Whenever my housemate calls out in the morning with news that there is another large foreigner passed out on the couch, I know there'll be no dinking around and playing computer Hearts all day. Damn deadbolt. I have to think fast about how to be both a gracious proprietor and a decent American representative to the visitor. Which, in my experience with large foreigners, means eating some tasty grub.
And when I say tasty, I mostly mean cheap and big. For this recurring event, I turn to Pollo Rey. It's a favorite of foreigners and locals alike. This time the large foreigner on the couch is a handsome soccer star by the name of Dirt.
With the couch covered in Dirt, I head out and whisper gently that I'm off to fetch some good ol' fashioned American-style Mexican food from PR. Dirt rolls over and in an ambiguous accent requests "a burrito that resembles my calf and takes a month to digest."
The shoppe at the corner of 8th and Idaho streets has been there for eight years. It's located on a chunk of prime real estate with a sunny patio and near a host of downtown businesses. (There's another one at the Edwards complex as well). The joint is colorful and lively with broad, tile-topped tables and dangling lights.
At lunchtime, it's not uncommon to see folks lined up inside at the order-and-pay counter. When the line starts a-windin', one of the order takers will hop across the counter and hustle through the line, jotting down orders thereby speeding up the whole process.
The cooks smack up the food in front of you so you can pick and choose what fixings you want.
Don't dig their homemade pico de gallo? You're nuts, but you can have them leave it off. You want everything Supremo-ed? For an extra buck twenty-five, they'll toss on sour cream, cheese and guacamole.
In terms of size alone, PR's effort does not distress. When I get home, I hurl the aluminum foiled regular size chicken burrito ($4.70) at Dirt, and thankfully he is more awake, for it likely would have knocked him unconscious (despite his ability to hit a soccer ball off his head). Dirt wanted big, Dirt got big.
And despite his largeness, Dirt also likes stuff that tastes fine, and through his smacking lips, he notes that his burrito is indeed F-I-N-E.
Now it's time to share a secret: I have a standard order at the Rey. I always get the Conquistador Salad. It's the most fun dish. First it's a salad topped with pico, chicken and rice. Then you can wrap up the remnants in the flour tortilla below and transform it into a burrito. But this time, to assimilate with Dirt the foreigner, I also order a chicken burrito. I get the Supremo version with the extra goods.
Overall, the internal wares regale: The rice is zesty, and snapping at a piece of meat doesn't dislodge half the innards.
However, I'm not thrilled with the goo distribution (guac and sour cream). There's a puddle in the bedrock—a guac pock—and I must offer a few inches to the trash can god.
Dirt and I also split the Nachos Supreme, which is an enjoyable glutinous mess of crispy (though not for long) tortilla chips beneath Mt. Usualnachostuff. We can't come near finishing that.
Both Dirt and I are stuffed and happy. He mentions that I was awfully cordial and that he needs a nap. So he rolls over on the couch. I feel like checking out eBay for a new door lock.
—Jennifer Gelband resides near Mt. Ilovetomakewordsup.