by cheri block
This morning, and I might cheerily add a glorious morning in downtown Los Angeles, I left my hotel in search of an authentic breakfast burrito.
In case any of you are wondering if the modifying clause in the previous sentence might have been sarcastic, banish that thought from your cynical mind and take the sentence for what it is: the truth.
After a rainstorm on Monday, downtown Los Angeles is as clean as a whistle. Even the gutters are tidy. Everyone is smiling this morning. Cabbies honk just a little bit. Why, when the doorman opened the door for me, his teeth reflected the sun in a sparkly hopeful sign that Life is Good. And it is! Why only yesterday, I was a coed at USC and would search out here in downtown LA.the best Mexican food north of Mexico City
At least that was the feeling I had when I walked into the Grand Central Market, as I said, in search of a burrito muy muy muy bueno. The Grand Central Market did not disappoint.
Before I reached the entrance to the market, I had to side-step a Hollywood movie shoot going on with extra wannabees milling around, hoping some slick casting agent will catch their eyes and sign them up for instant stardom. Now that I look back, wearing my enormous Kate Spade sunglasses, I did look incognito as if I were trying to conceal my identity.
At the crosswalk in from of the Million Dollar Theatre, across from the Grand Central Market, wherein my burrito was only moments away from the grill, a tourist pulled me aside at a traffic light and said, ” Hi, I know who you are. Can I have your autograph?”
“Who do you think I am?” I coyly asked, sotto voce.
“Dana Delany,” she stated with authority.
“Shh…don’t tell anybody please. I’m on my way to get a breakfast burrito, comprende?”
Inside the market, I felt at home, mainly because I understand and can speak a little Spanish.
There I sat at a little Mexican diner with red seats, red-checked menus, and three of the most splendid people cooking the most comforting food south of USC.
I tried to shoot the bull but my Spanish is not idiomatic enough.
I tried one of my favorite idioms.
“No entiendes ni jota, ” I said.
“You want beans in your burrito?” asked Alejandro, the cashier.
I was just practicing my Spanish. That phrase means ‘You don’t know beans!’
Yo soy una maestra de Ingles! How is my Spanish? What grade would you give me?
To be truthful, I’d give you a B, Alejandro answered.