Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tex-Mex! (or, as close as it gets in Ohio)

For Valentine's Day I decided to take the family out to dinner. Where, was the question. We just haven't found too many places where we can all eat that is nice. You know, that isn't Wendy's, Arby's, or Burger King. Nathan informed me that it was my turn to pick a restaurant, which I am terrible at. If someone asks me where do I want to eat, I almost automatically think Olive Garden because I can't get enough of their salad. 

Nathan wasn't too far off in his offered idea, however. At least, as far as distance goes. There's a Mexican place next to the Olive Garden called Abuelo's. This was our last ditch effort to find a good Mexican place. We've tried quite a few "Mexican" restaurants and they've all been terrible (with the exception of a place in Columbus, it was good, but no fire to the food). Like Luke Skywalker, this was our last hope.

We arrived and had a hard time finding a parking spot, so that was conflicting. It meant people ate there, so it had to be decent (the last place we went had only one other couple eating there and we could tell why), but it also meant that we faced a possible long wait (being Valentine's Day we did try to get out the door as quickly as possible).

We walked in and there were tons of empty tables. I immediately thought, "Great. All the filled parking spaces were for people going to Olive Garden. They know what we didn't--that this place is gross." Apparently, Nathan was too busy noticing the nice atmosphere to realize there were only a few couples there and so he was thinking, "This place has to be good! Look at their nice statues, paintings, decorations. . . ."

We were sat down immediately, unlike all the people at the Olive Garden who probably had a two hour wait ahead of them. Opening up the menu did give me some hope because the food looked really good. I decided to order something big so I'd have left overs for lunch and so I could sample as many of their flavors as possible. Luckily they had an option that let me get four enchiladas, all different kinds. They also offered cheesy potatoes as an option to dry rice. I know, not very Tex-Mex or Mexican, but still, I don't like most Mexican rice and these potatoes did have jalapenos in them, so there.

The spinach enchilada, the guacamole enchilada, and the chili rellenos were SO GOOD! Yummy! The chicken enchilada was ok, but the rest of the meal was fabulous. I think even my parents who have been blessed with not living somewhere where GOOD Mexican is hard to find would have approved.

So yay! We finally found a Mexican place we are willing to go back to. It is a little pricey, but if the alternative is what we've been eating, I'll pay the extra few bucks a plate. we even had the manager come by to ask us how our meal was. He told us they are based in Texas, so all the recipes are Tex-Mex recipes that have been toned down for Ohio tongues. Most people here can't stand spicy, so it's hard to find a good spicy salsa, but this place had one they offered in a tiny cup. Nathan asked for more in a bowl and they brought it out in a container barely bigger than the first. I guess people don't usually ask for more of the spicy salsa.



Janelle said...

I told Nathan on Facebook that I actually thought the complete opposite about Abuelo's. If people ask about good MExican food around here, I tell them to avoid Abuelo's, but it's too bland. I especially didn't like their salsa. I ordered enchiladas and was left wanting. I've been to Don Tequila's (I think?) on Cedar and South Green once, and I liked it far better than Abuelo's.

Jackie said...

When we were in Montana for Colby's internship we tried to find a good Mexican restaurant. Everyone told us that the food was fantastic at this one joint, so we tried it out. Holy moly, it was disgusting! The food tasted like it was from a can at the grocery store. The salsa wasn't spicy enough there either so Colby asked if they had a hotter salsa. The guy gave him a weird look & said he would try. He came back with the same salsa and had just added red pepper flakes in it to "Spice" it up. That's when we knew that we were too close to the Canadian border. I'm glad that you guys found something that is tolerable. :)

Shawny said...

I'd heard bad things about Abuelos and was scared to try it. When we did go, I was actually surprised that it wasn't all that bad. I'd go back. I think it's really all in what you order. I hated the Mexican place on Van Aken until I tried it again and had their steak tacos. YUM!

Emily said...

We like Abuelo's, too! The closest one to us is actually in Ohio, interestingly enough (it's in Maumee, which is near Toledo...about 40 min. away). We also have an On the Border pretty close, which is also good. Neither of them compares to Pappasito's, though! :-)