1st Place | “Cafe Los Reyes”

1st Place
“Café Los Reyes”
Rodney Fitzhugh
Ridgway, Colorado

Videos by American Songwriter

At a greasy cafe in
Downtown Grand Junction,
Where the Gunnison River
Connects to the Grand;
On the south side of town
There ain’t many gringos,
The owners and the waiters
Have permanent tans.

You can get enchiladas
And homemade tamales,
With ice-cold cerveza
It all tastes great;
You can get hot pork chili
That’ll sizzle your innards,
Burn your palate, fry your liver,
It’ll blister the plate

Eat hot pork chili
At Cafe Los Reyes,
Go endorphin trippin’
I tell you no lie;
First bite you’re crying
But the next bite you’re flyin,
Off on an endorphin high.

I tried to get high on
Some Mexican ganja,
And the stuff that I burn’t
Sent me up to the sky;
But I came down so fast
I lost my perspective-
What my name was, where I came from,
How I got here and why.

Tried to get high on
The love of a woman;
Her love made me high
Like a fiend with his dope;
But I fell like a rock
When she pulled out the needle;
When she left me I was danglin’
From the end of my rope.

Now I (repeat chorus)

Tried to get high
On the gospel of Jesus,
Cause a preacher said Jesus
Could draw me a map;
But I never got high
Cause I never found Jesus,
Nor the gospel, nor religion
Nor the rest of that rap.

But a friend took me down
To the Cafe Los Reyes,
Where I ate hot pork chili
For the very first time;
When the endorphin rocket
Went off in my pocket,
I was flyin’, ain’t lyin’,
I was out of my mind.

Now I (repeat chorus)

Now an endorphin high
Ain’t as crazy as acid,
And an endorphin high
Ain’t as fleeting as coke;
Though and endorphin high
Ain’t as subtle as romance,
A habenero won’t desert you
and your heart won’t get broke.

So just (repeat chorus)

To nirvana on an endorphin high.


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  1. I think it’s a metaphor. Intoxication (whether from drugs, sex, or religion) isn’t as satisfying as a plate of good Mexican food.

    The metaphor means the songwriter places simple pleasures and ordinary life above high aspirations, exotic experiences, etc.

    It’s really an ode to downhome pleasures. Like Rick Danko’s “Home Cooking.” But you have to translate the metaphor into what it means in terms of your own experiences. Maybe you’ve never tried drugs but you know what it’s like to lose yourself in a love affair, etc.

    I understand that the song is named for a real cafe, but it fits that the name of the song translates to “Cafe of the Kings.” We’re all kings in our own lives, however simple.

  2. To me this song is somewhat fresh and I can find some humor to it. Kellie’s remarks make some sense I guess if you are this sophisticated, but I don’t think the average listener would get all that. I’m not even sure if the writer was being that deep. I kind of agree with Jerry that 2nd place One Kentucky Moon was more worthy of the Top Spot. It captures you and zero’s you in on the feelings and mood with one reading. Easy to follow, easy to understand, and easy to feel.

  3. wtf!! this song is all about drugs and narcotics and some how a woman being mixed in with it.. sure it’s sorta funny but come on, what artist would want to sing this? let the people who poured their heart and souls into their song’s have a chance at the top not this druggie.

  4. This is not an ode to drugs, and it’s not a metaphor; it’s about the natural high caused by endorphins.

    If it had been an ode to actual drugs, it might have been good song.

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Lyric Contest Winners for Jan/Feb 2011 Announced

2nd Place | “One Kentucky Moon”