The experience

Tonight I’m working again!  We thought we’d hit a brunch spot so I can participate in our daily grind.  We decide to go to Alo, a place we discovered last Mother’s Day.  On Mother’s Day, we wanted to go to La Duni (my absolute FAVORITE brunch spot), but realized that it was reservation only and that they only had a fixed menu that day.  They directed to their “sister restaurant,” Alo.  Mina loved it!  When we told her about our brunch plans, she said, “I’ve been waiting a LONG time for this!!”  So, we drove through the wind and the rain (wasn’t that bad) to Alo.

Alo

It was 1 o’clock when we left the house and we got to the restaurant about 1:30.  On the door, it said that they have brunch til 5.  Great! I thought.  We are seated in the back corner of the restaurant and the restaurant isn’t that packed because it’s past the rush hour of lunch.  We start flipping through the menu and coffee menu.  Ogre and I order a couple of specialty coffees for ourselves and milk for the kids.  I also order some sweet plantains when the waiter drops off our coffee as Benjamin is already getting antsy.  He keeps pointing at my coffee and saying “dip dip” because of the froth.  He does not understand that it’s not dip dip.  Ogre gives in and gives him some steamed milk in a little bowl.  It occupies him for awhile, but then he’s back to whining for mine.  Mina has once again thought ahead to bring her backpack of goodies.  I ask her to share with Benjamin since his parents did not think ahead to bring anything to entertain him while we wait.

Mina's artwork

Mina came prepared

 

Ogre and I keep flipping through the menu looking for the Banana Panqueques (pancake bites) Mina loved the last time we were here (we loved them, too!).  Ogre even had me rifle through a pile of menus thinking they’d forgotten to give us the brunch menu (our menu just had “savory” bites).  Finally, we ask our waiter, who informs us that Brunch ended at 1pm.  He acknowledges that the website and door say something totally different and apologizes.  I think he can see the hurt in our eyes and tells us that he’ll ask the kitchen if they can still whip up the pancake bites.  When he comes back, he has good news: the kitchen will make them for us, we request two orders.  Ogre also decides to add guacamole to our order.  Everything looks so tasty on this menu!!

When our waiter brings out the kids’ milk, we put in our order.  I order the Lobster Enchiladas with Tomatillo sauce and Ogre gets the Chicken Gringas.  We also decide to share some of the Green Rice .  Soon after, the pancake bites come out.  Mina is super excited and Benji is, too.  I tell him that they are hot, but Mina is quick to inform me that they are not, so I let Benjamin get started on those.  We also get the guacamole, and finally the plantains.  We are having a great time with these “bites.”  Benjamin sees the guacamole and is requesting “dip dip.”  He also wants to feed me some of the guacamole, which is gross, because I don’t actually like guacamole, but I nibble at his offerings just to keep him happy.

Banana Panqueques

Mina has no problems moving forward on her pancake bites.  Benjamin is actually more impressed with the strawberries that accompany the pancake bites and eats those in short order.  When he sees Mina’s, he starts going after her plate.  We have to hide the strawberries behind the caramel sauce.  Mina is very sweet to Benjamin and gives her last strawberry slice to Benjamin.

Lobster Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

Ogre and my entrees arrive.  We decided that we would split the entrees, so I work on my Lobster Enchiladas first while he eats the Chicken Gringas, and then we switch.  Both of us pile on the Green Rice.  Meanwhile, Benjamin is screaming “WOW WOW WEEEEE!” over again.  He gets pissed at us when we tell him to shush and just does it more, but not in such a cute way.  In more of an angry tone.  Great…  I look around to see that there’s only one or two tables for us to annoy.  I try to give him some rice to appease him.  He is spooning it in to his mouth very nicely, but it must be spicy, because he has a pained look on his face that is resolved with some milk, but it also must be very tasty to him, because he keeps doing it.  Mommy just has the milk ready for him after he takes a bite.  That’s our little spicehead!

Chicken Gringas

Ogre and I are super impressed with our food, but realized we’ve ordered way too much.  We pick off what we can and leave a few items here and there.  Benjamin is requesting “Dow, dow” so I let him down while Ogre takes care of the check.  Benjamin has one of Mina’s Dora Castle Superbaby Strollers (it’s, oh, about 4 inches tall, 4 inches wide) and Benjamin tries to sit on it.  Hee hee. He’s so cute.

 

Benji with the mini stroller

 

We walk out and the hostess offers Mina some lollipops from the candy stand.  We let her have one (actually, she also gets one for me) and head home so I can get ready for work.

Mina's eying the candy

 

The food

Excellent.  If you like La Duni’s, you’ll like this place, just don’t expect all the breads and sweets and the menu seems smaller.  Here the focus seems to be on the savory Peruvian and Mexican dishes.  The tomatillo sauce on the Lobster Enchiladas was VERY good.  It had a nice kick to it, that layers on itself.  I had to take a break and eat the other dish for awhile!  It was my mistake to order the lobster in it because the tomatillo sauce really just overshadows any flavor of the lobster.  I would recommend just getting chicken as it would be just as good.  Ogre’s Chicken Gringas were also excellent.  He said they were really good with guacamole added to them.  Our Green Rice was quite the star.  It had just a hint of spice and a nice lime and tomatillo flavor, the rice was soft, but not mushy and complimented the Chicken Gringas perfectly. 

The Panqueques are out of this world.  Imagine, if you will, a slice of banana within a little round pancake ball.  Is your mouth already watering?  Imagine THAT with dulche de leche sauce.   Amazing!!

The plantains were also very good, I can imagine that the plantains were black (a sign of a ripe and ready plantain when you are deep frying them for sweetness!)

No kids’ menu here, but the entrees are advertised to share family style.  Be warned though, that there is some spiciness to the tomatillo sauce, so you might ask the waitstaff which items are on the spicy side.  The entrees are also not huge.  I think two people could share them, but beyond that, I’m skeptical.  The kids will love the panqueues.  YOU will love the panqueues.

 

The service

Our waiter was very good today.  He was attentive and tried to accommodate (and succeeded in fulfilling) our desire for Brunch items after it was technically over.  He didn’t seem annoyed at all by the screaming Benjamin and pile of toys on our table.  He kept our table clear of clutter and kept our coffee and cream refilled.

 

The kids

I would recommend coming either early or a little later with the kids.  The quarters are a little cramped and the restaurant has an echo that magnifies toddler screaming (the good and bad kind).  I can see how this could be annoying to other patrons.  Also, keep in mind that there aren’t any true kids’ menu items, so I would review the menu before you go to make sure there is something suitable for your little one.  You’ll also have to provide your own entertainment.  This restaurant is by no-means NOT kid-friendly, but you may have to improvise here a little.  The food, though, is great, if you can swing this with the kids!

Total: $77.04

 What did Guidelive say?

Rants, Raves, and Ramblings

I don’t want anyone to think we were out there risking our children’s lives to go out to eat.  The storm, thus far, has not been bad at all.  It’s actually not even raining right now.  We’ve driven through much worse and we made it to the restaurant and back safely.   Still, we wish everyone south of us speedy recovery if Ike impacted them in an undesirable way.

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