Not that kind of salsa

What do you get when you order chips & salsa in a Spanish restaurant? A full order of disappointment.

This frigid afternoon, while killing some time before a movie, I sat down for a drink at El Quijote, the famous Spanish restaurant-bar just below the Chelsea Hotel.

I was minding my own business when a woman at the other end of the bar was having a heated conversation with the bartender, trying to send back an order of “something” she was not satisfied with. I could not really understand what was happening, but there was a clear disagreement over her order. A minute later, she turned to me: –Excuse me!– she said: –Do you want these?– she said, pointing at a plate of French fries and a bottle of Ketchup. –“No, thanks”, I said, and went back to my reading. –See? these people just don’t get it”– she told me, this time raising her voice and making it clear to Mr. Nava (the bartender) that she was referring to him. “I ordered chips and salsa and this is what I got! French fries and Ketchup. What kind of a Spanish restaurant is this?”

She kept talking to herself while putting on a sweater, another sweater, coat, gloves and hat, probably regretting the moment she walked through that door, hoping to get a true Mexican (or shall I say Tex-Mex?) gastronomical experience at El Quijote. No matter the restaurant’s logo is El Quijote himself, and the signs read “Authentic Spanish food” all over. When it comes to Spanish, Latin or Hispanic whatever, it’s all chips & salsa to them.

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