(Santa Cruz, CA) The delicious, organic tortillas served at Rincon del Sol, a popular Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz’s main shopping district, are made from corn that is both stone ground and stoner ground, it was reported Saturday.
Locals have confirmed that the tortillas, made from 100% white corn kernels, are ground with all-natural lava stones, giving them a unique consistency. Additionally, the corn is rubbed between the lava stones by Hank LaTrell, a 62-year-old Santa Cruz pothead who has worked in various food-service jobs since dropping out of UC-Santa Cruz in 1970.
“I know that the chips are fried in 100% vegetable oil and lightly salted with locally-harvested sea salt,” said area food critic Mike Werner. “I also know that for the past six or seven years, an aging hippie who still tells stories about his old buddies in the Weather Underground is usually in the kitchen making them. I think that’s what adds to the authenticity.”
Restaurant patrons from the Santa Cruz area and beyond seem drawn to the Pacific Avenue spot, in part because of its dedication to using locally-grown, fairly-traded produce, free-range and cage-free chickens, grass-fed organic beef, and corn that is atomized by a bearded, over-the-hill man-child who wears Grateful Dead tie dyes and speaks in a cadence and style suggesting a cross between Charles Grodin and Tommy Chong.
“Everything you eat at Rincon del Sol is farm-to-table fresh,” owner Silvia Armendariz told reporters. “It’s pesticide-free, hormone-free, and trans-fat-free. The only thing it’s not is ‘free-free,’ which I have to keep reminding Hank. He downed an entire batch of chips and a jar of salsa yesterday while on the job.”
Asked about his popularity as the stoner grinder of stone ground tortillas, LaTrell just shook his head and laughed. “I spent about a decade in Baja [California], man. Lived off the land and learned a few tricks from the locals. It was wild, man. Shit, I could build you a working waste system with nothing but clay and water if you wanted me too. Anyway, when it was safe to come back, I figured, shoot man, I should get a job. Well first I worked at the Pipefitter down the street. After that place got shut down, I was out of work for a while. Silvia remembered me from our UC days and offered me the job. I was like, far out.”
It’s an arrangement that’s turned Rincon del Sol into a local sensation.
“We’re glad to have this bastion of authentic Cal-Mex food served by our own talented locals,” Santa Cruz mayor Will Hammersley told reporters while dining over fajitas with his wife. “And we’re glad to have Hank. There’s just something satisfying about eating a burrito in a Southwestern style cantina, with Jimi Hendrix on the jukebox and Abbie Hoffman posters on the wall. And a brain dead, filthy, ’60s leftover in the kitchen is grating the cheese. That’s just how it should be done.”