I told myself that I wouldn’ try Mexican for a while after leaving San Diego. With all the great Mexican restaurants and Mexico just a short drive a way the food really can’t be beat for good and cheap.
Well, here I am in Virginia on a little Christmas vacation and twice I’ve decided to go to Mexican restaurants that I used to think qualified for Dave’s Cheap Eats (good food, cheap prices). Either times have changed or I’ve become more of a food snob (or a little of both).
First is Plaza Azteca. When I left Hampton Roads for St. Louis in 2003 this was a two site restaurant. Now it has something like 8 locations throughout Hampton Roads. As so often happens in the restaurant biz, bigger is not better. Sure the food is still cheap, the white salsa is still intriguing, but the taste just isn’t there anymore. Their red salsa was bland and watery, think watered down spaghetti sauce. The chips were average. The sauces on the food were nothing short of ordinary. I guess the further you get from Mexico, the lower the expectations for what Mexican food should be.
On that note, we tried a Mexican restaurant a little north, in the town of Grafton in York County called Cinco De Mayo. Here is a piece of advice from Dave’s Cheap Eats. If the Mexican restaurant has named itself after a holiday that is bigger in the US than in Mexico-it’s probably not going to be good. Not only was the food bland but the service was awful! Let’s start with the food. The bean burrito was nothing more than refried beans rolled up in a tortilla. The side of refried beans tasted like it was straight out of a can from the Food Lion in the same shopping center. When I tried to give them some flavor be mixing in some of their salsa, the watery salsa just made a big ol’ mess on my plate. Ok, now onto the service. I will hardly ever comment about service at a cheap eats place. With low cost I have low expectations. However, when you have a side of refried beans (ordered with the entrees) literally thrown at you when you’re almost done with your entrees then I must comment. There I commented.
Ok, so there you have it. While Plaza Azteca, all over Hampton Roads, and Cinco De Mayo, in the Grafton area of York County, are cheap eats they are definitely not a Dave’s Cheap Eats. They belong on “The Cheap List.” Next time I’ll stick with the cheap local seafood. It is oyster season now. . . .