Eight miles north of Sarasota proper there’s a big sprawling red barn, chock-a-block full of “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” t-shirts, shiny little plastic seashell trinkets, and stacks of dusty VHS tapes. Outside the barn there’s a bit of an impromptu overflow market, baskets of produce and rusty old lobster baskets piled under a long canopy-corridor. I simply cannot go to a market without buying at least a couple apples, so at one of the littler produce stalls, manned by two tanned sisters, I stocked up on serrano peppers (which I have developed a serious love for and put in everything… soup, stir fry, sandwiches) green beans and these cute halfsie baby bananas which I haven’t seen since Indonesia. Sister #2 weighed out all my things and said “One thirty eight.” WHAT? $1.38, for all that goodness! Feeling all thrifty and righteous I then went on to another stand where I purchased four peaches for ONE dollar. Then to my favorite tiny Asian lady with a mini-stand of oddities (dragon fruit, scary looking 2-foot-long Thai squash, strange rope-like vegetables) where I got two big handfuls of Thai bird’s eye chilies (moving up in the spicy-hotness world.)

A couple stalls down, two loaf pans for ONE dollar. A bit further and a rosemary plant for ONE dollar. A mint plant for ONE dollar. A cilantro plant for…. ONE dollar. Made hungry by all my excitement, I stopped at the little taco joint and got a one lengua (“the taste that tastes you back” as either Dad or Buddy once wisely observed) and one barbacoa taco and a Sidral Mundet, of course. I was torn between tacos and the posole I saw being slurped down at all the tables, but the 90++ heat went against the soup. “Diez y siete!” the taco mistress yelled and I bounced up to the front to receive my hot little tacos, buried in mounds of cilantro, topped with translucently-thin slices of radish, accompanied by the necessary slices of lime. Ay, so good. I began to plot how I could fit in the twenty minute drive to the red barn taco spot between classes. I like how cilantro is like lettuce in the taco world. Busted out of its garnish chains, it becomes part of of the dish rather than just something to get picked off the top of guacamole. And the radishes. Oh, the radishes. Cilantro, radish, lime, hot kinda-greasy meat, little corn tortilla; all best friends, perfect together.

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