Saturday, November 7, 2009

Casa Vieja - St. Paul, MN

I needed a break from doing homework and I had a hankerin for Mexican food. Now I know I complain about the Mexican food in the Twin Cities all the time. I’m still hoping for some magical breakthrough find, and the only way I can do that is to get out there and try new places. Casa Vieja didn’t change my mind.

I’ve driven by Casa Vieja a bunch of times and always saw a pretty full parking lot. Yes, it’s out of the way, but I had to get something crossed off my list of places, and this was next on the list. I pulled up and found a fuller than normal parking lot. Hmmm, there must have been something going on tonight. In fact there was. I walked into a full on wedding reception. Which means when I got to the hostess stand, there was no one there. I stood around and waited until a waitress walked past me and got her attention. I asked for a table for one, and she looked at me funny (like most women do). So what happens? I get seated in the middle of the extremely raucus and loud room at a table by myself with a “reserved” sign on it, right in front of the live band that’s playing. Hilarious.

A waitress comes and get my drink order (maragarita on the rocks) and asks if I’m going to be eating. If I would have thought about it, I would have found the reception buffet, but I didn’t. I got a menu instead. I saw a small section of Mexican food and a lot of listings for American food (and some lamb chops). This place was really not Mexican was it? I totally got taken for a ride, and now I’m sitting in a wedding reception I don’t belong in, watching an old guy band play Elvis covers. I made the most of it.

I ordered the chimichangas, since I was in the mood for Mexican food (I should have just gone with the American food and left it at that, but I was feeling saucy – must have been the live music). I got one beef and one chicken just to see which would be better. Some old lady chatted me up at the table next to mine and commented on how dark it was in here (and LOUD). IT was amazingly dark in here. I’ve been in caverns brighter than this place. You’ve seen some of my photos from dark restaurants, but I think we’ve got a new 2nd place dark restaurant – no place will EVER beat Red’s Savoy. This is what my meal looked like when it came out.

Yeah, I couldn’t see it either. I basically bumbled around cutting things until I got a bite. The shells weren’t fried very crispy and the cheese sauce on the top might have been from a pump, or it might have been some other kind of very thin liquid-y cheese. Either way, it was extra processed and not real. The chicken was decent and seemed to be all white meat, but considering I couldn’t see it, that’s just a guess. The beef one tasted like the seasoning packet hadn’t been fully mixed into the ground beef consistently, which is a first for me.

I’ll be honest, the best thing about this place was the band. The White Side Walls. They’re a five piece old guy band just KILLIN IT up on the stage (they’re really not THAT old, honestly). Old ladies and random guys they would grab were dancing like crazy to their songs. Very upbeat and VERY good musicians. The guitarist also played sax and did back up vocals, and the drummer and guitarist switched off as well. They were old school, like working the crowd, sending out shout outs to various engaged people and mothers and this and that. Very fun to watch.

Unfortunately, I didn’t belong at ALL here, and I got a text from TheDoctor about meeting him and Smallz for some Tiger Woods Wii action. Suffice it to say, TheDoctor and I went to Taco Bell when I got to his house.

Top 5 things about Casa Vieja
1. The White Side Walls
2. Margarita was good and strong
3. Nice chat with the old lady next to me, who I’m sure was wondering why I was wearing a Walls of Jericho hoodie to a wedding
4. Watching old white people dance is ALWAYS a treat
5. The table next to me was proactively selling White Side Walls merch, which is hilarious at a wedding reception

Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd would have made us turn around and go someplace else, but I love the experience of not fitting in and still managing to strike up a conversation with an old lady wherever I go
2. Chimichangas were bad, even for white people chimichangas
3. This place is as Mexican as I am
4. No chips and salsa at wedding receptions, I guess
5. I REALLY couldn’t see anything I was eating

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I could be offended you went there without me, but, ok never mind!

EnYa Face!