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Friday, July 29, 2005Finally! I live up to my subtitle.
Since this blog is subtitled, "A Texan View on a California Lifestyle," I figure its time to actually give a view, as a person from Texas, on a California lifestyle. And today we shall talk about something very near and dear to my heart.
To tell the Truth (with a capital so you know I mean it) this wasn't actually something I thought a lot about while living in Texas. Its like you don't know how much you appreciate good cold water until you find yourself in the middle of a desert and all you have to drink comes from one of those crappy metal public fountains, where the water tastes like dirt and you're sure some six year old has been spitting on it, and who knows what the crazies have been doing to it, but I sure don't like the look of that stain there... are you sure this is ok to drink from, you ask no one in particular, but you just get an unassuming shrug from the homeless guy and decide to take your chances, but I digress.
What I'm talking about here is good, old fashioned, made by people without green cards, Mexican food. In Texas, its everywhere. In Texas, you can find a taqueria easier than a Starbucks, they are everywhere. Even the large chains, like Papasitos, or Chuy's still manage to put a plate in front of you with that made by Grandma Perez look and feel to it. One of my favorites in Texas (for breakfast anyway) was a place called Juan in a Million. This place made breakfast tacos so huge, even the tortilla was a little intimidated. So intimidated in fact that it came with a couple of extra torillas, there, I think, just for the moral support. I mean, it was so jammed packed full of eggs, cheese, potatoes, and bacon, that they had to import special oversize foil to cover it all completely! (So big in fact they have a wall of fame for people who have eaten them... these tacos are big... are you getting that?) So if you are in Austin, check it out! Its on the east side of I-35, so you know its authentic!
Well, last night I went to dinner at this place that was recommended by the cable guy, called Celia's. It is located in downtown Lafayette (ooh ritzy) and is conveniently located near everything, as everything in Lafayette is. Upon entering, I immediately noticed it was once a seafood restaurant, by the large pier like posts (complete with large rope) holding up the entrance way. Once inside though, I was magically whisked away to another time and place. A time, that hopefully never exists, a place that is a very gay version of Mexico. I won't bore you with my review of the interior design, suffice to say though, neither Grandma Perez or Juan would have picked out this color scheme. On to the food.
The first thing my girlfriend noticed (that's right t-o-g fans and groupies, I'm taken, so back off! but keep sending me the love letters, I enjoy reading them) was a definite lack of queso on the menu. Maybe I'm wrong, but in Texas, a Mexican food restaurant without queso is like a seafood restaurant without food from the sea, and if I'm wrong, I don't want to be right. She decided to verify with the waiter about the status of the queso and was quickly shot down! He looked at her warily, like he had never heard the word before, and then replied, "If you mean melted cheese, then no, we don't have that." [I've just realized that its very hard to type a very snooty Hispanic accent] Well, I was a little let down, but she was devastated! "Am I never going to get queso in the state," she grieved. I assured her that I have seen queso on a menu somewhere out here, and then she brightened when I mentioned the crock pot she owns and how easy it is to make, and that we can bring our own next time!
I took the lack of queso as a mere happenstance, but was quickly called up short when I cockily asked the water if they had a meat sauce (or carne sauce for the bilingual) for the enchiladas! I had already closed my menu, assuming this was a done deal, but no, once again he used his haughty tone to let me know that not only am I a social misfit for demanding something so bizarre and outrageous on my enchiladas, but that they also don't have a meat sauce! Needless to say, it was only from the sincere urging of my dinner partner that I didn't immediately flip the table over and storm out of the restaurant... ...I did that after we had eaten instead.
I know I live in Northern California, which is about as far away from Mexico as Iowa, but it is a border state!
Oh Texas, home to the only Mexican food I love, please mail me some enchiladas in meat sauce, and some queso for my honey!
So, I don't really have a quote to end on today, mainly because when I google "Mexican food" quotes, I get tons of forums of people all over the world looking for a good Mexican food place in their area. Apparently, Mexican food is not only hard to come by, but also very prized by the masses... ...then why do we make it so hard for immigrants to move here from Mexico?
"Beans, beans, the musical fruit..." -some unknown lyrical genius
"Beans, beans, good for the heart..." -some copycat lyrical doctor