We’re pretty easy-going gals. We delight in the small pleasures in life: a delicious bite to eat, a refreshing adult beverage, served over a side of laughter with good friends. Not too much to ask, right? However, any missing element to this simple formula can be tragically impactful. Too dramatic? Maybe. In all fairness, though, and in our defense, a large part of our lives are spent participating in and organizing the aforementioned activities. So when an establishment drops the ball, it can lead to an outing filled with blunders and “Ay, Dios Mio”s. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened this past Cinco de Mayo, or as several local restaurants and bars coined it, Drinko de Mayo.
Now, if this is your first time reading this column, you might be thinking, “Geez, estas divas”, but to our established readers, we believe we have been fair and just in the past. We have sincerely tried to highlight the positives of places we have visited. But perhaps one of our biggest pet peeves, when visiting a restaurant or bar, is a lack of follow-thru or, in layman’s terms, unfulfilled promises.
Our Cinco de Mayo evening started off at a Margarita Competition at Grindstone Coworking in Edinburg. All the Margaritas were delicious, but the standout stars of the event were these amazing little Tacos de Bistec from Taquizas Mayo in San Juan, Texas.
Gaby: These guys were pros. The man behind the tacos brought out his state-of-the-art flat top grill and had his cooking oil in a spray bottle!
Trisha: And what about those papas? It was so difficult trying not to overindulge, considering we had a whole night of events lined up.
Gaby: Girl, the struggle is real!
After the competition, we can’t even recall who the winner was, we headed out to our planned destination to celebrate a holiday that was popularized in the 1980s through marketing firms to promote Mexican culture, food, music, and not to mention, Mexican cerveza (beer). Cinco de Mayo is celebrated much more in the United States than in Mexico. So much so that we consume about 81 million pounds of avocados and drink more beer than during Super Bowl Sunday.
Gaby: So why did we do this?
Trisha: Research, Gaby. All in the name of research...
Gaby: You had me on board with avocados, beer and Margaritas.
We arrived at our destination, located in North McAllen, a few minutes past 8 o’clock. We were excited to partake in their “Molcajetes y Margaritas” promo since it was our very first time visiting and, out of all the Cinco de Mayo festivities around town, it promoted the promise of something different.
Gaby: Plus, the word “molcajete” is fun to say!
Trisha: Molcajete, molcajete, molcajete! That WAS fun!!!
As we entered the restaurant, we walked out of McAllen and landed in some chic, hip location in New York or Mexico City. High ceilings, metallics, wood, foliage and hints of pink and purple lighting created an airy environment that left you feeling like you were walking on clouds.
Trisha: Well, before we were able to take it all in, we were swiftly brought back down to earth.
Gaby: Our poor hostess was looking desperately throughout the space trying to find a place for us to sit. However, it was a bit irritating walking around the restaurant, following her to what looked to be empty tables, only to find out that someone was already there or it was reserved.
Trisha: We asked to be seated at the pizza bar, even though there were empty stools waiting to be filled, it was a no-go.
Another lap around the restaurant and we were finally able to spot a small table in a corner on the bar side.
Gaby: Nobody puts Gaby in a corner!
Trisha: Gaby was put in a corner.
We sat and waited and waited and waited. Did we mention that we waited? Servers and management passed us by without any acknowledgement. We finally waved down someone from the bar, who passed the baton to our server, pointed in our direction, and then that server proceeded to pass the elusive baton back to management.
Gaby: Whew! I got tired from running that in my head over and over again!
In our continued efforts to be fair, and because we're more than likely going to give it that “second chance”, we will not mention the dining establishment’s name. We have heard from many of our acquaintances and friends that they have a brunch “to die for” and well, as our loyal readers know, we possess an affinity for a great brunch! We hope to visit it once again, in the near future, and be pleasantly proven wrong.
Trisha: I’ve no problem eating my words and washing them down with a margarita.
Oh, yes, the margaritas! We really had no clue as to what kind of margaritas were on special during our visit. We asked about the specials and we then followed a finger which pointed to a table topper. Needless to say, the table topper only had photos of the specials and no details.
Trisha: Mystery Margaritas it is!
After requesting more information on the specific types of margaritas being offered, we were finally told our options included the following flavors: pineapple, mango, raspberry, something something and a Negra Tomasa.
Gaby: Let me just say for those who enjoy the Latin Rock of Caifanes. Gaby no estaba tan enamorada de la Negra Tomasa.
Unfortunately, the heavily promoted Molcajetes were nothing but a resemblance of a kid’s cereal bowl. The guacamole was tasty but the fajita was over peppered, the chicken dry and the shrimp was okay.
Last but not least, we would like to acknowledge that once attended by management, they tried their very best to cater to our requests. But it was too little, too late. To us it just seemed like they were overwhelmed and underprepared for the crowd.
P.S. After our less than lengthy stay, we moved on to another nearby establishment, walked in, waited, turned around, gave it one last look and walked out. Our wills were defeated, much like those of the Frenchmen at the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.