Fittingly, I did go to yoga last week, but as Naranka, not Banu. And afterward, I treated myself to my second green chile cheeseburger from Shake Foundation, the new endeavor of former Aqua Santa chef and owner Brian Knox.
The burger here is all gooey goodness: the single, a slim three ounces, is snack-sized perfect, and covered in Hatch green chiles and Monterey Jack cheese; tomato, raw or cooked onion, lettuce, and mustard sauce are listed as optional add-ons. The meat is juicy, hormone and antibiotic free, and topped with a soft, and slightly sweet, buttered bun. I craved a bit more salt in the burger patty, but the chiles provided good heat, and toward the end, when the salty cheese and smoky chiles had melted onto my hands and into the paper wrapping, I wanted to engulf my entire head in that paper to rescue those last tasty bits.
But one of the chefs emerged from the kitchen and said, oh you’re back, and I remembered my manners. What’d you get? The green chile cheeseburger, of course, and the fried oyster sandwich with red chile mayo, which is amazing. I wanted to say baddass baddass baddass oyster sandwich, but I don’t know that guy. Noticing two sandwiches in my basket, the chef said, whoa, you’re hungry! Nah, they’re small, whaddaya mean?
The oysters in this sandwich are fresh, plump, and delicately fried and salted, the hint of garlic in the red chile mayo a lovely complement to the oysters’ briny vibrancy. This oyster sandwich may be my new best friend. It may solve all of my employment questions. Stay in New York? Fried oyster sandwich. Sublet my Brooklyn apartment for a few more months to be here? Fried oyster sandwich. Be practical, or leap?
If it were only so easy. But I am skeptically indulging in all that the healing arts community of Santa Fe has to offer, and yes, it really happened that the acupuncturist said she saw unexpressed creativity in me when she felt around my body. How Santa Fe of me to instinctually know of the curative power of pottery class, even if no one gets my name right.
In class the other day, my new teacher insisted I was Vanya, and when I told her again, and carefully, that my name was Banu, she said, oh, with a 'B'! So it must be spelled B-O-N-N-E-A-U?, even though my name is written in huge capital letters on my bag of clay, my bucket, and on every tool at my station. Then later another student said, I keep wanting to call you Naranka.
Naranka. My new yoga name. This Naranka will need an unlimited yoga card quick if she’s going to balance out all of these green chile cheeseburgers. And fried oyster sandwiches. Baddass fried oyster sandwiches.