The experience

Earlier today, we headed to the Heard Museum to check out their Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit.  After lunch, on our way there, we passed La Finca and I commented that we should try that place.  Ogre, that morning, had actually suggested it for lunch but couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant and we ended up going somewhere else, so it was a pretty easy choice for dinner tonight.  We drove up and were surprised to see the parking lot so full.  Mina and I went in first and it was going to be about a 15 minute wait.  We got our pager and sat down.  Ogre joined us with Benji and we were left to wait about the time that they estimated.  Benji and Mina stayed relatively entertained with Papa and each other, so no big blow ups so far.

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We were able to sit down and after some rearrangements to accommodate the high chair, we were good to go.  The kids had their crayons and paper to color on and Ogre and I looked at the menu.  Mina immediately requested some queso and we put that order in when we ordered our drinks.  The waters arrived very quickly much to the delight of Benji, who wanted his “laler” (water) right away and Mina asked if she could squeeze lemon into her water, which, after warning her to be careful, we allowed her to do.

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We put in our dinner orders and the queso came out.  Our waiter surprised us again by bringing 4 empty small bowls with the queso.  Perfect!  Ogre said that they get brownie points for that!  We dished out queso to the kids and Benji nodded his head in approval.  I also thought the queso was tasty!

The kids were doing great at dinner tonight and the food came out at a nice pace.  Ogre helped Mina cut up her pizza and took a bite for himself.  He told her that he liked the pizza a lot.  Mina looked at him sullenly and said, “I don’t, I shoulda ordered a hamburger.”  Great.  A slight predicament now.  Mina has never ordered Mexican Pizza before so we couldn’t fault her for trying something new and not liking it.  We were able to compromise with her by picking off everything but the meat and acting like it would be a great idea to pour some queso on that.  We asked her how that tasted and she said, “Yummmm.  A bite with queso!”  Yeah, queso makes everything better!

Benji was eating his rice and beans and we were all in a pretty good groove.  Benji decided he was done and cleared his dining area of any plates and now wanted to “go go yah” and “dow” (go and get down).  We told him no and started our usual desperate attempts to contain the Benj. Benj commented that he wanted “breh” (bread), so we ordered tortillas.  These came out very quickly and, initially, I told Ogre that I didn’t want any but after getting a whiff of the tortillas, I couldn’t resist. They were certainly as good as they smelled, but mine eventually was confiscated by Mina who decided to entertain Benji with tortilla face after my attempts were deemed lame by the rest of Team Phipps.

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Benji thought Tata Nina (Ate Mina or Big Sister Mina) was “pung” (fun) and he even tried to make tortilla faces as well.  This put him in a pretty good mood for awhile.  At least, long enough for the rest of to finish dinner and order dessert.  When he was ready to negotiate getting out of his high chair again we had the “zert” (dessert) bargaining chip for him to contend with.

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Again, dessert took no time at all and we were all spooning flan as quickly as possible.  Until we realized that the density was strange.  I even wondered if they did that on purpose.  Ogre thought that they made it cakey for some strange reason about conserving milk??  Whatever.  I like airy flan, so I took a few bites and was done.  Mina also commented that she did not like this flan as much as other flans we’ve had, but that did not stop her from hurriedly scooping up the last bite of flan.

Benji wanted to bring his water and said, “Bring laler.  (nodded his head).  go go yah (smiled and nodded emphatically).  I told him no bring laler and asked him to put his laler on the table and say bye bye laler.  After a pause, he listened and we got up to go.  We paid our tab and as we walked out, Benji said “bye bye” to the cars (some wall decor), the swing (a hanging plant), and the “laler” (his word for water and he was referring to the clay jugs hanging on the wall) as we walked out.

The food

This is your typical Tex Mex restaurant with all the usual Tex Mex fare.

DSC_0035We ordered the queso to start and it was very good.  Nice and creamy with a touch of pico de gallo.  Benjamin even said, “dip dip goo” (dip good).

DSC_0040I ordered a combination plate with Chile Con Queso Tostada and Green Chile Chicken Enchilada.  These are served with beans and rice.  The tostada did not disappoint and I liked the thickness and crispness of the tostada.  I’ll have to say that theses green enchiladas were the best I’ve had in a very long time, so kudos to them!  Nice tang and green chile flavor and there was just enough that each bite had a nice amount of sauce, but wasn’t too overwhelming.  Chicken was tender and juicy, also.

DSC_0037Ogre ordered a combination plate also with a green chicken enchilada, cheese enchilada with ranchero sauce and a chicken enchilada with mole sauce.  He thought these were all good, particularly his chicken enchilada with mole sauce.  I’ll have to take his word for it, I’m not a fan of mole.

DSC_0036Mina ordered the Mexican Pizza.  She wasn’t a fan.  We let her pick off the meat and eat it on the chip and add queso and she did like that.  Ogre tried her pizza and thought it was really good.  I am not a fan of Mexican pizza either, so I don’t know what to tell you about that divided review!

DSC_0047For dessert, we had, of course, the flan.  I’ve never eaten so much flan in my life as I have since dining at Mario’s Chiquita.  This was a strange flan.  Ogre and I even discussed if it was made like this on purpose.  It was a very dense almost cakey flan.  It had really good flavor, but the texture and density was off.  Mina summed it up by whispering, “I don’t like this as much as Mario’s Chiquita; at Mario’s Chiquita, it’s, um, softer.”  I completely agree, my little restaurant reviewer!

The service

We had excellent service today.  It seemed like the restaurant was a little short staffed judging from the number of empty tables and the wait, but that was fine for people that were seated and eating since it meant that are server was not overstretched.  He was definitely on the ball and attentive and did everything right.  We were very impressed that we got our little empty bowls with the queso without even asking!  Our drinks stay filled and there was a dedicated “chip guy” that never left us needing a chip refill…or a salsa refill for that matter!  We were very impressed with our service today!

The kids

Definitely a kid friendly restaurant.  We sat in a back room and every table had kids at it.  It’s a casual atmosphere that’s just loud enough and they have crayons to color with and great kids menu.

I would definitely recommend this Mexican restaurant for dinner with the kids. You’ll get great food, we had great service and the kids should do just fine.

The total: $54.01

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