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Monday, May. 13, 2002
Nothing says Mother's Day quite like a burrito.

At least that's the logic Stu and I applied to the situation. After a lazy day of pool (swimming) watching and pool (eight-ball) playing, he yawned, stretched and allowed, "'Bought time for dinner. Whaddya say we take the Mother's out for some chow?"

Whatever else you might know about taking the Mother's out to dinner takes a backseat to the old realty convention about location, location, location. There are innumerable restaurants here in our little idyllic Southern metropolis to choose from. If there is a food type or service style that is not represented by at least a couple of establishments I'm sure the genre has yet to be invented. High end French cuisine, New Age American, Lebanese, you name it, it's right around the corner.

I was sure our particular honorees of Mother's Day would be excited to try them out.

But having been through this drill before, I was equally sure of how the conversation would go. You know, the decision making process. "So where would y'all like to go? Bangkok Thai Station? Germaine's New Russian Café?" No and no. "Oh, anywhere you guys want." Which, in wife-speak, is translated to mean 'Anywhere you can want that might mean no pots to clean or stove to labor over'.

So we skipped that whole part of it. We have streamlined the process, you see.

In Outfoxed thinking, location means not a place to see and be seen, or to eat unusually well. Location means less than 5 minutes from right where I'm standing. With easy parking. And short lines. Cheap prices fall into the purview as well.

Burrito Barn, here we come.

It is large, it is popular. It is painless, in that while they might have 300 different selections on the menu, you can be guaranteed of receiving something containing ground beef and refried beans and something made of dough which has been flattened and fried. All served with insane speed by authentic Mexican waiters with questionable green cards and a single gold necklace. Which appears as their single indulgence, having sent all their remaining paycheck home to mother in Guadalajara so that she can pay the rent on her adobe townhouse and put tires on the '64 Chevy.

I got sidetracked into a stereotype. Anyway.

I was feeling adventurous and spotted the Fajitas Mexcas on the menu in one of those out of the way category listings. It appeared to be out of the ordinary in that the word burrito or taco or any other thing ending in 'o' didn't appear in the byline. In a burst of spontaneity, I ordered it up (amusing the waiter to no end with my 2-years-high-school-Spanish-accent) while everyone else opted for the more 'o' ending stuff.

Behold Outfoxed, seeker of Mexican haute cuisine.

After toasting the Mother's with various Margaritas and salsa chips the waiter returned, bearing single plates of refried 'o' ending foodstuffs. Close behind him was a freight train of his colleagues with my order. About 5 plates worth, some assembly required.

And we all fell to and began to eat, with me arraigning forks and fajitas and sizzling platters of various components into a production line. Open fajita, insert meat, onions, peppers, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream and substances unknown, roll, pinch ends and begin. I noticed with mild alarm that Stu had shoveled in the majority of his plate in the time it took me to consume half of fajita numero uno.

And everyone had finished completely by the time number two was put together.

Additional Margaritas were ordered and consumed by the time number three was done.

Adjoining tables cycled through entire families by the time number four was on the way.

Stu looked over, a bit quizzical, as the table was cleared of all remaining dishes and the waiting line of incoming diners swelled out into the parking lot. The waiter circled the table buzzard like in hopes of speeding up the achingly slow fajita gringo. Never one to leave a table hungry, or to waste even cheap Mexican food, I plodded on, assembling artful creations out of the materials at hand.

Ally poked me in the side and asked, "Wow. You must really be hungry. You really gonna finish all that?"

"It's not all that filling, you know. It just takes forever to get it all put together."

The waiter had by this time worn a path in the carpet around the table and appeared anxiously at my side. His mission to hustle the patron in and out in a manner designed to increase overall turnover was falling apart due to the thick-fingered fabricator of fajitas. "Senor, would you like a box for the rest of this?" I noticed that his accent, so charmingly authentic before, had now taken on a more Bronx-like tone.

"Naw, that's okay. Just let me finish up one more, hmmm?"

Stu sighed and signaled for more drinks.

Eventually, I finished, to the evident relief of the crowd of hundreds now backed up at the door awaiting a table. An emergency team of waiters swarmed the table behind us as I strolled leisurely away, shoveling the now empty fajitas packaging onto a cart and whisking a famished group of gringo's forward.

All in all, a most lovely meal.

And I will not be rushed.

But I bet they pull Fajitas Mexcas off that menu. I just bet they do.

Or maybe they just won't give me a menu anymore. Choices bedazzle me.

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