I love Mexican food.
Not the bastardized crap you get from most places, but real, authentic Mexican food. You're probably saying to yourselves, "I'm with you on this one Dave, authentic Mexican food is the best!" But you are a liar and your pants are on fire, because I bet you're saying this to yourselves while thinking of someplace like Cafe Rio.
The first time I ate at Cafe Rio must have been ten years ago. My mom had been raving about this place in Saint George for months and on a road trip to my brothers wedding in LA we stopped for lunch. She was so excited. I was sceptical.
I chose the Smothered Pork Burrito. Whoever the hell smothered it didn't smother it long enough. It wasn't dead yet. Long story short: I got irritable bowel syndrome. That little piggy wanted to go back to the pigpen real bad. This wasn't your basic IBS either, it was the kind where your colon throws a tantrum and you want an epidural. These were brutal, vicious cramps, like the ones that killed Elvis. And I was stuck in the backseat of my moms car for hours before the pain finally subsided.
If you want to avoid the soul-rending pain I experienced that day, you need to know the following:
I present to you "The Law of the Kitchen Staff." This is an irrefutable law of the universe, much like the law of gravity and the law of "Tom Cruise is a major douche."
At just about any restaraunt you go to, be it Chinese Buffet, Italian, Martian or whatever, the guys working in the kitchen are Mexican but when you go to one of those fake Mexican places, the kitchen staff is white trash. Sure they may have their token Juans and Joses in back, but there's always a Duane or a Bud slinging the beans. This should be your first clue to stay very far away.
Before you start making excuses like "So what if it isn't authentic, it tastes good," you should know that I don't usually have a problem with fake Mexican food. It is what it is. You won't hear me complaining much about Taco Bell even though it sucks, because nobody claims it's authentic. But if I go to a place whose tagline is "Authentic Mexican Grill," and there is a line in front that resembles the line at the Log Flume ride at Disneyland, and after waiting about eighty years to be served I squeeze into a seat among people going on and on about how great the food is when what I see is an eight dollar pile of sweetened meat, beans and lettuce strips and a five dollar glass of bad horchata with no refills, then I can get a little whiny. It isn't authentic, not even close! And give me a break with the sign on the door already. If I wanted to start my own restaraunt I wouldn't take pictures of your crappy one.
Last week I discovered a little joint called "Maria Bonita." It's around the corner from the new shop, so we all checked it out for lunch one day. The food is unbelievable! Besides the usual stuff they serve things like Lobster, and Molcajete. They have two kinds of Mole. They have HUGE Mango, Strawberry and Pina Coladas too. The staff barely speaks English. Maria Bonita has superceded Disneyland as "The Happiest Place on Earth."
Ever since the Saint George incident, I frequently experience bouts of IBS, usually coupled with frenzied bowl evacuations. Kent has the same problem. After lunch we usually race for the bathroom. An additional benefit to Maria Bonita, as if you wanted to hear about this sort of thing, is that Kent and I were fine afterward. Even Dustin commented on how unusual it was for us to eat without having subsequent rides on our own "log flume".
I realize you may still want to have your "red-headed-stepchild mexican grill." You may not want to try the real stuff. You might still prefer to eat some bastardized sludge that has the nerve to call itself authentic. That's ok. I can take a dump on a tortilla, and throw it on a pie tin for you, I've got time. And if I eat at Maria Bonita the night before, it will still be more authentic than Cafe Rio.