Cantina Laredo: Over-priced Chili’s

It’s a Friday night. It’s been a long Friday day. DJ Snugglemonster and I are struggling to figure out what we are going to eat for dinner. DJ Snugglemonster tells me he’s taking me out to dinner as his treat – anywhere I want – and we’re going to let our hair down and have some fun. Hot date! But the tough decision is where to eat? While I’m tempted to eat at V Pizza again, I’m also trying to balance eating at new places for my readership on this blog (and feed my curiosity for new feeding haunts). So, like any resourceful couple, we threw several names of restaurants in a baseball cap and drew two out to decide between. As I’m a sucker for tacos – always – when Cantina Laredo came up, DJ Snugglemonster suggested we try it, because according to him, everyone needs to try it just once. So – after a drink and an episode of An Idiot Abroad, we set out for Cantina Laredo.

I was promised overpriced Mexican food, and well, it didn’t disappoint in that regard. The dining room definitely resembles a restaurant that requires at least close-toed shoes and a dress (not that people were abiding by that rule), and it’s located in Town Center next to the nicer restaurants. I was surprised when we were able to get a pretty sweet table (a banquet no less!) at peak dining time without a reservation (even if the table was next to the rudest fellow patron who had his feet propped up on our side of the banquet…etiquette people! Where has it gone?!). We placed our drink orders and settled in to look at the menu.

Ok, so the drinks are a bit pricey…they do have some things on the menu that are around $8, like the white sangria I got, but some of the drinks get close to $13. Don’t fret though – apparently Tuesday night is ladies’ night and the margaritas are half priced. I ordered the White Honey Sangria, because well, I love moscato and I like sweet things. The drink was a very citrus-y alcoholic lemonade to say the least. I’m not wholly sold on the drink – perhaps because they used a pretty cheap moscato as a base and because it was just kind of blah. But, that could just be my ordering choices. The margaritas and the mojitos do sound pretty amazing on their menu though. I will say, the complimentary chips and salsa were on point – warm chips, not too salty, two flavors of salsa, also warm (yes, warm salsa is ok!). The hotter salsa was better to me – just spicy enough. The mild salsa had a sweeter note, which was a touch of a turn-off to me, but others may enjoy it.

The food was, well, for lack of a better comparison, a more expensive Chilis. They’ve got a pretty expansive Enchiladas section and tacos section. Perhaps I should have gone with the tacos – tacos never let me down. In anything in life really, but that’s beside the point maybe. I know fajitas are generally loved by everyone – and they usually are pretty solid of a menu choice. So I decided to try fajitas on for the first time in a decade almost. I ordered the Chipotle Pollo Fajitas, because how could you say no to bacon, mushrooms, cheese, and a chipotle wine sauce? It was definitely a lot of food, which I was in the market for. And, well, it’s hard to screw up a concoction of bacon, mushrooms, cheese, and a chipotle wine sauce. But, for the price of $18, I could get the same meal at Chili’s for $9.99 or so. DJ Snugglemonster ordered the Enchiladas de Cangrejo (basically Crab Enchiladas in a pepper-cream sauce with veggies). He’s ordered it before, so it was a sure bet. And, yes, this dish is probably not something you could get at Chili’s, and wasn’t half bad. But, not something to come specifically for.

Just a quick note on the desserts – they have a tray displaying them at the hostess stand…and they all look delicious. Then, you’ll notice if anyone orders dessert around you, that if it comes “ala mode,” they heat up the cake/pie table-side and then melt just a touch of the ice cream on it, leaving half frosty cool. And the whole restaurant smells amazing (think warm apple pie smells…mouth watering). If it wasn’t my treat and I wasn’t insanely full, that would definitely be in my belly.

Service started off well. Our server came directly to our table, got our drink orders and meal orders, and seemed friendly enough. Chips and salsa were almost immediately delivered to the table, warm. Bonus points. We were checked on twice almost immediately after we got our food – barely time for it to make an impression or for us to determine if it was ok. And the waitress was “on” a bit too much – just trying a bit too hard. And then we were promptly forgotten about to say the least. We were finished with our meal (with all the designated signals: utensils on the dish at a set degree, napkin on the table/plate, looking around) and it took at least 15 minutes for the waitress to come back by. I swear she ignored us several times just to deliver coffee or get a dessert order from another table. I saw another server deliver a check and then hover over the customer awkwardly until the customer placed a credit card in the booklet.

Like DJ Snugglemonster suggested, it is probably something you should try once – just to say you have and just to determine whether I’m right or wrong on my perception. But, for that, you could just go to Chili’s too – and probably have just a good, if not better, time.

Cantina Laredo Chips and Salsa...Nothing but warm deliciousness!
Cantina Laredo Chips and Salsa…Nothing but warm deliciousness!
Cantina Laredo Fajitas
Cantina Laredo Fajitas

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