Who knew that five minutes after I became a professional writer, my work would be appropriated? I'm talking about Lee Klein, the lamentable creature who toils at the Miami New Times day in and day out trying to convince readers, unsuccessfully, that he is not a tool, that he has some food knowledge or experience, that he isn't a fogey with nary a clue as to what constitutes a decent review, and who does so much 'research' on the internet, that he lifted whole sentences, practically word for word, from my June 29th post on Mango&Lime, a popular Miami food blog, where I contributed a rather notorious post on the now legendary taco truck named Orale!. Of course this distended liver of a man doesn't even understand what Orale! means, as in “Orale! I'm gonna come to your house and shove a tightly wound taco al pastor up where the sun don't shine, with the freakin' habanero sauce for lubrication, you ethically challenged pilferer!”
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Orale! people getting all the business and publicity they so righteously deserve, and I hope that his lame copycat reading of my ode to the transcendent truck brings them mucha buena fortuna. They are the sweetest people, and they work hard for their reward, bringing enjoyment to many people through their original, and tasty creations. The same can not be said for Mr. Klein, who copies, cribs, and steals, and ends up with warmed-up leftovers of my lovingly crafted four-month-old material. (Not surprisingly, Klein means small, petty, trifling, in German.)
Me-”While Francisco heats the fillings on the grill, Moises grills the tortillas, fills them with the meats, and puts them on a plate which Francisco hands to the waiting customers with lightning efficiency.”
Klein-”Once Moises is finished assembling the tacos-which he does at warp speed-Francisco neatly wraps them in sandwich paper and aluminum foil and then passes the silver envelopes...to the customers.”
Me-”They are from Oaxaca, a town called La Reforma, about ten hours from the city...”
Klein- “...hail from the town of La Reforma (about ten hours from Oaxaca).”
Me-”If you've eaten at any...hip restaurant lately, you've seen some kind of cheek on the menu...The humble cheek used to be a peasant staple, now elevated in haute temples like Mario Batali's Babbo, in New York, to star status.”
Klein- “...cheek meat, currently a cut with cachet in fine-dining places...”
Me-”There is the Roja Suave (mild red), Verde Mediana Picante (medium green), which is actually pretty hot, and Extra Picante Chile Habanero (needs no translation).”
Klein- “...try one of the three salsas in squeeze bottles-hot, hotter, and ay Chihuahua!
Me- “...whole jalapeno peppers (do not try this at home-although to a Mexican, it's kind of like a New Yorker putting a pickle spear on a hot dog, no big deal!)”
Klein- “Plus there's a jar of whole jalapenos for patrons without tear ducts.”
(Okay-maybe those last two can be chalked up to lame writing on Klein's part, I'll give you that.)
On another note, why is it that he feels compelled to somehow shoehorn the phrase 'Ay Chihuahua' into his review; does he not see the stereotyping of Mexicans in this idiotic turn of phrase? I know it's typical in this town to engage in casual racism, but if every time one reviews a Mexican place, does one have to slip in at least one ole? Would one do that every time one reviews an Italian place, somehow throwing in a 'Mama Mia?' Or for a Jewish place, 'Oy?' Or a soul-food place, well, you get the picture. Reviewer, please! You'd get your ass beat, and you'd get laughed out of town. And I have news for the racially-challenged person at the New Times who published the caricature above the 'review'-not all Mexicans have eight-inch long mustaches, and wear sombreros, ponchos, and sandals. Some of them even look and dress just like you and me.
In any event, I can't wait for Mr. Klein's next review; although I'm sure we've all probably read it already somewhere else.