Yes, I know it's hot. Really hot. So hot that I was happy to be stuck in an hour-and-a-half traffic jam getting to a friend's house in Topanga because at least our car was air conditioned. And yes, I'm ready for the heat to break. But no matter how sweaty and irritable these temperatures may make me, I'm also thankful for them. Because with heat comes ripe fruit and, most particularly, ripe figs.
"Are these Adriatics?" I asked the guy behind the counter.
"How did you know that?" he asked me.
I knew that because I am a fig freak and as wonderful as Brown Turkeys and Black Missions may be, there are few figs that can rival the Adriatic for flavor. Though they're drab on the outside, cut them open and you've got a center that looks like raspberry jam. (In general, sorry looks are a hallmark of great figs: The old Spanish proverb is to buy figs with a beggar's ragged cloak and a widow's weeping eye.)
And that center tastes even better than it looks. In addition to that wonderful, slightly prickly flavor, which can only be described a "figgy," ripe Adriatics have a honeyed sweetness brightened by what tastes to me like a cross between raspberry and creamy lemon.