Monday, December 1, 2008

Chapala – Waterloo, IA

We were driving home from Illinois when we got hungry for meskin food. As we’ve said, it’s pretty hit or miss in the Twin Cities, so we figured we’d eat it when we saw someplace good. We’d driven by this place a few times (it’s just off of US 218) and it always seemed busy and didn’t seem all fancified – a sure sign it was a good place to eat. Plus, there was a chubby statue of liberty inflatable yard thing out in front of the store next door and I had to get a close up. Ha ha.

The place is decorated really nicely. The tables are seemingly hand painted then lacquered, so they all had a unique feel to them. The walls are painted like large stones and had big pillars in the doorways so it could easily be converted into a sort of greek restaurant if they needed to. We got seated right behind this guy with a hilariously terrible mullet in a pony tail. It was like a train wreck – I couldn’t look away.

The staff were super nice and helpful and we decided to eat light so we didn’t fall asleep on the rest of the drive back home. We got a cheese crisp and a chimichanga. The cheese crisp was really big and had multiple kinds of cheeses on it. It was one of the best we’ve ever had (also they don’t have cheese crisps in the Twin Cities – weird). The chimichanga was filled with shredded beef which was cooked in some awesome sauce. REALLY flavorful and one of the better shredded beef concoctions I’ve had. The beans and rice were fairly standard, but were good.

We would eat here again, fo sure. The menu was really large and had some good combinations on it. And since know they have Dew, it’s moved up the ladder of restaurants in Waterloo.

Top 5 things about Chapala
1. Cheese crisp
2. Shredded beef
3. Dew
4. Staff were awesome
5. Large menu

Bottom 5 things
1. Lots of poorly dressed (and hairstyled) gringos
2. Salsa had a weird flavor (not bad but weird)
3. Girly drink menu was limited
4. Guacamole had a lot of onions
5. The restroom was oddly poltergeist-like, tall and skinny and bigger than it needed to be

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