In Review


1. Pirate’s Tavern

I love the concept. I love pirates, I love vegan cuisine – how could it go wrong?

That was the question I spent most of the evening asking myself. First of all, the menu was waaaay too worried about appeasing all the meat-eating pirate-lovers that might venture in. Almost every single dish was “meat” in quotation marks – and while I like a good veggie burger as much as the next person, there are so many food items that don’t need “meat” or even meat sans quotes to be tasty.

The service was terrible. I think our server was stoned. And even though I had a lengthy conversation with her about my food allergy concerns (mushroom-allergic people don’t do well with vegan cuisine), I still nearly died. Well, not actually, but my food, although mushroom free in theory, must have been cooked with shrooms, because I had some breathing difficulties.

And seriously, if you are a pirate restaurant, and you have a section on your menu devoted to rum drinks, it really ought to feature more than “shots of rum” and “rum and coke” – those are neither exciting, nor interesting. And your rum selection? Pathetic. I have a better selection at home (most of the time).

The decor? Did you even change anything from the last restaurant? No? You just added some Disney posters and some lame “funny” pirate flags? Hmmm….no wonder your Halloween-store reject decorations seemed so cheesy.

The food was actually good (I had one of the few “meat-free” dishes, the Tostadas & the architect had the chili AND the jambalaya with cornbread, which he loved), but due to my inability to breathe after finishing it, I have to give you three thumbs down (one extra thumb for Captain Hook, who was truly appalled).

2. Encanto

I was very much looking forward to this visit, because I was excited about its proximity AND about the New Mexican cuisine – I know the chef is from New Mexico and have read that he knows his chilis.

However – I know this is going to make me sound snobby, but when the host comes to seat me wearing ripped jeans and a faded, stained shirt, it doesn’t say to me “we are so hip that we don’t care about how we look, it’s all about what’s inside, man….” Instead, what I hear is, “we’re dirty, we don’t really care about cleanliness, so watch out for roaches!”

The service was pretty bad. However, because our appetizer was so slow in coming, we got free chips. Which were fine. The appetizer of beets and cheese was amazing. The drinks, once they made their way the 10 feet from the bar to our table – magnificent. The sangria was terrific. My rum drink was awesome (take that, Pirate’s Tavern).

The food? bleh. I had the completely forgettable something-or-others. Hmmm….the architect had rellenos. I had the….crap. What did I have? Oh yes, enchiladas.

I had read some Citysearch reviews before going, and many people has said that the food was bland & over-spiced. I did not understand how that paradox could exist. But it did. And it was weird. In all fairness, the next day, the left-overs were pretty good – you know, once those spices had time to get to know the food. Spice isn’t easy, people….it needs a courtship period before going all the way with the food. You can’t sprinkle some cayenne and hot peppers on teh food five minutes before serving and expect goodness!

So – to sum up….if you don’t care about service, this a great place to go for drinks and appetizers – but I wouldn’t plan on eating dinner – unless you get it to go and keep it for a day or two before diving in. Now that it’s getting pretty nice, go for the outdoor seating, their amazing drink menu, and the beets (and the excellent chili salsas & dips).

3. Trebol

Although this is not what I necessarily have in mind when I think Mexican food, it was excellent.

The restaurant itself it great – I love the atmosphere. And the service? Excellent. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Our water bottle (a reused wine bottle) was kept fresh, our server was prompt, friendly and knowledgeable, and everything happened as quickly as one would hope.

I started off with a wonderful martini – gin, white wine, mint & somthing else….it was amazing! I’m usually not a fan of gin drinks – I’m more of a “put some cold gin in a glass, and that’ll do” kinda girl, but this was good! Makes me think that gin may have a place in my Pink Zebra.

But, I digress. We weren’t terribly hungry, so we skipped the appetizers, but did receive three (why three? why not two? or four?) homemade corn tortillas with two sauces – a spicy green and a smoky red. The tortillas and the sauces were excellent. Muy bien, even.

The menu was a bit sparse for a picky eater (no beef, pork or seafood for me. Also no shrooms) so I ended up with the tamale of the day – which was a chicken tamale with a different kind of masa, so instead of the firm corn outer-layer, it had the consistency and texture of grits.

They were fantabulous. I was blown away.

Then, because he is evil, the architect ordered dessert. I said no, and then said “well, okay, one bite” and then ate half. I only stopped at half because I was afraid that if I crossed that line, I might get stabbed.

We ordered the lemon empanada that was served with lemon ice cream with sugared lemon zest. There are no words that can describe how wonderful it was. I actually kind of wanted to marry the person who made that dessert. It was amazing.

It is not the place to go if you’re looking for down-home Mexican food – burritos and enchiladas and the like, but it’s a wonderful upscale version of all your classic favorites – and done very, very well. Three thumbs up (I’m still using Captain Hook).

Maybe tomorrow, we can have book reviews. Now that I’ve finished a couple new books (new to me, obviously), I am re-reading the Harry Potter series in anticipation of next month’s book release.

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