Posted by: thezedword | October 24, 2008

Mexican ninjas

You know in old cartoons, when a person walks into a room and immediately walks back out wearing something completely different. Like the scene in Anchorman, when Ron Burgundy cleans up good. (It’s some eight minutes into this clip.)

The other night, Stacy and I went to a Mexican restaurant on Cuba Street called The Flying Burrito Brothers, which, I think I remember being told, is owned by a Korean. Having a small fear of heights, my knees wobbled a bit when I walked in and immediately to my left was the basement. When you enter the front door, there’s a kind of bridge that takes you over the dining area below to the host. There was an obvious Mexican/American Southwest influence — plain, Adobe-looking, wood beams, alcohol — and little cubbies dotted the walls, where candles sit dripping wax down to the lower level.

As far as I know, the restaurant has no relation to Gram Parsons.

As far as I know, the restaurant has no relation to Gram Parsons.

When you follow the wax down there for dinner, you’ll notice that if you’re not seated below the bridge, it’s incredible loud. The ceiling is low, the room small, with a strange wall (strange because a table goes through it) dividing the high-ceiling dining area from the low-ceiling area, and loads of tables are crammed in that space. All the surfaces make for lots of echoes and a total improbability that the waitress will hear your voice when you ask for a side of sour cream.

But they make up for all this after you place your order. As soon as our cranky South American waitress walked away with our order, she almost immediately walked back into the dining area with our meal. It was like they have some Mexican Jedi ability to know your order before you even sit at the table, then they prepare it to your impending specifications. That or they’re just a high-class McDonald’s and they have every item on their menu cooked and ready-to-order, except they’re faster than the Golden Arches and the meat plate for your fajitas is still scalding hot when it’s brought to your table.

That cranky waitress could take a lesson from the servers at the Mr. Bun’s on Courtenay Place, our favorite breakfast joint. Though not as quick as the Flying Burrito Brothers, when the nice Asian lady brought us our fresh-squeezed O.J. this morning, she thanked us for serving us. “Orange juice? Thank you!” And they don’t even expect tips; that’s not part of the dining culture here. Now, that’s service.

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