Friday, May 27, 2011

The Best $48.33 (Plus $10 tip) I Ever Spent

My life is essentially complete.  I've got Mrs. Gastro, Baby Gastro (plus another on the way. Yikes!), a phone with a touchscreen that allows me to instantly tell people what I'm thinking (because they care), and a full head of hair that has yet to turn grey.  Shit's pretty damn good, but there's an itch that repeatedly needs scratching, one that only gets the claws sporadically because of geography and other excuses that simply translate to lazy.  Call it chasing the dragon, but I have yet to find a proxy for Lobo, our local Tex-Mex in Brooklyn, where Mrs. Gastro and I would suck back margaritas even faster than we'd devour the complimentary chips and salsa.  We've tried all the greatest hits in the area (Distrito, Cantina Feliz, Xochitl, etc.), and while they are truly great, the oxymoron of high-end Mexican leaves the wallet much lighter than it should be after getting messed up on tequila and refried beans, and the whole point of having a local spot is the fact that it's truly local.  Our closest place, Mi Pueblo in Mt. Airy, sucks the big one (sorry, Mi Pueblo).  Avenida's nice on a special occasion, but it's too much cash for daily degustation.  I could fill the void in Chestnut Hill (investors, I have an amazing business plan if you're interested), but in the meantime, I just want a goddamn margarita and a bowl of chips without having to break the bank.  Enter Plaza Azteca, literally hiding in plain sight across from the Plymouth Meeting Mall.  Purists would shy away from it, but for us purists who also have children, this is the kind of place where you get all the kid-friendly benefits of a chain (plenty of space, high chairs, other like-minded idiots who thought having kids would be a great idea, staff that distracts said kids while you drink more than you should on a Tuesday) without too much of a chainy feel.  The food is good, and the service is even better.  Plus, it's cheap as fuck, especially when you go during happy hour.  For $48.33 plus tip, we both enjoyed tableside guacamole, chips and salsa, fish tacos, fajitas, rice, and beans, and I enjoyed a margarita and a giant beer.  Our only problem now (or at least after Baby Gastro #2 shows up) is figuring out who's going to drive home.  Like I said, my life is essentially complete.  Buen provecho.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why Did I Eat This?

I have wanted to do the Drinker's Pub taco challenge for some time now, but much like going on a diet, at what point do you decide that it's a good idea to do so?  The answer, as expected, is after a few half-priced beers and an unsuccessful quest for a pickleback shot* in Center City.  Thinking that a place like Drinker's would definitely have them, my brother-in-law and I stumbled into their Chestnut Street outpost just as happy hour was ending.  This was supposed to be a brief final stop before catching the regional rail back to Philly's outskirts, but the disappointment of having to do a SoCo and lime shot instead of a pickleback coupled with the giant pitcher of beer that was waiting for me upon my return from the bathroom fueled my competitive spirit stupidity and convinced me that I could eat 33 tacos in 13 minutes.  I love me some tacos, but this was sheer torture, and I'm a little pissed about the fact that I may have been had.  In my drunken stupor, I went with the recommendation to do soft bean tacos in lieu of crunchy chicken tacos.  The latter would have gone down much easier, but the waitress pushed for me to do soft bean, knowing that 13 minutes is barely enough time for a large mammal to take down 33 tacos, let alone my fat ass.  Not surprisingly, amid the cheers and jeers of a packed house and a diminutive Mexican holding up a timer, I barely made it through half of the tacos when the 13th minute ticked by.  Had I been allowed to eat the tacos as I ordered them, I think the story would have had a much happier ending.  Instead, I left Drinker's with my head down, picturing the tacos that remained singing a taunting yet melodic rendition of Busta Rhymes' "Light Ya Ass on Fire."  You won this round, Drinker's Pub, but I shall return.  Buen provecho.

Piss poor video footage of my piss poor decision-making can be seen here (turn up the speakers) and here.

*For the uninitiated, the pickleback (or is it pickelback?) involves a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle juice.  Trust me, it's delicious.