Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spano's: 30 Minutes or It's Free!

Spano's launched a new business lunch guarantee today.

Here's the message we received:
"At Spano's we know your busy thats why we are offering a 30 minute lunch guarantee! In and out in 30 Minutes or I'll buy your lunch!!
Were just 3 minutes from downtown, and 8 minutes from the mall area!!!"

Sounds like it may be worth a try for a free lunch, huh?

Monday, January 19, 2009

La Popular...

I had lunch today and La Popular. They have 2 branches here in Abilene. I drive past one frequently over off of S. 14th near the station. However, their main branch appears to be the one off of Pine on the north side (another hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint on the north side - beware Laura!). This one was a little different - more of a fast-food place. The location on S 14th has a drive through for your convenience in case you are on the go. We went to the one on the north side which has a pretty large area to sit down in. I ordered a "supreme burrito" - I had been hearing how incredible their burritos are and admired one that a friend was eating one day so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It was great. lettuce, tomatoes - all fresh tasting. I enjoyed it. If you like spicy salsa this place would be great for you and apparently they sell it by the pint if you're interested. One questionable note that could make some skeptical it their use of some questionable meat... I've indulged in the Mexican culture a tad myself so I sort of know better than to order a meat whose name is not familiar to me but some may not feel so discerning. Well La Popular is pretty true to it's Mexican roots and a friend found out the hard way that his favorite meat there actually comes from the head of a goat... So it may taste delicious but I wouldn't highly recommend being adventurous with your order unless you know what you are getting into.

OVERALL... Burrito was great. Service was speedy and they make fresh lemonade and sweet tea that is to die for.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why do hole-in-the walls scare me?

I'm sure I'm in the minority here but I absolutely dread going to little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, especially if I've never been there before and most especially if none of my dining companions have been there. My husband will drive up to a little Mexican restaurant in a strip center and I will literally sit in the car and mildly panic. Sometimes I convince him to drive off.

We had friends come visit from Dallas and they'd heard rave reviews about Harold's. When we drove up, I had to force myself out of the car. I stood in line with my heart beating quickly and ordered the first thing I saw. Turned out to be delicious, of course, but that didn't matter.

Hole-in-the-walls make me so nervous! I have no idea what scares me so much. It has nothing to do with health or food safety. I don't really notice cleanliness. I just don't like a place that doesn't have more than one (preferably dozens) of locations! Even though I'm a total cheapskate, I would rather eat the cost of the professional sign outside and matching uniforms for the waiters.

Maybe it's because I spent five years of my life serving up entrees that looked exactly the same at my restaurant in Denton (or Arlington or Grand Prairie) as they do here in Abilene. When I go to Spaghetti Warehouse, the Turin Trio might have gone through a few name changes in the last 10 years, but it's still a hunk of lasagne, a splatter of fett alf and a big ol' piece of chicken parm. (When you work at a restaurant you never say the entire word. It's so not cool.)

Theoretically, I would support a small business over a big one any day. I think it's great when people have the vision and the guts to open their own place and it's even greater when they're successful. But I still can't convince myself that I want to eat at a place like that!

Is anybody with me?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Los Arcos

Tonight was my first experience at Los Arcos, a very small little mexican restaurant on the north side. It's all the rave around the station so I was encouraged to check it out. Our director Russel and reporter Megan Dobbs joined me for the experience. Russel is a long time fan of the joint but for Meg and I it was our maiden voyage into what turned out to be a very tasty evening. Our meal started with chips and salsa. Salsa is a tricky thing for everyone - I'm not going to say it was fantastic because I believe that is strictly left in the eye of the beholder. However, to my taste buds it was delightful. Not a chunky salsa, spicy (but not too spicy) and had a great tomato/cilantro mix...overall a pleasing product for me. Another plus on the salsa - everyone got their own bowl so it was germ friendly and you could double dip to your heart's desire.

I ordered a combination platter with a chile relleno, a chicken enchilada and a taco, served with rice and beans. The whole thing was only six bucks and I couldn't finish it all. The relleno was great - seemed to me it was made fresh- very tasty. The chicken enchilada, however, was fantastic! The red enchilada sauce was a flavor I've never had before but it was great and combined perfectly with the flavor of the chicken - which was also great.

Overall, my review is... affordable... fresh... delish... and they serve beer which is always a plus. I'm going back for sure.

Check it out - it's off of ambler on the north side.