I ate two pounds of cheese. In a week. The average American consumes about an ounce of cheese per day, and even that is probably too much. For a whole week I cruised along at about 5 times the average.
Actually, that's not quite accurate. Let me refine this a bit. I ate two pounds of a particular variety of cheese in one week. That was on top of my maintenance level of cheese consumption. Those two pounds of cheese cost about eight bucks, but that doesn't begin to describe how much I paid for them.
Why would I do this to myself? Well, to begin with I have impulse control problems when it comes to certain foods -- I don't know what triggers it specifically, but dairy and cheese are overrepresented among the culprits. I have a lot of trouble controlling it. Set a giant bag of the Trader Joe's Pirate's Booty knock-off in front of me and it will disappear with the quickness.
Second, the cheese in question is quesillo, also called queso oaxaca. Let me tell you something about quesillo. The first time Mrs. Culinarian and I went to Mexico, we escaped the family in Puebla for 48 hours and headed south to Oaxaca, the birthplace of our hero cheese. Sitting at an outdoor cafe on the zócalo with a few bottles of Indio and the gathering dusk illuminated by twinkling lights in the trees, I sampled quesillo for the first time and subsequently inhaled an entire plate of it while ignoring my then-fiancee. We later got married there.
Basically I picked my wedding location because of cheese. Told you it was a problem.
Quesillo is Mexican string cheese. It's a fresh cheese, slightly salty and just a little sour. It's made in long, thin strips and then rolled into a ball. You can unwind it and peel the cheese apart into strands that stretch and string out most appealingly. Or you can just eat that bastard like an apple. There's no judgment here, friend.
It also melts beautifully and will make the best damn quesadilla you've ever had. You also can't make a cemita poblana without it.
For all its fine qualities, quesillo isn't exactly common around these parts. When El Chucho opened up in Columbia Heights last year, Mrs. Culinarian and I were were psyched to see real quesillo on the menu. But when we asked what their local source was, they declined to tell us. If you stumble into any Latin market in the area you can probably find prepackaged balls of cheese labeled "quesillo" that are actually third-rate imitators made in -- *shudder* -- New Jersey.
But the genuine article can be found! Unfortunately it requires going to Rockville. Just off the interminable concrete-and-glass strip-mall purgatory that is Rockville Pike, you'll find the Megamart. It's a Latin market with its own DJ and a strongly held belief that grocery shopping is best enjoyed with a super-loud cumbia. They make their own quesillo in-house, and oh man does it get the job done.