My man Hardcore Logo and I celebrated him finishing 4th grade by eating Mexican food in New Bedford at a Maginot Line-looking (minus the bright yellow paint, of course… even the French aren’t that French) concrete blockhouse in a tough harbor neighborhood. What could possibly go wrong?
Things are already looking up as we enter. It’s tough to tell in print, even with photography, but the place smelled really good.
My plan to order “Steak, medium rare, side order of Gloria Estefan” was looking good until I got inside and found out that the menu was in Spanish. I don’t speak 10 words of Spanish. I don’t even know how to say “Gloria Estefan” in Spanish.
No worries. We had Alice. Alice was the pretty girl working the counter, and it is safe to say that I was not the first befuddled honkey that she saw looking at their all-Spanish menu in her career. She tagged in at an appropriate time, guided us through the menu in a sort of Mexican Food 101 manner (“You don’t want that, Sir… there’s Spicy and there’s Mexican Spicy, and that one is Mexican Spicy”), and sat us down with a plate of nachos and some salsa verde.
They have a very colorful soda selection, although I had Mexican Coke… no, not that kind. Logo had Mango Soda. Alice coached him through the process. I then sat with Logo, who is 11, and bombed with every “Alice”s Restaurant” and “Go ask Alice” joke that I tried. “You can get anything you want” went nowhere, as did “Feed your head.” Logo’s mom was at Edaville Railroad and Teresa was working until 3, so my audience options were limited there. Teresa and Jessica are both probably old enough to get the White Rabbit references, but too young for Arlo Guthrie. My job ain’t easy, people.
OK, check that, my job friggin’ rules. It rules so hard that I get Primae Noctis rights in some parts of New Bedford. The nachos (they have a dozen varieties) were the part of the order where Alice steered me away from Mexican Spicy… and this was after I became overwhelmed by the Spanish menu, just said something that sounded Mexican restaurantish, and Alice had to say, “No sir, we don’t have that, that’s actually something they make at Taco Bell.”
Taco Bell is going to come up in any review of a Mexican restaurant written by a corny white suburban kid from Massachusetts, and I am Duxbury High School level suburban. It was an excellent version of odd to see tacos with real steak in them, as opposed to meat paste. Mi Antojo pretty much ruined Taco Bell for me…which really is a shame, because I live 5 minutes from the Wareham Taco Bell and will most likely smoke up an eighth of Training Day herb before supper time. I probably should have zoomed the camera in on the tacos more, but that’s why you can read this for free, player.
Logo went for quesadillas, which I can’t spell in English or Spanish. I do wonder if Alice, who was very influential in our eventual orders, steered us towards Things That White People Order At Taco Bell so that she and the staff could then ruin Taco Bell for us forever by feeding us better versions of that food. She seemed more sweet than devious, and I run across a lot of both types in this job… although it worked, and Alice wouldn’t be the first Latina to get me wrapped around her little finger. Hunger is a great motivator.
It’s better not to think about it, especially if you have a plate of nachos in front of you that is about the size of a hub cap. Trust in God, child, and eat with both hands.