By Jasmin Shirazian
I love singing Humboldt’s praises, I really do. It took a minute for me to warm up to this little village tucked away so far from my home, but I’ve grown to enjoy almost everything about the area. Besides the food.
Humboldt is truly lacking in 2 things: ethnic people and ethnic food. Maybe I’m spoiled, privileged and blessed to have grown up so close to so many different cultures, but it truly disheartens me to see people up here enjoy the white-washed ethnic establishments and even compare it to food down south – that they’ve never even tried. I hate to break it to you, but you haven’t eaten until you’ve eaten food in southern California. I’m talking by the border, southern California.
What I’m trying to say is, there is no real, authentic Mexican restaurant that would ever name themselves “Hey Juans.” That’s like going to a burger place called “Hi John.” It’s a weird name and I would question the food. The burger would probably be raw. Not to mention, whatever you order is probably gonna cost your entire life savings and then some. Seriously, who charges an extra $3 for avocado? I will literally just go and buy a full avocado. Let’s not be silly, crazy and goofy now.
Food in Humboldt is so insanely overpriced that it genuinely hurts me when I indulge in a little treat and decide to eat out. I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that “Hole in the Wall Great Sandwiches” charges $17 for a turkey sandwich. Like, that makes me physically ill. How do you not feel like a demon charging more for a sandwich than the hourly wage you pay your employees? Personally, I would feel morally corrupt, but to each their own.
Don’t even get me started on the bagel places up here. Yeah, “Los Bagels,” this one’s for you. An extra $1 for each topping? When the base price of this god forsaken bagel is already like, what, $5? Now you want to charge me an extra $1 for 3 slices of an onion? Criminal behavior. You are robbing me. Thief.
Anyway, an hour away from the border, San Diego County is home to the most delicious food you could imagine. There’s Korean BBQ, Thai, traditional Mexican, Persian, Ethiopian, Brazilian and anything else you could ever imagine. Even random mashups of food, like the newly opened “MochiNut,” which is literally like mochi and donuts smushed together.
If you drive north a couple hours, you’ll find yourself in LA, where the options are equally endless, but you’re definitely gonna feel it more in your wallet. At least, in LA, the overpriced food is usually worth it. I love LA – if you can ignore the transplants – but there’s nothing like going to Castañeda’s at 5 am with your friends because you couldn’t sleep and then heading to La Jolla to watch the sunrise.
That’s another thing; down south there are an unlimited amount of options that stay open late enough for potheads like me to be able to run out and get a munchies meal. If it isn’t open 24 hours, chances are it doesn’t close until at least 2 am.
And then there’s the lack of fast food in Humboldt. It is genuinely hard to convince my friends to come visit me up here when there’s a KFC, but not a Popeyes. I get wanting to keep it mom-and-pop shoppy, but who in their right mind picked a KFC over Popeyes? The white man’s fried chicken over cajun-style fried chicken? Inherently racist.
That’s pretty much my only beef with Humboldt – the lack of seasoned beef. The air here is nicer, I can drink water from the tap without worrying about hundred-year-old minerals from deteriorating pipes, the foliage is incomparable. At the end of the day, though, I need to not be the only middle eastern person in a hundred mile radius, and I need access to that food to be happy. In my not-so-humble opinion, Humboldt would be perfect if it just had more color to it.