The Lunch Break Chronicles

with Chris Preovolos

An LBC Christmas miracle

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shrimp tacos

ABOVE: Super spicy shrimp tacos at Casa Villa

12/25/2009

CASA VILLA: 182 WEST MAIN ST, STAMFORD

Being the junior member of what is now essentially a two-person department, I work Christmas almost every year. There is no real way to sugarcoat this; it pretty much sucks.

My family is 2,900 miles away in the San Francisco Bay Area and despite spending Christmas Eve at a friend’s house for an entirely enjoyable holiday meal, it’s a little depressing to find yourself cruising Stamford for a restaurant or grocery store that might actually be open on Christmas night.

Having failed to anticipate this problem and forgetting to shop for groceries the day before, my options were meager. Macaroni and cheese, cold cereal and other less-than-appealing options awaited me at home as I wandered the city searching for something open, warm and ideally, delicious.

But just when I thought all was lost, the light from a familiar storefront on West Main St. shone through the darkness. Like the Christmas Star leading the three wise men to that manger in Bethlehem, the neon ‘open’ sign in the window of Casa Villa beckoned. These eyes have not seen a more welcome sight and at this moment – I don’t know if it was the Spirit of Christmas or just my insatiable appetite for authentic Mexican food – I was flush with excitement for tonight, my friends, I would dine on tacos.

Behind the counter owner Alvino Villa worked frantically alongside an all-hands compliment of employees (including Alejandro, the star short-order cook). Casa Villa was busy churning out dishes even as – or perhaps because – the rest of Stamford was closed for business.

Sitting near the warm glow of the rotisserie oven, looking out onto the cold street with a flimsy paper plate of shrimp tacos in front of me, I realized that on a night like tonight, Casa Villa is more than my favorite neighborhood restaurant, it is a savior.

Mr. Villa, for rescuing my Christmas, I thank you. It truly was a Christmas miracle.

–CP

POST SCRIPT: I fly to SFO at 7 a.m. tomorrow and will still have plenty of time for family holiday time. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

Categories: General
Chris Preovolos

Leave a Reply

7 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    As long as you are out in Cali, could you convince someone at I-N-O corporate that Fairfield County would be a good place to establish an East Coast foothold? Hey, I can wish can’t I? God, I miss I-N-O burgers’s.

  2. Bob says:

    Chris, by now I hope it’s wheels down at SFO and you get some well deserved time with your family. Hope return flight is uneventful and see you soon at the CMA…..

  3. Sean Daly says:

    Chris, Nice job on the Christmas fire station photos.

  4. Thanks. I’m actually getting some posts scheduled from the flight, which is saying a lot since I have been slacking on the blog. Free WiFi on Virgin America through January, I guess. Currently 36,318 feet over Gary, Indiana.

    –CP

  5. Wow, that’s awesome. I have got to try this place!
    Oh, and happy travels to San Fran.

  6. Let’s try to meet up at the Ox Bow Market. I want to hit up Ritual for an espresso. And definitely Tacos Michoacan for the al pastor!

  7. Jeff says:

    Those tacos look delicious. Hope we can get together when you’re out in California. Have a good flight