Friday, January 27, 2006

Moe's Knows... Me??

There are a variety of cuisines that restaurants in the ‘blues don’t do well, and sadly, one of them is Mexican/Hispanic.

Along with Trader Joe’s arrival came a whole host of national chains. Trees were razed, the earth was cleared, and up from it sprang Silver Dollar Diner, Red City Buffet, Panera Bread Company, Applebees/Ruby Tuesday’s (they both look the same to me, and I’m not sure which one is actually there), and inevitably, yet another Starbucks.

DucCat and had finished our T.J.’s shopping late one morning, and with tummies grumbling, found ourselves drawn to another recent arrival, “Moe’s Southwest Grill”. This place had chain written all over, but we were hungry and quite curious.

The menu board held a host of classic ‘mexican’ cuisuine choices, burritos, quesadillas, etc. Each meal selection could be beef, chicken, or tofu, and were accompanied by tortilla chips.

We spent several minutes studying the menu, then gave it a go. We lined up and told the girl behind the sneeze guard our orders. I went with the Ugly Naked Guy, basically a veggie soft-taco; DucCat got the “John Coctostan” quesadilla. With steak, of course.

The girl began readying our orders, then asked us what additionals we’d like. The set-up is much like that of a sub shop, with little buckets of cheese, grilled and raw vegetables, salsas, and much to my pleasure, chopped fresh cilantro.

We continued down the line, plucked a couple of icy-cold beers, and paid up. Our order would be a few minutes more, so we sat and waited with a bit of trepidation. DucCat just looked resigned.

The joint began to fill up rather quickly, and everytime the door opened, patrons were greeted with “Welcome to Moe’s!” shouted in unison by the energetic employees. Shortly, another employee came by, and with a smile, dropped our order off at the table.

We both received overloaded baskets of chips. Much to my surprise, they were very fresh tasting and light, a far cry from the local norm.

DucCat’s quesadilla was piping hot, and brimming full. The aroma alone was mouthwatering.

My cold little veggie taco suddenly didn’t seem quite as appealing, but I sauced it up, and dug in. Again, a pleasant little thrill raced through my mouth. All the veggies were very fresh tasting; the lettuce had snap, and the tomatoes were flavourful. The cilantro sauce actually had an assertive cilantro taste, while the hot sauce managed to make my mouth tingle. Colour me impressed.

“You’ve got to try this!” DucCat said, proferring a bite of his mighty John Coctostan.

One bite, and my mouth was again happy with melted cheese, soft black beans, and most impressively, excellent-tasting beef . Succulent and satisfying.

Since that first visit, we’ve gone back several times for an inexpensive, quick and tasty lunch. I hate to say it, but sometimes it takes a franchise to refresh a diner’s tastebuds.

Look out, Plaza Azteca!


Blogger Rose said...

So you got a trader joe's near you? I'm waiting for mine to open soon. i want their peanut butter so bad :-)

I've tagged you for the 4x8 meme. I hope you can join in.

January 28, 2006 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I have to agree. We don't do chains that often, but we do like Moe's. You can't beat the prices, and like you, I was really surprised at how fresh everything tasted.

Oh well.

January 28, 2006 8:47 PM  

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