As it was, el Cinco De Mayo and Derby Day was all about the opera Barber of Seville for me. I was in rehearsal from 1:30-5pm, then back at the theatre by 7pm for warm-up and 8pm curtain.
This left me little time to celebrate, or make plans, to celebrate 5 de Mayo or make mint juleps.
My wife met me for dinner at the theater at 5pm and we blindly looked for mexican on Rockville Pike near White Flint (south of Rockville, MD north of Bethesda)
We ended up at the chain Tex-Mex place On the Border. I didn’t mind doing tex-mex since el cinco de mayo is really more of a border celebration than a Mexico celebration.
I had been to an On the Border near Marietta GA about 8 years ago, and had heard they went down hill. However, it was really the only choice. To my suprise, I had a great experience! My entree was called a Ranchilata: Fajita steak topped with ranchero sauce and Jack cheese, plus two cheese & onion enchiladas smothered with chile con carne. It came with Mexican rice and beans (I had black beans).
The enchiladas were ok, kind of your everyday tex-mex thing, but the steak was excellent. The marinade they use is chock full of flavors. They cook it over and open grill and the slighty charred edges were wonderful with the moist meat inside. The flavors exploded in my mouth. The rice was good but the black beans were better.
For a tex-Mex chain, I have to say I was impressed. The waitress was excellent, the restrooms were spotless and nicely appointed, the food was good, the prices were fair and the margaritas were ok too. (Although I made much better ones at home using Cuervo 1800, triple sec and fresh lime juice). The food came fairly quickly, was the right temperature and had a fresh taste. The free chips and salsa was good too. The chips were made onsite and were tasty. The salsa was fresh and had a nice kick.
I wouldn’t seek this place out when searching for Mexican, because it’s really tex-mex and not Mexican; nor would I make a special trip to Rockville for it. But if I was travelling and looking for some tex-mex, if this place is next to my hotel, I’d definately give it another try. I’d probably order the same thing. Although the enchiladas were just ok, the steak was so flavorful it’s worth it.
Oh, BTW, they had the derby on TV in the bar area. so I actually got to see the race! Even with my limited time, I’m happy to say the only thing I missed from El Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day was the mint julep. I was thinking of cheating a bit and making them for the Preakness, though.[8D]