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 checks all the boxes. Wedged between South Central and West Adams, the store has cobalt blue walls that 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 note.
Damion will be here any minute. The oil smells fresh; they must have cleaned out the fryer not long ago. I open up the menu and marvel at the economy of printing—27 dishes on the first half spread. Toddler in the next booth screams with joy (or something). But that’s not quite the noise I’m hearing. I crank my head up to find a woman on the verge of a meltdown. Her shrill voice jolts everyone out of ther imminent food coma. It’s a classic trope of female hysteria in a classic telenovela, which I believe helps digest the food. Otherwise why would so many of these diners put it on? The waitress approaches the table as I, staring at the smooth locks of chestnut hair undulating on screen, fail to notice her.