Thursday, February 11, 2010

From the Enchilada Files: Burrito Rage

You've heard of road rage and airplane rage. Well, there is another kind of rage in town.
Saturday, around 9:30 pm. Matamoros Grocery, Bedford Ave, Williamsburg.

A young, waifish woman with what my mother would call a fart-smeller's face is ordering food at the back counter where two Mexican girls make tacos, sopes, quesadillas, burritos etc. The woman is munching authoritatively on an apple, as if making a point about her healthy food choices. I am starving. Behind me, another couple wants food. The woman needs everything explained to her, as if she's just landed from her own royal planet and does not know how to read a menu. She has endless questions about everything. She finally decides and commands in a nasal drone:
I don't want rice. No rice. I want chicken, avocado, lettuce. What other vegetables do you have? Do you have any other vegetables?
Server: Silence.
The server is not dumb. Her English is limited but enough for doing her job. What she doesn't understand is what part of the menu that lists the ingredients this idiot doesn't get.
The idiot steals a look at the ingredients behind the counter, and still unsatisfied, as if Matamoros is hiding a secret cache of mystery vegetables expressly for her, attempts to ask the same question in Spanish, assuming the server did not understand her the first time. Two mangled syllables come out: Tous ba...
The ever patient server starts reciting what there is behind the counter:
Lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeños.
Jalapeños!? I don't want jalapeños.
They are in the pico de gallo.
Is it very spicy?
No, not too spicy.
Okay. You don't have any other vegetables?
This fucking ritual takes the better part of ten minutes. Finally, this mutant allows the rest of us to order our food. I order in Spanish: Three chicken sopes with green sauce to go. The couple orders two chicken quesadillas and two tamales. No special treatment, no substitutions.
As the other server is preparing the food, the mutant (I'm trying to avoid at all costs using the c word, which would describe her to a t) raises her nasal voice in alarm:
Is that for me!? I said no rice!
The cook shoots her as murderous a look as a Mexican underpaid laborer can under the circumstances.
Server: Quítale el arroz (take the rice out).
Yes, I want lots of avocado, and the lettuce, everything inside. Can I have green sauce also? With the pico de gallo? Why is the lettuce not inside? I said everything inside.
The cook starts putting the lettuce inside.
Oh, it's ok, you can leave it out. Forget it, she says with a dismissive sigh, this is all too confusing.
At this point I am trying to restrain myself from bashing her teeth with what remains of her apple. I feel like saying: you know, you entitled little snotnosed bitch, this is not your kitchen where you can nitpick your own food for hours until you are satisfied with the contents. These people are not here to customize your food, goddamit. But I bite my tongue, because if I open my mouth, it will be ugly.
Finally, after all the grief she gives the two women, who have been nothing but patient and kind, she takes her food and doesn't even leave a tip.
I wish she chokes on a particularly fiery piece of jalapeño.


  1. Anonymous1:24 PM

    You hit the nail on the head with this entry. I've seen some pretty bad attitude on display in that wonderful little place.

  2. Qué nefasta!! I really love that place :)