Friday, March 7, 2008

a superior telenovella ...



on the off-chance that we ingest enough margaritas to impair driving, chuck and i take the bus to superior, wisconsin, tonight for dinner at guadalajara. this restaurant may be located in the saddest place on earth: superior's mariner mall, which really isn't a mall at all. it's a speedwalking track framed by chiropractic clinics, that seemingly only one reebok'd woman knows about. she has the run of the place.

***

full disclosure here. i forgot to mention in yesterday's post that on thursdays i tend to eat the combined weight of a fleet of bison in restaurant food. like the whole world is my very own old country buffet and i have a golden fork. after my second strawberry fanta in a row last thursday, i burped and sneered at chuck: i'm trying to consume as many calories as possible.

so. yeah.

***

while we're waiting for our transfer bus at the holiday center, a man who will eventually be a busmate, is picking his nose and using his excavated findings to create art on the glass doors. it seems i was wrong when i hypothesized that duluth had just three types of people.

"it will be a miracle if i'm still hungry when we get there," i tell chas.

***

the tv in the bar is giving me political news and commercials in spanish. i'm trying to pick out words -- aside from 'clinton' and 'obama' -- that i recognize from a text book i read in 1993.

the ball is rolling. i'm vowing to myself that i'll relearn spanish via telenovella immersion. this is my new project. sitting cross-legged, back straight, in front of baby tv, repeating the phrases aloud:

"¡Pero juan, ella es mi hermana!"

"hola," the mexican bartender says, walking past as my reverie is taking shape.
"hola," i respond automatically, then inwardly groan.

while, in the early '80s, it was my mom who absorbed the texan accent of another hockey mom in any conversation that lasted more than four seconds, it was my dad who pulled out a british-pig latin hybrid when we were at the epcot center years later.

"'elo," an employee said as we toured a gift shop.
"hoi," my dad responded.

***


s'fire and ick-nay, vegans, join us.
"do the beans have lard in them?" s'fire asks our waiter, an ambivilent, lard-afficianado sort.
the waiter shrugs, pencil still poised, without realizing that this is an actual question and not an icebreaker.
"what, you don't like lard?" the waiter asks, incredulous, like maybe after work he's the sort of guy who likes to veg out on the couch and do lard shots out of his girlfriends naval and can't believe not everyone shares this proclivity.
"i just don't eat animal products," s'fire explains.
the waiter nods, confused, pencil still poised.
"yeah, i don't know," the waiter says.
the pause is palpable. it tastes like crisco.
"i could go ask," he says. not like he's going to, but like hypothetically if this situation were to occur in the future he would know what to do.
after some deliberation, cheese and sour creamless veggie fajitas are ordered.
"do you still want the beans?" the waiter asks.
"yes," s'fire says.
"'cuz i've never seen any lard back there," the waiter says confidently.
and here is where i picture a wooden keg -- a mis en place -- with the word 'lard' writen in cartoonish font on the side. a half-dozen cooks dumping ice cream bucket-fulls onto the grill, kneading it into their dry forearms, walking through it barefoot to cure callouses and sometimes doing that prank where they douse a friend with it in slow motion while the song "good vibrations" plays in the background.

the fajitas come with sour cream.



***

thankfully, ick-nay drives us back across the bridge, thank god since we'd chittered right through the last bus outta dodge. considering it took three hours to drink one margarita, i'm guessing my car could have been a reasonable mode of transportation.

***

then, finally, i get to have the moment i've been waiting for since i heard of its inception:


10 comments:

chuck said...

I could drink six of those Mountain Dew-based margaritas and still be sober enough to drive the whole bus back to Duluth. Especially after eating a plate heaped with school-lunch-grade taco meat.

Beret said...

How is the book???

After reading this post I have the old Mariner Mall jingle stuck in my head..."Meet me in the shopping showplace: it's Mariner Mall!" and the other one "Come for the shopping, (beat) (beat) stay for the fun!"

We used to say that you could shoot off a cannon in the Mariner Mall and never hit anyone.

The nachos look delicious.

Sproactually said...

I am a lover of the rich vitamins C a margarita offers me, no salt please. Always ask for gold. And Chuys, a sort of local chain-ish tex-mex place in Tucson still has the reigning #1 spot for my personal choice of on the rocks, gold, no salt please.

And the true test of a dying mall / shopping center is when one of the last stores open is a liquor store.

feistyMNgirl said...

i love Guadalajaras. there food has the right amount of cheese on it, usually. tons.

the bus rider with the boogers? yuck. i will never rest my head on a public-transportation window ever again.

i used to go to happy hours with my city of superior-employed friends at guadalajaras. they were fun. (as a bonus, you can leave your car in the mariner mall parking lot and not have to worry about anybody "dinging" it)

Miss Kate said...

I almost choked on my Pastureland butter-ridden waffles at the lard part. No offense to your vegan friends, but come ON! It's a Mexican restaurant in Superior! Isn't everything in Superior made with lard (the exception being the Boathouse)?

CDP said...

There was an old SNL skit about a Chinese takeout that was always assuring customers "no MSG! Never use MSG! MSG bad!" as the cooks in the kitchen used the industrial-sized vats of MSG as stepladders, tables and chairs, etc.

L Sass said...

That margarita looks AMAZING.

Also, please, please, please tell us what secrets are contained within the pages of sTORI Telling.

Mach1 said...

I think your assessment that Duluth has three types of people still stands. After all, Booger Guy was kind of creating art, wasn't he?

futbol said...

this whole post was clearly just a vehicle for you to use the phrase "mise en place." well played.

christina said...

actually, futbol, it was a vehicle to write the thing about juan and my sister.