Weather: Sunny and Mild
It was Monday night in Fergus Falls, and I was hungry. I had asked Connie, our receptionist at the plant, for dining recommendations. Connie had discussed the virtues of the infamous habanero pepper with me, earlier in the day. So when it came time to make dinner plans, I knew she was the one to ask.
I must apologize here, because when I left my hotel to go and eat, I forgot that my camera was still in my flight bag, which was sitting on the luggage caddy in my room. This was unfortunate for a number of reasons:
1) The old Fergus Falls Theater is a stunning example of Art Deco Design circa 1930-something.
2) The rest of downtown is comprised of well-kept red brick buildings dating back to the turn of the century. Main street is simply fascinating.
3) The Ultimate Fajita Burrito at Don Pablo’s was a thing of beauty.
This is not one of the Don Pablo’s chain of restaurants. It is family-owned, and staffed by recent immigrants who have a limited command of the English language.
This failure to communicate resulted in a chicken fajita burrito being delivered to my table after I had ordered steak. But the thing looked so appetizing that I didn’t even complain. I just dug-in and enjoyed my “chef’s surprise”.
Let’s talk about salsa for a moment. I think a Mexican restaurant lives and dies by it’s salsa. However, the house salsa at Don Pablo’s is geared towards the predominantly Scandi-wegian palate, here in Fergus Falls.
It is made with fresh ingredients, and has a nice flavor, but is way too mild for my jaded tastebuds. When I asked my waiter for a hotter salsa, he played the “no habla” card. So, drawing from my old Tijuanese vocabulary, I asked him for “mas picante”. This, he apparently comprende’d.
He came back in five minutes with a bowl of crushed red chili peppers, fresh, not dried. He must have run them through the food processor. Then he gestured between that bowl and the salsa, as if to say, “Mix your own, fussy gringo.” But of course, he was smiling the whole time.
The burrito really was wonderful, with grilled chicken, peppers and onions, and lots of melted cheese. After some experimentation, the salsa was just right as well. I recommend the Don Pablo’s in Fergus Falls to anyone who enjoys good Mexican food. It was a real surprise to find this place so far north.
On Tuesday, after my business was done, Frogwing and I set off across the high plains of North Dakota, on our way to Aberdeen. But that’s a story for next time. Adios!