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