Sunday, June 18, 2006

Restaurant Review: Tijuana Flats, W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, FL (various other locations, too)

This past weekend, our family ate at one of our favorite local "Mexican" chains - Tijuana Flats - for lunch. The food is more American than Mexican, but it is good food and the kids can always find something to eat. This is one of those "fast casual" places where you order your food at the counter and then sit down and wait for a server to bring you your order. However, instead of the big sign with a number that other places use, Tijuana Flats just asks for your name and their servers will yell out your name as they wander through the restaurant trying to find you. If you want some fun, give the name "Marco" and then snicker as the rest of the customers yell out "Polo" as the server tries to find you to deliver your food. We ordered the Chips & Chili Con Queso as a starter for $2.79. All meals are served with chips, but if you want something to dip them into, you have to order a starter. The Chili Con Queso is addictive, a gooey, cheesy dip with chilis served hot with chips. All the starters are chips & dips, others being mild salsa or guacamole or the Tijuana Trio that comes with all three. From the Little Lizards menu, we ordered a Cheese Quesadilla for both boys - LB's plain with just cheese and BB's with lettuce and tomato. Other choices on the kids' menu are burritos, tacos, nachos, and chicken fingers -- all including chips, a drink, and a "surprise" (usually a Pez dispenser and candy) -- all for $3.69. For adults, the choices are the standard Mexican menu standards such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, flautas, taco salads, nachos, etc. Prices range from $5-$8 depending on if you want ground beef, chicken or steak. Hubby and I both ordered the Dos Tacos, just the basic two tacos plus chips. There are some choices you need to make - crunchy or soft? what toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, black olives, sour cream)? make it a meal for $1.99 (add rice, beans, and a soft drink)? make it wet for 99 cents (top it with queso, salsa or chipotle red sauce)? Since we didn't "make it a meal", we ordered drinks separately. I got a sweet tea and Hubby ordered a root beer. I love the drinks at Tijuana Flats because they are served with shaved ice, and somehow, it just tastes better that way. Beer and wine are also available. We took our drinks and went to find a table. The decor at Tijuana Flats is, how shall I describe it... psychedelic? Bright, day-glo paint with strange lizards and other creatures are painted on the walls. There is also a hot sauce bar in the center, a specialty of Tijuana Flats, with their own home-made sauce - "Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally" (yeah, try to explain that to your kids). There are also coloring sheets and crayons at the counter, just ask for them while you're ordering or ask one of the servers as they are passing by. Actually, that's what keeps us coming back again and again to Tijuana Flats - the service. The servers don't just yell your name and deliver your food, they also will take requests and will refill your drinks for you or get you another fork to replace the one that LB threw on the floor. I've had servers heat up our queso before (and top it off to boot!) as well as quickly replace an entire order of BB's quesadillas that LB pushed on the floor. We heard Hubby's name and waved over the server to get our main dishes. Hmm, what happened to our chips and queso? The server quickly rushed to the kitchen and brought us our starter - apparently, someone else with the same name had claimed our chips. That's happened before so try to come up with a unique name if the restaurant is crowded (like Marco - you won't miss your food then!) -- but like I said, the servers will quickly bring you any food that went missing. The boys did pretty good, with BB finishing 3 of his 4 quesadillas and LB only finishing one. Hubby and I polished off our two tacos and did a good job on the queso and chips too. Tijuana Flats is always a good place to eat with the kids at our house - check them out.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tijuana Flats rocks. It is loud, so your kids can be kids. The food and ice are great.

Anonymous said...

Psychedelic?

Restaurant Mom said...

Most definitely psychedelic. I think the folks that designed Tijuana Flats had a little too much hot sauce before they started decorating! : D For even more psychedelic decor, check out Tijuana Flats' Metrowest location on Kirkman - just look up at the ceiling tiles!

Lena said...

I take my 2 year old here all the time. He loves the dino nuggets and I don't feel like he has to be silent during dinner. We love it. The sauce bar is great too.

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