Places that are Popular to Hate
I got a gift cert to Magnolia Cafe....went this morning. This place, along with Kerbey Lane, doesn't get a lot of love on this board.
However, for a real good price, I got:
Steamed broccoli with a queso for my daughter ($2)
Bowl of roasted red pepper corn chowder soup ($3.75)
Economical breakfast - two sunny up eggs, black beans, 1/2 grapefruit ($4.75)
Side of bacon ($1.75)
Flamingo Sandwich ($?)
Paper and crayons for my child
Anyhow, it brings to mind the question - what do you like about places that (on this board) that are popular to hate? Like if there's more than six patrons, they've sold out.
Hut's (I don't like the burgers either, but I like the catfish and onion rings)
I've always loved Hut's. Mostly because I was taught that it was a Texas institution as a child visiting from Baton Rouge before we moved here. Gotta love a greasy burger with cream of mushroom soup and tons of cheddar cheese. I spent hours checking out the football posters and memorabilia. There is something to be said for tradition and Hut's is a big one in my family. The onion rings are the ultimate greasy indlugence.
I really like Polvo's, but wish it hadn't become popular with all the transplants. Back when Spanish was only spoken, the food seemed to be more loviningly prepared. It's still a favorite for fajitas (guajillo for me) and the enchiladas de la casa are always nice on spring mornings.
black salsa? do tell.
i like a few dishes at povo's (the fish a la plancha and the chile relleno w/ the crack-like creamy pecan sauce).
however, i rarely go because:
1. it's down south, and i am in NW austin
2. parking suuuuuuuuuucks
3. the wait for a table is always interminable
4. i hate hipsters
clearly, i need to make sure our times coincide so i don't have to wait!
i usually go on the weekends (but now very rarely) so that is probably a big part of it.
also, for those of you who are driving back home to places like NW austin?
do not order a pitcher of margaritas for two, because you think it will be more economical.
they will knock you on your ass and then you will need to eat lots and lots and lots of food in order to feel like you can drive all the way back home.
There is this fallacy. Termed "The Fallacy of the Small Sample Size", it is the plague to Chowhounders everwhere. Heck, most the places I think are amazing I have only eaten at between one and ten times.
Polvo's is not a victim of this fallacy. I have been eating there for a while, and for a couple years lived just a few blocks away. Because I had a couple nice work lunches and date dinners there, it was an esteemed joint. I made it my go-to place, and was baffled by the beatings I received. Why is this place just so bad at brunch? Why did they accidentally add $20 to my tab? Wtf with the abysmal service? Stale chips? Cold fish? What in Thor's name is happening?
I'm grateful. Fortune forced me to explore East. When I lived near South 1st, I plied Polvo's first as my primary choice. Good gringo queso with a compuesto-bomb of diced side goodies and a few good trips had convinced me that this place was not just hip. Rather it was the real deal, the sought-after and crucial Tex-Mexican meal. This was the panacea! Perhaps people ponder precipitously: Polvo's? From experiences numbering in the dozens ('though sub-hundred), let me tell you: "I am dissappoint." (sp)
Bad service, erratic billing, mediocre mains, this place remains the only Tex-Mexiplace (while hipsters are chilling) cranking out Tex-Mex for $40 per head average with drinks included that isn't a chain. I can replicate this feat at Chuy's, Trudy's, and Curra's. (Actually, I think all Curra's outlets have died other than South Austin -- can someone confirm?)
It isn't that Polvo's sucks. So "Hate" as the thread title suggests is unjustified. And the fajitas at Polvo's are often pretty tasty. And I do owe them a debt for forcing me, after numerous crappy-but-expensive-experiences, into exploring the South Austin milieu, and driving me further East, South, and East. Oh, and South.
It instead is that Polvo's is overrated. You, the nameless, faceless defender of Polvo's, must understand: this place is only mediocre. Many, many folks in white belts and/or rumpled concert t's will attest to Polvo's dominance as their preferred place for Tex-Mex. Again I say thee "Whatevs!" -- while not terrible, Polvo's is not even as good as Curra's, and isn't fit to carry the luggage of El Meson.
(And sitting outside being attacked by wasps during the summer doesn't help either, while having nothing to do with the food.)
re: tom in austin
Not sure if I am the "nameless, faceless defender" that you are talking about, but in a town that has surprisingly few suitable Tex-Mex places for its size and location, Polvo's has rarely disappointed. Never been to El Meson, but I've hit up many Mexican food places in this town, from Bejucos to Trudys near 183, and I've got to say that if Polvo's is the median than my sample must be way off.
re: tom in austin
Hmm...sample size. Of course, for my own subjective opinion, a sample size of 1 is statistically significant :)
And that opinion is this: I loathe Polvo's. Unfortunately I have been there more than once as it's a kind of go-to celebration place. The service is wretched, the food mediocre, and frankly the place is just dirty. And not in a hole in the wall, part of the charm Texas Chili Parlor way.
Part of the reason I roll my eyes when my husband suggests Polvo's is because every time we go there, the staff is sitting around in the booths, eating breakfast, reading the paper, gossiping. Meanwhile, we need coffee refills, the check, and other basics of service. It's infuriating.
I like Kerbey Lane as long as I order from the main menu and never ask for anything from the seasonal list. At the 183 location, I've found the service to be fast and attentive, and my food always arrives to me hot. I'm pretty fond of the gingerbread pancakes and the migas with queso.
Re: the seasonal list, I've found the cooks are really great at making the items on the menu that are requested a zillion times a week. However, if you deviate from the menu by picking something that's "of the month" or "of the season", they have a meltdown of epic proportions. I've ordered from it a few times and the result has never ever been good.