Las Delicias

It’s confession time. My name is Angela, and I’m an addict.

Quit planning the intervention. I’m not addicted to alcohol or drugs. No, my addiction is one of a different form.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been frequenting the Cooper-Young Farmers Market. And it was there that we met temptation that we (that’s right – Paul and Patric have it too.) just couldn’t resist. That’s right. The guys selling the good stuff from the Las Delicias booth.

Now, we do like tortilla chips and salsa around here. For the sake of our waistlines, we’ve tried not to indulge too often. Except for Patric who could live on them and always begs to if he’s responsible for feeding himself. But from the first bag of those crunchy chips all warm from the sun with pico de gallo nice and cold from the cooler and guacamole that will make your eyes roll back in your head, we were hooked. We had found our fix.

But this week, things were different. We looked to spot where the booth had been before, and the panic set in. There was no booth there. What had happened?! Did they not come this week? Had they already sold out because we slept in unintentionally? (Really, I didn’t intend to turn the alarm off.) We almost went into mourning. But that’s when the miracle happened. They were there! They were just on the other side of the market where the shade was better. We were saved!

So, no, they weren’t out of anything. But that’s when our hopes and dreams came to a crashing halt. They weren’t out, but we were. Out of cash that is. And because we didn’t get up all bright eyed and bushy tailed, there was no time to go get more before the market closed. We weren’t going to get our fix this week after all.

I will admit that for a brief second I thought about grabbing chips and pico and guacamole and making a run for it. But then that mean old sanity came back, and I decided that not only would that be unfair to them, but I also don’t run that fast (those guys could totally take me), and our zippy getaway car would be a red Prius. No, that wouldn’t stand out at all or be a little bit slow on the takeoff. Stupid sanity.

We shuffled away, our heads drooping, our hearts broken. We got in the car and headed back to the house. We figured we would just go to sleep and hope that the depression would pass.

But then we had an idea. We hadn’t had lunch yet. (Or breakfast for that matter since it was past the hour for that sort of meal when we crawled from our comfy bed. I seriously blame the dogs for that since they were all snuggly. Yep, it’s their fault.) But anyway, we decided that we should go somewhere for lunch. And where better to go (hoping all the while that we could maybe get our fix after all) than the Las Delicious restaurant at Getwell and Park. Maybe we could stave off withdrawal after all. And besides, the food there is really tasty, and we would at least get some their chips and salsa to tide us through the next few hours.

We got there and found the only open parking spot. Hmm, maybe we weren’t the only ones with this idea. We stepped inside into the merciful cool and saw, to the right of the register, the beautiful sight of bags of golden tortilla chips. I swear they were glowing. Hope returned to our saddened breasts. The panic ebbed.

So we sat down in the nice comfy chairs. We ordered drinks. (Paul got boring unsweetened tea. I got delicious, thirst quenching jamaica.) We studied the menu, and the chips and salsa arrived. Oh, happy day! Now about those chips. Like croissants or phyllo in baklava or Napoleons, these chips have layers. Since they’re made from freshly made tortillas, they open in the middle to create light triangles of crunchy goodness that scoop up salsa (or pico or guacamole) just right and then they just crunch in your mouth like no other chips we’ve found in Memphis.

We decided to start with the molletes. If you’re not familiar with them, think Stouffer’s French bread pizzas (I loved those as a kid, but they just don’t taste the way I remember now.) only with really good fresh bread, creamy refried beans instead of pizza sauce, a nice thick coating of gooey melted white Mexican cheese, and a side of the most beautiful condiment in the whole world – fresh pico de gallo. Yes, they were really good.

We figured then that since we had chips and salsa and molletes we should probably be good and share an entree. We unanimously chose the enchiladas Suizas. And two tamales, one pork and one chicken. Shortly after, our waitress came back to the table to tell us that the pork tamales weren’t ready yet but should be in 17 minutes. We were offered the option of having two chicken tamales or waiting for the pork. We decided to wait since it was highly unlikely that we wouldn’t still be eating in 17 minutes.

Our enchiladas came out first. They were so beautiful. Three corn tortilla-wrapped tubes of perfectly cooked chicken covered with more of that glorious cheese floating in a sea of light tomatillo sauce. Unlike most tomatillo sauces, this one was thin and didn’t overpower the flavors of the enchiladas at all. More of those creamy refried beans were on the other end of the plate, sprinkled with a different cheese. We dug in. They were good – really, really good.

Then our chicken tamale arrived still wrapped in its corn husk. Tamales can go one of two ways. The good ones are moist and soft. The other ones are dry and the masa is tough. This was a good one. There wasn’t just chicken in there, either. There were flecks of green mixed in, and when I took a bite, I immediately tasted a light smokiness – nothing overpowering. I chewed, I swallowed, and then I felt it. A nice spicy heat that hit right at the back of my throat. And I wasn’t imagining it because Paul tasted it too. That tamale went pretty fast. I might have been full, but I wasn’t that full. Apparently Paul wasn’t either because I actually had to share it with him. Dammit.

Then the pork tamale came out. Our waitress warned us that it would be soft since it had just come out of the steamer. We opened it carefully, smelling the intoxicating aroma of rich, corny masa. We decided to let it cool for a few minutes since it literally had come out of the steamer just before it made it to our table. Okay, we waited for maybe one minute, but we had good intentions. The smoky flavor was more pronounced with the pork, and there wasn’t that shot of heat at the end. And the masa was a little soft. But that was really okay. Actually, it was better than just okay. It was like eating a glorious pudding that just happened to taste of corn and pig. Oh yeah.

We were really full by this time. But when you eat food that good, you can practically feel your belly smiling. Seriously, it makes for happy bellies. But we were still wanting our fix.

We walked to the register and asked the all important question. Do they sell pico and chips at the restaurant? And the powers that be smiled upon us and there was much rejoicing because they do! Woo-hoo!

So now we know (and you do too). If you can’t make it to the Cooper-Young market for some unfathomable reason like a comfy bed and dog snuggles, you can still get your fix. Or, if your house is like our house and you have the bottomless pit that is a 15 year old boy, so your chips and pico and guacamole have somehow magically disappeared by Monday (or Sunday afternoon even though you’re pretty sure you didn’t eat that many of them), you don’t have to go for days without more.

So now we get to the moral of this long story that I hope you’ve kept reading. Go to Las Delicias. Eat a tasty meal. Have a cooling drink (They sell beer and margaritas too.). And don’t forget to get your fix on your way out. Trust me. It’s worth it.

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