bacon with pico de gallo, pineapple, avocado, grilled jalapeno, crema. I can’t remember if Gabe served it to his staff, or if they just WANTED IT. But I very clearly remember that I wanted it, too.
And here’s my — and your — chance.
Next week, August 14-17, the chef will be taking over PartyCart‘s cart, to give the hardworking Partiers a rare couple of days off. He’ll be making Tijuana hot dogs and a host of wonderful Mexican specialties that you’ve probably never heard of. Throw away all your Norte prejudices and Tex-Mex paradigms, and come party with Gabe. If you love good food and have an open heart, you won’t regret it.
This is the menu, as it stands. (There might be changes over the weekend as they finish the prep.) He is keeping the PartyCart format of smaller and larger plates. I don’t have a list of prices, but I’m sure they’ll be reasonable. Don’t know what something is? Google it! You’ll be happy you did.
Chef Gabriel Gil’s PartyCart Takeover Menu — August 14-17
*soup: summer squash, epazote, green chile
*salad: heirloom tomato, cactus, melon, radish, habanero,
*salad: vanilla octopus, jicama, pineapple, cilantro, cucumber
*Tijuana hot dog
*red chile noki, mushroom, spinach
*tacos de lengua
*pork tenderloin, papas nortenas, manchamantel
And Eugeniuses, if you want something particular that is not on this menu, something that fits your specialized, food-phobic, hyper-nutritious, elimination-insistent, or otherwise selective tastes, please don’t bring your complaints to the cart next week. Go somewhere else. There are plenty of places around town that will cater to your whims. This is our opportunity to enjoy a great chef’s personal pleasures at a venue that works hard to bring new and unusual local food to Eugene. Understand that this kind of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else. If you can’t dig it, go away. I can’t say this more kindly. Live in the moment, just as the Buddha would. Seize the day like a Roman poet. Just do it, sayeth our Nike overlords.
If it goes well, and I’m SURE it will, perhaps PartyCart will do more takeovers in the future. And how cool would that be?