I wish to regale you with a tale. It isn’t a tale of hope. It isn’t even a pleasurable tale. It is instead a tale of a horrible mistake. A mistake made by a young man and his father. It may be pleasurable to you. Being detached from the actual experience, you may find it quite humorous. Read on that you may be enlightened as to your reaction.
Before I begin, I firstly disclaim that, although I tell a tale of woe, I do not seek to discredit anyone whatsoever. It is perhaps a benefit that I do not remember the name of the terrible Mexican restaurant my father and I visited. Nor do I remember the town that it was in, although the state was Oklahoma. Go figure. Ridiculous Turnpike tolls and horrible Mexican restaurants. The only good thing to come out of Oklahoma for me is my beautiful and amazing wife. Well, her and that one Toby Keith song.
My father and I once traveled to a town fairly foreign to us to tow home one of our family’s cars that had broken down on the cursed Turnpike. After hooking up the car to my pickup truck, we decided that we were hungry. We pulled, connected and carefully, into a small town gas station and inquired as to the availability of “good food” in the area. The attendant for some reason suggested the Mexican place. Perhaps it was the only restaurant in the tiny town. If so, I’m sure the inhabitants rue their future for it is one bereft of culinary class and diversity.
We traversed the tiny roads, happy for the low population and empty streets, until the route we had been given terminated in the Mexican “restaurant” whose praises had been sung (sang? No, it’s sung.) at the gas station. In retrospect we should’ve considered the source. I’m not saying that gas station attendants have no taste. All I’m saying is that the edibles offered by gas station attendants generally inspire diarrhea.
We entered the place and were shown to a table by some people who were by no means Mexican. This should have been our first clue. My father and I are, however, quite dumb. We sat down and perused the menu. After ordering drinks my father proclaimed a need to evacuate either his liquid or solid waste repositories. I can’t remember which, and it probably is irrelevant and disgusting to try and remember anyway. He requested that, should the waitress approach before his return, I order him the buffet.
As it turned out, I placed our order, two buffets, as he was still preoccupied with his evacuations. I approached the wanting self-serve bar and filled a plate. There wasn’t much to choose from. The buffet was perhaps three feet long. There was some ground beef that had dried out on the top, a pan with taco shells that had cracked down the middle and some wilted lettuce.
Attempting to avoid diarrhea, I loaded my plate with the only other thing on offer that day, jalapeno poppers. Or so I thought. I returned to the table and, before my father returned, I had time to bite into a popper and be disappointed and confused.
When dad got back to the table, the waitress was there refilling my drink. Dad requested the house made salsa and went to fill a plate. When he returned, he found on the table a bowl of ketchup with jalapenos sliced into it and cilantro sprinkled on top.
As he sat he said with a grin, “You must experience the bathroom!”. After having eaten a few “jalapeno poppers” I was only to quick to agree. Before making my exit, however, I lifted a “popper” in salute and watched as he also bit into one. His face creased, as mine had, in disappointment and confusion.
They were not, in fact, jalapeno poppers. They weren’t, in any respect, Mexican food at all. They were pigs in a blanket.
As dad sat regretting our choice, I visited the men’s room, another choice to be regretted. The toilet sat upon a raised rostrum not even large enough to support the entire base of the toilet. Sitting upon this was an experience I’ll not explain in detail. Who needs to read about that? Suffice it to say, it was scary. The sink, if sink it could be called, was so shallow that I couldn’t fit both hands under the stream of water at once.
After washing each hand individually, I returned to our table for the most horribly non-mundane culinary experience I’ve ever had.
I bid you adieu…and a don’t.
Adieu…take risks when you eat out. Many times you’ll find a “diamond in the rough”.
A don’t…eat at a Mexican restaurant staffed by white people. Or, if you must, tread very carefully. They may take too many liberties and present you with unexpected and horrible Mexican-American fusion disasters.