Monday, May 16, 2011


I awoke yesterday to the smell of waffles. Which I think means you’re having a stroke. But then I heard Elijah and Luca screaming, “Dada! Dada!” Then I realized I wasn’t having a stroke, but was having my yearly birthday breakfast in bed. Diana plopped down a beautiful tray of coffee, waffles, fresh fruit and turkey bacon.

The boys then attacked my breakfast, shoving fistfulls of fruit unto their faces and smearing syrup all over our comforter. I held my coffee above my head to prevent burns to myself and my children.

Diana asked what I wanted to do on my special day. I thought for a moment and said, “Let’s go to Casa Bonita!”

Now, given the fact that we had never been to Casa Bonita before, this received no response from the family. But from this day forward, “Let’s go to Casa Bonita!” will be greeted with shouts of glee.

Casa Bonita is a Colorado institution highlighted in a recent “South Park” episode. In fact, the only way I knew the place existed was from flipping around the upper cable channels a few weeks ago.

No amount of description can do this place justice, but I will now try.

Casa Bonita is located in a strip mall just outside Denver. You are greeted first by the smell of a place that has not seen fresh air since 1974. You are then greeted by a sign that demands you order an entrée. Now, what kind of place demands you order food? The kind of place who has been shaking rumors of open cat food cans in their kitchen since 1974.

After standing in a winding line for the better part of an hour, you receive your meal cafeteria-style.

Then the awesome begins.

The dining room is a massive man-made cavern. Its centerpiece is a 30ft waterfall cascading into a pool. Casa Bonita is not about food. It’s about entertainment. Entertainment like:

Sullen cliff divers!
The same sullen cliff diver juggling fire!
Strolling mariachi players!
A gun that shoot bubbles!
An arcade that stopped buying new games in 1974!
A scary cave that has not one, but two warnings about children under the age of 5!
Old Timey photographs!
One of the guys who draws your picture!

Elijah’s brain melted the minute we entered. He spent the whole time shouting and pointing, and not eating his food (thankfully).

Eli watched a pirate skit with rapt attention. About halfway through the skit, the table of uniformed American soldiers got up from their table to head to the bar. That crisscrossed Eli’s brain wires and he said, “Dad! Those army men are going to fight the pirates.” Later, Eli stumbled across the same soldiers and demanded to know why they hadn’t captured the pirates. They ignored him.

I can always judge the success of a place by the level of fit our kids throw when they have to leave. By that measure, Casa Bonita is the greatest place in he history of the world.

I am the luckiest man in the world to have Diana, Eli and Luca in my life. And Casa Bonita in my life.


Bill Rogers said...

Happy birthday, old timer!

Anonymous said...

holy crap, I didnt know casa bonita was a real place. that's one of the greatest episodes ever.