A Sunday afternoon and it is Super Bowl Sunday, of all days. That does not mean anything to my constant appetite. I had my taste set for some Thai food or some Middle Eastern cuisine. The Thai restaurant that I had in mind was filled, so I passed. The Middle Eastern restaurant was closed until 5:00 PM; there was no chance of me dining there while the doors were closed. I had recalled a recommendation for a Mexican restaurant with a bit of fusion. I was off in the direction of that eatery only to find out that it too was closed until the 5:00 PM hour. Fantastic! With my cell phone in hand, I searched for a restaurant in the nearby vicinity of where I was and in walking distance was a Mexican and Ecuadorian restaurant. How convenient it was for me to be so very close to La Sierra Restaurant at 1637 W. Montrose Avenue.
Light, spacious, and full of patrons who spoke Spanish only, I grabbed a seat by the window and scanned the menu to see what I would want to indulge. Considering the restaurant catered to the Mexican and to the Ecuadorian palates, I opted for Ecuadorian specifically. After enjoying some rather fresh corn tortillas with pico de gallo. If someone were to argue with me that the tortillas came from a bag, I would let them debate until blue in the face. Nothing as fresh or crunchy as those tortillas comes from a bag. And the pico de gallo was so much better than any salsa that could have been placed in front of me.
First to the table was an appetizer of llapengachos. Two potato pancakes made with cheese and topped with an Ecuadorian peanut sauce served up with a fried egg and a small salad sat before me before my teeth started gnashing away at the dish. ¡Aye, dios mios! First, let me just say that for this to be an appetizer, it is very much the size of an entrée — a case of looks being deceiving. One thing that was not deceptive was the taste. By the third bite, I had my first foodgasm and without any shame for there were others in the restaurant who could clearly see my eyes dancing around in my head and me gripping the edge of the table.
It was necessary to let a few minutes pass before entertaining an entrée. When I finally placed an order, it was for camarones en salsa picosa. The waitress had asked me if I wanted it mild or spicy, to which I replied that I wanted the dish as spicy as the chef could make it. While it did not come to the table spicy enough to make me feel that my hair was aflame, there was a nice tingle around my lips from the peppers. I loved it. Plump shrimp with sliced green peppers and onions swam in a light gravy that went incredibly well with the yellow Spanish rice and the frijoles con queso. While downing this with a tall glass of horchata, imagine if you will the button on my pants popping off. (Pause) Okay, it was not that dramatic, but the waistline had started to feel a little taut. And as usual, there was the stupid smile that was painted across my face and a want for a recliner. Such flavours dancing about in my mouth and me looking around with a dreamy, well-fed expression.
No meal has an ending — for me — without a dessert. But after a filling appetizer and a stuff-worthy entrée, I had to sit for half an hour before even thinking about anything else to eat. When I finally got ready, the waitress told me to ask for what I wanted in Spanish. Little did she know, where food is involved, I can become fluent in any language. ¿Que postres vendes? I asked. Vendemos flan. Es perfecto, she responded. Pues, quiero flan, I said. When the waitress had said that it was the best flan, I figured that was the commonplace advertisement all restaurants give when they talk about their flan. This time, her advertisement was no mentira — lie in Spanish. Ridiculously delicious and drizzled with chocolate this creamy concoction of eggs met a swift end as I worked fork and teeth on the dessert. My one guilty pleasure for the weekend, as my blood pressure medicine jumped about in the medicine cabinet at me having thorough enjoyment of the postre.
Looking back over the whole episode of finding something to eat today, I would like to think that it was a part of my destiny that I would end up at La Sierra. Who am I to argue with fate. I was meant to be at that restaurant stuffing myself unnecessarily. It was in the cards for me to waddle back to my car and spasm into my second foodgasm while sipping on the remainder of my horchata. I will have to say that I was excessively apologetic to the police officer who tapped on my window while I was having my moment. But the embarrassment soon dissipated when he said that he has had several after-dinner bouts of satisfaction after leaving La Sierra. They apparently never disappoint their patrons. I know I was in bliss and happily sated.