I’m looking for a place called El Parrillon Loco, in Yakima, Washington, but damned if I can find it in a strip mall of Mexican joints. But I finally spy what I’m looking for: a parking-lot grill loaded with big pieces of browning chicken. And then, at the attached retail space, I see the name I’m looking for, in small print, above the rest of the title, which is de Tom and Jerry.
Don’t ask me what that name stands for, or much else. “Authenticamente Mexicano” the business card reads. No kidding. After I ask the server a few questions en Englais, she heads to the back for a younger woman whose English is far better than my Spanish.
In any event, it’s not hard to know what to order—a quarter pollo, con arroz y frijoles (rice and beans), along with grilled tortillas for a grand total of $6.29. Nearly everyone in the place has ordered variations of the same thing and are waiting expectantly for the current batch of chicken to come off the grill.
Which gives me time to watch an industrious woman tending the grill. She dumps a bag of charcoal into an attached hopper, shovels glowing embers from said hopper under the grill and whacks cooked chunks of chicken with a cleaver, flipping the resulting smaller pieces with tongs into takeout cardboard boxes.
The finished chicken is so tender and flavourful, I pretty much ignore the perfunctory rice and beans, other than to sample odd mouthfuls seasoned with house-made sauces of varying intensity.
El Parrillon Loco de Tom and Jerry
511 North 1 Street, Yakima, Washington
Open at 10 am till early evening