Friday, April 20, 2012

It will eat your face...

So my husband and I like to eat out. We eat out on the weekends usually Saturday (since we don't eat carbs during the week, this is considered our cheat day) and we like to try new places. I like to go to restaurants that have something deliciously carb-y and my husband loves spicy, so anytime we come across a South American or Mexican restaurant that we haven't tried before, we put it at the top of the list. A few months ago we saw this Latin restaurant El Real had been getting good reviews and since its not far from us, we decided to try it out. Its your typical Tex Mex style  looking restaurant, nothing fancy, but they did have some interesting things on the menu and of course Margaritas of all flavors and sizes. Mmm margaritas...
I was hoping to get some pasta that night, but when my husband mentioned margaritas I was on board.
So, like I said, typical mexican/latin looking place, stone floors, wood tables, not bad looking. They also had the outdoor tables too, which I love, when its cool outside and not to hot, its my preferred seating. So every time my husband and I eat at a new Mexican place we always order the same thing. Its the dishes we judge all Mexican restaurants by. My husband orders the chimichangas and I order chicken enchiladas. I was tempted by this one dish they had, (Molcajetes) the pictures of it looked...interesting. The first time I saw the dish, it made me think of the movie "Beetlejuice". You know the scene where the people are having a dinner party and the food jumps out and grabs them by the face and pulls them into the dish? Yeah.
So I was tempted.
But I was also starving and I hate being experimental and then have it blow up in my face (or grab my face) so I went with a selection of enchiladas and a side of re-fried beans and Spanish rice. Pretty humdrum, but I was starving.
The first thing I noticed is that the service wasn't exactly stellar. We waited a long time for our food and had difficulty catching our waiters attention. It wasn't busy either. We were also eating at the time of day favored by seniors and people who go to bed by 8, so I wasn't pleased with having to wave at the staff with my napkin like some lunatic just to get a refill on my diet coke. We ordered some appetizer, I can't remember what it was, but it came out with our dinner, so I don't know if we even ate it. I like to drink my alcohol with food, not so I don't get tipsy (that's kind of the point of the booze isn't it?) but so that I don't have to take a million Tums when I get home. However, I literally could not get my waiter to bring me one. I asked for a drink menu and asked what kind of margaritas they served, but he never came back. Halfway through dinner someone else refilled our drinks and that was probably the end of the table service. My husband likes to get me drunk at dinner, after a margarita or two I giggle like an idiot schoolgirl at absolutely nothing and this entertains him to no end.
He is easily amused.
But I didn't get my margarita and my arm got tired of waving a napkin. (could have used more of those too) And I got tired of knocking silverware off of the table in hopes someone would swing by and pick it up and I could then physically grab them and beg for tequila, but no luck. I noticed another couple also having difficulty getting the attention of the waitstaff, so I guess they like to make ALL their guests feel special and ignored. At some point some guy from the kitchen, brought our food out. My enchilada plate was mediocre at best, bland and not very spicy, the edges of the tortillas were dry and hard, like they had been microwaved for ten minutes. After a few bites I started regretting I didn't order the thing that looked like it could eat your face. At least my food would have been entertaining and maybe if the wait staff had seen me rolling around on the floor with a thing stuck to my face like in the movie Alien, I would have been able to get a drink refill. But alas I had gone the safe route and had no hopes of attracting a waiter. Somehow we got the hostess to take our bill, we paid, my husband grumbled that there would be no drunk girl to entertain him on the ride home and we left. I wasn't crazy about their re-fried beans, or rice, neither had any flavor or salt and my beans had the consistency of warm paste. I was sad that this wasn't going to be our "go to" Mexican place, we had been looking for a new Mexican place since Mexicalis, a long standing fixture in Athens, had gotten bad and closed down. We will continue our search for good Mexican food and even though it looks like it would eat your face, I may go back to try the "Molcajetes". I realize I may not get a second Diet Coke and there's a good chance the wait staff would let it devour my face, but I might be tempted...

Spicy Black beans

2 cans black beans
1/4 cup Parmesan
3 tablespoons shredded cheddar
jar of sliced jalapenos
1/3 cup sauteed onion
1/3 cup sauteed red pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
garlic powder
salt and pepper
sour cream

Open and pour the cans of black beans into a small pot with lid. Add eight or so jalapenos to the beans and about 1/4 cup of the brine. Add a dash or two of garlic powder and salt and pepper. Cover and turn the heat on low. Saute the onions and peppers in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook until tender and add to the pot. When the beans are nice and bubbly add the grated Parmesan. Simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle the cheddar on top. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

My husbands favorite side dish when we make Mexican food.

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