I’m not a fan of lunch specials. I believe that you don’t get the same portion – or a large enough – portion. And, as y’all know, I like big portions.
I, however, went against my long-term – and stubborn – belief and decided to check out one of the lunch specials at the Las Vegas Café.
This long-time and highly popular restaurant in Harlingen now has me believing I’ve been wrong all these years.
As I sat at the counter and ordered my plate, which included two cheese enchiladas and a pair of tacos – one beef fajita and the other carne guisada – I couldn’t help but notice the line still out front at 2 p.m. on a weekday. About six to eight people were patiently waiting for a table. But the line wasn’t stagnant as the host and servers kept people moving like a factory, but without the stressful feeling. It was a work of art.
When my plate arrived, topped with fresh onions, rice and a jalapeño, and a couple cups of salsa, I was highly impressed. The plate was large and the contents on it left no white space to be seen – just food, and more food.
The enchiladas were delicious. Then I bit into my fajita taco – and the tortilla as I’ve known it forever changed. I’m the guy who doesn’t understand why people wait so long in lines for tortillas. Before this day I rarely noticed any difference other than soft, or doughy or crispy.
Something about these two tortillas though was clearly…special.
I asked one of the kind ladies working about their tortillas. She said, “they’re the best, and they are homemade.”
I humbled myself. I didn’t know what made these tortillas so special. Usually, I’m focused more on the contents, and trying to not spill them. And while the beef fajita and the carne guisada were delicious, there was something about the tortillas that made me start thinking about their value as more than just a place-holder for the food. On this day, it seemed that the tortillas enhanced the flavor of the food and vice versa.
I left there happily full and contemplating what just happened. My beliefs about lunch specials had been changed, and my ignorance of tortillas had been challenged. I still won’t wait in hours-long lines to purchase tortillas, but I’ll definitely mark off the different lunch specials that I go through, now like a bucket list, and when I get to the meatloaf, I may just ask them to put it in their special tortillas.