I’m back from lunch. I’m stuffed, but sober.
First, let my warn you that something is killing the oak trees in Capitol Park. If you look at the crowns of the trees, the leaves have all but disappeared, and the grass is covered with dried up and browned leaves. Some of the trees have burlap strips around their trunks, leading me to guess that its to inhibit some insect from crawling up and munching down.
I’m a bit of a tree freak in that I will periodically cut them down and split them into pieces of firewood. But these trees are over 100 years old and I think one would provide enough heat for our home for a winter. I hope they can be saved.
Anyway, on to the lunch story. I decided to walk down to Strawberry Square with the intention of getting a sandwich somewhere. But this time of year brings all of the school trips downtown and the place was packed with kids. As I was turning around to leave, I ran into Pat Carroll from the Patriot News, and fellow blogger (Eating Out in Harrisburg). He mentioned a new Mexican restaurant on South 3rd, El Sol. Off I went.
When I walked in I could tell that they were a little more up-scale than what I had in mind, but I really like mexican so I decided to give it a go. Since I was alone I asked to sit at the bar; which tickled the bar tender because I think she was lonely, and I was their very first bar customer. The menu had burritos for $6.50, and I rarely drink alcohol or soda anymore, so I had a water. So she starts with a big basket of fresh chips and a tasty, although too mild for me, salsa. While I’m waiting for the burrito, she offers me a glass of hybiscus juice. It tastes like watered down fruit punch, but has a unique refreshing quality. Something you’d want to sip on a hot day.
Then my food comes – and it is a Big El Honkin Burrito. I guess my presence at the bar made others more comfortable with the idea, because soon another guy comes over and sits down. Bartender Julie offers us both a glass of some mexican rice drink. I decline, but new guy tries it, and sets the glass next to his coffee, which he brought in, and his hybiscus juice sampler, which soon gets replaced by a hybiscus juice glass/pitcher.
Then Bartender Julie drops the bomb. They don’t have their liquor license yet, so they can’t sell beer, but they can give it away. I sometimes have trouble hearing, I but had no trouble making out that she had just said, “free beer.” I find the fortitude to decline, but new guy is very pleased to order a Corona, and places it in line with his coffee, hybiscus juice, and mexican rice juice…and his own big basket of chips and mild salsa. Then his food comes.
By that time I’m finished, and walk over to the waitress register to pay. But the waitress is new and she goes for the manager/owner type, who sends me back to Julie to ring me up. No problem. As I was leaving, new guy was chowing down, enjoying his free Corona, and probably thinking about calling back to the office to say he will be late. I’m thinking to myself that if he stays long enough, bartender Julie will offer to take him upstairs and put a smile on his face.
Rats. Up till now, I had been so proud of the five pounds that I lost in May. Viva la Mexico!