The Quest for Jorge

Aug 26, 2013 by

The Gorgeous Jorge

The Gorgeous Jorge

          Friends, I’d like to introduce you to The Gorgeous Jorge: Fidel Gastro’s peanut butter pulled pork sandwich, smothered in bacon jam and topped with pork skin crackle. Fellow peanut butter addicts, I think you know where your next fix is coming from. I was so intent on trying this sandwich that I found myself at The Ex twice in the same weekend. Yes, that’s right; I went back to the CNE just for The Gorgeous Jorge. Of course, the lead up to my first bite was not as simple as get to The Ex and order. Oh no, it was quite the ambitious undertaking.          

          As noted in yesterday’s Food Truck Frenzy recap, The Gorgeous Jorge was not on Fidel Gastro’s menu on Friday evening. Thankfully, anything created by Matt is heaven in my mouth, so there was no need to fret when I had to set aside my dream of peanut butter lathered pork in favour of bacon wrapped pork. (These are the types of tradeoffs that my life has come to. Happiness experimentation can be rough, but someone has to show people that there’s more to life than cubicles and flawed societal expectations. I’ve valiantly risen to the occasion. You’re welcome, world.) Though peanut butter pulled pork was not in the stars for me on Friday, it made an appearance at the CNE on Sunday, the final day of Food Truck Frenzy. (Twitter is very informative.) It was fate! – Except that fate probably would have landed it on Friday’s menu . . . I was going to make it fate!

          The odds were definitely against me. Firstly, I was broke. One may wonder how broke. I’ll enlighten you. I had exactly $9.50 in my wallet and a near-empty gas tank in my car. Combined, these small claims to my name were to get me to work for the next five days until payday – I hoped. I had already spent all of this pay cycle’s spending money on restaurant hopping and food trucking, and dipped into my gas budget once my spending budget was maxed out. Entry into the CNE alone would cost me $16, food excluded. A determined chick on a gluttonous mission, I was not about to back down. It was time to get creative. Willing myself to think money into existence, I remembered that I had euros left over from last summer’s trip to Rome. (Peanut butter cravings make me desperate.) I pulled out my stash: €3,70. Where was I going with my life?

          Secondly, I had already had my junk item for the week. I haven’t explained my healthy eating habits yet, so here’s the short of it: Most of the time, I stick to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and natural peanut butter. (Fish and chicken used to make regular appearances in my diet as a student, a time when I ironically had a larger grocery budget to work with.) I get one junk item per week, such as a pack of peanut butter ice cream sandwiches or half of a small La Rocca cake. Basically, if the portion can be eaten in one sitting, it counts as one item, within reason. However, there are loopholes, namely restaurants and food trucks. In these cases, I count the activity itself as the item. For example, if I go to a food truck event, I group everything that I eat as one junk item under the label of “food truck junk.” Thus, I had already used my junk item during Food Truck Frenzy on Friday. I couldn’t justify having another. I wasn’t on vacation, nor was it a holiday or my birthday or Olivia’s birthday – all of which are food free-for-alls. I don’t easily defy my health rules, and this sandwich would be a clear misdemeanor.

          The formula for The Gorgeous Jorge was obvious:

          Make money appear + Let go of my health standards for one night = The Gorgeous Jorge

          The math sucked. I decided to break it down, starting with the financial aspect. Confession: I have a buffer account. In it is any leftover spending money from pay cycles that have ended with my expenditures being under budget. There’s very little money in there. I don’t know the exact amount, because I pretend it doesn’t exist, as to avoid resorting to it when I’m low on cash (even though that’s what it’s there for). Since I have deposited very small denominations in the last couple of months, ranging from $0 to $2.59, my best guess was that its balance was in the double digits – if I was lucky. I wasn’t okay with tapping into it. As soon as my money enters an account that’s labelled “savings” by the bank, I automatically file it under “do not touch” in my mind, whether my intention was to actually use it for saving purposes or not. Unable to escape my pigeon hole of a frugal mindset, it didn’t look like I was going to make use of my buffer money for The Gorgeous Jorge – but I decided to fuck it for peanut butter. Forty dollars magically ejected from the ATM. Part one of the formula was in my hands.

          Part two was simply mind over matter. I had to convince myself that it was okay to make an exception for The Gorgeous Jorge. Letting go for one sandwich didn’t mean that I wouldn’t continue to eat healthy (I’ve been eating this way for just over three years), nor did it mean that I would need to drown myself in guilt afterward. All I needed was to give myself permission to temporarily relax my rules. I let The Happiness Experiment take over at this point. The thought of The Gorgeous Jorge gave me an immediate rush. Permission to indulge was granted. Time to go!

          It was past 8 pm. Food Truck Frenzy would be over in less than two hours. I was speeding toward the highway, praying to the food truck gods that The Gorgeous Jorge would not sell out before I got there. I parked in Liberty Village, which was a short five-minute walk away from The Ex when I had gone on Friday. (I paid $1 for parking. Ugh, I hate admitting that. I am queen of free parking, and don’t like to waste money on anything that can easily cost nothing, but I was low on time. Parking further for free might have cost me more than a dollar; it might have cost me an extremo sandwich and pad Thai fries.) Too bad I didn’t remember the route. Grasping at straws for short cuts, I ran through an enormous parking lot in attempt to get to Lakeshore. Dead end.

          At 9 pm, after some rerouting, I was finally in front of the CNE gates – the ones that were located a quoted 30-minute walk from the food trucks. By this point, paying $16 for entry seemed extreme, considering Food Truck Frenzy ended at 10 pm. I asked if we could be let in for free, thinking it was a long shot. Friends, ask, and thou shall receive. Olivia and I each gave a $20 deposit for a one-hour free pass. As long as we returned within the hour, we’d get our money back. It hardly took any convincing! (Tip: Be cute.)

          It was crunch time. I raced through the CNE grounds, humidity destroying my hair along the way and darting through children to avoid any casualties. (Thank God for my weekday mornings on the elliptical. I knew those workouts were preparing me for something important.) Literally running on pure adrenaline, I arrived in front of Priscilla by 9:15 pm. Record time. An actual hot mess and short of breath, I went straight for the menu. I was ecstatic to see that The Gorgeous Jorge wasn’t crossed out, but I was in need of reassurance when I heard Matt call out to me.

          “Hey! Please tell me you still have The Gorgeous Jorge,” I panted as I greeted him with a quick hug.

          “Yes, yes, of course!” he laughed, sensing my panic. “How are you?”

          I went off at lightening speed, relaying my tale of the free one-hour CNE pass I scored and the marathon I ran to get to his truck.

          “Get this girl a Jorge!” he called to Andrew and Mike, who were manning the truck. “This one is on me,” he said.

          I nearly jumped him in thanks. “Are you sure?” I asked.

          “Anyone with a story like that deserves a free sandwich,” he answered. (He’s the coolest food truck guy ever. Get to Priscilla and Lisa Marie, friends!)

          Biting into that sandwich was unbelievably satisfying. The peanut butter pulled pork melted on my tongue and the crackle added to the texture with a perfect crunch. (I think Fidel Gastro’s is turning me on to pork. That’s how good!) Pair it with pad Thai fries – which have an addictive kick that’s balanced by refreshing lime and cilantro – and my $1 night was made. Surrounded by colourful fair lights and sounds, I disappeared into my own little world with that sandwich – $40 in buffer money saved for a later date, health shot to hell in a good way, and a would-be normal night turned into an adventure by the poor. I kid not when I say that I will go to great lengths for food. It wasn’t until the return sprint to the main gate to save our twenties (we made it back with ten minutes to spare at 9:50 pm!) that I noticed the free EXpress trains transporting people across the grounds like royalty. Of course there were shuttles. Could the night have been more hilariously eventful? Two words: pouring rain. #TheAmusingAdventuresOfThePoor

Happiness Tip: Be resourceful!

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