Monday, February 1, 2010

Plaza Mexico and Baseball

Tonight was all about making up for what I missed out on because of the snow.

Saturday, after the great James River Dip spectacle, here, my friend had asked what I wanted for lunch and, without hesitation, I'd said I was in the mood for Mexican.

It probably had to do with the damp and the cold, but I wanted something cheesy and rich.

But so many restaurants were closed and given how many stuck vehicles we were seeing, we didn't want to drive around endlessly for the sake of nachos, so we settled for the Village.

My delayed gratification was rewarded tonight at Plaza Mexico where a friend and I enjoyed a better than average Mexican meal, although the ambiance of the place leaves a lot to be desired.

The TVs blaring Mexican programming were so incredibly loud we had to request that they be turned down so our heads didn't explode.

The extent of the transformation from Cirrus to Plaza Mexico seems to have consisted of adding tacky banners and beer ads, but I think that's what passes for atmosphere in a lot of Mexican places, so we noted and accepted it for what it was.

I got the guacamole salad and Chorizo quesadillas and he got the Sopes and Chile Rellenos.

I liked how thick with Chorizo my dish was and the guacamole had a plenty of heat.

I wasn't familiar with sopes, but was intrigued by the thick corn (ground maize?) base holding the chicken, green cabbage, cheese and sauce; the serving included three of these monsters and my manly friend could only finish one; they were big as well as thick.

He was pleased that there was no mystery meat in the chili rellenos as that's a pet peeve of his.

We split up after dinner (but not before he referred to me as both Mary Poppins and Pollyanna) and I headed to the Firehouse for the 8th Annual Festival of New American Plays.

Every year, they take months to review and ultimately choose two plays to do staged readings of and have the audience vote on their favorite.

Tonight's performance was originally scheduled for Saturday night, but, like everything else in RVA except for selected wining and dining, was cancelled that evening.

American Pastime by Mike Folie was the evening's offering and it was based on a lawsuit against Major League Baseball filed by black players trying to escape lifetime contracts and become free agents.

There were eight actors doing the reading, including local legends Ford Flannagan and Joe Inscoe, but the entire cast was strong. I know some people don't enjoy a staged reading because, well it's just that.

No scenery, sets or much movement, but with a solid cast, an enjoyable way to experience theater nonetheless.

And at only a $5 donation, affordable for the masses.

I'm no fan of baseball, or any sport for that matter, but the story of the treatment of players, and especially blacks, back in the '50s and '60s and the changes they ultimately brought about to benefit players of all ethnicities, was an interesting slice of cultural history.

It just hasn't been that long since it was such a different world.

And, of course, there was romance; the guy ultimately wins the girl at the end.

Ah, love.

Actually, according to the play the two things nearest and dearest to a man's heart are sex and baseball, but hopefully the sex comes with the love.

Because I hadn't seen the other play, The Jag by Gino DiIorio, I wasn't eligible to vote tonight for the best New American Play.

I can't complain, though; I enjoyed a compelling night of affordable theater on a Monday night.

It's just too bad more people weren't there to enjoy it with me.

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