Dispatch from the laundromat

A downside of not having a washer and dryer at home is that time must be set aside to go to a laundromat.

An upside of not having a washer and dryer at home is that all the week’s laundry gets done in 1.5 hours.

Downside is I can’t throw random loads in, willy nilly, whenever I think of it.

Upside is our non-air-conditioned house is not heating up during the dryer cycle.  Last summer this was particularly relevant.

Another upside?  During the drying cycle, when my clothes are distributed between two huge, industrial dryers, I have 40 minutes to walk around the neighborhood at my laundromat of choice.  When we first moved to our laundry-less home, I was a regular on the local laundromat circuit, trying out various ones.  Now I have a favorite.  I even have a frequent-user swipe card that comes with a free load every time I charge it.  Oh, the bennies of being a regular.

After eight months of this routine I’m becoming more aware of laundromat culture.  But today I’m not in this space to expound upon the community, friendliness and camaraderie I’ve discovered at the laundromat, where we’re all in the trenches together, doing mounds of laundry.  My laundromat is flanked by strip malls and restaurants on a major thoroughfare near downtown San Diego.  Shopfronts are continually transformed as the neighborhood gentrifies.  A few months ago, one of those storefronts caught my eye.

A banner with symmetrical designs and the word “Medina” was tied up, hanging over a small construction site.  I was intrigued, even excited.  I was on the way to my Ethiopian store where I pick up green coffee beans and the occasional njera. [This mile of the boulevard is becoming a legit Africa restaurant row, with a Kenya place down the road and several other Ethiopian places to pick from].  A small cluster stood on the patio, pointing, discussing, gesticulating.  “When are you opening?”  I couldn’t resist.

“In a couple weeks.” A woman paused the discourse and came over to talk to this potential future customer.

Moroccan spiced fish tacos.  Couscous bowls. Moroccan spiced chicken taco with preserved lemon. Harissa-laced shakshouka (pictured, from a recent visit).  It’s perfectly fresh fusion.  The flavors are Morocco, the composition is Baja.

It sounds exotic.  But as I wrote previously, it makes sense.  The two regions are in the same climate family, and here they have been reunited under one roof.  I hope to find myself under that roof more often – or at least until my exploits at the laundromat come to an end when my household acquires a washer and dryer.

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