Making the Rounds
On the way back from Comptche, Annie had the brainstorm of going to Tibi’s for Mexican, to get an early dinner, figuring we would arrive back in the ‘Ville by about four. Any time I have the opportunity to dine at Tibi’s, I leap at the chance. Even though I mostly do not eat meat, I can still find plenty that lures me back, otra vez y otra vez. Again and again. Today I had that plate of shredded chicken tacos in mind, con los frijoles y arroz. I do love my beans and rice. Toss in a guacamole salad, no pun intended, and a single Pacifico, and I will write an epiphany to the gods every time. Rapidamente! Pronto! Da le gas. (Give it the gas!)
Speaking of doing things quickly, while still languishing inside Tibi’s, is like watching the Indy 500, while lying in a tub of jello; it’s not meant to happen. Quickly, that is. I watched some Type A personality get his substantial panties in a bunch once, while lamenting the “poor service” as he termed it. I never go into Tibi’s if I am in a hurry. It’s not fair. If I want la comida mexicana in a hurry, I will drive to the nearest Taco Bell, where they will accommodate your need for speed. Whether or not they will accommodate your need for la comida mexicana, I will allow your own taste buds to determine.
Because when I get done, sinking my choppers into what arrives on my plate, at Tibi's, I am so satisfied, that I literally bask in the glow of a job well done. I have eaten in Ensenada, Baja California, at El Charros; in Los Angeles, at los retaurantes mexicanas; en San francisco, en San Jose, y en el barrio de Ukiah. Nowhere have I tasted such authentic Mexican cuisine, with the cilantro and the salsa with the perfect degree of fire, as I get when I pull up a chair at Tibi’s. Que bueno!
I remember coming in one summer afternoon, covered in sweat and sawdust, wanting nothing more than to sit outside on the deck, shifting the overhead umbrella a time or two, in order to track the movement of the sun across the sky. Jessica kept us supplied with cold ones, while we dipped our chips into the guacamole, that is such a must at Tibi’s.
No discussion of Tibi’s would be complete without mentioning the tamales that Julieta and Eduardo used to bring to the middle school functions, back in the day. If it were Halloween, and everyone was bringing in food and beverages for the big party, Mamacita used to send in 80-90 tamales, and the kids would set them out with little paper plates, and watch them disappear. Little did we know, what was in store down the line.
I remember not too long ago, strolling in the front door with Lito, to pick up some take away, and there was Roger, right there with Roger Junior, and the whole family. I had not clapped eyes on that man, for a coon’s age, and it was big smiles all around. Roger is such the fascinating guy to me, as a prototypical middle schooler, because he manifested profound changes in his time with Paul and me, and I will never forget how he metamorphosed into a basketball icon on our campus, after being a wallflower extraordinaire, as a sixth grader.
The guy could not keep his head off the table. We used to joke that Paul and I were going to construct a special device, designed to prop Roger’s head up off the table, so that he could surface more readily, in order to take advantage of what was being offered in the classroom. It was pretty amazing.
Over that summer, though, between his sixth and seventh grade, Rodge discovered b-ball. and became a whirling dervish on the blacktop, bringing himself into prominence, a big fish in a little pond. He changed from wallflower, into symphony conductor, orchestrating his presence in my academic arena, so as to include all.
As he made the rounds of his diplomatic circles within the classroom, maneuvering his way across to the pencil sharpener, he touched base with every one of his constituents, from the highest-profile, popular kid in there, to the lowest of the low, on the totem pole of social acceptance in our school. He included all, with his memory of himself, as one of the forgotten the year he spent in sixth grade, all too clear. It was a thing of grace and style, and I remembered it all as we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.
Now it’s enough that Annie and I both recognize good grub when we encounter it, and we encounter it as often as we are in the ‘Ville in time for an early dinner. It doesn’t get any better.
Check it out the next time you’re in town. Tell Tibi that the guy with the mustache, says “Two thumbs up, and a Pacifico too." What the hell. Make it two--we’re getting down and funky at Tibi’s tonight.