Two Psychobillies walk into a Mexican restaurant on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles. One is Mexican-American, one Australian; both are musicians, both fans of Vampira, both hungry. Only, one of them has a secret: he doesn’t eat onion or coriander. This is their story. And my story as well, cause I was also there. Finding the best Mexican joints in LA is a bit like trying to pin down the best Thai food in Sydney: overwhelming. ThaiRiffic, ThaiTanic, ThaiFoon, BowThai, ThaiNoon, AppeThaising; it gets a little Thairesome. In LA there’s El Cholo, El Ranchero, El Pueblito, El Gitano, El Nopal… And, El Coyote. Bloody ‘ell! Now, if lucky enough to have stumbled out of the LA glare and into El Coyote, it’d be a rare gringo who would turn to leave. Fairy lights, vinyl booths and buxom senoritas wearing long, frilled skirts and peasant tops? THE END. Epilogue: You can also get ostrich meat tacos there. It’s our penultimate day in LA, and the Psychobillies decide to meet for one last lunch. In the courtyard, over a red vinyl clad table they talk about who’s playing in what band and – “your Sprite, mijo”, our senorita interjects – which bands are touring and which bands are the best but not touring anymore. It’s a secret, Psychobilly language I don’t understand, but have always enjoyed listening to; names like ‘Strangy’ and ‘Köefte’ now as familiar as they are alien. Those times they saw The Cramps play; that time they met Vampira; Jonny Koffin is the best; Halloweentown; who rests in Hollywood Forever cemetery… It’s the same enthusiastic, spooky conversation from our visit three years earlier, minus the band-practise-induced-tinnitus. The senorita waitress brings us our complementary corn chips, black and regular (yellow, Wiz Khalifa?) and a selection of salsas from mild to sweat-inducing hot. When this happens I do two things: wonder why there are no complimentary offerings at Australian restaurants and then proceed to eat all of the complimentary corn chips and wonder why I ordered food. Until the food arrives. On the advice of the local Psychobilly and for only $6.50, we each choose the especiales (special) chicken street tacos (tacos, from Chicken Street). Three small, perfectly formed corn tortillas, topped with grilled chicken, chopped onion, fresh coriander and a wedge of lime. That’s it, no messing about. As two of us enthusiastically tuck in, one gingerly scrapes away some onion and wonders if the coriander will give him a headache… before giving up and hoeing in. Psychobillies and holiday guts are tough.
A bit Thaiersome…..! This line is genius. If only I liked Mexican food……..