El Famous

January 23, 2009
I was so hungry. It was Saturday morning, and I had just gotten home from a grueling film session. My football team had just played the worst, and I mean the worst, football game our coach had ever been a part of. I figured if I got a nice, hardy meal in me, I would forget about the game, partially. My buddy and I both agreed we would take our weekly trip to EL Famous Burrito, home of the football-sized burrito. I loved that place. Just thinking about a fat, juicy El Famous burrito made me feel slightly better. I pictured myself holding the burrito. A soft, warm flour tortilla, resting between both of my hands, packed with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and tenderly cooked rib eye steak, the grease dripping through the tortilla and sliding down the webbings of my fingers.

Suddenly, I was caught off guard by the sound of ringing.

“Zandroooo! Let’s El Famo it up. What do ya say big guy?”

“Ha yaaa, Johnsonville. Let’s go my man. Pick me up in five.” We never actually called each other by our real first names. John and I had been best buddies for about a year now. We hung out with each other all the time, so we had grown accustomed to liking similar things. We listened to the same music, we dressed alike, we thought alike, and of course, we enjoyed the same kind of food.

We had arrived at El Famous to a common Spanish tune blasting from the corner stereos of the restaurant. I loved everything about El Famous. Of course, they made excellent food, but there was so much more about it. I loved the people, the signs, the smell, the music; however, there was one thing I loved most: that luscious scent of magically brewed Mystic Iced Tea that seemed to travel through the air like a gentle ocean breeze. Mystic Iced Tea may have been what made El Famous so great. When I touched my lips to that beverage for the very first time, it was as if I had just kissed the cool ice glaciers of Northern Alaska. I had never drunk anything as close to refreshing as Mystic Iced Tea in my lifetime.

The steak torta was my favorite meal. It was somewhat like the taste of a hamburger, but it looked much different. It was shaped in a circle about the size of a small basketball. The ingredients consisted of soft, French-like bread, sour cream, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and steak, but what made the sandwich unique was the preparation. The El Famians (John and I referred to the workers at El Famous as The El Famians) fried the inside of the bread lightly with butter, and then packed all of the ingredients in. Each and every bite melted in my mouth like cotton candy. I always urged John to try the torta, but he was completely hooked on his “Two-taco dinner.” He trained his mind to believe every time he ate that Two-taco dinner, it got better.

John and I had both ordered our meals and sat in our usual spots by the El Famous bathrooms in the back of the restaurant. We never talked to each other during our meals at El Famous. There was no need to because all of our attention was devoted to the great food sitting in front of us. There were these pictures of random Mexican cultural events that hung right above us on the walls where we sat. We always joked that we should get our picture taken and have it hung on the wall because we thought we had grown to become a part of El Famous history.

I was drizzling my sandwich with green pepper sauce when suddenly the stupidest thing in my short life began. A very short, stubby man busted into the front doors of El Famous with a black handgun in his hand.

“Everyone freeze!” the man shouted. Why he was robbing El Famous made no sense. John and I were the only reason El Famous was still in business, from what I knew. While taking cover under the table, the man blurted out, “I want 100 tacos, 3ibs. of cheese, and the recipe to that tea! Pronto!” There was no way in Mexican hell that fool was going to rob El Famous of their magical food. What occurred next I have regretted for my whole life up to this point, for it made me realize the ingratitude the El Famians had for their customers. I grabbed my delicious torta sandwich, which I just finished layering with green pepper sauce, and with one flick of my wrist, I whipped the sandwich into the robber’s face.

“My eyes, ahh! My eyes!” He flopped on the ground like a goldfish, and I stole his gun. I called the cops, and the man was arrested for attempted robbery and assault.

I ended up leaving with an empty stomach because I wasted my torta on that stupid robber. I did become the proclaimed hero of El Famous, but I haven’t had the same respect for the El Famians since. I thought maybe I’d get a couple hundred gift card for saving their a**, but no. All I got was self-pride, and a stupid El Famous Burrito magnet that I ended up sticking on my refrigerator. Oh, and I never got reimbursed for that torta I happened to save their lives with. Don’t get me wrong, the food was still great, but my respect for the El Famous household lowered tremendously. I saved their lives, and I got nothing in return.

I will always remember that day. I cannot believe that one incident changed my whole view of El Famous. I guess it just bugs me that we gave them so much business, and they never paid us back. I still go there once in a while, but I feel disconnected from the El Famians now. Maybe if one day, they do pay me back for my heroics, I will be happy once again eating my delicious steak torta. For now, however, I’m enjoying my revenge: walking past the El Famians to eat at Panda Express right next door.

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