Monday, November 24, 2014

Sticker Sunday and Oblivious Harpies

Yesterday I had to go get my truck’s inspection sticker replaced. I could have waited, but that would have meant a longer wait next week, due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the end-of-the-month rush. I knew I was going to the Rapid Lube at the corner of Billbrook and Slaughter, just east of Manchaca. These guys are fantastic. They’re quick, since they get paid by the car and not by the hour (unlike the morons at Jiffy Lube right down the street, who keep you waiting for no reason). They also never try to hard-sell you on crap you don’t need (Jiffy Lube, again), and always turn off the “maintenance required” light that pops on when you need an oil change (unlike Walmart). I had an issue with a turn signal bulb that had fried, and somehow ended up inside a small chamber in the headlight cover. Took these dudes 30 minutes to fish the spent bulb out from a near-inaccessible space, and they didn’t charge me an extra dime. Love these guys.

I also knew that Mi Ranchito II was on my way back home, and it was lunchtime, so it was not a hard decision to make. The place was packed, and unfortunately, I was in line behind a large family of designer logo-encrusted white folks, and every time I thought they might be finished ordering, another one would show up from somewhere and cut in line, and then get confused about the menu. I stood in line behind a stream of them, waiting to order for about 7 or 8 minutes, before one of the restaurant owners took pity on me, and let me shout out my order over the heads of the indecisive herd. Their group consisted of granny, mom, dad, a random boyfriend or husband or two, and four carbon-copy, stair-stepped daughters. Unfortunately, they settled into two four tops and a deuce, all adjacent to the deuce that I had staked out. Thankfully, my order was delivered before theirs was.

Huevos revuletos con machaca taco, green sauce on the lower right.....

Sooner than expected, I was gazing upon a platter of stewed pork cubes in jalapeño green sauce ($8.99) and a machacado taco ($2.19). The plates were fortified with ramekins of spicy green avocado and chile árbol with roasted tomato salsas, and a dish of pico de gallo, all from their excellent self-serve salsa bar. I started with the overstuffed taco, filled with moist, fluffy scrambled eggs and tender, shredded machaca sun-dried beef, topped with cilantro and onions, and shredded Colby Longhorn and queso blanco cheeses. Two of these would make a meal, and a very delicious meal at that. Next up was the oversized platter filled with chunks of meltingly tender pork swimming in a shallow pool of a spicy, rich emerald-green jalapeño sauce. Flanked on either side were portions of savory red Mexican rice, and a pool of tender, bacony, frijoles a la charro. Three fresh flour tortillas and a salad of lettuce and avocado were riding shotgun. It makes a totally satisfying plate of food, and one of my favorite Mexican dishes in town.

Puerco in green jalapeño sauce...seriously good

The only damper to the meal was the nearby cacophony created by the shrill, harpy-like females in the 9-top. They all held matching white iPhones, which they texted on feverishly, as they each tried to talk louder than the others at their table. The dad looked totally beaten down, and it occurred to me that he probably endured this madness any time he was at home. Dude probably “plays golf” or “fishes” a lot. I sure as hell would. Mom was the loudest of all, and the only relief I got was when she would shut up long enough to waddle up to the counter to get continuous refills of her 32-ounce soft drink cup. How the seams on her white slacks held together around the pressure from those plump, stumpy legs is a mystery that NASA engineers should be looking into.

Their group was so loud that they even drowned out the screaming, pissed off, two year old mija a couple of tables down. When they got up and filed out, a couple of the tables remaining actually started applauding. It was as if a blissful, Zenlike calm enveloped the dining room upon their retreat, and everyone remaining (including the staff) gave a collective sigh of relief. Thankfully, it was a peaceful end to a really great meal, which was almost spoiled by a crew of self-centered, inconsiderate, and clueless dolts. God can only save the audience at their next stop, the “outlet mall”, but much better in San Marcos, with the outlet people, than anywhere near me.

Mi Ranchito II
1105 FM 1626, at the south end of Manchaca Road

Rapid Lube
9706 Billbrook Place at Slaughter Lane

Mick Vann ©   

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