Thursday, March 22, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
N. had called on Saturday to make a reservation, which they took. When we arrived Sunday for our noon reservation for three, there seemed not to be a list or any clear idea whether there was a reservation scheme. There was a line at the door, with three people in front of us, the three of us, and three people behind us. We tried to tell the host/busser that we had a reservation but he didn't seem to care. They seated the three people behind us at a table that had been empty for the time we were waiting and seemed to be reserved. Then they seated the three in front of us. By the time it was our turn, we'd waited about 15 minutes, not all that long.
N. asked the host/busser/general slack-ass teenager whether they had our reservation. The teen mumbled something and N. asked him to repeat it and he just wouldn't/didn't answer. N. wasn't too happy about that. The kid looked like a surly teenager, with droopy drawers, a bad attitude and a walk which, if it was any slower, would have been a dead stand still.
When our waiter came over, we asked him the same question about their reservations system. Wrong move! He went off on a diatribe about only getting paid $2.50 an hour and not getting paid enough to deal with this issue and sometimes they took reservations and sometimes they didn't, but who knew! It was rather disconcerting, to say the very least.
The menu, which was hand-written and then photocopied, had an unnerving comment on it: If you are pressed for time, and if the cafe seems busy, and/or if most folks are ordering omlets/benedicts, ALL MEMBERS of your party may want to order the previous entrees as omlets. Eggs Benedict may take up to 60 minites to prepare... Please ask for an ETA. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? It takes an hour to make an order of Eggs Benedict? I can't understand how, unless you're cooking on a campstove in the Western Saraha, it can take an hour to make Eggs Benedict in a restaurant that only has 12 tables.
Okay, I will stop freaking out about that and tell you about our meal. I ordered scrambled eggs, biscuits and pork sage sausage WITH NO GRAVY. I emphasized this to the waiter and sure enough when the meal came out, it was slathered with GRAVY. My meal (bottom) was okay, but the biscuits were pretty hard and not cut biscuits, which make a better presentation. The sausage, while tasty, could have either been cut a little thicker, or cooked a little less. K. had the Eggs Benedict and we didn't have to wait an hour. It had some broccoli on it and Canadian bacon. N. had apple french toast which had lots of apple chunks on it and three pieces of bread/french toast.
Each of our meals came with fresh fruit including pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe and orange wedges. They also came with Tootsie Pops on each plate. Go figure... The restaurant is interesting, the food is pretty good, but the service is shockingly bad. It will probably be another 15 years before I go back again.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
When I came back from the UK, El Salto was one of the first places I went. You just can't get good (any) Mexican food in Wales - go figure! The first time back, the waiter came up to me and asked if I'd like Taquitos Mexicanos and a frozen strawberry daquiri - the meal that I always get! Pretty impressive.
I discovered El about 12 years ago when I was having the oil changed in my car at the oil change place next door on Ritchie Highway. I figured I could either sit at the service station or go next door to the Mexican restaurants. When I walked in, mid-afternoon on a Saturday, I was about the only gringa in the place. So, I figured that it was authentic. But since I wasn't that familiar with Mexican food, I rounded up some friends originally from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to come with me to re-check. They all loved it and thought that it was pretty authentic and not dumbed down like a lot of Mexican restautrant. The fact that all of the waitstaff are from south of the border, and some barely speak English bodes well.
Last night, my friend C and I went there after tromping through the streets of Pigtown looking at houses, so we had worked up an appetite. It's about a ten-minute drive from my house, the parking is ample and the food is cheap and good - three things that make a place a winner! C got huevos rancheros and I got Taquitos Mexicanos, and we each got a non-alcoholic drink, and C got a flan, and the total bill came to $17.00.
The menu is pretty extensive and El has things that you don't see on the chain restaurants' menus, like a Jalisco Special (pork, rice and beans, served on a tortilla with a salad), chicken mole, chile rellenos and an excellent house-made flan. We started with the complimentary basket of fresh tortilla chips and salsa, which is an endless basket if you ask for more. Sometimes we order their excellent house-made guacamole which they are generous with, too.
One of the best things there is the sizzling hot fajitas, which you can get with steak, chicken or shrimp, or any combination of the three. The fajitas have peppers, onions and plenty of meat and are served smoking hot on an iron plate, with tortilla wraps. Without the wrap, it's a perfect low-carb option.
The drinks at El are also great - very heavy-handed with the alcohol and quite potent. They have a wide range of Mexican beers and sodas.
I don't think I've ever paid more than about $15 per person for dinner and drinks. Even though the location is a little out of the way, it is well worth the trip.
Friday, March 9, 2007
The tangerine juice wasn't the fresh-squeezed that I remember, but it's the Naked brand of100% juices that WF has. This juice has been "gently" pasturized, so it's clear that it's not fresh-squeezed, although it does have a sell-by date.
Yes, I am eating at my desk.
Connor eating out of the container.