No-one recognized the trade at the time. The Europeans gave North Americans smallpox; gunpowder and tobacco went the other way, cigarros, specifically.

We have come to see that it was a mutual death sentence – one in short order, one that killed many more over the centuries. As they say over at Zero Hedge, on a long enough timeline, our chance of survival is zero.

A scene in The Borgias captures the moment beautifully. Juan, Rodrigo’s second son returned from his adventure across the Atlantic with a box of cigarros for his father.

What is it? is it a turd? the appalled Pope demands.

Juan demonstrates how to toast and light the rolled tobacco delight, immediately hooking His Holiness. Jeremy Irons must have been ecstatic at the idea of smoking on set: he had to. It was now part of his character.

My latest purchase follows in the tradition of the (fictional character of) Pope Alexander VI. One Romeo Y Julieta No. 2 Belicoso, and one Romeo by Romeo Y Julieta Churchill.

Unlit, they smell delicious. Cigarros are the male potpourri.

Fuse This

This is the kind of fusion one can get one’s teeth into.

Thai food and Vietnamese food have enough similarities and sufficient differences for worthwhile interbreeding. From Vietnam we find ingredients closer to their natural state; Thailand gives us complexity arising from longer cooking times. Because both countries share a climate, a soil and a sea, food variations are more cultural and historical than natural. Experimenting with blended cooking techniques and prep style won’t produce too many bum notes, and might just give us some triumphs.

This place is a low-key triumph all its own. On what might otherwise be a slow Sunday night, patrons fill most tables and booths. The service reflects the warmth and homeliness of both cultures, and the food was as interesting and fresh as one could expect.

Importantly, the prices are pretty darn good. Luck favors the bold and good meals come to those who fear not the strip mall.