Golden Helmet Of Mambrino

Our part of Spain is not known for its Mexican food.

San Geraldo and I did, however, find an exceptional chain of (three) Mexican restaurants in Sevilla. Owned by a Mexican man who spent many years in Southern California, Iguanas Ranas serves the same food we remember from our years in California. (Click here to see what we experienced, the bad and the good, in Sevilla.)

We haven’t yet found that in Málaga. There’s a Mexican restaurant here in Fuengirola whose decor inside and out looks, if not authentic, at least stereotypical. So, we finally gave it a try for our friend Elena’s birthday. When we walked in the door, Elena and I both said, “They’re not putting one of those #@^*%^$ hats on my head!”

The restaurant is in an old (expanded) fisherman’s cottage and was surprisingly busy (it seemed so quiet outside). The food was decent although not exactly what we had hoped for. But it will definitely do. Good quality and low prices. The staff were warm, friendly, and noisy. The service was exceptional. One of the waiters insisted on doing what he considered, I think, a Mexican bandito yell. He would sneak up to a table and squeal like something out of a bad Hollywood Western. I didn’t like that, but I did like him. There was a ritual for every event in the restaurant.

ELENA AND SAN GERALDO.

Another waiter, one who didn’t scream, told us each time they did something that it was a tradition in Mexico. When they brought a box to the table and had us all hold hands before running an electrical current through us, he said that was a Mexican tradition also. I’m pretty sure he was making it all up. Note: We did that twice because San Geraldo didn’t feel it the first time!

Anyway, I lightened up. We even allowed them to put the sombreros on our heads. I didn’t once slug the screaming waiter (although I was tempted). We couldn’t help but have a great time.

After the electro shock therapy, I did wonder aloud what would happen if they had a customer with a Pacemaker.

The final “Mexican tradition” was when they served our complementary chupitos (after-dinner drinks). They placed a copper bowl on each of our heads, in turn, and tapped the shot glass against the metal while singing some little ditty or another. For bald men they would place a dish towel on top of the head first. Tynan didn’t know where that dish towel had been, so insisted on doing without.

As a result, I got tapped without protection, too.

THE CUTE WAITER WHO DIDN’T SCREAM…
“BUT, IN MEXICO, THEY DO THIS…”
ABOUT TO GET ZAPPED.
(THAT’S THE SCREAMING WAITER IN PINK).
RESTAURANTE EL PASO.
(SOLIDLY BUILT SO THE NEIGHBORS CAN’T HEAR.)
THE AFTER-DINNER DRINK RITUAL.
A REGULAR?
THE FACE I MADE WHEN THE SCREAMING WAITER SCREAMED.
ELENA CALLS IT MY NEW YORK LOOK.
I OFFER HEARTFELT APOLOGIES TO NEW YORKERS.

And of course a Broadway tune came to mind…