Got Gwak? |

Got Gwak?

Robert Stern

“Do your fish tacos come with guacamole?” I asked.

The waitress put on her best customer service smile, which was not very convincing, and said, “This is not a Mexican restaurant.”

I grew up on the East Coast where common food includes pizza, hoagies, cheese steaks, and buffalo wings. Ever have a lobster on a ferry traveling between Maine and Nova Scotia? Trust me, it’s good. You west coasters might think you have these foods also, but you don’t.

Back East I ate my pizza with blue cheese, my wings with blue cheese and my hoagies with blue cheese. Sound strange? Well, it isn’t.

So after moving to San Diego, California, in April 1999, I had to adjust. I acquired a taste for Mexican food: burritos, quesadillas, and my favorite fish tacos. (I also discovered a powerful love for sushi, but that’s a different story.)

I was amazed at the palm trees, the surf, the free-spirited people and the billboards that advertised avocados, the key ingredient for guacamole -which has become my west coast blue cheese. In California avocados are advertised like milk is in the rest of the country. In California guacamole is a given.

Last Friday a co-worker asked if I would like to go to Freshies, a relatively new restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. I agreed, knowing nothing of the place.

The decor is an attempt at southern California or perhaps Hawaii. The staff wear Hawaiian shirts and surfboards ornament the wall. It was a little chilly inside, which of course distracted from the illusion of warm weather.

Whatever, who cares? I’m at Lake Tahoe, not Pacific Beach, not Waikiki.

I was ending my work week and was eager to tackle a pair of fish tacos. So I asked the waitress if my fish tacos came with guacamole. If they didn’t, I would have, of course, ordered some on the side.

Instead I got a smart-ass answer: “This is not a Mexican restaurant.” The establishment may not be Mexico, but it may be the land of the ignorant. If I was working for tips, the last person I would treat rudely would be the customer.

Fish tacos without guacamole? Is that possible?


At least I was able to get some freshies on the mountain the next day.

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