I wanted a burrito. All I got was tears.
Here’s the story of my meltdown over Mexican food as seen on Flamingo Pink!
This past weekend Paul, and I went to Boomerang Beach for the weekend. As we drove up the coast we listened to all of our favourite songs and sang at the top of our lungs. The weather was gorgeous so the next day Paul immediately got in the ocean to surf and I lay in a beach chair. After a few hours I started to get super hungry. And more than anything- I wanted some Mexican food. When people ask me the hardest thing about leaving America and moving to Australia I always give them the same response: being far away from my family and far away from burritos. Every now and then I find a place in Oz that claims to do Mexican food, but it’s just not the same as the tacos you get from a food truck in Austin, Texas.
With my mouth salivating at the thought of a bulging burrito entering my mouth, I turned to Google to see if the local town Forster had a Mexican joint and luckily it did! We decided to head there for lunch. To my dismay, it was only open for dinner. This information made me want to cry, but I was only on Food Anxiety Level 1 at that moment. (Food Anxiety is a very real condition. For me, my Food Anxiety Levels rise based on timing, quality and sharing conditions. Basically, don’t you dare tell me you’re not hungry and then try to eat a fry off of my plate.)
Anyway The Hog’s Breath next door was open and that would have to do. I figured they would have some sort of Tex-Mex to help me get my fix. Nope. I had the worst excuse for nachos ever, and spent that night with horrific gas thanks to my lactose intolerance being ignored. (Ask Paul – he made me check my underwear twice.)
Seeing that I was utterly disappointed that I had wasted an entire meal containing dairy on Hog’s Breath, Paul promised to make it up to me and said we’d go for dinner at the Mexican place the next night. Like a kid before Christmas, I couldn’t sleep! We were up early and went canoeing, ten pin bowling and to a movie to really work up our appetites. By this point I was exhausted and ravenous which naturally brought me to Food Anxiety Level 3. As I entered the restaurant I took in the décor… looked pretty authentic. But then I noticed there was not a single Mexican in the kitchen, which made me nervous.
As I glanced at the menu, I was relieved to find tons of options and they all looked awesome. Without hesitation I stated that I wanted a burrito. The $23 burrito. Pricey, yes, but this is Australia so I just rolled with it. (No pun intended!) With memories of the gas I endured the night before from being lactose intolerant, I politely asked the waitress if I could have it without cheese.
(DISCLAIMER: I worked in the food service industry for years. I am in no way a difficult customer. I would never send a meal back and won’t even mention a big black curly hair coming out of my mashed potatoes. I do, however, expect my waitress to be cool to my dairy-free needs.)
Waitress: Um, no, I’m sorry, the burrito is smothered in cheese to keep it from burning in the oven.
I started to feel panicky. If this girl couldn’t figure out how to roll up a burrito sans cheese, I knew there was going to be a problem.
Summer: Would it be okay if you didn’t put it in the oven?
Waitress: Well, that’s not how we do it.
Summer: A burrito is just a wrap with contents inside of it. All you have to do is leave out the cheese, roll it and not put it in the oven. The waitress stood there with a blank face. I got tears in my eyes. All I wanted all day was a burrito and my dream was slipping away.
Enter Food Anxiety Level 7.
This is a pretty extreme level. I was no longer able to make eye contact with the waitress. I put my head down (to hide my tears) and said (spat) that I’d find something else. I also probably exhaled dramatically.
The waitress awkwardly left the table. Paul told me I was rude which made me want to cry even more. With my anxiety spiraling out of control, I decided that I wanted to leave because now I was embarrassed and didn’t want to face the waitress. While Paul was telling me that I was being a baby and munching on the chips and salsa, I was telling him that he just couldn’t understand how hard it was to grow up with Mexican food in your life every day and then to move to another country and never be able to have it. He offered me a chip. I refused because I was in Pouting Mode (a side effect of Food Anxiety.)
Suddenly another waitress came up and asked me if I would still like to get the burrito. I said yes. She explained that they could do an open burrito. So it would be the tortilla, lettuce, rice, onions, chicken and guacamole on top. Thankful that this girl figured out how to avoid putting cheese all over it, I decided to cut her some slack and not explain to her that rolling it all up inside the tortilla wouldn’t kill her.
As we sat waiting for our meals, I grew more and more angry. If only I had a copy of the dictionary so I could show them what a burrito was. I could feel my cheeks getting hot with frustration so I asked Paul to change our order to takeaway. He tried to talk me out of it, but I just needed to leave.
We told the waitress and quickly, she came back with our food in a take-away bag. As we walked to the car, I told Paul I was sorry for being so childish, but that I just really wanted some quality Mexican food. I then mumbled that I wasn’t completely out of line- those waitresses were hopeless. I then made the comment that I bet they still didn’t get it right.
When we got home I opened the containers. Inside were two extremely small soft tortillas and all of the fillings in separate to-go boxes. I DID NOT ORDER TACOS FOR ANTS. I ORDERED A BIG MAMA BURRITO THAT WAS $23 F***ING DOLLARS. And as for Paul’s Quesadilla? It was just one tortilla with cheese melted on THE TOP.
This brought me to Food Anxiety Level 10. Which is where I told Paul I had to move back to America. I spent the next hour Googling jobs in the US.
Paul asked me to please eat the tiny burrito-taco things and said it would make me feel better. I refused twice, but finally gave in. They were good. And I was full. (But don’t tell Paul.) I insisted that he get me an extra wrap we had from the fridge and forced myself to eat a third to prove a point. (What point that was, I may never know.)
After a few minutes, my blood sugar levels stabilised and Paul and I were able to laugh about the whole thing. However, I still would really like a burrito. Suggestions anyone? I am willing to drive up to eight hours for said burrito.
It’s just not the same! Burritos should come from seedy food stands with questionable food safety standards.
I completely sympathize. I grew up in California where there is more Mexican food than American food. I’m so used to the Australian desert of terrible Mexican food that I don’t even bother trying to find Mexican restaurants anymore. I can’t even buy dried pinto beans here to make my own proper refried beans. I have to order dried chiles from the UK and have them shipped here so that I can make mole or enchiladas. I have finally accepted that I will need to fly 14 hours back to San Francisco for a Mijita fish taco. Oh how I miss you, fish taco….
Oh Senta! I have faith that in due time someone will come to Australia and make us legit Mexican food. And until then, I will continue the quest one fish taco at a time and keep you posted!
Have you tried Cafe Pacifico in Darlinghurst? Not American mexican but I recall when I was a Sydneysider that they did pretty mean Fajitas. I always make the mistake when I’m in the States of starting what I planned to a big night out, by going to a mexican joint for food first….I end up home early cradling my food baby. Good luck!
Not yet! I totally will though 🙂