My first tortilla. Learning to love a favorite food

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I believe the first tortilla I ever had came in a can. Strange but true. What I most remember about that experience was the aroma. It immediately caught my attention even though I was probably four or five. My real introduction came at the Echo Park restaurant Casa de Y Barra on Sunset Boulevard. It was located in the building that has housed Siete Mares and Diablo, Urban Taco Fabricator. I grew up here in LA and my mom frequently took me there. 

evan kleiman with mom Evan and her mom share a meal. Photo courtesy of Evan Kleiman

One early evening I sat in my booster seat and was flailing around with the ingredients on my plate, slapping the beans with my fork and trying to mix in the cheese that was sprinkled on top. The waitress came over, knelt down so she could look me in the eye and proceeded to show me the move. She took the tortilla and ripped off a piece. She dabbed a bit of the beans on it, made sure some cheese was there, added a dot of salsa then folded up a neat border on the bottom and rolled it up and handed it to me. 

That was it. My brain clicked. For the rest of the meal my small hands attempted to recreate the neat bundle with varying degrees of success. But the imprint of every part of the experience ensured that this would be my favorite food to this day.