The First Foodie Justice?

By Ezra Klein

Sonia Sotomayor’s identity as a woman, a Latina, a judge, a professional, and even a single adult have all been front page news recently. But only Politico‘s Ben Smith has the courage to get at the core of Sotomayor’s persona: Her identity as a foodie. He heads back to her 2001 Olmos lecture — the same lecture where she famously said, “I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society” — and finds a delicious digression into Sotomayor’s comfort cuisine:

For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir — rice, beans and pork — that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events. My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs’ tongue and ears. I bet the Mexican-Americans in this room are thinking that Puerto Ricans have unusual food tastes. Some of us, like me, do.

Sadly, Sotomayor will find Washington, D.C. a bit bereft of not only good Puerto Rican food, but good Latin food generally. As a native Californian, that’s done the most to slow my adjustment to District-living. But there are exceptions. Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights can occasionally taste of home. Pollo Sabrosa has wonderful Peruvian chicken, fried yucca, and Mexican-style tacos. Taco District Federal has a chorizo, goat, and pork skin tacos that will make you want to firebomb a Cosi, not to mention the outdoor grilling they do on weekends. And the delightful Taco Pepitos Bakery 2 stands in silent rebuke to the nearby Mixtec, which charges $12 for a couple of tacos and a handful of chips.

What say you, IFA-folk? Any other recommendations for Judge Sotomayor?

3 responses to “The First Foodie Justice?

  1. For Latin food in general, my favorite around here is El Gavilan in silver spring –it’s pretty reliably awesome Salvadoran. Bonus: on weekends this guy comes in with an electric keyboard and plays loud, out of control music, including mournful Spanish covers of classic soft-rock songs. Never not fun.

  2. Also in Silver Spring is La Fonda Paisa. It’s a small Colombian grocery, but they have a small bakery and prepared foods. Very good frozen arepas (they make them in the store).

  3. No doubt Judge Sotomayor has eaten much better examples of the cuisine than I have, but my experience of Puerto Rican food left me pretty underwhelmed. It’s all so heavy! And it was weird to be on an island with so few good seafood options. Mofongo is sort of delicious, but it’s not the sort of thing I want to eat more than once every couple of years.

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