Walter Mencken 10:05 a.m., April 30
South Park: Farewell, ma belle
Vagabond's in its last days. Ed is weeping
Maybe it's because they're closing.
But I swear. These two unpretentious little happy hour tacos are thee most delicious I've had in a lo-ong time. Carne asada, queso fresco, a little avo, green onion, and that's it. Simple. They're really scrumbo.
So it's happy, but it's sad. These are the last days of this crazy eclectic place, Vagabond (2310 30th Street, South Park, 619-255-1035). They're closing August 31st. New owners are gonna make a Belgian beer place.
So hey, here's one of my baby and one more for the road (was that a great song or wot?). Eddie the bartender...
...says yes, happy hour. So dishes from $4-$10, most around $8. Think the one I really want, the moules will be about eleven. Too much. I've got exactly twelve Washingtons in my pocket. Determined to make this work.
Glass of HH wine is $6. That leaves the one possible dish I see. Carnitas tacos, $4 for two.
Fortunate son! They turn out 10 on the deliciosity scale. Something about the queso fresco, the green onion, the avo, and specially the mayo-based sauce slathered on the corn tortillas. I ask for hot sauce, but then I worry about losing this perfect balance of tastes.
'Course what makes it double perfect is the wine Eddie recommended, a Spanish Grenache, called Valcantara. I mean, what do I know about vino. Feel like the guy going into an art gallery, looking at paintings and saying I don't know nuthin' bout art but I know what I like.
Whatever, this is fruity, this is rich, this is six bucks in happy hour. This makes the whole li'l meal feel like champagne and caviar.
Plus, a cool jazz version of "Maria" is playing from West Side Story, and I'm trying to translate the words written in Spanish around the counter. Turn out to be from a Colombian cumbia song. "Dance, dance with me...be open for hugs..."
I look around all the different sections of this little place, the Moroccan, the French, the Italian. Lift my glass of sweet rich Grenache.
Here's to you Vagabond, ma belle.