I’m a southern belle now! Better start calling me ma’am 🙂
You don’t get it? Well, that’s because you might not know, but I’m living in the SOUTH this summer (Greenville, South Carolina, to be more specific). I never imagined myself here, but here I am, 610 miles away from my adorable apartment in State College, and 2,718 miles away from my beautiful home in California. Greenville is such a different place, in both good and bad ways.
The good: You know all the stuff you hear about “southern hospitality”? It’s all true. Everyone is extremely kind and everyone’s good manners really stand out (hence the ma’am). So what am I doing in Greenville? I’m interning at Michelin for 12 weeks (the company that makes the best and most expensive tires in the industry and also hands out the revered Michelin stars) in the marketing department, and my 5 weeks at the company so far have been simply phenomenal. I have two challenging projects, my manager is clear and supportive, and my co-workers are open to teaching me new things and passing on their knowledge to me, even if it cuts into their busy days. The Michelin campus is also very beautiful. We have a large lake in between the two main buildings, and there are geese, ducks, and two turtles that live around/in it. There are also some huge multinational corporations in this area today (BMW, GE, Bausch & Lomb, etc.) that hire most of the population that lives here. Being in Greenville also means that I’m really close to some cool cities that I haven’t explored yet. So far I’ve been to Asheville, but I have plans to visit Charleston, Miami, and Atlanta as well. Since I’m working, I have a lot of free time after work and on the weekends (vs. in school, there were ALWAYS assignments to get done), so I’m spending a lot of time reading (currently got my nose in three different books), learning how to kickbox (I think I could take you guys), taking salsa lessons (which I am in LOVE with because I am learning how to follow a lead and not control the entire dance), and exploring Greenville, which has apparently come very far in the past 20 or so years. My days are really full and I’m trying to just soak in all the warm southern sunshine as much as I can. Lastly and most importantly, you should know that I have a new man. Isn’t he the absolutely the best? He doesn’t really talk much…but he’s nice to look at and is super cuddly, which is all I really need. EDIT 6/19/2017: Some people have been freaking out. Please do yourself and myself a favor and click on the underlined words which I’ve now bolded. Thank you.
The bad: Since I just spoke about the sunshine, you should also know that the south has random thunderstorms. I was at work one day, and I went into a meeting. I finished the meeting around 5pm and saw that it had gotten really dark outside, so I checked my phone and there was no forecast for rain. I left work, thinking I’d get home nice and dry (by the way, I walk to and from work- more on that later). NOPE. Within 2 minutes of me stepping outside, it started POURING. I eventually gave in tasted the South Carolina rain. Needless to say, I was soaked in seconds. The next not-so-great thing about being here just for the summer is that I have no car! This is a problem because Greenville is really spread out. There is no public transport (like none, whatsoever), and Ubers to downtown are really expensive because there is no Uber Pool. However, because Michelin is such an awesome company, I get to rent cars free of charge on some weekends. But yes, getting to and from work is a ten minute walk, during which I cross a wide road that has no crosswalk (this is sometimes the most thrilling part of my day). My final crib about being here in Greenville is that this a very family oriented town. Most events are geared towards young families, and not as much towards younger people. So I find myself going out of my way to scope out fun places. So far, it’s been alright since I’ve been successful at finding things that I like, but it’s different from living in a place like State College or San Francisco, where everything is catered for the 20-something year old.
Okay, now that I’ve got you up to date, let’s talk about these jackfruit tacos. Like I mentioned previously, I went to Asheville for a day to check out this city that everyone raves about. It was like a mini San Francisco and I loved it. Super hipster vibes everywhere, cool coffee shops , breweries, and bookstores (also an Indian restaurant called Chai-Paani, which I think is the most genius name ever). While I was there, I ate at a vegan restaurant called Laughing Seed Cafe, and I ate pulled jackfruit tacos for the first time. This was an interesting experience, because I didn’t know the restaurant was vegan until I was halfway through my plate of food. I knew I had ordered jackfruit tacos, but as I was biting into the tacos, the jackfruit was just way too meaty. Plus, it was a strange pink-ish color, which freaked me out. So I grabbed the nearest menu and read the description of what I ordered like three times for peace of mind! Rest assured, I did not eat meat, because after sometime I realized the whole place did not serve any meat products (whew!!). The tacos were delicious, and maybe I’m biased because I LOVE tacos.
So I’ve tried to recreate the jackfruit tacos at home, since I was able to find canned jackfruit in brine at Trader Joe’s! I’m not bragging or anything, but these tacos taste better than the ones I had at the Laughing Seed Cafe (insert monkey emoji covering his eyes here)! I added a mango salsa to offset the heat from the adobo peppers and poblano peppers in the jackfruit, and of course, avocado. You can (and should) add anything else you want: lettuce, onions, pico de gallo, sour cream, etc. I hope you get to try these and maybe freak out some of your vegetarian friends (lol!) because they are deeeelish. All that was missing with these was a large margarita or cold beer.
- One 20-oz can of jackfruit in brine
- 1 mango diced
- 1 onion diced small
- ½ a jalapeno, diced
- a handful of cilantro, chopped
- 3 adobo peppers in sauce, chopped small
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- ¼th of a lime (plus more to serve on the side)
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 avocado
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼th teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- soft small corn/wheat tortillas
- Start by roasting the poblano peppers. Turn on the broil in your oven and place the peppers in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. Halfway through, rotate the peppers. When they are done, take them out of the oven and immediately cover with foil to steam them. This will help you peel off the skin later.
- While your peppers are roasting, start prepping the salsa: combine the diced mango, ¼th of the onion (chopped), ½ jalapeno (remove seeds if you don't like too much spice), chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper to taste. Place aside.
- To prepare the jackfruit: drain the jackfruit from the can and dry it with a paper towel (I did this piece by piece as I shredded it). With your fingers, tear the fruit apart, and cut off any tough parts. Don't discard the seeds because they are edible!
- In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the rest of the onion (should be about ¾ths of the onion) and garlic, and cook on medium-low heat for five minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Now add the jackfruit and cook on medium heat for another 7 minutes.
- While all this cooks, remove the skin from the poblano peppers (it should come off very easily), deseed, and cut the peppers into thin strips.
- Add the poblano peppers and the chopped adobo peppers into the pan with the onions and jackfruit.
- Next, add all the spices and salt and mix everything. Taste the jackfruit and make sure it's seasoned well.
- Heat the corn tortillas in a pan and assemble tacos: salsa, jackfruit, avocado, plus anything else you want!