The experience

Where to tonight??  We waited for Mina to get home from her regularly scheduled Wednesday night date with Grandpoo and Oma and then headed out for the rest of Team Phipps to eat.  I mentioned a few places to Ogre earlier to night and he had no recollection of that.  So, there we sat at the intersection of our neigborhood and the rest of the world deciding where to go.  We turned out of the neighborhood narrowing it down to Indian food (which Mina doesn’t like) and nearby Mexican.  Nearby Mexican won.  We headed to Firewhell to a restaurant we’ve never been to before called Esteban’s Restaurante.

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We arrived and were seated right away, although, the restaurant was nicely filled for a cold, yucky night.  Benji immediately wanted chips and Mina immediately wanted to go the bathroom.  Ogre took her and told me his drink order.  Well, no one showed up during the 5-10 minutes they were gone; in fact, it took a good while for anyone to greet us and get the drinks.  I made sure to order some queso right off for the Benj.  I tried the salsa and it was super spicy, so I didn’t want him to try that and he loves his dip dip!

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We have been trying to teach Benjamin that knives are dangerous and that he is not allowed to play with them.  Mina was always very good about this.  Once you told her it was dangerous, she understood and didn’t touch it.  Benji, on the other hand, typically smiles, says “danger” and then happily grabs whatever it is we told him was dangerous.  Tonight was no different.  I had to move the knife out of his reach.

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Mina brought her DS.  She wouldn’t be eating since she had dinner with Grandpoo and Oma.  Mina is never a behavior problem anyway.  Benji, on the other hand, is hit or miss.  Tonight he seemed to be doing pretty well.  He tends to get upset when things aren’t “quite right.”  For example, his napkin fell on the floor and he cried about it until I figured out what he was saying and picked it up for him. 

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The queso came out without the requested empty bowl for Benji, so I reminded her about that.  We ordered dinner before she could get away again.  Ogre informed me that he would not be eating any of the queso (diet alert!) so I put the bowl between Benji and me.  We enjoyed our queso quite a bit.  A bowl finally came out for Benji, so I gave him his only little bowl, or slice of heaven in Benji’s world.

Benji continued happily eating his chips and queso and Mina happily played her DS while Ogre and I happily conversed.  Dinner came out finally and Benji excitedly said, “Core Dog!” (corn dog).  Then she put my plate down and he screamed, “RYE!  BEES!” (rice and beans).  I requested some ketchup for Benji and  cut up Benji’s corn dog and scooped ups some rice and beans for him.  Benji kept telling me, “Hah Fries” (hot fries).  And I kept nodding and saying, “Yes, hot fries, be careful!”  He decided he did not want to wait for the ketchup any longer, he would dip the fries in beans instead.  “Yummee!” 

The waitress came back and I reminded her about the ketchup, she quickly returned with it and apologized to Benji.  I think he accepted her apology. 

Benji only had a few meltdowns with lost pieces of cornbread, which I tried to tell him were dirty and no more, but he was pretty upset about the loss.  Then he pointed at my drink and said, “Want dis” (want this).  I handed him a chip (knowing full well that was not what he wanted) and Benji leaned away from me, closed his eyes and let out a long drawn out “noooooooo” in a very calm voice.  Interesting.  He still did not get my drink.  We were able to ward off any more meltdowns by the promise of flan.

We ordered flan and some stuffed sopapillas for dessert.  However, our flan dreams were quickly crushed when the waitress returned and said they were out of flan.  The horror!  Mina was visibly disappointed and Benji was now yelling, “no…flan!”  I ordered Tres Leches instead.

Desserts came out and Benji now yelled, “PREE-TEE!  STAW BABIES!!”  (pretty! strawberries!).  We all dug in and were pleasantly surprised with our desserts.  Benji said, “hep me” (help me) when he had difficulty spearing the staw babies.  Cute, very cute.

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We had our fill of dessert and had to wait on our ticket.  Meanwhile, Benji pointed at Mina’s headband and said, “wan dis” so I handed it to him and in silly fashion, he made himself some “sunglasses.”  Even more cute. 

Before things could get any cuter, we settled our tab and headed on home.

 

The food

I call this Tex-Mex, their menu called it something about being a modern Tex-Mex?? Whatever.

Chile Con Queso and GuacamoleThe queso was pretty good, nothing amazing, but certainly tasty.  By the way, I should mention that I thought the salsa was quite hot.  And the chips had a good density and crispness.  The chips and salsa were a good balance.  Ogre also ordered a side of guacamole and mentioned that he like the guac quite a bit.  I never like guac and today was no different.

Green EnchiladasI ordered the Enchiladas Verdes and thought it was average here.  In fact, I thought the verde sauce was more spicy than I care for.  The sauce had a nice tanginess to it and it had good tomatillo flavor, but I don’t think I’d order this again. 

Dallas Cowboys TacosDallas Cowboys TacosOgre ordered the Dallas Cowboys Tacos, which he mentioned several times during dinner was excellent.  The chicken was marinated very well and was juicy.  He said that as far as “street tacos” go, these were the best chicken variety he’s ever had (as the chicken variety is often overcooked in many restaurants).  I had a bite and I agree, the chicken was very tasty.

Benji had the corn dogs and french fries.  Nothing much to comment about there.

Tres LechesStuffed SopapillasThe desserts were also very good.  We ordered a half order of the stuffed sopapillas (it’s stuffed with whipped cream) and then covered in more whipped cream and chocolate and strawberries.  The tres leches was also pretty good.  It was saturated with milk, but not mushy and also covered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce and staw babies.

 

The service

Service was notably slow today, but I didn’t get the feeling that our waitress was being lazy.  She was constantly doing things and multitasking.  Ogre said he only saw two servers for the restaurant.  I think she was just overextended.  We did have to remind her about things we requested and ask for things twice and she was apologetic about her absent-mindedness or distractability.  The food came out at a normal tempo, so that was fine.  She was nice to the kids, she even apologized directly to Benji when she forgot his ketchup.

 

The kids

This is an average kid friendly restaurant.  They have a pretty good little kids’ menu, but not activities to keep the kids entertained.  The restaurant is also laid back and loud, which is always a plus.

Another very good choice for Mexican food that we will likely frequent again, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s one of my favorite Mexican restaurants.  Definitely worth a try if you’re tired of your favorite haunts.

The total: 54.52 (3 margaritas)

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