Thursday, May 13, 2010

Best Non-Sequential Birthday Weekend Adventure Stories, Story No. 2

On the second night of my trip home, Jeff joined Collin, Jared and I on a journey deep into the depths of Chicago's South Side for a visit to a burrito shop that is probably more important to me than any other burrito shop has been or ever will be. El Gallo de Oro . . .

For the Oak Park River Forest High School Men's Swim Team, El Gallo was the out of the way late night dining destination of choice. I remember far too fondly my first visit to El Gallo and the sense of pride I felt in being included in one of these ventures as I was being assimilated into the Varsity Team and memory begins to fail as I try to recall and distinguish between the dozens and dozens and dozens of far too far trips taken here between my last two years of high school and into college.

If I remember correctly, I last visited El Gallo during my first year of law school and that trip (roughly 6 and a half years ago) itself was an exercise in nostalgia. That night our meal was interrupted by an angry woman who came in from the street and began begging at our table, the woman had no fingers on either hand, and yelled "Do you think this is fair?!" at us over and over while the staff watched silently. After she left we were gifted an El Gallo de Oro Men's Swimsuit Calendar for our trouble. Anyway . . .

I arrived to find El Gallo exactly as I had remembered it, except with more handmade signs than before and the burritos that once cost $3.50 are now $5 . . . still a deal, and still prepared and served so promptly they're practically at your table before you've even ordered them.

Jared invented a new posture for appreciating the burrito.

And I appreciate the appreciation.

This is how you make the best out of bad news.

Similar to how you don't talk to the bus driver while he's driving. Both are situations where the safety and you and others is the issue.

We dined through a torrential downpour, so weirdo walk-ins were non-existent on this visit. The steak burrito tasted exactly the same as it always had, the signage (barring the newer handmade signs, of course) was exactly the same as seventeen years ago, and while the jukebox had been upgraded to an MP3 player and the Cruisin' USA game downgraded to a Ms. Pacman, the songs were the same and the lack of game reliability just as much an issue. El Gallo de Oro, burrito haven of my youth (that time when brute force of a burrito was my preferred mode of Mexican-food consumption, so long before my conversion to the delicacy of a proper taco), you are a magical, ageless establishment for the ages.

Supplemental Reading:
El Gallo Yelp Reviews

1 comment:

Side of Jeffrey said...

While I will never know intimately the feelings of nostalgia you have for Gallo, I will know the scorching effects of their burritos on the body and the happiness that comes with that.