Alejo's: I guess I lied ...
I wrote this post on September 6, 2005:
It's titled "I'm never eating in Alejo's again ..."
It's just not worth it ...
I went there for dinner on Saturday.
I guess I lied.
My younger son likes pasta. I like it too, I just don't eat it that much.
On Saturday, I felt like going to dinner with just my younger son. Sometimes picking a place that please my wife, my older son, my younger son and I is hard. I didn't want the stress.
Mostly, though, I just felt like spending some time with the younger son. He's 11, by the way.
He likes spaghetti and meatballs.
I'd forgotten I said I'd never go to Alejo's again and so I took him there. I wanted him to be happy.
We waited maybe 10 minutes. Not bad for Saturday night at 7:30.
We got the end table (closest to the door) on the long table that seats multiple parties. It's not my favorite spot, it's too close to the line of people and you get the feeling that everyone is watching you eat.
For some reason, I didn't care tonight.
I brought a 24oz Modelo in with me -- I picked it up in the 7-11 a few doors down. I drank it with the paper bag still on it.
We both had the small order of spaghetti and meatballs, It was huge. It had two meatballs. I defy anyone to eat the large order -- we could barely finish the small orders. I finished mine, he had left overs for the next day.
Honestly, it was very satisfying. The food is quite garlicky, but it stayed just this side of acceptably so.The meatballs were beefy and spiced nicely and had great texture. The whole thing ... along with a few of those nice rolls dipped in garlic oil ... had a really nice comfort food feel to it.
(The only drag were the kids sitting next to us. While their parents got drunk on cheap wine they brought in with them, we sat next to a few 7-9 year olds who played with their food and spit soda across the table. We just stared at them and felt superior.)
I won't lie again.
I wrote that post linked above. I wrote in the heat of the moment. And I'm the type of person who holds a grudge (that's right Real Food Daily -- I'm never coming back!!!) so I meant it when I wrote it.
But I forgot about it, went back and had a good time.
Not a great time.
But it was a good plate of spaghetti with some very tasty meatballs, washed down by some cold Mexican beer. (Why does Modelo taste better in cans ... I'm not sure?) I enjoyed the company of my son. We even stopped for a Spiderman Slurpee afterwards and he drank it while we walked off the meal.
I guess I will be back at Alejo's one of these days.
That's it. The garlic police will be breaking down your door any minute and hauling you away! ;-D Nice review and you covered all the reasons that Alejo's gets into your blood and never leaves.
I was a vegan for a long time and a really good customer of RFD.
And on Thanksgiving one year, when I special ordered my dinner to bring with me to my mother in law's house, the hostess treated me particularly poorly.
IIRC, I asked to order something else on the menu in addition to the meal I had pre-ordered and she wouldn't let me have it. It made no sense. I was willing to pay for it and wait for it. The restaurant was open.
I even wrote a long letter to the owner about it.
Anyways, the experience was terrible. RFD had vegan food, but crappy service. Long story short, I have never been back and it's been like twelve or thirteen years.
It doesn't even matter anymore. But I'm stubborn and no longer vegan so there is no reason to return.
thank you for your honesty.
I admit that I'm an Alejo's fan. I get great enjoyment from an inexpensive and unpretentious meal with a decent bottle from my cellar. Frequently the bottle is more expensive than the meal. No problem, I bring my own stemware and enjoy it.
More than the meal, though, it the company at the long center table. The people and the community that it brings is meaningful in Los Angeles, even if you watch other people's kids make a mess, and behave more poorly than your own.
The number of people that I've met who are taking the kid(s) out on their night with the young'un is surprising.. Anyway, I've met Blues Bassists (asking "what's that? It looks good") moms taking the kid out in the new car, school teachers having a bitch 'n moan session, spanish speaking born again proselytizers (my language skills conveniently failed me), yoga teachers, fortune tellers, and this cross section of the WestSide makes me smile. It's just fun.
Besides, I like garlic.
Even though I'm on the right coast, I absolutely Loved reading your post about dinner with your son at Alejo. If I ever get to Los Angeles I'll be sure to try spaghetti and meatballs at that restaurant. Thanks for a good read!