Do you know that song, “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music? In the song, Julie Andrews sings that “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens” are a few of her favorite things.
These things are… nice… but sorry to say that they don’t top my list. So, you’re probably thinking, “Well Emily, what are a few of your favorite things, then?”
Here’s a short list: friends, margaritas, salsa, and things fried and covered in cheese.
Basically, Cinco de Mayo is like a second Christmas for me.
This year, for the fifth of May, I was lucky enough to spend a little time with my good friends Sarah and Emma. We met up at Mi Ranchito in University City–a place that the girls recommended.
Right away when we got there, I guessed that we were in for a good time because the line was super long outside the restaurant. A long line isn’t exactly what you want to see when you approach a restaurant and have no reservations–however, it’s also a good sign that the food is pretty tasty and the drinks flow freely. And that’s exactly the hookup at Mi Ranchito.
After a short 30-minute wait we were seated (this was much quicker than I expected, which was a nice surprise). Right away our sombrero-doning-waitress brought us out a big basket of chips and two little bottles of salsa–presumably homemade. Simultaneously, we ordered a pitcher of margaritas, because that’s what you do on Cinco de Mayo.
By the time the margaritas arrived, we had downed an entire basket of chips; luckily the chip-supply runneth over at Mi Ranchito and more were delivered right away. These chips were very good–nice and thick, with a good amount of salt and crunch. The salsa was also very good–chunky and mildly spicy–just addicting enough to keep us nibbling until basket number two was almost empty.
Somewhere between the delivery of our pitcher of margaritas and the ordering our meals, two overly peppy waitresses came to our table and over-zealously offered us $2 tequila shots. We looked each other in the eyes slyly and obliged. (Hey, like I said, it was Cinco de Mayo, don’t judge.) Oh, and the shots were totally worth the two bucks because we got a “souvie” out of it! Shot glasses on a lanyard–what a fabulous “gift!” [Now I know how I'm accesorizing my wardrobe every day from now on.]
After much deliberation (why are Mexican menus always so extensive!?), I ordered the chicken chimichanga which came with refried beans, guacamole, and sour cream. Yum!
While we waited for our food and sipped on super yummy margaritas, we chatted and enjoyed the ambience at Mi Ranchito. Combine a couple girls running around with tequila shots, sombreros being handed out, and the general feeling of Cinco de Mayo in the air–the atmosphere was just what we were looking for: a party.
Plus, it took no time at all for our meals to arrive. We dug in. My chimichanga gets a B for the following reasons. Although the outside of the fried burritos gets A+ (they were beautifully crunchy and doused in a glorious layer of melty cheese); unfortunately, the inside of the chimichanga wasn’t as appealing.
Perhaps I was at fault for ordering the ‘changa with chicken instead of beef, but the stuffing was just a little dry. It was mostly chicken with a few peppers… Maybe it’s just me, but I think the stuffing would have been more diverse if there would have been a few more spices and a few more peppers to balance out the dry white meat. Oh, and while we’re at it, why not throw some of that delicious cheese inside the chimi’ instead of leaving it all outside?
All of that said, when you ate the chimichanga with a bit of the cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a quick dip in the guac… the taste rounded out nicely and satisfied my Mexican food craving. I mean, I can admit that I did indeed eat everything on my plate. So, it had to have been pretty good, right?
To finish out the meal, we also went ahead and ordered dessert—aka a JUMBO frozen margarita with three straws for sharing. This (and all of the margaritas before it) was very tasty. I would call them “sweet and tangy” which made for a very drinkable delight. I also really liked that they were served with an orange on the rim instead of a lime, this was different and I enjoyed the change-up.
All in all, after sitting around in our sombreros and chatting, sipping on giant margaritas, laughing hysterically, and seriously considering purchasing the “I partied at Mi Ranchito” t-shirts that the restaurant was selling—I’d have to say that Cinco de Mayo 2012 was a great success.
So, here’s the final report card:
With a report card like this… I have a difficult time decided whether or not to “recommend” Mi Ranchito. The entree just didn’t blow me away. BUT, the chips and salsa were great, the margaritas were fabulous, and it was pretty cheap. So, I suppose I’ll say this. If you’re looking for “the best Mexican food you’ve ever eaten” … keep looking. But, if you just want to have a good time, drink a few margaritas, and fill your belly while you do it–head over to University City. Who knows, maybe I just ordered wrong and you’ll discover something that blows you away.
If so, please let me know.
Happy eating everyone!