I've lived in Columbia for almost 5 years now. At this point, I know which restaurants I do or don't like, and what to expect from them, more or less. Some of my favorite haunts include Moe's, Mellow Mushroom, and a little grungy mexican joint called San Jose.
San Jose is your typical "white cheese" Mexican restaurant. Their queso is white as opposed to fancier Mexi places that are say, yellow, with flecks of peppers or something, and trying to be "gourmet." San Jose doesn't play those games. They use meat that can't be higher than Grade D and bring you your food approximately 45 seconds after you've ordered it, just as soon as they get it out of the pre-made fridge and nuke it in the microwave for a little while.
I order the same thing every time I go (small cheese dip and a crunchy beef taco). Usually I don't even touch the menu, partially because of my consistent order and partially because it's always covered in a thin layer of mysterious grime.
So my good friend Laura and I were at San Jose last week. Now, as evidenced by everything I've said about San Jose thus far, I'm not really expecting that much when I go there. Just a nice booth, with a nice fountain Diet Coke, and low-quality Mexican food that requires 30 seconds to "prepare" and 30 minutes in the bathroom when you get home.
The white cheese dip came, no problems. Then our server brought the main meal---the taco.
I was about to crunch into it, when I glanced down and noticed something odd. Upon further investigation, and me poking and prodding at the contents of the taco with my fork, I discovered something slightly horrifying.
The object I extracted from my taco meat was unidentifiable. I'll tell you what I thought it looked like though...
A FRIED ROACH.
Given one of my previous posts, you might roll your eyes and assume that this is, of course, the conclusion I would jump to. Well, first of all, I had a witness there. I consulted Laura about the UTO (unidentified taco object), and she concurred that it looked very fried roach-like.
I also whipped out my phone and took pictures of it. This UTO was just THAT gross.
Here is said object, in all its desiccated glory. What is it!! I'm not saying im dead-set on the whole "fried roach" theory, but if you can come up with a better explanation, lemme know.
Here's a more zoomed in view of the shrively UTO. Yes, I was fascinated enough to take multiple pics.
Then I got a penny out of my purse and set it on the plate next to the UTO for scale. This was no tiny fried roach.
Eventually I had to stop taking pictures of my food and beckon the waiter back over, because I sure as hell wasn't eating that taco. I politely pointed out my concern over the UTO-fried-roach-thing, and asked if I could please just get a different taco.
Apparently, that was a very complicated request. He sped away from our table, presumably to get me another taco, but instead came back with a manager. So, I showed the manager the UTO and tried to elicit some empathy from him for my not wanting to consume the pruny looking roach carcass on my plate.
Both of their responses?
"Eet's just a tomato."
If that thing in those pictures is a tomato, then god help us all.
Eventually they brought me a new taco, and I'm sure they cursed me to hell in Spanish back in the kitchen for robbing them of their dollar and 50 cents worth of food. Minus the fried roach. They got that back.