There is a certain kind of hang-over that hits you only when visiting the Northern Cape for a quick bit of business and a slice of wine-action in Upington. In this hang-over there is no nausea upon waking, nor any of that uncomfortable sweaty flushed-feeling as you stumble around seeking for a suitable place to puke your entrails out.
You know the one – that hurling session that burns your throat with sourness, especially when the remnants of last night’s Springbok potjiekos takes a wrong turn upon being chucked and gets stuck in a nasal chamber.
Upington does not do dirty hang-overs.
It does pure, searing, blindingly painful hangovers. The kind that makes your head feel as if Uma Thurman has driven a newly made Hanzo sword through the front, while Keith Moon is playing the “Star Spangled Banner” on the top end of your noggin. With lead sticks.
Yes, it is pain and it is bad, but you must endure it for you – my boy – have been bad in drinking too much of the vino stuff?+¦?+º?-¼. And put on the welding-glasses before drawing the curtains to embrace the daylight. Oh, forget did we? That’s why your eyes feel as though you are being fitted with contact lenses made from red hot lava.
In this state one requires two things: a couple of aspirin and a plate of Tex-Mex food. No hassle with the aspirin, although the first 17 taste bad. But Tex-Mex? You’re in Upington, for snake’s sake.
As luck would have it, you remember a place called Bubbas. A place you drove past recently, last night in fact. Before starting with all that wine-tasting and the smart-ass trick of mixing J?+¦-ú??germeister with Sauvignon Blanc and calling it a J?+¦-ú??gertini. What a laugh! What a guy!
Bubba on the edge of town. Barbecue and American stuff, Bubbas promises. So you head back, for the chance of finding Tex-Mex as well as to make sure Bubbas had not been an alcohol-laced illusion.
And there it is. An old empty house converted into an eatery promising barbecue and ribs, Mexican-influenced culinary offerings and artery-clogging Southern Style cooking.
Well howdy, look who we have here at the bar? Virginia. From Nashvillle, nogal. Virginia runs the place together with her South African husband SJ. But Virginia is all US of A, offering me chips and dip ?+¦?+º?+¦to get you started?+¦?+º?+æ.
Actually, a cold Windhoek Draught got you started. Served in an iced glass fruit-jar. To hell with the dog this was Perfumed Hair of the Nether Regions of a Persian Princess. Downed one and had yourself another the Windhoek, that is.
The menu promised good things. Wings. Ribs. Burgers. Tacos and a Burrito the size of a small pillow. Chilli Cheese fries, which happens to be the culinary choice of one rocker Axel Rose. Sweet corn muffins. Hee-ha.
The tortilla chips came with real guacamole, not the slime-green artificial supermarket stuff. And a fresh salsa and some sweet buttery thingy. Hit the spot, though some lemon juice on the salsa is playable as it is a bit on the sweet side.
Virginia suggested tacos, and in this state of shape you are no-way equipped to argue with a Nashville chick who travelled all the way to Upington, learnt to speak Afrikaans and opened a joint called Bubbas.
Pork tacos, to be exact. Why SJ smokes the pork himself on that ther’ barbecue-thingey outside.
What you get, are two tacos. Filled with mentioned pork, which has been lovingly shredded and topped with fresh tomato salsa. On the side there is a pile of barbecue beans, and for further joy help yourself to more guacamole.
This is eaten with your hands, so pack the taco tightly as you roll it into a chomp-friendly format otherwise them hung-over shakes will send pulled pork and stuff flying all over the place, worse than one of the more passionate scenes in Brokeback Mountain.
The flavours are wickedly stimulating and evocative and vibrant, like umami on acid. Smoky, unctuous pork. Sweet, spicy barbecued beans. Spice. Bit of heat. Nourishing. Good. Gets the blood pumping, washing the pain away from that machine-gunned brain of yours.
Your world is good once again. Peace. Peace through superior fire-power. Hey Bubba?
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