Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fine Taco Cabana?!

I recently took my family to Taco Cabana here in Austin. On a side note, I believe it is physically impossible to NOT sing “Her name was Lola….” when driving past The Cabana. It was our first time through the Cabana doors and I was kind of excited. I figured I knew what I was getting myself into. This was not atmospheric Mexican food with waiters, menus, and glass cups. Nor was this Ghetto Mex, i.e. authentic Mexican grub served big, fast, and cheap. This was full-on fast food Mexican…a direct competitor with Taco Bell. It would be perfect for the kids and a pleasant change from a typical border run…outside the bun.

The décor was quite cute. The tables were decorated with different beer logos and each had an umbrella overhead. The menu was interesting and inventive and the family fajitas immediately drew my attention. There is a full salsa bar dedicated to different types of sauces, jalapenos, and various condiments. I ordered our food, we found our tables, and started setting up camp. Only two other tables in the entire restaurant were taken. There was an older, fat couple at one table and what appeared to be a father and teenage son at another.

I have a two-year-old daughter. She is equal parts diva, princess, and mermaid. She has attitude oozing from her body and the most emotive little personality you’d ever see in a munchkin so lovely. When she speaks, you hear. You might not listen, but I guaran-ass-tee you that you’ll hear her. It’s impossible not to. She’s got this little high-pitched squeal that will sound angry or happy, depending on the situation. She was excited to be at The Cabana and she wanted the world to know.

Less than 10 minutes (and 3 squeals) into our meal I noticed that the fat old lady at the other table had managed to rise to her bulbous feet to make her way over to our table. I just assumed she was going to compliment us on our darling little children that were so full of energy and excitement. Quite the contrary. About five feet from our table, as she approached, she cupped her puffy hands to her ears and hissed “she is too loud.” Sherri was dumbfounded. “I’m sorry, this is a public restaurant” Sherri said. “Yes, but she doesn’t need to scream” replied the wrinkled mass of flesh. Then Sherri and I started in on her at the same time. “She’s a CHILD.” “She’s only TWO. “This is TACO CABANA. Defeated and dejected, The Jelly Thing turned and waddled back to her table. Her husband hung his head and said nothing…probably dreaming of his “happy place” where he was married to a woman that didn’t require him to grease her down and toss a Twinkie through the door to get her in the house.

Are you kidding me? Had this woman actually complained about my daughter’s shrill-but-happy sounds interfering with her joyous snarfing of $9.00 worth of barely mediocre burrito? Memo to Hog Lady: If you are interested in a romantic, quiet dinner with your unfortunate mate, do NOT roll into the Taco FREAKING Cabana. Taco Cabana is not a haunt for the Austin elite. You will find children. You will find teenagers. You will find the occasional transient that scored a few bucks under the viaduct. But you will also find mass quantities of beans, meat, and cheese (for pennies), so I can understand why you would want to squeeze yourself in there. Just adjust your expectations, mkay?