On The Border: 1/13/12

To start tonight’s date, we would like to point out that Date Night avoids chain establishments. We like to frequent locally-owned restaurants as we stimulate the Atlanta restaurant industry with our dining dollars. However, it’s Friday the 13th and some friends have invited us out, so to mix things up, we go to a chain on a triple date night with two other couples. As we are invited guests, we do not choose the restaurant, and are here more for the company than we are for the food.

Believe it or not, our first visit to an OTB.

The ‘Hood
We are at the Lenox OTB, which means we are right in the middle of shopping-complex city. This shopping center is right next to a large condo building, so one could imagine living here and being within walking distance of Lenox and Phipps and tons of shopping and eating. One could imagine this, but we prefer our place in the ‘burbs over intown living.

The Pre-Meal
I will confess that I can’t eat a small amount of chips at a Mexican restaurant. Once I eat one, I have to eat the whole basket, and tonight is no different. These chips are very good, warm and lightly salted. And once we start eating them, the basket vanishes in just a few minutes. That’s OK, though, because they keep bringing you more. These things are so habit forming that I think they might add crack cocaine to the chips to make you keep eating them. We get two orders of guacamole for the table, which gives an excuse to eat even more chips.

Dos Equis Amber. Nice, frosty glass.
Tastes good, but not a lot of booze in there.

Our friend RB, who is in attendance tonight, has consumed his body weight in OTB margaritas, but my body does not like tequila, so I order a beer off the limited beer list. Everything on there is mass-produced, large-volume beers. Sweetwater brewery is less than five miles away–couldn’t OTB get some locally brewed beer? Anyway, when in Mexico, drink Mexican beer, so I get a Dos Equis Amber, which was served in a frosty-cold, eighteen ounce glass. The majority of the table gets a pitcher of frozen margaritas, and Eve has some of that. There’s hardly any alcohol in hers, which must explain how RB can drink so many of them. (There you go, RB, you have made the Date Night blog!)

Let’s Eat
One of the first clues that you are in a chain restaurant is pictures of all the food on the menu. Wouldn’t you love to have that as your job–the guy who takes the pictures of the food for menus? (As an aside, we recently saw a “food stylist”, who sets up the food for these pictures, recently win $10,000 on an episode of Food Network’s “Chopped”.)

La Bandera Combo. "Bandera" means "flag" in Spanish. Now you know.

You can certainly get your fill of Mexican on this menu. There is something for everyone, with burritos, enchiladas, empanadas, tostadas and all sorts of tacos. You can make combos out of most of the menu items, and that’s what most of us do. I get the Bandera, which is an three enchilada combo featuring a brisket, chicken, and pork enchiladas covered in different sauces. You get beans and rice with that too, making it quite filling. Eve builds a combo with chicken tortilla soup (she likes soup!) and a pair of chicken empanadas. They give you beans and rice with that as well. Other orders included a nice-looking vegetarian combo for the two vegetarians at the table (hey, vonNs, you just made to blog too!), an order of Dos Equis fish tacos, and a pepper jack enchilada, which RB managed to eat between his margaritas. Dessert was discussed, but never considered.

Chicken Tortilla Soup. I hear that soup is good food...
Second part of a combo: Chicken Empanadas, with beans, rice and queso.

That’s A Wrap
We ate a lot of food at OTB and left satisfied and stuffed. It was cheap too, with the total bill (with tip) of less than $30 for the both of us. It was a fun night with dear friends, and that, of course, is priceless!

One thought on “On The Border: 1/13/12

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