Eating in sin
Sin of Cortez offers an interesting assortment of food and folks
Chico, CA 95926
From the outside, Sin of Cortez may give off a curiously dark image. However, as soon as you walk in you are showered with light from huge windows. The restaurant is clean with a sharp and modern look to it, a place where you have your choice of counter, booth or table seating. Although only a mile or two from downtown, Sin of Cortez feels quite a bit farther away.
In fact, it looks and feels like an eatery in sunny Los Angeles—inside and out. Inside, I was surrounded by fresh-faced customers and staff. Outside, I was surrounded by the large oval parking lot that encircled the restaurant. But it fit—after all, I was getting my 60-minute L.A. fix.
Compared to the beaming bright attire of my fellow café-goers, my clothes looked incredibly old and colorless, especially up against the pastel shorts of young women with adverts across their behinds like “Chico State,” “GAP” and a variety of Greek letters.
OK, the food. I almost ordered the Latino Breakfast Quesadilla, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It sounded like something Governor Schwarzenegger would order to get the Hispanic vote. I went with the Soy Chorizo and Eggs instead ($7.75), which comes with sour cream, salsa, jack cheese, avocado and black beans on two crisp tortillas. By itself, the soy chorizo was pretty good—a sturdy imposter of its fiery, hard-core relative, chorizo sausage. The chorizo did get a little lost under all of those fresh fixings, but I ain’t complaining—after all, it takes guts to make soy chorizo … I think.
The menu lists other egg dishes, like the Bohemian ($6.75), which includes jack cheese, scallions, roma tomatoes, salsa and rosemary potatoes. With the Bohemian, you actually get a choice of an after-meal multi-vitamin or cigarette. No, really. However, by the pristine feel of the crowd, I bet only a few cigarettes ever make it to a table.
There is also a vast selection of pancakes, including oatmeal flapjacks, and some egg-white dishes. I get confused because recently the carbohydrate has been blamed for obesity. But on this menu, fat seems to be blamed for fat.
My black coffee was great—decaf at that. Sitting at the counter, I got to see some serious effort being spun into the lattes and what not. And then I came to find out that the same folks who own Sin of Cortez also own Naked Lounge.
Apparently, the “sin” in the title has to do with Hernando Cortez, a Spanish explorer who tried his best to be as big a jerk as his more popular counterpart, the one with his very own American holiday. And by most accounts Cortez pulled it off with oppressive tactics that wiped out the Aztec empire. In 1519, Cortez impersonated Quetzalcoatl, the ancient god who the Aztecs thought would return to earth, and demanded Montezuma pledge allegiance to Charles V, King of Spain.
Hmm … maybe history does repeat itself. Except today our leaders only claim to communicate directly with God; they don’t impersonate the eternal one. That being said, I enjoyed my breakfast in what felt like the City of Angels and then walked back out into the Chico rain.