The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘Mexican’

Cantina 1511

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on February 20, 2010

Last weekend, we finally made it to a place I’ve been wanting to try for a while: Cantina 1511.  We originally thought about doing it as a Valentine’s date before we headed to Virginia for a good friend’s baby shower, but we rethought it and decided it would be a way more fun meal with friends! Luckily, Kath, Matt, Kelsey, and Eric decided to join us 🙂  Although it almost didn’t happen with the biggest snow “storm” Charlotte’s had since we moved here! It was beautiful!

IMG_1939 Luckily, we all made it safely to the restaurant and we didn’t have to wait for a table even though it was a busy Friday night. Nice!


While we looked through our menus, they brought a ginormous basket of chips and two super delish salsas.  The green one was a bit tart while the red one was sweet.  We played around with the hot sauces as well and couldn’t get enough 🙂


After ordering, I enjoyed all views from my seat.  There were lots of good spots for groups large and small.

IMG_1926 IMG_1934



As usual, the Husband ordered a beer but I debated on what to have.  Then the specials menu came out and I was glad I waited.  There was a Dessert Pear Margarita on the menu and it sounded interesting.  It was Centenario Plata Tequila, Desert Pear Monin, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, and sour mix.  Sounds delish, no? Unfortunately it was actually just so-so.

IMG_1932 On to the entrees… I had a burrito, like I often do at Mexican restaurants.  This one had ground beef, onions, caramelized poblano peppers and shredded cheese.  It was HUGE! I had been most excited for the poblano peppers but I barely tasted them :-/ I had originally considered the veggie and goat cheese burrito and wish I had ordered that.  Perhaps next time…


The Husband ordered the Red Chile Enchiladas.  It was desribed as Texas style-red chile seasoned ground beef enchiladas with mixed cheeses, topped with ranchero sauce, sour cream and sliced avocado. It came with refried beans and Mexican vegetable rice.  The Husband thought his dish was good, but he wouldn’t recommend it.

IMG_1938 Overall, we were actually not very impressed.  We started off well with the good salsa but the rest of the food was jus so-so.  Our friend Michelle advised that the Ballantyne location has better food than the East Blvd location so perhaps you might head there if you’re interested in checking out Cantina 1511.

Cantina 1511 – Dilworth
1511 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203

Cantina 1511 on Urbanspoon


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Anita’s New Mexico Style Food

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on January 24, 2010

After arriving in the D.C. area late Tuesday night, I headed to my hotel.  I got checked in, but I was hungry.  I hadn’t had any dinner, and my lunch had been pretty light.  I was very familiar with the area, having lived there for several years after college.  I thought about where I could go that was something reasonably unique to D.C., and would also provide me a tasty meal.


Not far from the hotel there was an Anita’s.  Anita’s is a 30-year old Northern Virginia institution.  Anita opened the first restaurant after her husband, an employee of the United States Postal Service, was transferred to D.C.  They came from New Mexico, and she brought her recipes with her. 

Now, if you’ve ever been to New Mexico, you know that New Mexico chiles are more of a religion than a commodity.  They’re everywhere.  Kinda like cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, or deep dish pizza in Chicago.  New Mexico chiles are available everywhere, in every imaginable dish.  Some are spicy and some are mild, but they provide dishes with fabulous flavor, and while not literally addictive, certainly provide a sense of addiction

Despite the fact that I’ve been to New Mexico, and I love the cuisine, I only went TO an Anita’s once in the 25+ years I lived in the D.C. area.  That one time, I was working for a sign company, and we were installing a sign at the Anita’s in Fairfax City, so I popped inside for lunch.  That was in 1998.  I have also had several of their breakfast burritos, as it was a tradition in one of the offices I worked in.  I had never been to Anita’s for a dinner, though.

So there I was, at Anita’s.  It was late.  They were getting close to closing.  The waitress asked me what I’d like.  The menu was FAR more complicated than I expected.  I didn’t even really realize that it was a sit-down restaurant.  I thought it was more of a “walk-up”, fast-food-type establishment.  But no!  Definitely a sit-down, dine-in restaurant, with a carryout window.  While I decided, the waitress offered me some chips and salsa.  The chips were lackluster, but the salsa was awesome.  The fresh tomatoes were chunky, and the flavor was not-too-spicy great.


After a cursory check of the menu, I settled on a pork burrito, served with rice and refried beans in a green chile sauce.   I was looking for something that looked “authentically” New Mexican, and that seemed like a fair choice. 


I don’t know if it was JUST because I was hungry, or if the food was simply terrific, but it hit the spot.  The pork was perfectly done; large, tender chunks, ready to fall apart, but by no means stringy.  It was well-seasoned, too, providing subtle hints of the spices, while allowing the flavor and texture of the pork to provide the dominant appeal.  The green chile sauce was as tasty as I recall from my time in New Mexico, and coupled with refried beans, made for a wonderful side to the pork burrito. 


I would have taken my time to enjoy the whole meal, but the restaurant was nearly empty, and they were about to close.   I didn’t want to hold anyone up any longer than necessary, so I asked for the check and a refill on my water.  I gulped down the water, paid my tab, and headed back to my hotel with a full stomach.

In hindsight, I can’t believe it took me so long to find Anita’s.  There are several (six in all, I think) in the D.C. area, and I have had some reasonably close to some of the offices I worked in.  To be fair, it’s only been since I married the Wife that my perspective on any kind of Southwestern/Latin American/South American cuisine has turned to a more positive light, but it almost seems tragic that I missed out on one of Northern Virginia’s mom-and-pop delights. 

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Diablo’s Cantina at the Monte Carlo

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on January 11, 2010

Now that I’m back in Charlotte, it’s time to get back to telling you about  my most recent trip to Las Vegas! On Monday night, a small group of us decided to head to Diablo’s for dinner, a Mexican restaurant at the Monte Carlo, directly on the strip.



Upon walking in, we were greeted with a very large bar and multiple televisions showing the college bowl game of the night.  We were seated quickly and began perusing the menu.




A page full of drink options, many which you can expect at any Mexican restaurant.  My boss ordered a strawberry daquiri and while a colleague had a pina colada.  They both seemed content with their drink orders.


There were three main pages of options of food, generally the same items you’d find on most Mexican menus.




To start, I decided to order chips and guacamole for the table.  The guacamole was very smooth (I generally like mine chunkier) and the bowl was deceiving in how much was included.  There were more than enough chips, which was appreciated.


I took of a colleague’s meal as it looked delish! He had a southwestern salad of some sort (I’m not sure of the name).  I believe he enjoyed it.


Not having had a Shrimp Quesadilla before, I decided to try one here.  It included shrimp, cheese, and sliced jalapenos.  I thought it was fine and nothing special.


My boss’s wife ordered the shrimp quesadilla as well, but ordered Mexican beans and rice.  Of all of the items I tried that evening, the beans and rice were the best.  The rice was flavorful (more than most Mexican restaurants) and the beans were creamy.  Definitely a recommendation!

For some reason, the restaurant only had 2 waiters for the entire restaurant that night (or so we were told).  We saw our waitress maybe twice and had to wait a long time to order, to receive any items, and to pay our bill.  That, combined with the so-so food, I probably wouldn’t go back there again, especially with so many other restaurants to try on the strip!

Diablo's Cantina (Monte Carlo) on Urbanspoon

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Salsa’s Mexican Cantina

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 17, 2009

My wife’s sister and brother-in-law came to town this evening, and we wanted someplace close that we could walk to for a meal. They suggested Mexican, and since I had just been to Don Pedro’s, my wife recommended Salsa’s in Ayrsley.

My recommendation: It’s nothing spectacular. In fact, I probably would recommend Don Pedro’s over Salsa’s, although Salsa’s is a distinctly nicer restaurant on pretty much every account.
Overall: While the food is of good quality, and the service was good, I can’t say that it has really left much of an impression with me. It’s not a bad restaurant… just lackluster.
Ambiance: Salsa’s is a Mexican restaurant that’s still seeking it’s an identity. The free-flowing fountain, and somewhat elegant decor is somehow undermined by the flat screen TV showing Latin American soccer, as if the restaurant WANTS to be a sports bar. The outdoor seating area perhaps supports this assertion, but the flat screen displaying MSNBC Money somehow undermines the sports bar intentions. And the free salsa and chips simply reminds you that it’s neither a sports bar or elegant restaurant, but just a Mexican restaurant.
Menu: Mexican. While standard Mexican is certainly available, including burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and tacos, the prices are not reminiscent of the authentic inexpensive Don Pedro’s up the street.
Something you won’t find on most menus: $6 guacamole. It’s tasty, but I’m not sure it justifies it’s $6 price tag.
Service: Prompt and friendly, but nothing spectacular. I drink water like a fiend, and they were good about keeping me topped off.
Food: I had the combination platter with two cheese enchiladas and a beef burrito. It came with Mexican rice and refried beans, and it was all very good. In general, the food is very good, and I feel like the ingredients are of generally high quality, which is perhaps inconsistent with what I normally expect from a Mexican restaurant (too much Taco Bell, I guess). The bill was a little steep at $37 (no alcohol, no dessert).
2015 Ayrsley Town Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28273

Salsa's Mexican Cantina on Urbanspoon

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