Mi Oaxaca [3/5]
3 (60%) 1 vote

Mi Oaxaca
When the hubby and I stopped in at Mi Oaxaca for dinner one night, I came in with low expectations. Tucked out of sight of Bailey Cove, it was replacing a different failed Mexican restaurant. Instead of feeling like an exciting new adventure, it was easy to yawn at yet another retread. The large signs proclaiming that they offered “the best food in town” weren’t inspiring much confidence either. Instead, it rang of empty marketing slogans.

Still, driven by kittenish curiosity, we pulled into the parking lot. My first surprise came as we were being promptly seated. The country music I had heard spilling out from the dining room wasn’t a recording. As we walked in, a blonde woman in full blown, blinged out cowgirl regalia was crooning into a microphone on a small corner stage. A flier on our table only added to my wonder–our talented singer was from Denmark, not somewhere I think of as particularly “country”. Just as I was processing this, she finished her song and went on break, with recordings of old school country legends like Johnny Cash, floating on the air.

The service began quickly, with our drinks being delivered immediately and a basket of chips hot on their heels. After some pondering, we placed our order; I opted for the Tacos Al Carbon, while my husband selected a #24 combination–two enchiladas, a taco, and chile con queso.

Mi Oaxaca
Orders placed, we sampled the chips. Thick and tough to chew, with a dusty flavor, they were accompanied by a “salsa” which was a thinned tomato paste. Very smooth, and very mild, only a few scattered seeds convinced me there were multiple ingredients. I was happy to see that the salsa was served in a small carafe with individual bowls, but things were not looking good for the “best food in town” mantle.

While taste testing the chips, we took in our surroundings. Our table was a wobbly 2 seater, situated on a raised platform near the bar and destined to be crowded by the large plates. The restaurant exploded with color, from the carved and painted booth-backs wishing us benvuendos (welcome) to the yellow, lime green, and red walls. Our table was adorned with a striped cloth, protected by a plastic cover. The same cloth was used to hide the entrance to the kitchen, a nicely matched touch. Posters hung on the far wall, images of people from the late 1800s, with their birth and death years scripted below. It was around this time that I realized that I was actually warm. Between a cold blooded nature and a innate talent for sitting below the air conditioning vents, I carry sweaters with me year round. The fact that I was warm means that many more hot natured people would have been uncomfortable.

Our singer returned shortly before our food came up, singing a little louder than before. Over the course of our meal, I would notice that the volume drifted. From reasonable to “shouting to talk” levels. At one point, a couple began slow dancing in the aisle between booths. I suspect the giant margaritas the bar was serving may have contributed, but it was sweet regardless.

Our food arrived as a series of plates and when my main dish was set before me, I spent a confused moment staring at what looked to be a giant foil wrapped quesadilla.

Mi Oaxaca
I hesitantly unwrapped it to discover my promised tacos nestled inside each other (as shown at the top of this post. The tacos were a more traditional style–consisting solely of corn tortillas and a heaping pile of chopped steak. The tortillas were pliable and moist with a gentle corn flavor. The steak was a decent quality of meat–tender with a bit of flavoring, not at all chewy or grainy. Based on visual inspection alone, I expected that my choice of sauces for adding to the tacos were a medium salsa verde or a mild pico de gallo. So when I found the green sauce, with it’s visible pepper seeds, to be a zippy medium, I was not surprised. Instead it was the innocent looking pico de gallo which ambushed me with it’s strongly medium spice level. The onions, tomato, and cilantro were fresh and, if not for being beyond my spice threshold, I would have enjoyed it immensely.

In addition to the tacos, my dinner also included a plate of rice and beans. If this was stated on the menu, I didn’t see it, so keep that in mind if you are perusing the dinner plates.

Mi Oaxaca
The rice was salty, but not greasy, studded with a few scattered lima beans. The beans were flavorful, as though they may have been cooked with a fat, and salted but not overly so.

The hubby enjoyed his meal. His tacos had shells which were “firm, but didn’t crunch” and were deemed “very tasty”. The chili con queso was “nice with a touch of spice” (translation, high mild to medium).

Mi Oaxaca
I still don’t know that I would call Mi Oaxaca “the best food in town” but it definitely had it’s highlights. I was impressed by the quality of the steak in my tacos and the freshness of the accompanying salsas, though the default salsa served with the chips was a disappointment. The live music was well done and a refreshing change of pace from the top 40 covers that make up so many set lists. The service trailed off after our food arrived but we didn’t have to hunt down our check, so it was manageable. All told, I would be happy to return, but with so many reliable options for Mexican food, I don’t know if we will. If you are looking for a new haunt, one with live music, trivia, and a “come as you are” attitude, give them a try.

Total for our meal: $23.94 (one Tacos Al Carbon, one combination plate, 2 soft drinks)

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