Growing up in Peterborough in the 70s and 80s was not a hotspot of unusual cuisine, neither with my mom and dad’s palate nor with restaurants. Very much a meat and potatoes world, which I am not knocking by the way. Just that I didn’t really have much exposure to anything “different”.
During university, I had Chinese food and LOVED it. I can remember going to Spadina in Toronto and picking almost any restaurant for great food at cheap prices. Later in Ottawa, I was willing to try just about anything. I suspect the most exotic thing I’ve eaten is likely fish eyeball soup while in the Philippines (at a Chinese restaurant doing the whole Peking Duck option).
But somewhere around 1994, a friend introduced me to Lone Star on Baseline. I wasn’t expecting anything special, and the description and appearance of their fajitas was pretty straightforward. Flour tortillas i.e., a bun, some strips of steak aka beef, and some grilled onions and bell peppers or toppings. It seemed like the same ingredients from a burger, honestly.
Until I had one. The flavour and texture is one of my favorite meals. My mother made awesome roasts of pork. Amazing pork tenderloin. My favorite pie (pumpkin) and cookies, sure. But nothing that was like the simple fajitas. I remember thinking it was supposedly Mexican food when I first tried it (no, I didn’t know any better, it was advertised as Tex-Mex hybrid), but it is so not, obviously.
It is not particularly ethnic, or different, or well, anything special. But the fajitas at Lone Star are the best I’ve ever had. We don’t over-indulge too often, keeping it as a bit of a treat, but a friend once pointed out that I seemed to always suggest Lone Star for outings or birthday dinners, if only to garner a ride somewhere I couldn’t get to easily on my own without a car.
But apples don’t always fall far from their trees, nor has Jacob. On Saturday night, we gave him the option for a “special” symbolic dinner to mark the occasion of his first month of being back at school being complete. With a ton of changes for him. New school. New grade. Newly back in person. New city bus to take. New to wearing masks all day. Newly not wearing his AFOs (not all positive). New to being in a portable. It is a LOT of change. And he’s done pretty dang well, all things considered.
I want him to take pride in that adjustment. It was big and he handled it well. I, myself, fear the same level of adjustment if/when we have to return to work. But this wasn’t about me, this was about him.
And when I gave him the choice of “where” for dinner? He wanted fajitas from Lone Star. I love the fact that he likes it too, not that he wants to go there with us, or willing to go, but that he likes it enough to choose it all on his own.
Heck, we’ve even cracked the ordering code with them to get our order “right” for us. We don’t like the queso, don’t eat the rice or beans, and so I ask them for extra shells and chips & salsa. Which they willingly provide. More of what we love, less of what we don’t.
Sounds like #MoreJoy to me.