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Posted on 2007.03.15 at 18:28
Current Location: 63114
Current Music: Man of La Mancha (1965 Original Cast)
When drax0r and I were working out of the Wild Damn Texan Arlington Data Center, we discovered Mariano's and more importantly, the $14.49 20" "Whole Enchilada" platter. Mariano's opened in 1971 and was hands-down, the best Mexican food I've ever had. They created guacamole right at the table, with the biggest, ripest avocados you've ever seen, and a variety of spices they brought to the table. The waiters were masters at blending. But it was more than the quality (and sheer amount) of food that kept bringing us back. It was the service.

You see, on our very first visit, I accidentally tipped the waitress 40%, and that's what started it all.

We had the same waitress every evening we went (usually on double-punch Tuesday's and Thursday's - get your card punched 10 times and get a free meal). As we usually couldn't finish the 20" platter in one sitting (I did once, I don't recommend it) our waitress would not only carefully pack up our food for us, but every time we were there she would pack two separate bags of fresh chips and two styrofoam cups of salsa. She would also bring us free appetizers before our meal arrived, and always took very good care of us. drax0r's best friend squackle and his girlfriend (now wife) catnapcat showed up once for a visit and drax0r wanted to eat at Mariano's! Our waitress, seeing what was going on, paid special attention to us and at the end of a very fun evening, drax0r and I left a pile of money on the table to show our appreciation. The waitress came by, picked up the cash and took two steps away from before stopping. She counted the money, returned to the table, and gave us some back. "Too much!" she said. We protested, but she wouldn't hear of it. She only took a portion of the tip.

Mariano's invented the frozen margarita machine...a feat recognized by the Smithsonian.

Mariano's also owns the La Hacienda Ranch restaurants in the area.

Of all the Mexican joints in all the world, you'll find me at Mariano's.

The Whole Enchilada
Our Colossal 20" Platter with a cheese, chicken and beef enchilada, beef taco, chicken taco, soft cheese taco, guacamole tostada, rice & beans.


galinda822 at 2007-03-16 01:07 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds delicious! I fully expect to be treated to Mariano's if/when I make it to Texas.
ehowton at 2007-03-16 02:48 (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I'll be taking you to La Hacienda Ranch, as its equally as delicious, and much closer!
galinda822 at 2007-03-16 03:07 (UTC) (Link)
It's a date then!
ehowton at 2007-03-16 03:31 (UTC) (Link)
You won't be disappointed, and you'll be a gringa no more.
Cat Who Likes OpenBSD
bsdcat at 2007-03-16 06:08 (UTC) (Link)
Within the first couple of months of moving to Austin (3.5 years ago) we began joining friends of ours on Sunday nights for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Pretty much every Sunday, except when they're closed or something really special is going on (about 4 Sundays a year).

At this point, our group of friends have a table, a dedicated waiter, and (around Christmas and New Year's Eve) free appetizers. The restaurant has guaranteed income every Sunday, notable tips, and (around Christmas) gift certificates to Fry's.

It's a win-win kind of situation, and the food is really quite excellent.

For Mexican... sorry, I'm spoiled. Growing up in a town (in TX) with a significant Mexican immigrant population, I found too many taquerias serving the Mexican immigrant population to be truly impressed with any Mexican food in a city :-)
ehowton at 2007-03-17 00:35 (UTC) (Link)
As a native Texan, I find this extremely difficult to admit, but we don't have the best Mexican food in the United States.

During a business trip once, I ended up spending a Cinco de Mayo weekend in San Diego, CA. A friend of mine took me downtown...wow.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2007-03-18 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
I recommend the next time you are in London you check out the Texas Embassy. The Mexican food there is quite excellent. Of course it is owned and operated by Texas Aggies!!!
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2007-03-18 21:15 (UTC) (Link)
So you grew up in Dallas???
Cat Who Likes OpenBSD
bsdcat at 2007-03-18 21:38 (UTC) (Link)
No, Nacogdoches.
irulan_amy at 2007-03-19 14:49 (UTC) (Link)
Mmm, for the first time ever I have craved Mexican food at 8am.

Yum. :D
ehowton at 2007-03-20 02:41 (UTC) (Link)
I was stationed in Nebraska for a couple of years and they sent me TDY back to San Angelo, TX. I ate Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday for two weeks straight.
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