Iowa... even the airport is A field of Dreams...
Upon arrival in Iowa I was so excited about my first stop that I managed to run right past the gift shops.
First temptation averted.
My next stop was my beloved Pancheros...
It was a college staple. Sometimes I would splurge and actually get the chicken quesadilla... with sour cream, but only for special occasions.
But almost everyday I'd have to walk past the smell of freshly pressed tortillas, especially prominent in the winter months, and have to wipe the drool away... just to head home and eat a bowl of Kix for lunch. The shoestring college budget just didn't allot for eating out everyday, but the smell alone would send my brain a spinning.
After a few weeks of torment I unconsciously found myself walking inside on a random weekday... I suppose it was bound to happen.
Standing in the doorway I watched as other kids laughed and ordered their Chicken quesadillas, and sour cream, and even the extra luxury...guacamole...
I wasn't angry, per se... but I wasn't happy.
(That alone should have been reason enough to graduate and get a good job...)
My eyes were drawn to the woman behind the counter as she pulled out the gooey balls of dough, placed them on the press and then would fling them onto the big grill. Tortilla after tortilla went from dough to delectable right before my eyes....
It finally dawned on me that I rarely followed the process down to the salsa selection. For me, the thrill was in the tortilla. As the lunch crowd grew, I felt awkward just standing in there not placing an order but... an idea had come to me.
The following day I had class in the afternoon. This time as I approached Pancheros there was no crowd. It was the in-between-lunch-and-dinner-lull and "conditions were perfect".
(If you haven't seen Flight of the Conchords... I'd recommend it... only if you're up for a laugh)
As I made my way inside, the pressure was off. One of the workers casually made their way to me. Nervous and yet giddy I asked the woman, quietly, if I could just buy a tortilla?
She looked at me a little quizzically, and then turned to the others... they shrugged their shoulders indicating - why not?
It had worked!
The gooey ball of dough came off the sheet, onto the press, flung onto the grill and a few seconds later it was being wrapped up in foil and slid down the counter towards the cash register. The guy asked me for 50 cents.
For 50 cents... I could do this... at least twice a week!
Needless to say, it became my
I've always said... it's all about the tortilla!
It looks like word has gotten around.
The good news, is of course, food is in! I managed to go to Pancheros three times that trip... twice - in one day! I like to think of it as an anniversary gift to myself for graduating! ha
But the return trip to the airport and the walk past the airport gift shops was still ahead.
And the taunting foam corn hats...
and ridiculous shirts like this...
Thankfully the camera on my phone has acted as a sort of a way to "have" these items without actually purchasing them. I can wistfully pick up my phone anytime and take a look. It's pretty good really, because when would I actually wear that... ok maybe on RAGBRAI, and on Iowa pride day
(there is Iowa pride day right??)
Click it... before you Pick it...