Lori called me and, as we're in the middle of our conversation, I hear "Give me two tacos and an apple empanada."
"Who sells apple empanadas?," I inquire. Lori informs me that Taco Bell has them on the menu and, of course, this reminds me of when I used to get empanadas at La Tropicana Market and Deli, a Cuban eatery. I liked La Tropicana for more than the empanadas and yucca; it reminded me of a confectionery that used to be in East St. Louis across from Dunbar, my elementary school. The tres leches cake at La Trop wasn't bad either.
I also remember the huge deep fried empanada that I bought from a street vendor in San Juan; it had more fried dough than meat. I knew that I should not have indulged but I was very hungry and about to get whiny and toddler-like.
My food landmarks are many. Whenever I pass by a McDonald's, I remember going there just for french fries and apple pies (2 for $1). I used to marvel at how you could get a bag of food for under $5 bucks.
Whenever I cross Kingshighway, I'm fully aware that Straub's is in the vicinity which also makes me remember how I used to go to the now defunct Pandora's bakery just for brownies. And the Chocolate Bar? Well, you can see how this walk down memory lane could easily spiral out of control but let me not forget to reminisce, briefly, about the slices of birthday cake that I had when it was neither my birthday nor anyone else's. How nice of the store to cut up those unclaimed cakes.
And speaking of Straub's, I ran into one of my favorite high school teachers there. We had not seen each other in ages and bumped into each other twice in one week in the dessert corner in the back of Straub's. If I known that it would take years to see her again, I would have just made a date to rendezvous at Straub's.