Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blah Cha Cha

This episode of Abbe and Jebby, join our fearless funky food fighters on their journey to a local cheap eats establishment as they put frugal food to the taste test.

Jebby’s meal: Pork tamales, chicken pozole & horchata

It all started with the horchata.

I might be a bit picky about my horchata but never before have I come across one that I wouldn’t drink. I mean… the best way I can think to describe it would be like… a dying
cinnamon monster pooping a half-digested peppermint candy into a glass of rotten milk. It was that bad. I tried to choke down the rest of the glass, not wanting to waste my money, but I couldn’t do it. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore… just don’t get the horchata.
Despite this disappointing experience, I was still optimistic about my food. There were quite a few people eating there and I haven’t learned yet not to judge a book by its cover. The restaurant is adorable and my plate of food was pretty when it arrived, so I expected it to taste good. But I expected wrong.
My first bite of tamale, I thought that a bit of corn husk might’ve gotten stuck onto the masa. But that was not the case. They were merely overcooked. The entire bottom of both tamales served to me was so tough as to nearly be inedible. Both the masa and the filling were fairly tasty… if they had been cooked properly they could’ve been some higher-end-of-mediocre tamales. There were some forgettable beans and rice on the side. Not terrible, but certainly nothing special.

Pozole is something I have been wanting to try for a long time. This pozole was okay, but quite bland. I can’t say I have anything to compare it to, but I feel like a soup full of something as flavorless as hominy should at least have some heat or acid or salt in there. It was served with a side of stale chips. I took what I couldn’t eat back in a to go container, but I left it at Abbe’s house, and I can’t say I regret it. Abbe reports that it remains in her fridge to this day.

Abbe’s Meal: Cha Taco Salad- Romaine lettuce, Grilled Chicken, Pico De Gallo, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Jack and Cheddar Cheese, Black Beans and Rice.

If you’ve read our Tin Shed review then you know how I feel about a good salad, so needless to say I was pretty stoked for my fully loaded taco salad. At first glance I wasn’t sure what to think, my salad was piled, and I’m not kidding, PILED atop a tiny little shell that was about 2 inches deep. Was ChaChaCha trying to make the salad look bigger by dwarfing its only source of stability? Or were they just completely un-learned in the area of taco salad shell making? I put that thought in the back of my mind for later pondering and dove in. It’s hard to get the full effect of a salad, taste all the layers, when each layer is an inch deep due to the tinyness of the bowl, so you can guess the miniature shell wasn’t helping in that department. The chicken was good, the kind of grilled chicken you would expect, but not the kind that impresses. I was impressed by the freshness of the salad itself, the lettuce, Pico, cheeses, etc were all very flavorful and tasted like they had been cut and grated when I ordered, not sitting in a fridge waiting to be used.
However, my tiny aforementioned taco shell was stale and that’s where I draw the line. No restaurant, no matter how cheap or fast-food-like it is, can get a stale shell or chip past me without hearing about it. So here it is: STALE. GROSS. STALE.
I will however give a small applause to their salsa verde and their hot sauce, both tasty and complimentary to my meal.
Overall, I don’t see myself ordering the salad again, but I also don’t see myself going back intentionally to eat unless they are the only place open within a 5 mile radius and I’m starving. Sorry, ChaChaCha, but your food does not put a spring in my step.

ChaChaCha Overall:
When you walk in to this cute little Sellwood house, brightly painted inside and out, you’ll like it. Its’ colorful with magenta, orange, and red walls that give it an inviting feel and original artwork sprinkled around. One painting in particular, a well dressed Matador taunting a menacing bull, caught my eye and was so well done I almost wanted to pluck it right off the wall and ask “how much?”
This establishement is a little different with their service, they have you order and pay directly up front when you walk in and things like utensils and water are self serve. There is nothing wrong with this, however, I would wait to tip until after your meal because if you tip generously ahead of time and get a stale taco shell, you may regret being such a philanthropist.
This is not a free refill restaurant, further refills are half price and refills of their poorly made Horchata are full price. Strangely enough I did get a free refill on my sprite, but this may have been due to the fact that we were obviously writing down our thoughts on the meal.
So there you have it, a small but to the point review. We don’t recommend ChaChaCha if you’re looking for an amazing meal. If you’re looking for something mediocre, and fairly cheap, then this is the place.

1 comment:

  1. Still laughing about the dying cinnamon monster :]