After reading an article that the original owners of Mario's La Fiesta were retiring after 52 years of running the restaurant, J and I headed back for a bit of nostalgia. As we searched for the address we discovered that they were no longer at their original Telegraph location, but across the street nearer to People's Park. When we arrived and looked over at the original Telegraph location, we immediately felt out of date.
Any concerns that things had changed substantially were quickly dispelled when we discovered the present location had the same decor, tables and benches that made the booths in the original location. The menu looked exactly the same as it was over a decade ago, even the prices appeared unchanged. We both looked at each other in disbelief. It was a bargain back then, so much so that one of my closest friends on a tight budget would always get a super burrito which probably weighed about two or three pounds to have food that would last him for the next few meals. I remember loving the vegetable soup they served at the beginning of each meal and that this was the place that introduced me to agua fresca.
I ordered red beef enchiladas and an agua fresca and asked whether they were still serving the vegetable soup. The server smiled and said yes of course. We were excited to find that the soup tasted exactly the same as did the salsa always sitting on the table and the unsalted bowl of chips. At that point I started to remember what the red enchiladas tasted like and the times I had eaten them, once an infamous night when I had overdone it. Then our dishes arrived and I felt transported back in time. The red sauce that I had forgotten was now completely familiar like having a chance meeting with a long lost friend and finding that you can pick up exactly from where you left off so many years ago. J said that her favorites were the same as well. We talked about the old days and the amusing things we did as kids. I'm not sure whether it was all the memories tied up with Mario's or the idea that as much as I've changed over those years something somewhere had remained exactly the same, but these were some of the best enchiladas I've had in a long time.