BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The waitress accurately guessed my order as I took a seat at 24th Street Cafe on Friday afternoon.
“Will you be having the corned beef and cabbage?” she asked.
Of course that’s what I was having. It was March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day — I was wearing a green shirt and the corned beef meal was prominently listed on the restaurant’s daily specials page.
I’ve been told people in Ireland don’t actually eat the dish, or drink green beer or do any of the other things people in the U.S. typically do to celebrate the holiday. No matter. Cabbage and other boiled vegetables served with long strips of salty, soft corned beef makes for a delicious plate of food. It doesn’t need authenticity to be enjoyed.
As served at 24th Street, it came with potatoes and carrots and a sprig of parsley, along with a paper cup containing horseradish cream, and a bottle of yellow mustard. The corned beef covered a huge mound of cabbage, and everything was so tender you could cut it with a fork.
I drank coffee. “No Guinness?” the waitress asked. No, I had to go back into the office. A pint of Guinness is one St. Patrick’s Day tradition I decided to go without.