Diner in disguise: Push those chips aside

By March 29, 2011

I have no self-control when it comes to eating at Mexican restaurants. I order too much, sure, but my real issue is with the complimentary chips and salsa. It’s always there, tempting me to “gorge away” while I await my order. I try to resist, I truly do, but I always fail like the true chip addict I am and will no doubt always be.

This time, as my Colina De Oro server brought me my warm basket of fried goodness, I had a little help. I heard two patrons, seated directly behind me, bemoaning the fact that they wished they hadn’t eaten so many chips, “’cause now I can’t finish my burrito! I’m stuffed!” I vaguely heard a whisper from the other one about “loosening his belt” right there and then, and secretly hoped he was kidding.

I gently pushed the remainder of my chips to the other side of the table.

I ordered a beef taco and tamale plate, which comes with, naturally, a side of refried beans and rice. I also ordered one extra flour tortilla to scoop up the droppings from taco #1 to make taco #2. Something I learned from our publisher.

The tamale was excellent. I have eaten a ton of tamales in my day, and most of them were as dry as sawdust and resembled something akin to Silly Putty. This tamale was different: smothered in a delicious red sauce with gooey melted cheese on top complete with a generous dollop of fresh sour cream. The corn shell was moist and flavorful; the beef stuffing was juicy and plentiful. One of the best I’ve had since my time in San Diego, and that’s saying something.

When eating tacos I always pay attention to the laws of gravity. I know, for instance, that if I don’t pick up the taco, tilt my head slightly to the left (a 20-35 degree angle is recommended) and pull my elbow out to the side so my arm is exactly horizontal to the table, that I’ll be wearing the majority of the taco and finding the ingredients in my sleeve for the rest of day. The taco, like the tamale before, was very good. Of course the shell cracked wide open before I was half way through and the contents fell across my plate. But fear not, gentle readers, for I was prepared! If you’ll recall I ordered exactly one extra flour tortilla for just such an eventuality.

The beans and rice, well, they were beans and rice. What else can I say? I have to prioritize, and I rarely have the luxury of having any room left after the entrees to partake in the side dishes.

After I paid my bill and was leaving, the words of the great eater Luciano Pavaratti came rushing into my brain: “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

Or, if you prefer, a quote from someone by the name of Channing Pollock: “No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut,”  or chip, as the case may be …

Colina De Oro is located at 4120 Sunset Lane in Shingle Springs and their phone number is (530) 672-9149.

Special to Village Life


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