Wednesday, June 23, 2010

El Rodeo

Do you ever just feel like doing what you want to do and then doing it? That’s how I’ve felt lately when it comes to writing about some of my favorite places to eat.

Some people don’t get into this type of thing, but I do, and a lot of people I know do as well.

That’s a waste of time…
You’re going to get fatter doing that…
It’s just not healthy…
You’re going to spend too much money!

All of the feelings these comments give me dissolve when I get to tell people publicly how much I love a certain restaurant and how much they’re gonna love it too.

On some of the blogs and reviews I’ve been reading, people get really critical of certain places and they seem like they’re really not enjoying themselves. That’s not the approach I’m going for. Most, if not all establishments, have positive attributes about them. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t still be open. I’ll let the market decide whether a place should keep it’s doors open or not. That not my job, or passion. I want to tell people how great places are and reasons to enjoy going to them.

Today I went out to lunch. I wasn’t planning on doing it and my wife and I even talked about all the reasons I shouldn’t go out and why I should come home for lunch. Have you ever had this discussion? Well, guess what? It didn’t work out as planned.

It was amazing! The stars aligned, paths crossed and one of my favorite lunch-time eateries had such a strong gravitational pull that I couldn’t break loose. I started digging in my pockets for dollars and loose change. I was getting close… I had four dollars. I thought to myself, “That’s not enough for a tip.” Look in the ashtray… another five dollars! I’m all set for one of the best cheap lunch specials in town. I’m going to El Rodeo in Speedway.

I may sound crazy, because a lot of people say they don’t like this place very much, but to me, it’s some of the best cheap food I’ve ever had.

$3.99 Special!!! Let me say it again… $3.99 Special!!!

It’s hard to get out of a fast food restaurant for that price and this stuff is made by hand with loving care by some of the best guys and gals from South of the border. Fresh salsa, great chips, flavorful ingredients – and they’re service is lightning-fast too. More times than not, the salsa is pretty spicy... that's a good thing in my book. El Rodeo has got handling a busy lunch down to a science. The place starts getting packed shortly after 11 a.m. and it’s still full at 1 a.m. Even during the busiest rush, the service doesn’t suffer.

Today was no different. I got there at 12:30 p.m. and the place was packed, but I still got seated right away at a nice little table close to the big screen TV. Watching TV isn’t why I came here, but catching ESPN in the early afternoon never hurt anyone.

The look of the place has really changed in the last couple of years. They have all new murals painted on the walls of tough looking Mexican bull riders and their hot little Latin maidens. The place is just downright cool. And the outdoor seating… I didn’t even tell you about that. It’s huge, with wrought iron tables and colorful umbrellas. There’s so much foliage around that it feels like a tropical oasis.

Enough of the environment… Let’s get to the food. I usually come on Wednesday’s or Thursday’s. This being a Wednesday, #5 was the lunch special. $3.99! I always go for the chicken, so the lunch came with a chicken taco, a chicken burrito, and a side of Spanish rice. The plates are always filled up and covered in creamy Mexican cheese. Awesome!

Each table has a selection of hot sauces based on taste and they help accentuate the great flavors in the food. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m in love with this place and you might be too, if you give it a shot. I try to come here every week or so. I wouldn't want to eat here more frequently than that, or I might get a little pudgy around the middle. (That's a joke for those of you who know me; I'm "portly-wide.")

Atmosphere: Nice, clean and relaxing even during the lunch rush.
Service: Extraordinary... really. They need to sell their system of service to other restaurants. The servers are always friendly and they get your food out in a flash. That's a huge plus if you're trying to grab a fast lunch.
Overall: Good, inexpensive food that tastes great and will fill you up.
Special Note: I didn't take many pictures because I feel like I need to respect the place. I've been eating here since before my kids were born. I love it and I'm looking forward to many more years of belly-filling experiences here. Enjoy!

El Rodeo on Urbanspoon

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