Eating at a Mexican restaurant in a “non-Mexican” area can be a frustrating hot-or-miss situation. On my trip to Florida’s Cocoa Beach, it was suggested I visit the Azteca Two at 1600 North Atlantic Avenue in order to get a prime example of comida mexicana. Not exactly given prime advertising, there is a little sign that directs you into the parking lot of the local Hilton Hotel, because that’s where it is—inside the hotel.
The moment you walk in, you feel you just found a genuine fiesta and are in what appears like a south of the border marketplace. There are numerous stuffed animals and elaborate sombreros adorning various shelves and display spots. There is soft latino-themed background music and the large flat screen TV’s are set on a soccer match. You have your choice of booths or tables, including some with high chairs, or you can sit at the bar boasting “the largest selection of tequila in Cocoa Beach”. We opted for the bar to get that Mexican cantina feel.
A young man named Ron was our bartender/order taker as we selected our meal from the bright, orange-tinted menu and chose a cold brew. We were not kept waiting long for our food, but as we waited, Ron kept us entertained with suggestions for future local culinary safaris and places to visit. I decided on something called the Supreme Burrito Combo (wet, or covered with a white cheese sauce). It wasn’t the biggest burrito I’ve ever had, but with its sides of beans, rice, and a small amount of garnish, it more than tamed my hunger. This is what a Mexican restaurant should be like, and tourists feeling like they’ve blown their life’s savings on the attractions will be pleasantly surprised at the moderate menu prices.
Minions surprised me tremendously. After avoiding Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 because I honestly thought they’d be way too juvenile, I decided that I would finally give them a chance on their own. Our local small town theater is a perfect place to see a movie since the large-town crowds aren’t present. I attended an afternoon show, secretly cringing at the expected gathering of kids, but I was shocked to see that the majority of the audience was in my age group, and it was probably just as well.
Although the Minions speak a varied gibberish as their language, I caught a smattering of Spanish, French, and Latin words in the mix. There were also many references to 1960s culture, which would have been too deep for the youngsters. The main part of the story is set in 1968 England, and nothing was sacred, from a Richard Nixon campaign poster to the famous walk across a London intersection by the Beatles. There are also clever digs at fan conventions, espionnage, torture, and pop music.
The story opens at the beginning of time on Earth as we see the prehistoric Minions align themselves with whoever the most evil character is in the food chain. They eventually leave the ocean and align themselves with a T-rex, but they manage to mess that up. Next come humans, and they go through the gamut of caveman, Egyptian pharaoes, and Napoleon before winding up on their own, falling into a funk as they have no one to serve.
Three of the Minions leave the group and strike out on their own to find a new evil master, and that’s where the story really gets going, and the sight gags manage to trump the action. The script is so well thought out, and the voice talent so brilliant that when the Minions speak,we can easily figure out what they’re saying by matching it with what’s going on.
The entire thing comes to a head within the last two minutes of the film, where we find out how the pairing for Despicable Me happened. Don’t get up and walk out on the closing credits or you’ll miss a bit more animated hijinks. I walked out of there with a new understanding of these characters. They aren’t overtly evil—-they just have misguided allegiances.