El Rincon means the corner.
A quick and easy stop for crispy tostadas. Or juicy maduros. More than two dozen diners go by this name. But this one I am at is hard to miss. It’s conveniently wedged between South Central and West Adams. Their cobalt blue walls jump to wandering eyes. The door’s been propped open with a folded corner of the doormat. Last bit of daylight creeps in and warms my ankles.
It’s the happy magic color that lured hundreds of thousands of stagecoaches into the desert. No sewage, no water, no house, but not a worry as long as I can get a little taste of gold. Westward went the hopeful crowd, the desperate crowd, the savvy crowd, and the naive crowd. The jukebox is humming an upbeat song. The guitarron and vihuela end on a bright metallic tone.
Breathing in the familiar odor of deep fryer oil, I glide into a semi-circular booth. Damion will be here any minute. I open up the menu and marvel at the economy of printing—27 dishes on the first half spread. Toddlers in the next booth scream with joy. A shrill voice is heard from the TV. I crank my head up to find a woman on the verge of a meltdown. (Classic trope of female hysteria.) The waitress approaches the table as I, staring at the locks of chestnut hair undulating on screen, fail to address her.