Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm not Mexican, but really?

On the last day, I had some time to myself once the project I was in Canada for had finalized itself. I hadn’t eaten all day; in fact, I had purposefully, perhaps even spitefully, not eaten. I decided I was going to go and check out a restaurant I had seen that was named after one of my favorite tequilas. I figured that was a good sign, a good place to  start, so I would start there and have some food, and then maybe walk about and try to find something interesting in Canada. Anything?

I was truly, at this point, hungry and annoyed and I admit that my mood was slipping fouler by the end of my work day; however, I had the bright light, thoughts of tequila looming on my horizon and I thought that would help to inspire joy and happiness. That is at least, what I wanted it to do, failing to properly calculate in the angry that comes from being stupid hungry.

The Mexican place, Milagro, like many Mexican places, was run by actual Mexicans. I figured that was a good start at least (I learned during my conference that Toronto boasts the largest number of immigrant settlers of all the Canadian cities, with close to 74 different languages spoken in the city). The day was absolutely frigid but I also didn’t want to be so warm that I would fall asleep, so I got a seat at the bar in a section that was not quite warm and not quite cold, where Goldilocks probably would have deemed it passing for a moment before trying to find someplace else to sit.

Reading, drinking, eating, is there a better way to spend an afternoon? And with Mexican food. Trifecta, I hoped.

My hopes, sometimes die on the menu. As they did this day.

The menu did have lots of tasty looking eats and also somehow managed to be the most carb-laden Mexican menu I had ever seen. I know, Mexican can be carby, but really this was a bit much. If it wasn’t fried or battered it wasn’t going to be served. There was a real lack of grilled anything, at least in the neighborhood of chicken. I’d have more to go on if I’d been willing to eat beef or pork, which, surprise, I was not entertaining. Eventually I settled on a chicken tostada and to sulk over some tequila.

The tequila was not bad, and I have to admit, the chicken tostada was amazing. However, considering that I was in fact in an English speaking country, the fact that it had come loaded with beans and cheese, which I had specifically asked about and was told that they did not exist on the dish, annoyed.

So, I picked up the chicken and tried again.

“Can I get this again, but with just the chicken, no beans, no cheese?”

“Oh, we can’t do that.”

“Why not? You have to put the beans on to put the chicken on, and then you top it with the cheese. You are just skipping two steps.”’

“Yes, but the beans make it stick to the tortilla.”

“Look, I’m Puerto Rican. I understand the basic mechanics of a tostada. Stuff moves around. It falls off. All I need is for you to accept that fact that I will take responsibility for the chicken falling off and bring me the food. I want the food. I’m hungry. I’m happy to pay for it.”

“Yeah, we can’t do that.”

I just kind of stare at him. I think I’m being reasonable. I had said, in fact, when I came into the restaurant that I wanted a seat at the bar where I could drink, eat and write for a while. I was upfront about wanting to sit and spend money on food and booze. I hadn’t misled anyone. I was disappointed with the menu but willing to make do.

“Come on, seriously?”

“I’m sorry. We can only make it that way. We don’t customize our dishes for dietary needs. You could eat a taco instead.”

“You do realize that a taco is just a tostada with the corn tortilla toasted differently, right?”

“Yes, but it comes without beans.”

“Yes, and it comes with all sorts of other things I don’t want like a side of rice and beans and salad. Can you make it without that stuff?”

“No, that is what is included in the dish.”



I finished my drink, closed my computer, cashed out and left. There are not polite words for the emotions I was feeling. I was too angry to try to do much else, so I hit my room, worked on packing up my things, and then hit the hotel bar for dinner and drinking and book reading until it was finally time to fly home. Thus ended my great northern trip. The next time I go to Canada I need to schedule it better, meet up with friends, and avoid Mexican restaurants.

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