Dear Former Favorite Mexican Restaurant –

A couple of weeks ago my husband, daughter and I went to your establishment with all the anticipation of a visit from Santa Claus. We don’t get to your place as often as we would like, what with life interferring and all, but you are right up there at the top of the list of places we go to when we partake of food prepared by someone else.

You have been in our community for quite some time. During that time we’ve seen some minor changes come and go. You remodeled (a bit) and lightened up the interior of your place to the point you can a.) now see what is on your plate and b.) it is not red – we appreciate you removing the red light bulbs from everywhere and c.) the screened-in patio is a great idea.

Here ends my praise.

You have disappointed me greatly. I will not be back.

The first thing we noticed after being seated was the music. What is this modern pop crap? So much for authentic Mexican, huh? I mean, you never played just south-of-the-border stuff, but at least it wasn’t in-your-face pop. Don’t get me wrong, I like pop music – in the right setting. This, however, wasn’t it.

Daughter noticed the wait staff’s uniforms had changed. Hmmm…

We ordered drinks. They were the same. Big sigh of relief… they have the best Margarita’s I’ve ever tasted. Ever. No, I didn’t have one – I was being “good” – but Hubs had one and it hadn’t changed. Point one for you.

Now the kicker. The menu is presented. WTF? We search the menu… high….and low… and all over… where did my favorites go? They are gone. All gone. All of them. ALL OF THEM. We ask the first gentleman who came to wait on us… perhaps the name had been changed? Uh… no.

“This is similar”, he says.
Uh huh.
“How similar?”
” Well, it has this and this and this…and this dressing. ”
“Is it hot? I don’t mean heat-hot, I mean spicy-hot?”
“No. It just has lots of flavor.” He offers to bring me some to try.

I am weird, but I am really sensitive to spicy food. I usually will take what everyone else is calling “mild” and burn the top layer right off of my tongue. I try and explain this to the waiter-guy.

We ask about the favorite of my daughter. Oh, yes, they still have that… they just changed the sauce. Hubs’ favorite is still in-tact, they claim. They just changed the name because people couldn’t identify the cutesy name they had given it with the actual name of the dish. Whatever.

Now, the waiter-guy brings out our chips, salsa (the freebies) and our drinks… and a little dish of the dressing. I try it. It not only has no heat, it has no flavor. I mean, none. It tastes like oil… straight from Wesson. Well, that does not sound appealing on a bed of lettuce, chicken, guacomole, and other veggies. The alternate is ranch dressing. Um… well, seeing as we are in a Mexican restaurant, I like to be a little bit authentic, so, no… I’ll look at the menu a little longer.

Daughter and Hubs order. I get something I think I can live with… two flour tortillas filled with cheese,grilled peppers and chicken. Cassadilla. (sp?) I think that sounds like something I can handle. I ask the waitress to hold the onions.

We ask the waitress… oh, by the way, did the restaurant change hands? No… they just made some changes. Uh huh. Okay.

Here comes the food. Goodie! I’m hungry! Bite one. OMG. It burns…!!!!!!!!!!! Water! (Yes, I know water is not the best thing for hot-mouth but I didn’t happen to have anything else at hand.) WHAT just HAPPENED?

Daughter takes a bite of mine. Hmmm… a bit hot she says, but I can’t pinpoint why…

Her plate looks… different. Her chicken dish has come with a totally different sauce. It may have the same basic ingredient, chicken, but the rest is not the same. The lovely fresh fruit they used to serve with it has been replaced by some hot fruit/veg thing that looks… well, just BAD… and apparently tastes so, too. The lettuce she used to get with it? Nonexistant.

Hubs? Hubs dish is pretty much the same except the sides are a bit different there, too. He claims it isn’t as good as it used to be, but can’t say exactly why.

I watch them eat and don’t venture to eat anymore of my painful entree. The waitress finally comes back by to check on us when we (they) are almost done eating. She notices I’ve barely touched mine (to her credit). I tell her I can’t eat it, it’s too hot.

“oh… they didn’t tell you about the jalapeno peppers?”

That would be YOU sweetheart who should have told me. I mean, I told everyone and their dog who came around to our table that I. Couldn’t. Eat. Spicy. Food.

Waiter-guy number one comes around and offers to cook me another entree without the peppers. He takes credit for not having told our waitress that I coudn’t eat hot food. Whatever. We are trying to get to a movie, so we don’t have time to wait for the re-do. Perhaps if she’d have checked on us earlier in the meal that would have worked, who knows?

So… let’s recap. New menu. Nothing the same. None of the changes were impressive. No one liked their meal. Margarita still good. Wait staff doesn’t communicate something as important as when-you-are-a-Mexican-restaurant being sure the patron can EAT the food.

Unless we’re just drinking, we won’t be back. It’s too bad. They were one of our favorites.

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

6 thoughts on “Dear Former Favorite Mexican Restaurant –”

  1. Print out this post & mail it to the restaurant. They won’t change everything back but you’ll get your issues addressed and maybe get a feww meal out of the deal. That can prompt you to write a response that says, “If I hated it so much the last time why would eating there for free make eveything all better?” You can post about all that here and we all get to laugh some more. 🙂

  2. Okay, I confess, I’m a Mexican food snob. I grew up in San Antonio. I was raised on beans and rice and good chili. Now, granted, it’s Tex-Mex food I love, and that doesn’t have sour cream or olives anywhere near it. But, over the years I have learned about good Mexican food. I was inspired to write about it. In case you’re interested, here’s my personal take on REAL Mexican food.

  3. I just knew as soon as you mentioned chicken and peppers, that the word jalapeno or worse waz gonna come out! It never turns out to be Bell, or anaheim, or even chipotle, just be greatful it wasn’t Habenero peppers. And after a change in service like that, i would wait a good long time beofre chancing them again, to me it sounds like they are downsizing the quality of their menu. They may not be around much longer. And with downsizing menu comes downsizing service and attitude. That may not be a happy place for awhile….

  4. I hate it when my fave restaurant screws with the menu! It’s my fave for a reason. I like it the way it is! And I’m loyal when I lvoe something. Until they start messing it up with new and “innovative” changes. It is isn’t broke, don’t fix it. 😉

  5. I hate it when one of my faves turns on me like that. You’re right in that it’s like getting coal in your stocking from Santa.

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