So this is unique. I’m about to write a review of some food I don’t know the name of. I actually have no idea what I ate. Um . . . but it was good?
It was really, really good in fact.
I’d always intended to visit one of the Taquerias Unica, but had misgivings — particularly about whether or not I’d be able to order or if there’d be an insurmountable language barrier. I took French in high school and college, y’all. I can do French — kind of.
I think the only words I know in Spanish are my colors and the days of the week, and I wouldn’t even trust those. So unless something on the menu was called a “Miércoles Rojo,” I was gonna be out of luck. (Full disclosure: turns out I do not know the days of the week in Spanish, since I just had to look them up as a reminder).
I was dogsitting beside La Taqueria Unica one day, though, and it was so tempting. I swallowed my anxiety and went in. I was greeted by a jukebox, loud music playing from a TV set to a Spanish station, and a sweet girl behind the counter ready to take my order. I looked at the menu, but shouldn’t have bothered, because it was in Spanish. No dishes called Miércoles Rojo, unfortunately. I set the menu aside and asked the girl behind the counter, “What’s the best thing on the menu?” She gave me a helpless, apologetic smile and I felt like a clod for making her feel sorry when I’m the one who went in expecting the entire Hispanic community to cater to my language.
I tried again: “Just give me anything. Just give me your favorite” (favorite’s a cognate, right? Or is it?). She must have understood some of that, because she took my money (I honestly don’t remember how much, but do remember that it was reasonable — maybe $9?) and then I sat and waited a bit, hoping that there was, indeed, food coming. Sure enough, after a few minutes, she handed me a bag and, after thanking her, I tried to scramble out of the restaurant inconspicuously, still a tad bit embarrassed.
And that’s how I arrived at my apartment with a mystery lunch.
A delicious, delicious mystery lunch. Whatever it was, it was stuffed full of juicy steak and peppers (the sort that you’d never find at a Salsarita’s type place), covered in a cheesy, creamy sauce, and accompanied by tangy guacamole. A fresh tomato and lettuce were bright and cool with the warm, heavy meal. The whatever-it-was (burrito?) was huge and filling. Finally, a tasty, quick fast-food Mexican restaurant!
My goal now is to learn how to say, “Give me whatever’s your favorite” in Spanish so that I can go back! Spanish speakers, want to help me out?
<politics>P.S. If you’re about to leave a comment insisting that Spanish-speaking members of our community should be bilingual, I sure hope you’re bilingual or are gonna think twice about clicking that “submit” button. The USA has no official language, y’all, and just because some individual states have set one doesn’t make it any easier to learn a new language while you work, raise kids, and take care of your home. You give it a try, why don’t you, and then we’ll talk. </politics>
Charlotte Spoon Rating: 4 out of 5 spoons
ETA: Three Charlotte Spooners have helped us out with the language barrier (and yes, so far, everyone agrees that this is some sort of burrito):
- “Lo siento, no hablo espanol. Quiero comer algo que se gusta” means literally, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish. I would like to eat something that you enjoy.”
- “Lo siento, pero hablo espanol solamente un poco” means, “I’m sorry but I only speak a little Spanish.”
- “Me gustaria su comida favorita del menu por favor” means, “I would like your favorite from the menu, please.”