Late into my teen years, and early into my 20’s, I tried really hard to like drinking. No, to be more specific, I tried really hard to like beer. To this day I will always have a sip of what the Mrs. is drinking in hopes that I’ll come across something I actually like. But, thirty three years into my life and I still can’t bring myself to like it. There was one time, a Long Trail Ale Blackberry Wheat, that I managed to drink 3/4’s of, only to be turned off as it turned warm. I was so close to actually enjoying the damn thing, but only found myself disappointed when I reached the end of it.
That, my friends is the best way to describe my relationship with El Rayo. I try and try again and only come up disappointed. I want to see so badly what others see in their technicolor walls that I seem to be so blind to. And I thought I was so close this time to enjoying a complete meal that didn’t leave me disappointed in the food or the money spent on it. But, there it was, sitting at the bottom of a terra cotta colored bowl like a limp silver dollar pancake drowned in caramel: Flan.
The rest of our meal (strawberry refresco, negra modello, beans and rice bowl w/chicken, guac. w/chips, pescado and al pastor tacos) was easily the best I’ve had to date, though still only ‘ok’. The chips were nicely warm, the refresco was lived up to its name and the tacos were hearty and filling. We were enjoying ourselves for the better part of it, though the wait for the food and drinks was a bit long but all of that went to shit when the Mrs. made the mistake of ordering the flan for dessert.
I can’t even call it a flan, really. I know flan on a personal level, having had to make it dozens of times when I was a cook and was burned once, so badly by the caramel, that I could not move the pointer finger on my left hand for several weeks. Flans are suppose to be supple and creamy–they’re one of my favorite desserts to order– but what was served to us, honestly, was a joke and should have never have been put out.
My comparison above to a silver dollar pancake is the most accurate thing I can conjure and even that may be too generous on the portion size. This thing was less than 1/8th of an inch tall and lacked any texture aside from the gelatinous sauce that it sat in. It was not a flan, it was if someone had sheered the bottom off of a flan and served it to us. As we stared at it, before we consumed it in no more than four spoonfuls, we pondered out loud if it would fit inside 1 1/2 tablespoons or two. We’re talking an estimated one ounce dessert. Seriously, one ounce cost us $4.25. That means that if we were to have gotten a normal portion of flan, figure it to be made in a quarter cup ramekin (and most hold a half cup) it would have set us back $17. I’ve bitched about the portion sizes vs. price before but this was an insult and so much so that I was actually unable to say anything to the waitress when she brought it out(like, “Where’s the rest of it?”). Yet, somehow I think she knew because after it was set down on the table, the banter that we had during the rest of the meal was suddenly gone. And so is my patience and tolerance of el Rayo and their overpriced food.