A day South of the Border (sort of): Part One
September 22, 2010
There are new restaurants opening up in the World… you are anticipating a less than fun week at the Real Job… what do you do? You go to Disney to eat (and drink), of course!
So, the Mistress and I planned to go to Epcot Friday afternoon after work to check out the newly opened Mexican eateries… realizing that we’d want to sample some tasty beverages as well (and yes, it took us about 2 or 3 seconds to figure that one out) it was quickly decided we would stay the evening at the palatial Scopa Towers (aka the Pop Century resort) and return to the Bay area first thing in the AM. Miss Bonnie of the Harem whined that she could only come to the World for a day trip on Saturday, and we should say a bit longer that day as well… so what was originally planned as an afternoon trip had turned into 24 hours, and thusly I was able to sample two sessions at La Cantina de San Angel (the counter service part of the new restaurant) and one meal at the new sit-down, La Hacienda de San Angel.
So here’s a first look at La Cantina de San Angel on the counter service side (okay, I did give you a brief report in “First taste…”) and in Part Two (hopefully to follow relatively soon, okay, who am I kidding… don’t hold your damn breath for it…) we’ll check out the table service.
You enter under an arch with “La Cantina” emblazoned upon it – the registers where you order are to your left. The restaurant has a great outdoor seating area – a large, open gazebo-like structure being the focal point.
The sets of tables directly facing the water (and thus, Illuminations) are designed to be wheelchair-accessible – all the chairs being bolted to the floor to prevent some worthless scumbag from snagging the prime spots (but I’m sure someone will find a way around it… am I being too cynical so early on???).
All in all a pretty attractive space, especially for counter service seating… I’m sure lit up at night it will be quite pleasing…
There is of course a condiment/napkin/etc area featuring hot sauces on tap (yeah baby!!!).
Also there are cool one-at-a-time utensil dispensers (which is a great idea both for sanitary reasons and cost-effectiveness for Disney). As long at the latter work well, I’d expect you’ll wind up seeing more of these around property.
There is also indoor seating available in La Hacienda de San Angel until 3 PM (then they will, politely I assume, kick you out as they finish preparations for the dinner service there).
Now to the food…
There are five main savory selections: Tacos de Carne (beef tacos), Tacos de Pollo (chicken tacos), Empanadas de Queso (cheese empanadas), Nachos (do I need to translate that?) and Guacamole con Totopos (guacamole with chips… duh…).
Kids selections are Cheese Empanadas (with chips and fruit) or Chicken Tenders (ditto).
Sweets are Churros with caramel sauce or Paletas, Mexican fruit popsicles in several flavors (you know me by now – I didn’t try the sweets – yet at least… mango with chili sounds like it’s right up my alley…).
There are several interesting beverage selections (at least as interesting as something sans alcohol can be…): Aqua Fresco (seasonal fruit water) and multiple choices of Mexican fruit-flavored sodas. And of course the usual Coke, water, etc is available…
Adult choices are three flavors of frozen Margaritas and Dos Equis on draft.
Over the course of the day I sampled three of the savory selections (and more than one cerveza)…
The tacos were of the traditional soft variety (the crispy, hard shell most of us gringos know is, as I understand it, not seen in Mexico). Three were in each serving along with grilled green onions (a nice touch), fresh lime and a generous serving of multicolor tortilla chips.
The chicken tacos were good – the meat seemed fresh, certainly not processed.
The beef was excellent, shredded, not ground, and has a terrific smokey flavor even before adding any accompaniments (but be sure to try the hot chipotle sauce with it…).
The empanadas likewise consisted of three soft fried masa pockets filled with Chihuahua cheese (arf!) and topped with a green sauce and crumbled cheese.
I found these a little bit bland, but Miss Bonnie and Mama Ginny (who accompanied me the day I tried that item) both were very enamored with the item (they both, as well as Mistress Sandra, quite liked the tacos as well… trust the Harem…).
I liked both of the provided hot sauces – the milder green had a bit of a sweet start to it (but a nice finish according to the Mistress, but was still a bit spicy for Mama Ginny’s tastes), while I really liked the smoky flavor and heat of the chipotle. As a topping for any of the meals, or as a chip dip, both were good.
The prices for a counter service meal are a bit high – entrees (other than the guacamole and chips) are about $10 – $12, and even though the servings are more than reasonable (and a good amount of that is the chips), I’d say they are not exactly big enough to split. That being said, the food quality is (in my humble opinion, and as noted many times, it’s the only one that counts here…) high enough to warrant the prices…
Didn’t try the other items (yet), but the nachos actually looked really good… also interested in tasting the guac… that’s an item that could easily be very average, or really good, will let you know… I do have to make my way to Epcot this weekend again after all…
I was keeping my expectations low for this venue – and I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was – it will be very interesting to see what the guest response to La Cantina de San Angel will be (especially considering the prices), as it will be likewise be interesting to see how the menu offerings will change and evolve over the coming months (as they inevitably will).
So how did the table service side fare? We’ll see in Part Two…