Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Mexican Restaurant Survey

Marty and I have made it our mission to try all the Mexican Restaurants in North America. We’ve got a ways to go but we’ve made a dent. Recently, we took a road trip to northeastern California and south central Oregon. For a long time I had wanted to show him the largest escarpment fault in North America. I call it the Church of Abert Rim. Most people just call it Abert Rim but it’s a spiritual place for me. It’s a place that makes you think of the Creator and you come away a better person just for looking at it. The Church doesn't look so impressive here because the top is shrouded in clouds. Trust me. It's an awesome piece of geology.

I also wanted to show him Ft. Bidwell. It’s a dinky town on the eastern side of the Warner Mountains. Whenever I would feel stressed in my previous existence as a production manager for a publishing company I would think “I wonder what the people in Ft Bidwell are doing now?” and I would feel peace. It’s a peaceful place. It isn’t “no where” but you can see “no where” from there.

While we were in nearby Lakeview we had Mexican food at a little establishment on highway 395. The people were warm and friendly and their pico de gallo was the best thing going. We ate copious amounts of it on chips and asked for more. I put it on my rancho beans and my rice announcing “This is my salad”. My tacos were good but not great. But the cook was flexible enough to bend the rules and let me have chili verde on them. I forgot to specify soft tortillas so they came crispy and already folded into that “U” shape I detest. The best tacos we have around here are the fish tacos at La Corona in Orland. They’re big and the fish is flavorful and if you say go light on the ranch dressing they will and they are pretty darn good.
But back to the trip. We like to drive so we headed over to Crater Lake on the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway, Highway 31. We met a new friend who didn’t have much to say. She was nonetheless colorful and macabre.

From Highway 31 we went over to Crater Lake. We had come for “very different” and we got it. Back home the thermometer is heading up to 107 degrees. At the rim of the caldera it was in the 50’s and blowing cold and wet.

Crater Lake is very special. But there aren’t any Mexican restaurants up there so we headed for Klamath Falls and the Lava Beds National Monument. Here’s where Kintpuash - also known as Captain Jack, a Modoc Indian - held off the US Calvary for 5 months with 60 warriors. There had been trouble over at their new home with the Klamath Indians. Kinda like the Israelis and Palestinians. The Klamaths said this isn’t our idea and we don’t want you guys here so we’re going to pester you until you leave. The Modocs tried to tough it out but then the government didn’t give them the supplies that they had promised. This put them over the edge. They went back home and holed up in the lava beds waiting for the army to come and try to take them back. They probably wished they had a Mexican restaurant because having only enough wood to cook with and not enough to keep warm finally made them leave. They got pretty far to the south and the cavalry caught up with them. If there had been a Mexican restaurant they might have all gone in for Margaritas and guacamole and forgiven each other. There’s something about great Mexican food that really makes people forget their troubles.

I had to come back and add an addendum. I realized that my summary might sound flip and insensitive to the plight of the Modoc people. By way of explanation, I would like to offer here that I believe that people in general take the issues before them much too seriously and if they could only meet in a spirit of generosity and compassion that many of the world's problem would simply melt away. We are all nations caught on this beautiful green and blue sphere. We're all worthy of respect and consideration. Animal, vegetable, mineral.

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