Kage Baker loved the Los Burritos chain of restaurants in Los Angeles. There was one on Hollywood Boulevard, down near Vine; there’s one on San Fernando on the edge of Glendale. They’re an old Los Angeles chain, or were – maybe they’re all just vaguely associated with one another now, as the economic sinews of the city dissolve; though they all still display the same cute neotonic burro on their signs.
Kage loved their tacos, because they were made of discernible shredded meat and had an actual taste. What meat, what taste? Better not to ask, she always said, and giggled. It was good and it never made her sick, which was quite enough for her.
The other thing she loved about the places was the heavily orange decor. Vinyl booths, plastic tables, water glasses – all orange. It went with the good orange grease (GOG) she felt was absolutely vital to a Los Angeles taco stand; natives, she averred, could not only digest that stuff but needed it. We’d all evolved to consume that GOG you find in really tasty taco stands and pizza houses.
The Los Burritos near Glendale has gone a little upscale these days – the upholstery is now a nice fresh moss green in the booths; there are actual live plants on the counters, and they serve fresh fruit smoothies! They’ve added a vegan section to the menu!
But there are still the lovely mysterious bottles of tamarindo and orchata in the cold case as well, and the real Mexico-bottled Coca Cola with cane sugar in it. And when they packaged our tacos upside down in the traditional manner, what leaked out of even my trendy potato taco was GOG. And BTW, potato tacos? Really, really tasty. I suspect they’re good for me, and I don’t even mind.
Besides, they still make the same enormous bacon-and-egg burrito I’ve been happily consuming since adolescence, and nothing good for one could compete with those. Beans, bacon and scrambled eggs in a flour tortilla – tastes like breakfast in a roadside caf on the M1 outside Manchester, with just a hint of salsa like a nice macho aftershave …
Nobody got up in our house this morning until very nearly this afternoon. Well, no one but Kimberly – she gets up at dawn, being evidently set to a personal time 6 hours ahead of everyone else in the family. Even the dog and cats just stagger into the kitchen, fall face-first into their breakfast dishes and go back to sleep – and Harry won’t even come out of his cage. Not all birds are morning people.
Anyway, by the time the rest of us caught up to her, it was noon. So it was lunch instead of breakfast, which is a wonderful excuse for a bacon-and-egg burrito: not that one is actually needed. Not for me, anyway. And it was so delightful to find the same old GOG still rendering all the bags translucent as we drove home … and for eggs, bacon and beans, Harry will come charging out of his cage, ramping and roaring and squeaking for tribute.
That always amused Kage. She was very careful to make sure he got his parrot-geld of goodies like tacos and burritos for brunch. Otherwise, he just climbs into your plate and helps himself …
But for now, everyone is happy, I’ve re-connected with the GOG of my youth, Jurassic Park is on the telly (Harry looooves that movie -he honks back at the velociraptors) and it’s time for a driving exercise with the nephew. His test is in a couple of weeks, and then I’ll have a spare driver for Dickens!
A lovely autumn Sunday. May all of you, Dear Readers, have a likewise comfortable day.