RIP El Paseo. The best Mexican food ever will now exist only in fond memory.

El Paseo

Last evening started out like any other after work evening on a December night.  We ran holiday errands and chatted excitedly with one another about this that and the other. We  found some great gifts at the warehouse store and even ran into our favorite couple of  (Bosom Buddies) that we often hang out and travel with.  With everything moving along so smoothly we were completely unprepared for what happened next.  It was a cold night high 40s, that’s cold for our area, and as we left the warehouse store we had our sights set on a warm delicious entree  from our favorite little hole in the wall gem (El Paseo).  We love Mexican food, next to steak it’s our absolute (go to) dinner, especially in the winter because it is less expensive and so comforting.  Not to mention the kick from Lourdes’s salsa will put the heat back into any night.

 We arrive and park and head anxiously down the strip mall corridor salivating at the thought of Lourdes’s one of kind enchiladas and the velvety smooth beans and rice that have become our staple.  Then in an instant it happened! We reached the door and it was dark inside, and all the furniture and decor were missing! It was EMPTY! The signs were gone too?!  We nearly tripped over our own jaws that lay on the pavement as we headed back to the truck in total shock and disbelief.  How could this be?!  What ever will we do?!  We were just here a couple weeks ago.  I liken this feeling to returning to your car with shopping bags in hand only to find the spot where you parked it vacant!  Visions of our first tacos together, counting coins from the laundromat and family dinners spent laughing, trading niceties in Spanish with the owner Mark, happy tummies sharing with friends the best Mexican food ever, all swirled about our heads as we struggled to process what just happened.  

It’s sprinkling now, we’re staring through the raindrops on the windshield as we drive around in circles uttering things like WTF?,  not knowing what to do.  We’ve been going to this restaurant since the inception of our relationship which is now going on 13 years.  We were once even invited to the owners home for Thanksgiving.  We had no idea it was closing.  There were no we’re moving signs.. just gone, empty!  I suppose we will grieve now, not just for ourselves, but for the owners, their family?  I can only imagine what it must be like to lose a business you poured your heart and soul into for 15 years. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times?  We are now on the hunt for a new favorite Mexican restaurant hangout, but it’s a lot like losing a favorite pet, you can get a new one… but it will never be the same.