Huevos Rancheros: Koras Restaurant

I could just say nothing. But I’ll say something.

The chips and watery salsa were adequate for a busy Saturday morning, I was headed next door to the Big Saver for my regular allotment of not-so-premium vegetables. I’d been meaning to try this place for ages, but they were always out of breakfast and they close around 5-6pm. But this time I got lucky there in time.

The place has the aura of a drinking establishment, in that we-drink-more-than-we-eat sorta way, kinda like Corita’s used to have back in their Malverde phase. I actually like those type of places, but I knew right after my plate arrived that this would be filed into that large collection of HR posts that I’ll never publish because (A) they suck but not bad enough, (B) they’re okay but just too boring or (C) nothing interesting happened that’s worth mentioning. Trust me, Dear Reader, if you think this site bores you now just wait until I turn into a real blog and start making 30 posts a day full of nothing: I’d have to dip into my arsenal of mediocrity and you would hate me even more. This one was headed to that photo pit, but for this next encounter.

I started eating my food and jotting down ‘eh’ in my mental notebook when the meserita comes over to ask “todo esta bien?”

I reply “Si, gracias, todo bien”

I should have said “No! You pedí unos Huevos Rancheros, no esta porqueria de huevos cocidos, queso gringo, y salsa de espaghetti. ¿Porque no le dice al cocinero que me prepare algo que parezca comida, si seria tan amable?”

But I’m a nice guy, back to my forgettable meal. And then she asks (in Spanish, but I’m gonna stick to an English dialogue) “they told me that you took a picture of the food, is that true?”

“Uh, yeah.” I’m usually pretty slick with my lil’ camera cuz I know it freaks people out, something outsiders find hard to understand. Now it turns out I have to be careful of other people eating as well. Fucking ratas.

“Why did you take a picture? Is there something wrong with the food?”

“No, the food is fine (ha,ha!) I just like taking pictures of my food, I do it all the time.”

She persisted. “But why did you take a picture? I don’t understand why you would take a picture of the food.”

“It’s just something I do. There’s nothing wrong with the food, I just like taking pictures. Don’t worry, I’m not an inspector or anything, these pictures are just for me.”

“I’m not worried because there’s nothing wrong with this place. But I don’t see why you have to take pictures.”

At this point, I started to lose my patience and I can’t remember exactly what we said to each other but it wasn’t a pleasant exchange, especially since about 12 other people and one rata stopped eating and started watching as all this non-action unfolded. After I tersely asked “Pues que? Quiere ver las fotos, o que?” she backed down and semi-apologized. If the pic above looks unappetizing, imagine this plate after behind harassed by your waitress.

Though I think this particular situation was a bit out of hand, I still understand the wariness people have to cameras. If you’re taking pics at a festival or a party, everyone can accept that this special occasion might deserve some documentation. But pull out the camera in a moment of the mundane, and then shit just doesn’t make sense. I’ve had a woman question why I was taking a picture of her pretty fig tree. A cholo yelled at me from across the street for taking a pic of a neighbors satellite dish. The workers at Diego’s Tacos ran to catch up to me to find out why I was taking a pic of their Taquero Needed sign. Since I prefer to capture these insignificant visual moments, I always have some subterfuge at the ready, lest I be lumped into that shitty role of las autoridades.

As a general rule, cameras tend to be wielded by an authority figure that’s getting ready to make life just a bit more difficult. Since they’re usually aimed at something wrong, they tend to represent an intrusion, as they rarely focus in on the aspects of the neighborhood that could benefit from just a touch more light. The sense of appreciation and delight at some ostensibly meaningless moment is going to be learned as it’s being taught. That’s where my pendejadas come in, jaja!

At the very least, I can qualify this as a harsh experience for the waitress of the world that’s heading her way: the increasing accessibility of digital cameras means that hopefully the next lens in her eatery is going to reflect an image of which she might approve. But I don’t think my camera has any plans for another visit.

Koras Restaurant
Near the Big Saver on Ave 26 and Figueroa.
You find it!

This entry was posted in Analysis, Fotos, Huevos Rancheros, La Comida, linux/tech, This Chicano Life. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Huevos Rancheros: Koras Restaurant

  1. Kevin says:

    For some reason, the font and colors of the “Koras Restaurant” sign have always made it look like they sell Greek food to me.

  2. don quixote says:

    Chavo that place has been there for a long time and nobody is ever in there and like you say they never have enough food or they close early and they don’t make anyone feel comfortable being there yet they have been there for years. Hmmmm?
    And you get practically attacked for taking a picture of there no sirve HR’s.

    Whenever I run into this kind of establishment (and I have with various ethnic immigrant peoples) my Chueco Chicano Brain starts thinking that maybe the real movida there is to launder lana for someone.
    How else would such a lugar tan mugre stay open.

    Thanks for the warning

  3. kualyque says:

    it seems like if you can afford to get a “real” looking camera like a photographer would use, and then dress like a “photographer” (whatever that means), with accessories and stuff strapped to your bag, you might get away with things a little easier than trying to be sly with a regular little digital camera, ironically enough. If people fuck with you, you can say, “I’m a photographer. Soy artista,” or something like that, and they’re more willing to understand, in general, I think. But if you’re just some dude taking pictures of stuff, it can be suspicious. Artists get away with a lot. So, buy yourself a “real”-looking camera, strap it to your neck, and wear a beret and sunglasses or something haha.

  4. kualyque says:

    oh yeah, another tactic specifically for restaurants is to say that you are with tal y tal newspaper or publication, and you’re writing a review of the restaurant. that should shut them up quick.

  5. mooncrazy says:

    This is the reason I don’t usually take photos in a restaurant. I did once at the Getty Villa, it was a fantastic dessert, and someone came by to ask why. I told them the truth, I have a food blog and wanted to feature the dessert. They seemed satisfied but now I’m afraid to have this sort of confrontation.

  6. tin says:

    no te agüites compa, i see why you wouldn’t want to explain why you took a picture, is your food and your camera, so why do they care.

  7. Annika says:

    I had HR for breakfast today (from Romero’s on Western near 5th) and I thought of you.

  8. Tio Lalo says:

    Even las moscas refuse to go in. Gotta’ be a money laundry site. No moscas even in the dumpsters, thanks for the forewarning and intimation Chavo and DQ.

  9. Al Desmadre says:

    I made my own press badge and I wear it when I’m taking my blog pics.
    People see it and are always very accommodating. I don’t have to say a word to them. It’s all about the credentials, I’ll have to hook you up.

  10. Jesus Quiroz says:

    I went to Chicago this summer and enjoyed some of the local cuisine: deep dish pizza, hot dogs, McDonalds. So naturally, like tourists, we were taking pictures of everything, including our meals. Nobody hassled us.

    Next time, just tell ’em you’re visiting from Texas or something. That or hand out business cards. People ease up when I give ’em my info.

  11. Bob says:

    I was thinking the same thing that don quixote was: something might be amiss with an establishment that sells shitty food, often claims that it is out of food to sell, has unorthodox hours, is hostile to paying customers, and rarely has visible customers in said establishment yet manages to keep the doors open year after year. Something is not right with this picture!

  12. Chely says:

    I’m always amazed at how many comments your huevos rancheros posts garner 😉

  13. Brina says:

    I was just in the Antelope Valley and was wondering if you ever make it out. I had great chilaquiles at Taco In in Palmdale. I was shocked. My friend’s mom made Salvadorian chilaquiles too that were really good. Not sure about Taco In’s HRs but I’d love to hear your opinion of that place.

  14. I thought it was a Greek joint, too. I think I would have immediately gotten my stomach pumped and a tetanus shot if the waitress was *that* defensive. Me thinks there’s something behind closed doors.

  15. I tend to be confrontational with them from the beginning. It stops them from getting on their little power trip. If they really piss me off, I can walk out and not pay.

  16. rolo says:

    something like that happen to me once outside the chevron refinery. I was taking pictures for a school project and as soon as i finished and got in my car and three security guards came up to me and wanted to take my camera away. They let me walk away but i had to give up the film. Fkrs, why do they like to punk people like that?

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