Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chuy's 12/10/08 O.M.G.

"as i sit here in my empty classroom my thoughts wander to a happier place, a place where jalapeno ranch flows like wine. i wish i could speed up the hands of time most wednesdays, today is no different. even though a chill is in the air, my heart is filled with warmth just knowing that in a mere nine hours, i will be sitting down in a retro, stainless steel wrapped vinyl covered chair dipping my first of many crispy chips into countless bowls of goodness." -kelly

As you all can tell we were EXCITED about this one. A free queso bar? Sphincter says what? Balls in all y'alls faces!

We got there and had the prime queso eating table. I'm sure it was because they knew we were the Quesorita crew. Above my head was a lovely mural that read, "She thought he wanted her heart but all he wanted was her taco." Gross. We all had to eat mounds of queso and creamy jalapeno to get over the disgusting painting.

Served out of the trunk of an old car was the queso, jalapenos, refried beans, and taco meat which we proceeded to make all sorts of concoctions with. Atkins queso, Chunky queso soup, Queso and beans, Queso with meat, etc. The waitstaff was getting a little irritated with our table as every time they came around there was all sorts of mess on the table, and we begged the waiter each time to refill the queso and creamy jalapeno dip. The queso was good enough to stand alone. It was not the runny nacho cheese, but a little thicker with some nice spices and a few colorful things disguised as vegetables. And then of course was heaven. Creamy jalapeno ranch dip/dressing. I didn't know it could get better, but a light dunk of a chip through the ranch followed by a plow through the queso was AWESOME!

Margs were a little above average. It was nice that their regular margaritas were on special, even the dot which is a regular frozen lime margarita with a dot of strawberry margarita on top. It was a nice change from the typical sangria swirls. Rocks was better than frozen, and the Father Agave margarita rocked!

Then it happened.... the food coma. We were all talking about our ratings for this week and had just given the overall experience a 4/4 when the faint rumblings began to be heard and felt. Kelly quickly left, and the rest of us entered into a staring contest and started knocking points off the food as the after-effects were kicking in. We tried to talk ourselves into this just being the intermission but after about 10-15 minutes of guzzling water we all knew... we had finally over done it.

Atkins queso 3/4
Chunky queso soup ?/4
Queso bean combo 2.75/4
Queso taco meat combo 3.25/4
Plain queso 3/4

Dot Margarita 3/4
House Rocks 3/4
Father Agave rita 3.5/4

Creamy jalapeno 9/4 or "double plus one"

Overall experience (pre coma) 4/4
Overall experience (post coma) 2/4

PS- Quesorita is taking a break for the holidays, but we will resume our regular schedule again on January 7th. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rafa's 12/3/08

We took an Uptown/Lemmon detour this week and headed for a quaint strip mall on Lovers to quesorita it at Rafa's.  I was only 10-15 minutes late and a full bowl of queso was already gone.  Yes folks, you better get there early if you want dibs on the first bowl.  Thank goodness the boys had ordered the spicy queso which was a little too hot for me and as my two best girls arrived (sorry Kelly- this is a Jillian joke that I've been trying to work in for sometime now) we got our own bowl of regular queso, and regular it was.  I doctored (ha ha) it up with a bunch of salsa and it got a little better but I did have to order some nachos to tide me over.  Sherby marked the spicy queso a 3.75 and under the comments section wrote, "Slightly runny.  Good flavor.  Nice heat when you add extra pico.  Mixt w/ salsa for fun.  Yum."  Margs were very average and we moved on over to the Inwood Lounge for the post-party where we all got a little tipsy and spilled our guts.

All in all, food and drinks were very average and I probably wouldn't go back.  I am very pleased though that my Jillian joke finally made the blog and I figured out how to use Quesorita as a verb.  See y'all at Chuy's this week.  G-Unit out.

SPOILER ALERT!! Cantina Laredo 11/30/08

Court, Kelly, and I had an impromptu post-bowling quesorita at Cantina Laredo in Addison.  Queso and Margs were delicious!  The Margs were actually therapeutic and helped to relieve my post-service funk.  We will be visiting here for a formal happy hour soon.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

T.C. 11/26/08

Who knew?  Who knew?  That this favorite college haunt would reappear with such royalty in my thirties.  Sitting in the plastic table, staring at the dirty salsa/topping bar, with whiffs of fake corn and fake cheese floating around, ahhhh....  I felt like I was in the middle of some small backwards town with this being the only restaurant still open after a long night of drinking.  I clicked my heels together three times and knew I was home again.

We started out with the 16oz queso, a whole pound of cheese!  This was the first place that offered it in three different sizes!  We (of course) went with the extra large and had two additional ones later.  It was also interesting that the medium and the small queso come with chips, but not the large.  Problem solved!!!  We ordered a ton of those soft, thick yummy tortillas and lopped up the queso like a few drunk college kids!  When it hits your lips....

Now for those margaritas... I had recalled that they previously were made with a questionable wine blend.  On the menu, it brags "Real Tequila Margaritas."  What???  When did this change come about?  It did feel much like college when you had to show your ID for a cup to drink out of the pitcher.  I giggled with delight showing the girl (who was way younger then me) my ID.  Margaritas were frozen, something close to a lime color, and thick.  But... for what they were, we drank multiple pitchers.

Continuing our theme of the evening, we moved to the parking lot where an impromptu game of wiffleball, dodgeball, and badminton broke out.  All I remember was that I was chasing around the birdie, dodging a ball that hit me in an unmentionable place, when I twirled around to the sound of a loud bang and hushed giggles.  Yes, the new member of quesorita, Bill, had taken out the car in the drive thru with a line drive up the middle.  It was awesome.

I love Taco Cabana, not much for the drinks, somewhat for the food, but much more for the way it makes us all feel like kids/drunk college kids again!

Queso 3.5/4
Margaritas 2.25/4

Wiffleball in the parking lot  PRICELESS!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mattito's 11/19/2008

Queso rocks the shit.
Bob Armstrong owns all others.
Five out of four stars.

First off, sorry to all those who have been losing sleep wondering what happening to Quesorita. I assure you, we will not falter. We will not fail. When met with great obstacles, we will meet them head on and we will whoop their roody-poo, candy asses. If ya smelllllll what The Rock is cookin'!

My obstacle was coming home from a wedding on Sunday to an apartment flooded with nasty water. Sorry that I had to get the carpet replaced and move all my furniture back into place, instead of wowing you all with tales from beyond the stars. Now that I'm back, it's time to kick you all in the brain and get you back on the Tex Mex track.

I felt, and LE agreed, that haiku should be included in my blog post. For you math nerds that don't remember 12th century Japanese poetry, it's 5-7-5. I won that bet against my girlfriend, who is awesome and sitting here as a proofreader and muse. So back to the haiku, and more importantly back to the subject at hand- queso. Let's spill this out on the table now, Mattito's is all about queso. If you have one meal in Dallas, and you're reading this blog, you need to eat the Bob Armstrong queso at Mattito's. Hopefully I can figure out how to post the photos I took. If not, stay tuned or go get 3 bowls and see for yourself.

Bob Armstrong? Who the hell is Bob Armstrong? I don't know and I don't care. And I'm too lazy to look on Wikipedia or Google, and I'm not on Facebook, so I'll never know. Nor will I ever care. I care about the amazing texture of the cheese, chili con carne, avacado slices, and dollop of sour cream that is Bob Armstrong. Five out of four stars is conservative. It needs a new scoring system: "Metallica playing in your back yard for your 18th birthday party in 1986, and then they give you an autographed red Trans Am for your "real" present." That's really how good the Bob Armstrong is."

Apparently this isn't just a queso joint, and they have a full "menu" of "food". Whatever. Since I don't really drinks the 'ritas at Quesorita, I'm speaking on behalf of the delegation. "House frozen much better then house rocks. Plain queso pretty decent too." "queso 4/4. Bob Armstrong 5/4. margaritas on rocks 2/4. frozen 4/4."

Shout out to n00b Julie.  She rolled with it like a champ.  Last week's pre-Turkey day Quesorita was at Taco Cabana.  G Funk is on it.  Stay tuned. 

Too summarize, Bob Armstrong wrote Master of Puppetts.

Go Big Early.  Sherby and Jill out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Phoenix (11/12/08 by J'Dubs)

For this week's Quesorita meeting we continued our trip westward on Lemmon Ave to the lengendary El Fenix Restaurant. According to their sign (and confirmed by Wikipedia) Miguel Martinez and his family have been serving-up Tex-Mex cuisine since 1918. From their famous Enchilada Dinners to their Mexican Lunch Specials, these guys practically invented Tex-Mex cuisine. After nearly 90 years in the business, have the Martinez Family perfected this cuisine? This was the question our group of Quesorita'ers went seeking to answer...

Now for me, I am a long-time listener, first time caller to Quesorita. The Quesorita Senoritas knowingly cut me out by having these outings on the only night of the week I am unavailable. Arriving a bit late to my premier, I was happy to see such a big group but confused as to why I've been the only one left out. There were already empty bowls of queso which I thought to be a good sign for the Martinez Family. I was promptly greeted by our server who promptly returned with a house Margarita on the Rocks. So far so good...

I found my margarita to my liking. It was served-up in the classic margarita goblet, garnished with a good lining of salt and a generous lime wedge. The taste was slightly sweeter than it was tart but overall well-balanced. They were also generous (but not overally so) with the tequila. Meaning you could actually taste it. I personally gave it a 3/4. However, a show of hands landed it at 2/4 for the group.

On to the next event: The Chips and Salsa. I think the chips are often overlooked in the literature but can really affect the meal. To put it out there, there is no such thing as a bad chip, save for soggy or stale (but one might still even debate that). These were the classic old-school chips: yellow corn and thick. They were fresh (as in, not stale) but not hot-out-of- the- fryer. They were slightly dense for my liking and also a tad under-salted. I like a lighter, thinner chip. I will admit the thickness does come in handy for the queso, so sometimes it can be a mixed bag. The salsa also got high marks. It fulfilled my basic criteria. That is: cooked rather than fresh, not chunky, and not too much onion. Chips 2/4. Salsa 3/4.

Now the main event: The Queso. Now I have to interrupt quickly to explain something. I take my queso really seriously, as do most of you, I hope. But I have never really met a queso that I didn't like. That's not to say I can't discriminate between bad queso and great queso. It's just a statement of my love for this gooey, melted concoction that is rumored to sometime actually contain cheese. Now this statement got me into a heated discussion with my buddy Shelby, who believes something different. He believes that taste buds discriminate depending on their location. That is to say, ball park-like queso would taste bad at a Tex-Mex Restaraunt but good at a baseball game. While I agree that one should expect more from a Tex-Mex establishment (and it would get low ratings) I would still gladly dip my chip over and over into this inferior queso past the point my belly said 'no more.'

At first glance, this queso looked like any other of the queso that have been chatted about by you bloggers out there. It was yellow but not neon yellow, giving the impression that there might actually be some real cheese in there! I dipped my chip with anticipation. The consistency was on the thinner side...somewhere between warm whole milk and Hershey's chocolate sauce. It was blatantly void of the fixings you typically find in a good queso. You would have been hard-pressed to find an onion, a pepper or even a tomato. This of course doomed it to be void of any of the things these items impart, namely taste or spice. This was, at best, fancy ballpark cheese. Personally I gave it a 1/4 but a consensus of 1.75/4. As predicted, the low marks didn't stop me from polishing off a bowl all on my own...

Quesorita is typically just a happy hour event. I only know this through word of mouth since I'm not a regular attendee. This week dinner was included in the event. This was motivated by El Fenix's Enchilada Wednesdays. Legend has it that the Brumley family used to travel-in all the way from Desoto to eat here every Wednesday night when young, impressionable Laura Elizabeth was a child. The Enchilada Special is something of a swindle if you ask me. I mean it's a good deal ($4.99) but it only pertains to the Cheese Enchiladas, not the "Whole Enchilada" menu. So I opted out of the special for something meatier and thus will comment only on my meal. I went with the Chicken Spinach Enchiladas with the Sour Cream Sauce (at the waiter's rec). I think I can say that the Martinez Family does Enchiladas right and that the 90 year's of experience has payed off. The sauce was creamy and slightly tangy. The enchilada below was soft but not soggy and filled with moist white meat chicken and fresh spinach. The meal was served with re-fried beans and Spanish rice. Both very standard but very tasty. Most of us rated the meal higher than the Queso or Ritas. I gave it a 3.5/4. The group 3/4.

Suzy Q and L-Boogie & The Enchilada Special (with Chile con Carne Sauce)

For most of us, the service was average and acceptable. But this is a group that sticks together. We are also from the South ('ish) and thus we commence the meal together. So when one person doesn't get their food (in this case Courtney), the rest of us have to wait for politeness' sake. I don't know what it was, but this waiter had a thing for forgetting (or more likely, ignoring) Courtney's order. He totally forgot her Enchilada Special and Margarita. Then he disappeared for 20 minutes while we all sat their waiting to start. Unfortunately, I had to be the rude one and I started eating to avoid a cold meal. Thus Service = 1/4.

We opted out of dessert but I was happy to see the classic Sopepilla on the menu. In addition it had been a long time since I had seen Chiclets and those Mexican Pecan Pralines at the Check-out counter. Very warm childhood memories...

Just a comment on the atmosphere and crowd. It looks like neither has changed much since it's opening in 1918...Next week, on to a younger crowd and a hopefully tastier queso at Mattito's! Of course, I'm not likely to be there but I do wish you all the best of Queso and Rita, Senoritas!

Kelly Diggin'in Tex-Mex Style

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mia's on Lemmon

After braving the perils of election night cupcakes, Lauren, John, Shlerbly, Kelly, Julie (my little sis), and I soujourned to Mia's for a lovely Quesorita evening.

We started the night out with a large bowl of queso. It was a bit runny, and per the Quesorita crew, had the taste of many of the lower end quesos about town. This lead to speculation of a queso conspiracy elaborately orchaestrated by Fiesta to control the restaurant queso and ballpark nacho cheese market. It was decided that John should use his ample free time at work to research this further, possibly writing an expose for the Observer.

In Mias case, the queso base was a runny yellow cheese with occasional diced peppers and what appeared to be a little chili powder on the surface. We rated it 1.5/4, though that might have been generous.

Upon the arrival of Kelly, margaritas were had by all. They did have an interesting selection including frozen mango and sangria but they were expensive, ringing in at $8/glass with no ability to order pitchers. Thus, a 0.75/4 for value. However, at least they were relatively delicious - coming in at 3/4 for taste. I also had a shot of petron, which tasted like petron, giving it a 4/4 for authenticity.

Soon thereafter Lauren, Shlerbly, and John arrived, bringing the total in our party to six. Now the real exploring could begin. Chorizo queso was ordered as were briscuit tacos and beef nachos. Our expectations at this point were low. The margaritas were expensive, the service slow, and the queso less than par. But all that was about to change.

The chorizo queso came out first. It was mixed at the table side and thrown into flour tortillas. And it was nothing short of delicous. We ranked it a 3.25/4. Then the briscuit tacos came out. They are two to a plate accompanied by beans and rice as well as a side of gravy (don't get fooled again Kelly). These were, as well, fantastic. I'd ring em in at 3.5/4. Finally, the beef nachos came out. And they were well played. Sometimes mexican restaurants will throw a pile of chips on a plate and toss a bunch of shit on top. Mias did not make this mistake. The nachos were individually cheese wrapped with a slice of beef on each. I did not have one myself, but the table seemed satisfied. We'll stick em in at 3.5/4.

Overall it was a successful evening. While this was my Quesorita initiation, I have a feeling that Mias will fall into the middle to slightly low end of the Quesorita scales.

Service = 1/4
Ritas price = 0.75/4
Ritas taste = 3/4
Plain Queso = 1.5/4
Chorizo Queso = 3.25/4
Briscuit Tacos = 3.5/4
Beef Nachos = 3.5/4

In summary - I'm going to slap Mias down in the QuesoRita department as a 1.75/4 and in the extraneous food department as a 3.25/4.

Next week's locale is TBA, but rumor has it that the following week will be at Taco C...Have a most pleasant end of week...:)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Amigo's in Richardson 10/29/08

This week was in Richardson at a little neighborhood joint called "Amigos" (located in the same strip mall where the classic hamburger joint "Thunderbirds" used to be). We welcomed guest judge, Erica. We started on their nice patio, but then the wind picked up and we moved inside.
I got there early and enjoyed my happy hour house frozen margarita for $2.75. The price went up a little seeing as how I had to add a shot of tequila, not because it was weak, but it was a little too thick to drink (when in doubt, add more liquor). It scored a 3/4, with the added shot of tequila 3.5/4. Erica got the house margarita on the rocks and it scored a 3/4 also. Lauren ordered both a top shelf frozen and a top shelf on the rocks, the latter of which tasted pleasantly like a Christmas tree. Lauren scored Xmas tree on the rocks with a 3.5/4 as it was better than the frozen. Aren't they always?
I was a little worried about Lauren liking the queso because she doesn't technically like cheese OR cream and this is one creamy queso. It is made with a white cheese and small strips of spinach? for color? We scored it well with a 3.5/4. Service was good, hot chips arrive frequently and tasty salsa cups were refilled as needed.
Overall, a pleasant experience.....
Shout out to L.E. who was sick and couldn't make it, and a shout out to Kelly for writing this week's blog! Next week Mia's- get ready quesoritaers!

Queso 3.5/4
House frozen 3/4
House rocks 3/4
Top shelf frozen 3.5/4
Top shelf rocks aka "Xmas tree" 3.5/4

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On The Border- Knox Location 10/22/08

Kicking it old school today with K-ueso and Courtney.  Battling Uptown traffic was a little dreary and slow but once we got there and took our place at the bar we all breathed a giant sigh of relief.  Margaritas were much better then expected for this chain restaurant and the prices were perfect!  A big schooner swirl rita for $4.25???  A large bowl of queso for $2.50???  My total bill was less than $5!  Bonus points for sure.  No one got paged either... another super bonus!  Oh yes... back to the "quesorita."  Queso was served warm and spicy and was deliciously not unlike Velveeta!  I didn't have to mix any salsa in it either!  Salsa was wonderful and I'm pretty sure we had thirds.  And finally, a shout out to Cal our awesome server!  Next week we're heading to Mia's- you know our numbers.  Quesorita girls here.

Queso 3/4
*Happy hour swirl with sangria 3/4
*Top shelf 3.5/4
*On the rocks shelf 3/4

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Manny's October 15th, 2008

I realize the first picture is out of focus- manual was on and I need glasses. Will do better next time.
Happy to have guest judges Courtney Layton, Shelby Melton and Kristen Ohlenforst!!
Mixed reviews on the queso- but again- the bowl was reduced to finger scraping (mostly by L.E. who thought it was pretty good). Lauren again had to dump lots of salsa in it to choke it down. Service was pretty awful- no refills on the salsa or water. Now- to the drinks. The on the rocks margarita was the clear winner here, good job Courtney! The frozen was too sweet, ditto for the swirl. All and all not impressive but the company made for a great late lunch. The nap afterwards was pretty awesome too!!  Next week we will kicking it old school with On the Border- get excited!! ( We realize we are saving the best for last- Mi Cocina mambo taxis and Bob Armstrong queso at Matt's- but hold your horses, we have all year!!!) 

Overall scores:
queso- 2/4 (*disputed)
on the rocks margarita- 2.75/4
frozen margarita- 2.5/4
swirl margarita- 2.5/4

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taco Diner (West Village) 10/8/2008

Oooh. I love Taco Diner. We sat outside (weather is finally nice) and enjoyed the scene while sipping some mango margaritas and lapping up queso. The margaritas are swell, delicious, not too sweet and appropriately strong. The queso was good but not amazing, we still scraped the bowl though. Lauren is still getting over her gonorrhoeal eye infection so she whined about that a bit. I was nice and tipsy but had a few hours to sleep it off before Kol Nidre. Next week Manny's to complete the West Village area. Come join us- we'll be there around 4 unless we can sneak away know our numbers. 

Margaritas 3/4 (best fruit margarita)
Queso 2.5/4

State Fair Of Texas 10/1/08

Let the fried food extravaganza begin with an introduction of our guest judge for the evening, Kelly Lisle.  This was a two hour sprint through the fair in search of the best fried food there.  Reviews had rated the fried bacon as numero uno, but our guest judge thought the fried guacamole (not pictured) was superb.  I have to disagree and say that the fried queso rocked!!!  By far the best fried food there, especially with your choice of different flavors of ranch dressing (who knew?) as your dipping sauce.  There was a "food baby" competition to end the evening (please see above picture), and as you can see I should have consumed more.  There was no room for margaritas this evening as I was saving room for the fried grilled cheese, corn dog, fried bacon, chicken fried steak slider, fried snowball, fried queso, fried PB&J, fried guacamole, and beer!

Margaritas ** too full
Queso 3.5/4

Casa Blanca 9/24/08

So, this was a long shot- but it was on Lemmon Ave, so we gave it a whirl. Too freaking hot to sit outside but that is okay because their patio was super depressing, just a slab of concrete with iron fence. The queso was AWFUL but we still finished it. It tasted very very fake- like all Velveeta, no Rotel. The margaritas were FINE but got an inflated score because I started to get misty-eyed talking to Lauren about how much I love being a pediatrician.  Would never set foot in here again, except for a margarita, skip the queso.

Margarita 2.75*/4  (score is higher due to the emotional response after ingestion)
Queso 2/4

Uncle Julio's (on Lemmon) 9/17/08

Saddled up to the bar by 4:15 never felt so good.  The swirls were a little overswirled for my taste (needed more rita, less swirl), but they did the trick.  Queso was a little below average and I had to dump a large amount of salsa in it to make it better (always a good judge).  Would definitely go back as the prices are right, and it's muy circa to the hospital and LE's house.

Margaritas 2.5/4
Queso 2.25/4

Gloria's (on Lemmon) 9/10/08

Ahh, the first of our weekly quesorita happy hours. Gloria's, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, #1 the delicious black bean dip which comes with the salsa #2 the happy hour margarita swirls are $4 and really solid #3 the chips are nice and crispy.  It was too hot to sit outside so we went with a table inside, which is really a shame cause they have a nice patio. We might need to go back in that case.  

Margaritas (swirl): 2.5/4
Queso: 2.5/4