365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
When we left my parents’ house with the kids, I heard those words that make me nervous, “No nap, today.” I had hoped to go to the Big D to eat dinner, but we decided that this is not the best decision in light of the possibilites of crankiness at the dinner table. Instead, we go to El Fenix, Dallas’s first Mexican restaurant, with one right here in Plano. We were in the car not two minutes before Benji was out.
We arrive at the restaurant and I take him out of his car seat and place him against my shoulder to walk in. We sit down right away and settle in.
Our waiter brings some water and I hear “Ready to order?” So, I reply, “Yeah, I think we’re ready to order.” I look up and see that the waiter has a coke and a tea on his tray, our typical drink order. I say, “I don’t remember ordering drinks.” Ogre is raising an eyebrow at me. “He didn’t say anything.” Huh? “The waiter didn’t ask us if we’re ready to order, you probably heard the table behind you.” Oh, that’s embarassing. And the drinks, those are for another table.
I planned to just hold Benji as I was afraid that he would wake up if I lay him down, but my inability of reach and eat the chips and salsa forced me to take the risk. I somehow manage to transition him onto the bench without his waking. Success! And, more importantly, chips and hot sauce.
The waiter returns and this time he actually does ask for our order. I’m trying something new, the Enchiladas Banderas (a chicken enchilada with tomatillo sauce, a beef enchilada with sour cream sauce, and a cheese enchilada with chile con carne sauce), Ogre orders the Puebla Plate (soft cheese taco and cheese enchilada with chili con carne sauce, and rice and beans). We order a soft cheese taco with rice and beans for Mina. Benji is still sleeping and Ogre predicts he’ll sleep through dinner.
As usual, our dinner comes out lightning fast.
Ogre often wonders how they do it. Mine is nuclear and I have to wait a good ten minutes before I take a bite. I hate burning my tongue, it will ruin my next 3 meals, so I avoid it at all costs. Ogre takes Mina to her requisite bathroom break and when they get back, we eat and chat. I ask Mina what she ate for lunch today and she tells me that she didn’t eat lunch. I stop mid-chew. What?? You didn’t eat lunch? Why not? “Papa didn’t get me there in time, he slept all day.” Ogre immediately questions that and says he saw plates out when he got her to school. Mina is still denying that she ate lunch. So, I’m hotter than my dinner right about now. Ogre starts to say something about Benji sleeping in and Mina making a mess at home this morning and I cut him off and say, “Don’t try to deflect from not getting Mina in time to eat lunch.” And, apparently, I’m giving him stinkeye. Just then, Mina saves him, “Oh wait! I DID eat lunch! I forgot.”
Hmmmm, ok, off the hook for now, but I also know that when Mina says “she forgot” it means she doesn’t want to get in touble. I think that she said that just to save her Papa’s behind. Ogre is pleased that he is “right,” laughs, and asks for an apology for my stinkeye. I’m still wary of the whole situation. You may have noticed that these two are always in cahoots.
We have to encourage Mina to eat more of her dinner and I ask her what she ate at Lala’s (her name for mom) and she reports that she ate a sandwich and drank some chocolate milk. I lay off her a little bit realizing that she’s probably just full. We finish up dinner and Benji is still sleeping. I have Ogre pay before we get up to maximize Benji’s naptime. Ogre returns with some gum and Mina is totally excited. I just started letting her eat gum while supervised about a month ago. Yes, we have deprived children. Finally, it’s really time to get going and pick Benji up. We make it to the door before he wakes up and realizes that he’s missed dinner.
He’s not happy about it.
El Fenix is pretty consistent. I think it’s very traditional tex-mex and that it is good, not excellent, but definitely good. I liked my Enchiladas Banderas, it was the first time I’ve tried it. All of the enchiladas were quite tasty. It was really meaty, though. The tomatillo sauce was tangy with a little bit of heat, but not the best I’ve had. I’ve never had a sour cream beef enchilada and thought that this combination worked really well. By the time I got to the cheese enchilada I was losing steam, I only took a couple of bites and it was just okay. I’d like to have had some veggies to break things up. Ogre enjoyed his Puebla Plate and had no problems to speak of. He says there are some who say that the chile con carne is the best around. I know that the place gets packed on Wednesdays, when the enchiladas are cheaper than usual.
The kids menu had a nice variety of typical tex-mex selections. I am yet again disappointed in how healthy these selections are. I mentioned this to Ogre and he replied, “Well, who goes to a Mexican restaurant thinking ‘What healthy meal am I going to have tonight?” Fair enough.
Our waiter seemed very on the ball. I did have to wait on a soda refill. The manager came over in the nick of time to ask how things were going and to clear some plates. I mentioned it to him and he came right back with my refill. I can’t think of any previously bad experiences here. Again, they are very consistent.
They give out crayons and their kids menu is on a piece of paper for them to color on. The kids menu has a lot to choose from and it’s all very cheesy and greasy.
Ogre thinks that soft cheese tacos are the “perfect” kid friendly food. I think they have the “perfect” kids cup here. It’s all in the straw. When you have a litle one like Benji, who likes to play with his straw and make a huge mess, the fact that you can turn the straw over so that the fat side is under the lid to make the straw child-proof is awesome!
I asked Mina to take a picture of the kiddie cups for me. Ogre wants to take a picture of his margarita. Killjoy tells him this is a child-friendly blog, not an alcohol-friendly blog. Sheesh. Definitely a kid-friendly restaurant.
Total price: $35.01 (one margarita with dinner)
Locations all over DFW
Childsplate.com chronicles our journey to find the perfect family restaurant. We are looking for restaurants with excellent food and a great attitude towards kids, even the whiny, cranky ones! We will be headed out to a different restaurant every single day to provide ourselves (and you) with some entertainment and good information about DFW area restaurants. We hope you will visit frequently and use our experiences to create some fun dining experiences of your own! Watch out, DFW, the Phipps family is going out to eat!