Dia de los Don Julios

Indecision is a disease.  Alexandra stared at the menu like all new vegetarian’s stare at menus.  The chief emotions of this process: fear, haste, anxiety, doubt.  She isn’t one though, like most human beings her body can’t process meat very well and she gets crippling stomach pains.

So, at Don Julios, a highly recommended Tex-Mex restaurants in a place where there are more Tex-Mex restaurants than, let’s say, blades of grass, humans, McDonalds, or some other comically universal item.  Alexandra searched, researched, and researched the menu.  What, at a Tex-Mex place, is not spicy, does not have beef, pork or chicken, or will generally not upset Alexandra’s stomach?  Answer: Fucking nothing, it’s a Mexican restaurant.

I pretty much yelled at her and insisted she either pick something or we would leave.  I wasn’t too happy about the prospect of 16 bucks for chili rellenos.  Whatever, she made a guilty decision and we stayed.

This is where I rant about food being more expensive than its origins.  It’s something distinctly American to overcharge for something.  I ordered the 15.95 Chili Rellenos, because that’s how much rice, beans, tortillas, two poblano peppers (egg battered and stuffed with cheese and then fried) is worth.  If that dish doesn’t net double the cost of materials, I’d be surprised.  There’s no way what was on my plate cost 16 dollars, let alone 8.  However, an expansive restaurant on a big lot, with lots of doo-dads, outside security, paintings elegantly framed, hand-painted murals (not shitty), decadent light fixtures, etc. etc. may have had an adverse affect on the price of my food.  The taste? Not orgasmic.  At least, it wasn’t orgasmic at the restaurant.  The second stuffed poblano, refrigerated overnight, after a hard workout the next day, cut like cheesecake and tasted like heaven.  Next time I order Chili Rellenos I’m going to ask if they can refrigerate it when they finish cooking it.  It’s like cold pizza covered in deep fried eggs.  Two things great foods cold the next day: pizza and fried chicken, fused into one delicious dish.

But, it’s poor people food.  Take something cheap and tasteless and make it palatable.  Rice, beans, vegetables, poor cuts of meat, etc.  I have been ranting about this since I got here and saw some of the menus for places like PF Changs (yeah, I’ve never eaten at one and only recently saw their prices), all these Tex-Mex outfits, and some fancier Asian restaurants.  And let’s not forget about $20 for a pizza.  Fuck that.  The history of that food does not include becoming wealthy selling hard-to-find cuisine.  Now high-end Italian, Steakhouses, French cuisine; we’re talking serious cooking skill, high-quality and expertly sourced meats and exotic vegetables.  In summation, there is nothing about rice, beans, peppers and deep frying that is expensive, nor should it ever be.  A monkey can work a deep-fryer, I’ve seen it done.

For desert, we got this complimentary thing called Sopadillas.  I’m pretty sure that means soup sandwich.  Whatever, they were basically donut holes covered in powdered sugar, served with honey.  The end result: a tasteless dish that nevertheless rushes into your monkey brain and flips switches and smashes buttons corresponding to high sugar and high fat foods.  If you’re aware that sometimes your brain will tell you something is good because of the presence of fat, protein, sugar, salt, then you can see through the ruse and taste, essentially, a piece of bread covered in lard and honey.  T’was good honey though.

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