Stingray calls this “western kitsch,” but I fail to see what’s so kitschy about a gold spray-painted horseshoe.
I-35 runs down the middle of Austin, a cee-ment ribbon of apartheid segregating the populace according to caste. On the west side, which is never called “the West Side,” is the university, the Whole Foods, the horrid 6th Street clubs, the state and city government, and most of the honkys, including me. On the East Side, which, when one is on the west side is always called The East Side because it isn’t the default affluent honky Austin, are the persons of color, persons who can’t afford the west side, assorted impecunious artsy-musiciany types, the gentrified yuppies who inevitably stalk the artsy-musiciany types, some virtuous militants who have spray-painted “Yuppies Off The East Side!” all over everything, and Norbizness.
Stingray and I tippy-toed across the highway the other night in search of some vittles and a couple of margs, which we found at El Gringo.
Here’s the blindingly bright shiny can.
El Gringo pushes one of my favorite cuisines: Lowbrow Bistro (alternatively “Big & Dumb”, or “Texan”). This school of culinary thought is not excessively nuanced and presents but a minimal challenge to the unschooled palate, but ideally satisfies four criteria: there’s chile in everything, it’s masterminded by someone who knows her way around a peck of pickled peppers, there’s a deep-fryer in the kitchen, and it’s served on a covered patio without benefit of chi-chi white tablecloths. To wit:
Ancho chile onion soup with a crouton of queso fresco broiled on a hunk of bolillo, on a bare, fake wood laminate table. The cheese tasted faintly of feet, and the grease-halo was not insignificant, but otherwise, quite a palatable little number.
Stingray enjoyed a thing called the South Padre Platter: 47 pounds of battered, deep-fried fish, crabcakes, oysters, bacon-wrapped shrimp, fries, and “pickled vegetables,” i.e. slaw. I wish I had a picture of it; it looked like an artery’s last gasp.