I didn’t intend to take a hiatus last month and had a few blog ideas, so since I had a new restaurant experience today, I thought I’d review it while it was still fresh in my mind.
I had a few errands to run. Our car is on the fritz and the sidewalks looked mostly clear (Finally! After at least six weeks of snow or ice.) so I decided to go downtown. It was so nice to get out for a walk again, and my son, who was with me, asked to go to the end of the street. There was SAPo Freaky Burrito still waiting to be discovered by us. I’m not sure why the small “o” in “SAPo” or the choice of “toad” in a name (There were no toad burritos, unless that’s what my chicken was.), though that’s not why I had previously avoided it. It is difficult to see past the dingy windows and it appears dark inside. From what I could tell, there was bar seating and bar height tables and chairs. I thought it would be an adventure best left to adults and I really don’t get many adult-only adventures these days.
But this time I thought, “What the heck. The worst that could happen is I find out is that I’m right and there is no seating for a 2-year-old.” We went in and there was a bar and one bar height table and chairs but mostly regular seating. Besides, Elijah didn’t want a high chair this time anyway. He only fell off the chair once and was thereby warned of the consequences of excessive squirmy-ness. I wish I had found whether there were high chairs, but the owner/waiter was very friendly towards his young guest.
The atmosphere did feel a little dingier than I initially preferred, but as I looked around, I noted it was clean and only proper lighting was lacking. Although, Elijah especially enjoyed the coconut lanterns over the bar. We also enjoyed the Pandora station that was playing upbeat alternative music, so much we both started dancing in our chairs.
I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from the menu, but the prices were comparable to the breakfast/lunch cafes on Broadway we had patroned and much lower than the other lunch/dinner restaurants we walk by because of the prices on the menu. Elijah had one soft taco for $3.00 and I had a taco platter for $8.00. Other than tacos, our choices ranged from of course burritos, the expected nachos and quesadillas and the traditional mole plate to the unexpected (for the hours of operation) breakfast selections and creative chicken BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) with chipotle sauce and served on a tortilla.
As you may know, my criterion for a good Mexican restaurant is authentic rice and beans. I really didn’t expect a place that sold itself on a burrito being freaky to be authentic, although I did expect a good fusion restaurant. However, it was authentic, with homemade refried beans and non-sticky rice! I’m also pretty big on the salsa and the fresh cilantro lime salsa was a deal sealer for me.
I later learned that everything is made fresh daily and all the produce is organic. The later bit of information was a surprise, since if I had known that, I’d have expected the prices to be higher. Our fresh squeezed orange juice was made on the spot (Elijah loved watching the process.) and homemade lemonade is also served.
Speaking of serving, our waiter seemed very busy between the three tables that were occupied and didn’t give us as much attention I’d have liked in the beginning but we got more attention later, when the first table left. And he was very welcoming and accommodating, just as a server should be, and not the kind to roll his eyes or sigh when asked for more napkins or to discard the lemon that fell on the floor because your OCD toddler can’t handle things being out of place or would be tempted to eat it if it were kept on the table. That’s ultimately the kind of service that makes a place kid-friendly.
Although I’m not yet sure I’d return to SAPo with a younger child in the future, I know I’d like to. I’m glad I got over my first impression to give it a try and would highly recommend it to most.