Some meals haunt me for years. I can remember every succulent twirl of pasta laced with garlicky pesto that I had in a tiny trattoria perched high above the choppy Amalfi Coast; I can envision each fingerlickin' tear off of a whole spit-roasted chicken I devoured while gazing up at the clouds in a tiny village in France; and I can conjure up visions of every last forkful of wild nettles I inhaled at a cozy, lesbian-run vegetarian restaurant in the mountains of Switzerland.
Meals like these follow me around the city with reckless abandon. I've come close to finding a relative of them all in Chicago (save for the wild nettles), and my most delightful new quest was matching the fresh coconut-coated jumbo shrimp of a quaint, seaside shack on the azure Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico. Where'd I find it? Practically in my own backyard, of all places.