Posted on Jul 8, 2011 | 9 comments
What is it about Mexican Food that makes people so darn happy? I mean, think about it. When have you EVER gone out for Mexican food and not had a fabulous time?
Perhaps this has something to do with the correlation between Mexican food and margaritas. Perhaps.
Take a look at these two:
They can barely contain themselves from the gluttonous joy radiating between them. I was pretty joyous myself this evening as I F-I-N-A-L-L-Y made it to Cantina 1511 in Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood. My coworkers have been talking about this place since the day I started my new job. What, you don’t ask every person you meet what their top picks for restaurants are? I sure do. Coworkers, bartenders, clients, strangers on the street. It doesn’t matter to me where the info comes from as long as it leads me to a delicious meal!
While waiting for our table, I learned (via the informative artwork lining the walls) that Cantina is owned by the same man who owns Mama Ricottas, which I’m absolutely in love with. All I can say is keep up the good work, Frank Scibelli. I will patronize any restaurant you open. Should you need an accountant who is willing to work for food, please email me
Once we were seated, we got to snacking on the chips and salsa. Usually chips and salsa are pretty standard at Mexican restaurants, but Cantina’s take was a little different. The chips were thin and seemed to melt away in your mouth as you ate them. I was caught off guard by this at first, but actually really liked them! They also brought us two salsas for dipping – a red salsa and a green.
I wasn’t a fan of the red salsa—it weirdly reminded me of spaghetti sauce (thank you Jason for putting that crappy idea in my brain).
The green salsa was interesting and really limey. I liked it, but after a few bites my tongue had enough sourness. Reminded me of the feeling you get from eating too many Sour Patch kids.
I wasn’t really upset that the salsa was a bust because I had my belly set on bigger better dipping sauces. I’m talking about the holy grail of queso:
Seriously thick, seriously creamy, SERIOUSLY addicting Queso Fundido.
Pretending to like each other:
And FINALLY my plate of joy:
These are the ancho chicken soft tacos, which came with sliced avocado, pico de gallo, lettuce, chipotle crema, and fresh cilantro atop corn tortillas. LOVE! I don’t know where corn tortillas have been all my life, but I am in love with them. The tacos came with Mexican vegetable rice, charro beans, and tortilla slaw all of which were delicious.
Let’s just say if I’d of been in the privacy of my own home I would have licked my plate clean. Lucky for these folks I do have SOME boundaries.
Overall, I was very impressed with Cantina—and I’d stand by that with or without a margarita in my hand