"Never a dull moment as it seems my local Chili's was the scene of a grand tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen of Hearts, and Alice - all alive and well in wonderland and eating southwest eggrolls and bottomless guacamole bowls. Okay, they were people dressed as the Lewis Carroll characters for some function or other, but as I followed them down the rabbit hole, ordering my own guacamole and chips, I found myself wondering how 'mad' the Hatter must be to venture into a public restaurant in costume. I would be embarrassed. but then, that's just me. Maybe he enjoys the attention. Maybe he just didn't have time to get into character before the show, or perhaps he lacked a change of clothes after the show. Who knows?
Feeling brave, I ordered a new dish - Mexican food that included a beef tostada, a green chili chicken enchilada, and a beef soft taco served with black beans and rice. Usually at Chili's, I order either the steak or the mixed fajitas (beef and chicken), but not this day. It seemed I was sitting in the right place for a new adventure. Indeed, it was all very unusual.
My food arrived and I was so hungry that I tore into the tostada gobbling it down quickly. Bad move! My mouth caught fire and my eyes watered as my nose began to run away. The supposed taco meat was all wrong - it tasted like someone tripped and dumped a giant container of chili powder into the meat. It just tasted like chili - no cumin, onion, or garlic to balance it out and make it taste like taco meat should taste - taco-ey. I choked. My stomach churned. I guzzled water and attempted to eat the green chili chicken enchilada; also very hot, and my tongue felt like Hindi Yogis were walking across hot coals embedded in my mouth. My eyes blurred with tears as someone turned the spigot on inside my nasal passages. "Please bring me more napkins!"
There was no reason to even think about the beef soft taco since it was filled with the same meat that was on the tostada. Oy! Why did I veer away from my tasty usual? I could be blissfully chewing a delicious fajita topped with avocado, cheese, sour cream, and salsa with a big smile on my contented face.
I politely informed the manager when she came around to cheerily ask how things were that the taco meat was a chemical burn disaster worthy of Silkwood best tossed out before it got fed to anyone else. She went back to the kitchen, tried it, herself, and then came back to say they would take my dinner off the ticket because, indeed, the meat was too spicy, and I would have to strip down and be scrubbed raw to get the radiation off my skin. So, basically, I didn't have to pay for eating fire and swallowing magma.
Thank goodness for the molten cinnamon cake. Saved the day! Ice cream on top and cream cheese filling. Oh, joy! As I left feeling dinner wasn't a total loss, I heard someone say my name. "Michele?"
I turned around and came face to face with Cookie. Yes, his name is Cookie. Well, his name is Rudy, and he's a DPS Officer and a grown man, but to me and all others who grew up with him, he'll always be Cookie. Cookie was on his way to a daddy/daughter dance with his adorable little girl. As we caught up, I worried my chili powder keg, otherwise known as my stomach, might explode. Finally, we said our goodnights and I made it home in time for the revenge of the bad taco meat, Part Deaux.
There's no moral to this story except, perhaps, to understand that veering off the beaten path might lead a person into a big pile of ......chili-laden quicksand!... where Cheshire cats and card-sized queens might be watching you sink into a fire pit while they drink tea and eat guacamole; pinky out, of course.
Now if you'll forgive me, I'm late! I'm late, for a very important date...."
(All events described are true as there is nothing stranger in fiction than life.)
Image source: alice-in-wonderland.net