Tag Archives: restaurant

Tijuana Flats

Warning: interior design may cause seizures.

Not many Tex-Mex chain restaurants in Tallahassee are worthy of recognition. Tijuana Flats on Mahan is the exception. Knowing there are only so many ways to spin tortillas, cheese, beans, and meat, they put their energy into other areas that keep people coming back for more.

Hot sauce, compliments of the house.

We went to Tijuana Flats on a recent Tuesday with our newest food allies: Ashley, Mindy and Susan. Talk about VIPs. Not only did the whole wait staff know them by name but knew exactly what food to bring them at our table! It seemed as though everyone was a regular there. The waitresses scurry around like worker bees in a hive. Our waitress didn’t let two minutes pass before she would ask if we needed anything. As first time guests, we got a free basket of chips and two salsas. The manager stopped by to check on us. Upon hearing the salsa bar didn’t have Mindy’s favorite hot sauce, he ran to the back and got her a complimentary bottle. The staff and management get a ton of credit for making this place work so well.

Two tacos on Taco Tuesday

The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the hot sauce bar. They probably had just under 20 hot sauces available, some so incendiary that they carried a warning! The sauces’ heat range from “sissy sauces” to “death wish”. The hottest sauce I could find on the bar that night was one called Green Ghost, which was made from the renowned Naga Bhut Jolokia hot pepper. For you hot sauce aficionados,  it clocked in at an impressive 1.2 million scoville units (jalapeno pepper=5000 scoville units). Heat is definitely my thing, but for those of you with more sensitive palettes, they have some wonderfully sweet, tangy, tingly sauces. Though not all are available at the hot sauce bar, here is a list of the hot sauces they sell.

Tijuana Flats also does two theme nights a week: Taco Tuesday and Throwback Thursday. You can get two tacos, chips and a drink for $4.99 every Tuesday. For $5.99 you get a burrito, chips and a drink on Thursday. A word of caution: both the restaurant and website share a form of avant-garde comic book decor that is very un-Tex-Mex. Just go with it!

-Abe

Tijuana Flats on Urbanspoon

Dog Et Al

Never have I been so happy to miss breakfast than this afternoon. A co-worker suggested going to Dog Et Al for lunch. I got excited. This place had been hyped to me like Chuck E Cheese’s to a three year old. As my friend Phil says, I’ve only got so many meat points in a week. I was about to cash mine in, big time.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

The place looks like an old fashion diner, which is a credit to the designers because it was supposedly a gas station in a former life. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve got no business going to Dog Et Al.  “All Beef Franks” in bold letters are the first thing you see on the overhead menu. Friendly food prep/order takers greet you when you step up. I asked for the Footlong Dog with chili and coleslaw. “Anything else?” the kindly dog slinger asked. I looked at the menu: sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup, sauteed onion, relish, mayo and peppers were the other options. Nope. “If you decide you want anything else, just bring it back up and we’ll add it”.  Service – check.

Ironically, the hotdog was the healthiest thing in the tray.

I combo’d it up with chips (fries are the other option), a drink, and fried apple pie. For those of you old enough to remember, think of the McDonald’s apple pie before they started baking them. Why more restaurants don’t fry their pies, I have no idea. If I was a business trying to make money, I’d sell fried apple pies. That’s me. The chips were the old fashioned kind, presumably cooked in peanut oil that morning.

The fried apple pie wasn’t even the best part of the meal, the chili was. I come from Ohio where Skyline chili is king. This chili made Skyline taste like cafeteria slop. I took my first bite and it…was…bliss. That’s when I looked around and noticed EVERYONE had chili on their dogs. Dog Et Al is actually a chili joint posing as a hot dog stand. The hot dog is just a carrier, like the bun. It’s there for texture. Next time out, I’m getting a chili and coleslaw dog, hold the hot dog. No kidding. At the end, we were all smiles. Yeah it was wrong, but we had all had hard weeks. We DESERVED this!

The defendants

We had the good fortune to get there before noon. The restaurant was pretty much dead to that point. Then all hell broke loose. It filled quickly. Keep in mind this is on south Monroe. If you’re eating there, you almost have to go out of your way. If you’re not a hot dog person, no problem: they have polish sausages, turkey dogs, bratwursts, and smoked sausages (menu here).

“Is there anywhere we can grab a nap around here?”

Make sure to pick up a plastic fork and knife at the counter when you order because you’ll need them. The food is beyond satisfying and affordable: $10 for a combo with drink. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

-Abe

Dog Et Al on Urbanspoon