dress like what?

you gotta hand it to arizonan hospitality; it's like getting stabbed with a smile. so, it was my final night in arizona and "t" and "c" wanted to go out to dinner. i had been told by the concierge at the place where we stayed that we should go to this marketplace where there were many restaurants to choose from. one of the restaurants, rene's, was highly recommended.

upon arriving at the marketplace, i immediately heard, "can i help you?" we stopped and saw this woman smoking her cigarette by a trash can. next to her was a ruddy faced young man who looked at as curiously as he rubbed his foot that he pulled out of his sneaker:

me: uh... yeah. we're looking for a restaurant named, "tlaquepalque."

lady: this whole place is the tlaquepalque marketplace.

i looked around. of course it was. you see, in parts of arizona that was traditionally apache land, everything is named after the indigenous people that were forcibly removed in the historical "trail of tears"--the only thing missing is the indigenous people who used to own this land. they're around, but they're not enjoying their summers at some ritzy timeshare.

lady: (continues) well, i can recommend some places for you. rene's is a good restaurant, but you have to dress up. then there's el rincon--now, that's southwestern food. i recommend the oakwood brewery. they run the gambit of food you can eat.

the three of us nod and thank her for her recommendations. i even threw in a wave and a, "thanks a lot!" i kept thinking, "maybe this isn't the land of no MLK day and vigilante border militias. well... at least in this pocket of paradise." we continued on into the marketplace to have a looksee at the restaurants. i wasn't particularly feeling a brewery and i was curious what "southwest" food meant. i guess in arizona, there's no such thing as mexican influence on the state culture. it's "southwest." when we passed by rene's, i looked through the windows to see how "dressed up" people had to be. i realize... "shit! we look better than they do!!!!" i immediately informed my companions. we went to the restaurant to investigate the menu, figuring that there must be something really good at this restaurant to make that "helpful" woman think it was only for white people to enjoy. after looking at the menu, i confirmed that we had been tracked.

we were no fashion failures... we just weren't dressed up like al jolson, madonna, nor that white actress with a prosthetic nose who played corey aquino in the 1986 HBO movie about the overthrow of ferdinand marcos. yes, readers. we weren't white dressing brown/black. we were the real deal. but for the purposes of fine dining, we didn't "dress up." we had the "southwest" fare, after all.