I took today to make the 80 mile trip to Abilene and get caught up with some Christmas returns. While in the area I got sidetracked a little and wound up venturing into Best Buy to pick up a case for my new laptop. Being a little pushed for time I decided to have a quick lunch at El Chico which was just a few doors down. El Chico used to be one of our favorites but it had been several years since visiting one. I remember now that the last time I went the food had seemed to be a little below par. Sadly, on this visit It was a few notches below my expectations.

For starters I was picking up strong vibes from my server that she was a little lacking in confidence, spoke in a low barely understandable tone and seemed to lack the ability to smile. She introduced herself, took my drink order and brought it back promptly. When she took my order for Chili Rellenos, she just stood there looking back at me for what seemed like an eternity. Then she repeated the order back to me in a tone like “do you really want to order that?”. There was a slight hesitation after that before she retreated to place my order.

el-chicoI only munched on tortilla chips and a very tasty salsa for a short time before my food was delivered. The server gave the usual warning about the plate being extremely hot but gave no warning about the food being cold and placed very sloppily on a plate that appeared to be dirty to start with. it was extremely disappointing that the food was extremely “not hot” but more like extremely tepid. The only thing hot was the bowl of Charros and they were a little heavy on jalapeƱos for my taste. As far as the cleanliness of the plate It occurred to me that I’d eaten off of many plates in the markets of Mexico that were less inviting than this one so decided to give it a go.

At first bite I did not get the blast of “Tex-Mex” flavors expected but more of a Southwestern family of flavors. In this case not a whole lot of flavor but what was there made the food just too spicy. By the time I finished my food and the plate had become cool enough to touch and Is I pushed it away I found a lot of something that didn’t belong on the bottom edge of my plate. I appeared to be dried food that didn’t get washed off.

El Chico has officially placed on my list of restaurants to NOT VISIT again.

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