The Unofficial Atlanta Food Critic

The truth from someone who pays for their meals not someone who gets fawned on regularly because they work for a magazine.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Would you like some caso with that fly?

Ok, I am a BIG fan of mexican food! Give me any ol' burrito, slap some beans in it and a few pieces of chicken and I am golden! It really doesn't take much in the mexican restaurant arena to please me. So, when I went to this mexican restaurant in East Atlanta you know it must have been bad for me to leave without only sampling the margaritas, chips, salsa and caso.

First of all, we had a large party of about 10 people. The first person in our party managed to save an array of tables pushed together on the patio for all of us once we arrived. In the meantime taking flak from the waitstaff for not having the ENTIRE party in attendance before seating her. Now this is something that irks me about restaurants - having EVERYONE in attendance before seating. Do you know how impossible that is in a city of Atlanta with 10 different schedules, traffic situations and so forth for that many people to just "show up" at the same time?
I am more apt to understand this rule for fancy restaurants that have a packed crowd every night, required reservation and so forth but not some dive that looks like my father's pole barn. Which brings me to my set of restaurant rules -If showing up I discover more than one of the following then that is a good indication I will never go there again:

1. The porch, patio, or outdoor dining that I am sitting resembles my Dads pole barn in Indiana (yes, where we kept the cows)

2. The inside of the restaurant reminds me of my college dorm room (that I shared with 3 other roommates!)

3. The wait staff calls me dude and/or looks like they haven't bathed, shaved or did anything in the realm of personal grooming/hygiene in years.

4. BUGS - yes, any kind whatsoever.

Oh - and I only need one of 5. if there is a band-aid in either my salad, the person I am dining with's salad or anyone in the restaurant that screams they have one in their salad - leave immediately!

This restaurant was batting a thousand that night. When we showed up I almost started backing out the door having horrible childhood flashbacks of the cows stepping on me in the shed. The only thing that tempted me in was, yes, the thought of all that wonderful mexican food! "I can overlook two (THEN) out of my five rules just this once for mexican", I thought. WRONG!

Once seated we all ordered pitchers of margaritas. Probably at least $50 worth. BY this time we have a party large enough that it takes the waiter (who originally gave my friend a hard time for seating her earlier) two trips to bring out all the glasses with ice. Once the glasses are out we all pour our drinks and take a drink and UGH! There's sugar instead of salt on the rims of the glasses. I have never seen or tasted such on a margaritta glass. Then, in the distance we heard a buzzing, getting louder and louder and finally - FLYS! Hundreds of them! Buzzing around, landing on our glass rims, diving into our caso dip and alighting on the edge of our chips just trying to get in a nibble of the cheese before we shove the chip into our mouths. We happened to be sitting in the only area of the patio that had no fans to keep the flys away. After swatting and (trying) to eat/drink and blow the flys off we begged the waiter to see if the one fan that was facing us (which was not on) could be turned on. To which he just looked at it and said "No, doesn't work" (It was then that I realized he was rule #3) We begged him to find another fan, hang fly strips, buy a fly zapper even -ANYTHING, just so we wouldn't accidentaly drink or eat a fly and could give our arms a rest from swatting. He replied "Sorry, can't" It was at that point where I turned to my girlfriend with my best soulful "I love you please understand" eyes and asked if we could leave. I know she didn't want to - all her best friends were there and had all decided to stay and battle the flys come hell or highwater, it was Friday and it was happy hour. But, it must have worked because we left. What a woman! She was the best!

What would have really capped the evening off was as we were passing by the restaurant in the car her ex was walking in. So, I think the flys might have been a blessing in disguise!


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