Review: Abuelo's Restuarant (Stand Alone Review)

I've published this same review below in my first post, but I'm reproducing it so it can stand alone.

As usual, we ate out on Friday. We went to Abuleos. This is a Mexican restaurant and you can tell that it would very much like for you to think that it’s the classiest place in town. It’s not, of course, but it was pretty good for Pricey Americanized Mexican (and we’ve had some really bad stuff in this category). It was one of our anniversaries and we’d been saving this place for a special occasion (we’re also learning Spanish now so we figured it was about time we went). I wasn’t too impressed with the food, but then I’m a tough customer what with all the cooking and the eating and everything. The d├ęcor was almost identical to a few other Pricey Americanized Mexican joints we’ve been to where the tables and chairs are all on the outside of a stucco-columned indoor courtyard. The difference was that here the mural on the wall and the faux-old-timey portraits on the wall and the big brown plastirock statue in the middle of everything were all of old men (Abuleo is Spanish for Grandfather) and some of the old men seemed to be busily leading young boys into the warm embrace of manhood. It took me a while to realize that the portrait in the bar area wasn’t another creepy grandfather: it was the Dos Equiis guy. Our waiter was a kid who seemed to be very upset that his parents had made him go out and get a stupid summer job. He kept coming around overly conscious of how he could work us toward a big tip that would get him closer to that new xbox game he desperately wanted. I grouched at him once and he pouted away and left us alone until the end of the meal when he again came on too strong as he worked us for the tip. We couldn’t find much on the menu for vegetarians, so Suzanne ended up with the fish tacos. Her platter included pinto beans with bacon. I got a bean tostada and chili relleno platter that had refried beans and spicy mashed potatoes. These potatoes were the best part of the meal—but I’m pretty sure they were laced with bacon grease. If I had to reproduce them, I imagine that the recipe would go something like this: cook a bit of jalapeno and red bell pepper in bacon grease, stir into mashed potatoes, add a big handful of cheese. This was good enough, but of course I think I can do better and I’ll be trying a bacon-free version of these sometime. We also got a dip sampler appetizer and this came with three dips (but no extra chips until I informed our waiter kid that maybe he ought to bring us some): a standard restaurant queso dip, an avocado dip that seemed to be an equal mix of guacamole and sour cream (this was all blended into one green mass that was pretty tasty) and a third dip that we called dead-cow-in-cheese. While we are officially “flexitarians” and aren’t going to go too mad at the occasional bit of cow, this dip had a very “dead” quality to it and it left a really bad taste in our mouths. These dips are probably a way for the restaurant to “repurpose” some of the leftovers from the previous day. It worked well with leftover guacamole but it might have been two or three days on whatever had gone into the cow dip. We didn’t eat very much of it. I don’t really recommend this restaurant (my highest compliment was: “at least they used real cheese”). However, it was kinda fun for our anniversary and we did manage to get that “special occasion feel” out of it.

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