So, will the real Señor Fish please stand up? Pylant says he has spiced up the fish batter and changed his cod supplier, but otherwise remains committed to the original recipes and approach that made the restaurants great.
Enrique says his restaurants use the original Señor Fish recipes, ingredients, even the original chefs.
"We’ve kept everything the same, there’s no change," he says. "You leave McDonald’s and call yourself McBurgers, you’re not McDonald’s anymore. We’re the original." OffBeat thinks the food is still pretty great at both restaurants; Enrique suggests diners should sample both menus and decide for themselves.
—Lovell Estell III
Atheists United met last weekend in Los Angeles to help members recover from Thanksgiving, which some God-fearing folk apparently seize upon to browbeat nonbelieving family members. "Atheists, like everybody else, have both the benefit and liabilities of family," said Bobbie Kirkhart, co-president of Atheists United, which claims an L.A. membership of 400. "Certainly some of our members have disputes with family that try to convert them."
The guest speaker, psychologist Newton Joseph, seemed more interested in touting his services as an atheist counselor than in holiday stress. Several people in the mostly over-50 crowd used the lecture to catch up on sleep.
Liliana Dashman, a nicely made-up 50-plus woman who was raised Jewish in Argentina, said she had no problems with holiday stress, because her family members are atheists too. "I came to the meeting today because I like the challenge of being around people who want to learn," she said in her heavy Spanish accent.
Linda, who refused to give her last name, slipped away to crunch on toffee peanuts in the kitchen. A plump, middle-aged vocational nurse/voice-over actress, Linda considers herself a wobbler (half believer/half nonbeliever). "I never close all my doors," she said, smiling widely above her bright-yellow Atheists United T-shirt. "Most likely I am an atheist. If somebody can give me evidence, then I will change my mind." Does her family bug her over the holidays? I asked.
"We don’t discuss atheism. They don’t give a damn," she said before making her way back to the lecture hall.
Former Atheists United president Ken Bonnell, who raised his kids as atheists, said he still gets flack from Christian family members, but it’s no big deal. The Christmas carols are annoying, though. "I know the mythology behind them," he said.
Reverend J. Tilman Williams, former mayor of Garden Grove, and self-dubbed Minister of Love, passed out black-and-green photocopied $1 million bills, promoting the international language Esperanto. "Religion should be of your own choosing," he said. Lawyer Edward Tabash, chair of the Center for Inquiry West, which hosted the meeting, said he hates it when religious people use the holidays to attack atheists. "When the message of Christmas is that you will go to hell for nonbelieving, it has a negative impact on society," he said. Finally, the talk ended and A.U. members broke into small groups. OffBeat took the opportunity to break away for her own favorite religious ritual: holiday shopping.