Mid-January 2015 brings two things to barren Tradistan: frigid arctic weather and, with this year's early Easter, the looming onset of Lent. That can only mean it's time for "One Hand-Dan" to pack his bags and head off to gorgeous Mexico where the sun is shining brightly, and the Lenten fast is mitigated. (Remember last year during Lent when he bragged about pigging out "on copious quantities of meat" at an Argentine restaurant in Mexico City?)
This year, we're almost certain Wee Dan plans to grace Mexicali, Mexico, with his diminutive presence and oversized appetite. (We'll wager he's sick to death of those sticky, tasteless casseroles slopped together by the hollow-eyed and unkempt "Cucina cooks." That grub's only fit to feed house mice and the "young fathers," not self-important, world-wandering "bishops.") Dirtbag Dan's been preparing the Gerties for this new junket since last year, when he announced he'd been invited there for the winter because the summers are too hot. Then, in the fall, he hosted a visit from some Mexican priests out of Baja, no doubt to firm up plans (and menus?) for his annual winter escape veiled as a "mission" visit.
As of yet, we haven't learned the exact date for the all-too-convenient getaway. We figure it could take place between February 18 and March 28 (he'd want to be back for the big show on Palm Sunday). But since Cultilandia's weather is tolerable in March, our best guess is sometime between February 18 and the end of the month, while it's still icy cold in SW Ohio: The average February low temperature in West Chester is a glacial 21 ºF or -6 ºC, while the average February high temperature in Mexicali is a balmy 73.4 ºF or 23 ºC.
While the Gerties and the left-behind "clergy" are shivering around their thin, tepid soup, Li'l Dan will be sunning himself before heading off for a good feed. A colleague couldn't find an Argentine churrasquería in Mexicali, but she did come across a Brazilian rodízio-style* restaurant, Mr. Pampas do Brasil (Justo Sierra 1051, )686-565-6558). We think Wee Dan will really like the joint. One reviewer on TripAdvisor.com exclaimed, "Stuff your face with meat!" and Gabriel G effused, "Para carnívoros." We don't expect the waiters will ever see the red NÃO token on Deacon Dan's table: it'll be go-go green SIM the whole night!
When Travelin'-Man Dan announces the dates of his winter-holiday, loyal Gerties in the choir will want to accompany him to the airport to sing a buen-viaje serenade. We've taken the liberty of composing an appropriately themed ditty to be sung to the tune of "Mexicali Rose." Here's the original, as covered by the immortal Slim Whitman so y'all can sing along at home.
Mexicali knows I'm dyin'
For a Lenten feast of copious meat.
Every fastin' day is sorely tryin'
The patience of a vagus who can eat!
Set the mesa with a platter.
Load it with carnitas and bistec.
Fry some chicharrón, make me fatter:
Mexicali knows I'm packed!
* A rodízio, or Brazilian steakhouse (churrascaria in Portuguese), is an all-you-can-eat, fixed-priced carnivore's paradise. Your waiter gives you a token, one side green, often marked sim ("yes") and the other red, usually marked não ("no"). As long as the servers see the green token on the table, they'll keep bringing you dripping skewers of barbecued filet mignon, sirloin steak, roast beef, short ribs, pork sausage, pork ribs, chicken hearts, dark chicken meat, grilled pineapple, and the prized, super fatty picanha ("rump cap"). We imagine that once Li'l Dan's through, there'll be an incident much like what Mr. Creosote's experienced in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life."