So I tried out La Hacienda Mexicana in Tampa, on Sheldon...
The food wasn't spectacular, but I have no complaints; the service was prompt, and the restaurant itself was clean.
Trip 1 The Tamale Deluxe, and the 2 for 1 Margaritas.
I went on a Monday afternoon. The waitress was nice, and she quickly seated me. I had my menu and drink within five minutes of being seated, and food within another 15 minutes. Solid service.
While there I ordered the Tamales Deluxe. For those of you who don't know, the Tamales Deluxe is a couple of tamales which are topped with a couple of flautas, which are then buried under a serving of nachos...
It's a pretty excessive plate of food, but it wasn't too bad. So it got doggy-bagged for later eating. I didn't get to see how the margaritas were made, but I suspect the bartender used a pre-made mix. The margaritas were pretty bleh...
Overall the food was ok, but the drinks were bleh.
Trip 2 The Grande Burrito Maravilla, w/Tecates
We went on a Saturday afternoon. The service was spot on. My wife and I were serenaded by a couple of mariachi singers who were good performers (etiquette question; how much should one tip the singers?)
The burrito was pretty big, and not too bad. Though much to the wifes chagrin, I wasn't good for much after eating it, except for finishing my two cans of brew and taking a long siesta afterward.
Trip 3 The Speddy Gonzales plate w/refried beans, and some Pacificos...
Went during lunch rush. I was quickly seated and served. The food was regrettably bland, but the beer made up for it.
Overall, the prices and the service are solid, but the food is so-so. It's someplace good to take your less culinary adventurous friends for a quick bite to eat.
I'd eat there again, mainly due to the price and service.
La Hacienda Mexicana
5537 Sheldon Rd, Tampa, FL 33615
I was there once, shortly after it opened a couple years ago and I keep saying I'll give it another shot, but I can never find a good reason to... I live within walking distance...
I really should, but I didn't get an authentic vibe then, and I'm still not after hearing your descriptions and the names of these plates... No disrespect to you...
I had a similar experience, but I'd say mine was worse...
It was a week after opening, the server was a nervous wreck, and I don't believe a cook created my food... Not even a bad cook... LOL..
A friend of mine recently recommended the place to me and I just said 'ok, cool--- I'll try it'...
You've been to Guadalajara up the road on Hillsborough, right?
For familiar family-style tasty Mexican I usually pop in on occasion, and recommend them...
For real-deal I hit my beloved nooks and crannies...
re: Mild Bill
Heh, don't sweat it, the food is Southernized Tex-Mex fare.
It's saving graces are the facts that the service was good every time I went, and the prices are low (It's better than Vallertas)...
IMO, Hacienda reminds me of less expensive version of Miguels Cafe, down on the corner of Kennedy and MacDill.
As for Guadalajara, they've got pretty good food, though it's always been a bit hit and miss for me.
We have been to Salsa's a few times up in Oldsmar where Alberto's used to be. I have not had the Margaritas but they do have dark DosEquis draft on happy hour. Food is not mind blowing but good and reasonably priced. They do have a really good XTRA hot salsa that we really like. I still have never gone to la Hacienda...
Point of interest, rhnault: When I lived in Mexico in 1968, Dos Equis ("Two X" beer in English) was a lager. The same company sold Tres Equis ("Three X"), a much darker, sweet/bitter beer. In the United States, it appears that they just call it "Dos Exquis" and "Dos Equis Dark," although even the Dos Equis Dark may have been modified. It isn't as dark, bitter, or sweet as I remember--but then again, I wasn't much of a beer drinker back then, either. Maybe it just seemed more intense to me, due to my uneducated palate (or teenager's superior taste buds).