Friday, August 18, 2017

Eating up the Hill: Chimichanga at Pancho Villa

Since we're in the summer, I'll venture a little outside a few-block radius of Parliament Hill for my food blogging. Today's entry took me to Elgin and Frank for a holiday visit to Pancho Villa for some Mexican food.

It being a pleasant day, I decided to sit on the patio and was invited to seat myself, and was brought a menu. They have a good variety of Tex-Mex options but I quickly decided to go with my favourite Mexican go-to: a Chimichanga. During my last tour in Ottawa, I used to love the Chimichangas at Mexicala Rosa's, who are sadly no longer with us. And as I don't care for beans, it's a good beanless option.

Diners have a choice of chicken, beef or vegetarian filling, and the Chimichanga is served with Mexican rice and salad and topped with their Chimichanga red sauce, for $14.95. I usually go for the chicken, but decided to break with pattern and get the beef this time.

I'll start with the sides. The salad was fine. Just fine. Lettuce, tomato, shaved carrot, dressing. Nothing fancy. The rice, also, was just fine. Could have used more seasoning, as it was seasoned, but barely noticeably so. And it was just rice. They could have tossed something in.

The Chimichanga itself was reasonably good. I was impressed that it was real pulled beef, so points for that. However, while the beef was plentiful, it was dry and could have been hotter. The sauce was very necessary. There also wasn't much else in there besides the beef.

It was the service though that left me with the most negative impression. I ordered a glass of water and a Coke, which came relatively promptly. Not huge glasses, but that's fine if they're prompt with the refills. But they weren't. Half way through the meal, I'm out of beverages and getting parched. They weren't that busy, but no checks if I needed anything. I moved the empty cups to the edge of the table, still nothing. People around me drinking beer got prompt asks for re-orders however.

Finally, after clearly being done my meal for five minutes, they came to get my empty plate. I asked for the cheque, and refills. At this point, they indicated they don't offer free refills on pop. Which is just ridiculous. They charge $2.25 for a small cup of fountain pop and don't offer refills? Completely out of line with market norms.

The food was reasonably priced but not well-executed and the service was a miss -- anyone can have a bad day though, and they may do better on a future visit. But charging for refills on fountain pop is just stupid.

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