365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
We were reminded a week or so ago about a great little local spot here in Plano by one of the comments we received. We decided that tonight (a Friday) would be a great night to go so that we wouldn’t have to battle others going out in Dallas or even some of the “hotter” spots in Plano. Aparacio’s is a great, casual, family-owned restaurant that serves good ol’ Tex-Mex food. You may recognize the name “Plano Tortilla Factory.” When Ogre and I were dating he took me there once and I remember attempting to go back when we moved back here and found that it was closed. Luckily, we realized that they just reopened their doors next door in a bigger and newer building under a different name!
We loaded up the kids and took Dusty along with us. As we walked through the parking lot, Mina asked me if this is where the fish were. Now, I did not recall any fish in the restaurant, but Mina’s memory is like a razor, so I just said, “I’m not sure.” When we walked up to the restaurant, I realized what she was talking about. Right off of their patio, they have a little water garden with koi fish. I should’ve known Mina would be right.
We walk in and are seated right away. Another great thing about this restaurant is that even if you don’t sit outside, they have huge wall to wall windows along the lightrail tracks. We order our drinks and peruse the menu. I know what I want. The Guisado Plate -pork for me (there are several choices of meat). Mina opts for the non-Tex-Mex item, the corny dog. Ogre remains undecided. When our waitress arrives to get our order, Dusty orders chicken enchiladas with queso sauce and Ogre queries the waitress and chooses chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. Later, he decides to add guacamole to our order. Mina will eat that as her “vegetable” and Benji can have some, too.
Mina is coloring her coloring page with a picture of the Grinch on it and then opens Benjamin’s for him. It’s a picture of some PBS character and underwater fishes. I can already see the wheels churning in her head. She wants Benji’s. She gives Benjamin the ugliest color crayon she has and asks if she can color Benji’s FOR him. I know that Benjamin doesn’t really care, but just so that she doesn’t think it’s okay to just take Benji’s stuff, I tell her that she can trade with Benji. She happily gives the Grinch away.
First the guac arrives. We scoop some off for Mina; she doesn’t touch it. The rest of our food arrives and Benjamin gets a buffet of rice, beans, guac and pork. He doesn’t really seem interested in any of it; I notice that it’s because he wants MINA’S rice and beans. I make Ogre scoop off of Mina’s plate on to his tray while Benji watches (that was key!) and Benji happily scoops up beans with his hands to feed himself. Mina is eating her corndog and Ogre makes her a guac burrito to make her guacamole more palatable.
I’m not sure why, but Benjamin all of sudden pulled a Mr. Hyde on us. He started asking “dow, dow” and crying and not wanting to eat anything. And then Mina is asking to go to the bathroom. I take her to the bathroom (yes, there are changing stations) and we spend ten minutes in there because Mina still has her leotard on from dance class underneath her dress. Sheesh. I can hear Benji screaming from the bathroom. Great. We get back and Benjamin continues to scream. Then I see Mina with an uh-oh expression on her face while she’s holding an empty stick. “My hot dog fell off.” Ogre gets the corn dog off the floor and is about to give it back to her. Seriously??! No, no. We are not letting her eat that off the floor. He says he was just going to give her the hot dog and that the cornbread was a barrier. I put my foot down on this one. We can just ask the waitress for another one, after all, and she can eat her burrito. Why in the world would we let her eat that?? Ogre’s response, “She’ll learn survival skills for college.” He really does not see anything wrong with it. I tell him that I don’t want her to learn that it’s okay to just eat stuff that falls on the floor. She can learn about the three second rule later…much later.
When our waitress finally comes back, we order Mina a new corn dog. Our waitress does not notice my drink is empty and I have to wait til she comes back with the corn dog to order another one. The entire time this is transpiring, Benji is still whining and crying to get out of his seat. Dusty tries to get Benji to laugh by putting a tortilla on his face, and it works! Too well! Benjamin keeps pointing to the tortillas to get him to do it again, thank goodness Dusty is working on his second Cabo Waborita! Unfortunately, the tortilla is falling apart, and so Benjamin goes back to fussing. I decide to take him out of the restaurant. We go outside and enjoy the great weather, the trains passing, and the “pip-ees” (fishies). Ogre, Dusty, and Mina finish up and we watch one more train pass before heading home.
They have a large menu with all the Tex-Mex regulars. Their Guisado Plate is one of the best I’ve ever had and Ogre said that his mole was very good (if you like mole). I knew I didn’t like mole and Dusty realized tonight that he doesn’t like mole (he didn’t know it was made of chocolate). Dusty only had compliments for his chicken enchiladas with queso sauce and Ogre agreed when he tried it. Ogre also said that the guacamole was really good. In my opinion, this is great, classic Tex-Mex.
The kids menu has good variety. You can get your standard Tex-Mex fare (enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas), but you can also get tamales or a guisado plate for the kids, as well as a corn dog or chicken strips if your kid isn’t into Tex-Mex.
Today our server was not on top of things. We’ve had the whole spectrum of service here, you never know what you’re going to get. I wouldn’t say that the service has ever been excellent, but there are some days that are better than others.
Mina has always loved this restaurant. We come here a lot for lunch and sit on the patio where she can see the fishes all through our meal. Sitting inside, though, is just as cool, because the Dart train passes by frequently. They have a nice selection of Tex-Mex and kid-friendly fare on their kids menu. We definitely think this passes the kid-friendliness test.
Total price: $79.04 (remember there’s 3 adults today and 2 of them ordered 2 Cabo Waboritas and we had the fiasco with the corn dog -they charged an extra three bucks for corn dog number 2)
I never really mind taking Benjamin out of the restaurant to wander around. It makes him happy. Tonight though, was especially nice. Benjamin and I stood outside and waited for the trains. Benjamin eyes were so wide and sparkling when he saw the railroad crossing lights; and when the train whizzed by, he clapped and said “Wowww!” Between train episodes, we looked at the “pip-ees” (fishies), which he also took absolute delight in. However, he was really impressed with the lights and the trains. The scene was so perfect that I, literally, could have spent all night watching trains with my boy.
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!