Thursday, April 19, 2007

You'll Need a Translator . . .

Adventures in Dining –

Jo, Ship, and I decided that we were going to try out this little Tex-Mex/ Salvadorean place down the street from us called "Las Delicias" the other night. We had been talking about giving it a go for a while because the parking lot was always packed whenever we drove by.

Tuesday was the big night . . . we decided on hitting up this little "jewel in the rough" before we went to Tequila Tuesday at El Paso Cafe. We met there at 7 and stood outside chatting for a few minutes before we went in. Do you know those scenes in movies when the "outsiders" walk into a local bar and the jukebox screeches to a halt and everyone stops and stares? Well, that's basically what happened to us. There were about 10 guys sitting around drinking beers, and listening to some really bad Spanish-language music. (And trust me, I know the difference between good and bad Latin music!) Everyone turned and looked at us like we were horned invaders from outer space (or maybe la migra!).

Now, I had intentionally asked Jo to join us because, among other languages, she is fluent in Spanish. After all, she's half Uruguayan. I speak Spanish well enough, but I have a hard time holding up my end of the conversation if the other person doesn't speak slowly. And I'm kind of a chicken shit when it comes to situations like that because I'm always afraid I'm going to say something stupid and everyone is going to laugh at me. Anyway, Jo was our "ringer," the person who could save us in case things turned ugly.

And turned ugly they did. We were immediately ushered to the opposite side of the restaurant, away from all the other patrons. The waitress did not speak a word of English. I mean it. Not a word. Thank God for Jo who had to order for us. Sadly, it was still a struggle because apparently the waitress not only didn't speak English, she was mildly retarded as well. (Cute, but retarded.) We were able to successfully place our orders, and then just sat back and waited. It didn't take long before the jukebox started cranking out power ballads from the 80's . . . I started getting paranoid that it was the other customers' (who were obviously regulars) way of making fun of us. But is it paranoid if that's what they were actually doing?

Before our meal came, another couple of gringos came in and were immediately seated on "our" side of the restaurant. (Segregation is alive and well, folks!) We overheard the guy ask "What would you recommend?" This question was immediately followed by a blank stare from the waitress. Jo and I gave each other a knowing glance . . . this poor unsuspecting fool.

Eventually the food arrived. It was bland at best. Not bad, just not great. Then the check came, and with it a debate about the prices on the menu being different than the prices on the bill. But rather than argue with them, we let it go, paid our tab, and left.

Next stop . . . El Paso Cafe. If you have never been to the El Paso Cafe in Arlington (it's on N. Pershing), you should definitely give it a try. I have two words for you: "TEQUILA TUESDAY." They have a margarita menu to die for, with a different $3 margarita every week. (Mango is the best that I've had so far, but they are all wonderful!) And on weeks that they don't have the margaritas, they have a tequila tasting. And we're not talking Jose Cuervo here . . . we're talking top shelf stuff. The kind of tequila that can be sipped and that doesn't make you mean. The staff and management are friendly (and speak English), and they have live music after the dinner rush. I haven't eaten the food yet, but everything that comes out of the kitchen looks and smells wonderful.

I guess we will have to chalk this up to a learning experience. Las Delicias isn't so delicious. Sometimes it's best to stick with what you know. The next time I'm hungry for some south-of-the border flavor, I will head to El Paso. As should you.


Jo said...

The jeans helen. How could you forget our waitress' jeans!?

"I wanna know what love is.... I want you to show me!!!"

Helen Skor said...

Given the length of this post, I decided the jeans were of little consequence. But, yes, the 1983 pleated jeans were something special, weren't they?!