365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
If any of you have children who are into Dora the Explorer, then you will know about “El Dia Especial.” Well, today is Mina’s El Dia Especial; she had a great week at school, ate her veggies well all week, and she’s been doing a great job practicing her reading. We planned to surprise her with a trip to Hawaiian Falls and dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese. This meant we had to go out for lunch because we have vowed NOT to review Chuck-E-Cheese on this blog!! We wanted to go somewhere that Mina likes and not too far off the beaten path to Hawaiian Falls, so we decide on Tacos Y Salsa in good ol’ Sachse. This town is just to the northeast of Garland/Firewheel.
We were somewhat introduced to this restaurant by the Patel siblings (they ate with us at Noodle Wave!). They told us they had a great breakfast. We’ve eaten her for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but have never eaten here with them. It’s a great little hole in the wall, if you want to call it that.
When we walk in we are seated right away. We know the drill here so we are surprised when we don’t get the coloring page and crayons. Ogre goes back up to the hostess stand to get the goods. He only comes back with the coloring page. He tells me that she’s going to bring the crayons. When you sit down, you are given chips and two empty monkey bowls. There is a little salsa bar where you can pick out your salsa. Ogre gets the mild salsa and spicy salsa for us. We also order a small queso to start, against my better judgment, but it is Mina’s Special Day and she wants it.
Our waitress comes back and I realize I have not looked at the menu. We also ask about the missing crayons. She informs us that they ran out, but that the manager is headed to the Dollar General to buy more. Mina is content with that answer and her queso has arrived. We ask for an empty bowl so Benjamin can have his own to mess around with. We ask the waitress to come back in a few.
I decide to get breakfast for lunch, Mina wants a hot dog (her usual choice here) and Ogre wants to try something new and gets the Ultimate Taco Plate (for his, he chose shredded chicken, fajita beef, and carne asada tacos). My Huevos Con Carne (Steak and Eggs) comes with pancakes and is big enough for Benji and I to share. We place our order and Benjamin continues to slather queso all over himself. Mina’s crayons finally appear and she starts coloring. She’s a little miffed by the fact that the brown crayon is coloring purple, but that’s what you get when your crayons come from the Dollar General.
Soon after our entrees come and Benjamin demands ketchup. We give him rice, eggs, pancakes, tortillas, and beans to eat. He’s going to be looking real nice at the end of this meal. I squirt some ketchup onto Mina’s basket. “Nooooooo, I don’t want my ketchup there!” she exclaims. I’m slightly annoyed by this. “I wanted it ON my hot dog.” Okay, that’s reasonable. Ogre puts ketchup on her hot dog and she is content to eat on.
Benjamin keeps trying to feed me his refried beans, which is very unappealing having seen him smear his food onto his face with his runny nose. I pretend that I’m taking bites and that is enough to keep him happy. He is doing a great job of eating, but then starts to just eat the ketchup plain, which again, is very disturbing for me to watch. Luckily, he runs out of ketchup and even though Ogre succumbs to his request for more ketchup, it’s about time to leave. I hose the kids down in the restroom and we get on our way.
Tacos Y Salsa serves up good ol’ Tex-Mex. It’s consistently good. I have had many of their menu items (including the carne asada, asado de puerco, fish tacos, and cockteles de camaron) and have never had a bad meal. It’s certainly not the most outstanding Mexican ever, but it’s quite good and very reasonably priced. In fact, they have an enchilada plate special for $4.99 daily. There queso is always creamy and smooth -it’s one of my favorite places to get queso.
The children’s menu has your usual fare of quesadillas, enchiladas, hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos and chicken strips. Mina has had all of these except the taco and typically eats it up. The hot dog is her favorite.
The salsa bar is a fun touch. We usually get one mild red salsa and one spicy red salsa. There are 2 spicy red sauces, a very good salsa verde, pico de gallo, pickeled radishes, lemons, limes, cilantro and onions on the salsa bar.
Our service is also consistently good. In fact, after having bad service at other restaurants over and over again, we’ll come here to renew our faith in the service industry. Our favorite waitress used to work here, but we haven’t seen her in over 6 months, so, sadly, I assume she’s moved on.
This place is kid friendly. It’s very casual and we see lots of kids eating out with their families here. They normally don’t have this hiccup with the crayons, and things like this happen so I won’t complain too much about that. Their kids menu has kid-friendly choices, but not necessarily health-friendly choices. Not that this is necessarily kid-friendly, but they also have live music (some guy who impersonates Elvis) on certain nights and karaoke. The Phipps family does not participate in Karaoke, sorry folks.
Total Cost: 32.05
Well, tonight we’ll be making one of the ultimate parental sacrifices. Spending time and money at Chuck-E-Cheese. I don’t know what it is about that nasty little rat that Mina loves. That’s a lie. I do know. She loves what this creature represents: greasy pizza, games that spit out tickets that she can exchange for cheesey “prizes,” and a place where “a kid can be a kid” (wait, that’s Showbiz Pizza, eh, they’re all the same). If your kids are too young to fall for this rodent, count yourself lucky, but there will be a day when the words “Chuck-E-Cheese” will come out of their mouths with the brighest smile and the biggest eyes you’ve ever seen. They will beg, barter, and promise the moon to go. And if you are able to stave off a visit of your own, they will be invited to a party there and you will go. And once you go, you will go…again…and again. You will be subjected to overpriced games and rides, ridiculously awful pizza and more junk toys than you can handle. All for the love of your child. Learn from our mistakes and don’t get caught in this mousetrap!
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!