El Meson Hits A Sour Note

Saturday, February 08, 2014 - by Willie Mae
Steak Fajita dinner at El Meson on Hamilton Place Boulevard
Steak Fajita dinner at El Meson on Hamilton Place Boulevard

My son Jack took me to dinner at El Meson on Hamilton Place Boulevard over the weekend. I try to visit places during a time when not many are dining, so it won’t be so crowded, but Jack was late and we hit the dinner crowd.

It wasn’t too bad and we were seated right away. Jack and I ordered Diet Cokes but didn’t know what we wanted to eat. We weren’t in a hurry and I wanted to relax and enjoy being with my son.

Our waiter said he would be back with our beverages, but we didn’t see him for a while. Jack and I looked over the menu and we heard live singing from across the room. What I thought was going to be an enjoyable evening started out bad and just got worse.

Jack and I listened to the person strum their guitar and sing, “I’m a Cowboy”. I thought it was a girl singing, but Jack asked me why a girl would be singing that she was a ‘cowboy’. I looked again and it was a man with long hair. He didn’t look like a cowboy at all and he didn’t sound country either.

Our waiter finally brought our Diet Cokes and Jack asked for a dish of their Queso cheese dip to go with the complimentary chips and salsa. Then we ordered our meals. I wanted the steak fajitas for $11.99 and Jack ordered a chicken Chimichanga for $8.99.

My attention went back to the singer and I heard the chorus from “House of the Rising Sun” (Jack helped me with the songs' names, but I knew some of them). This boy couldn’t stay on key and Jack said that he had a voice that was a cross between Bob Dylan and Jim Croce.

Just then, a boy came rushing from the kitchen and placed a heated pan of fajita makings on the table with a platter of refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce and he headed back for the kitchen without saying a word. Jack wondered if his meal would soon follow while our entertainer tried to hit the notes to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. All Jack and I could do was shake our heads with how this evening was going.

I was not brought the flour tortillas that come with my entrée and I was not given a plate to eat on either. When we saw our waiter, I asked him where the flour tortillas were and he said, “Oh, you want flour tortillas with it?” Now, I have ordered this dish many times before at other restaurants and that it how you eat them. He seemed to think he was doing me a favor by going back to get the tortillas. He said he would also check on Jack’s dinner. Jack reminded him about the Queso dip as he walked off.

He came back with the flour tortillas and told us that somehow the computer didn’t list the queso dip or Jack’s meal but he would tell them in the kitchen to add it. Jack didn’t buy that, but at that point we didn’t expect anything to get any better.

When I asked the waiter if I could have a plate he said, “You want an extra plate?” This got me tickled, because this boy could not accept that he didn’t bring the things he was supposed to in the first place and acted as if I was asking for something extra.

He brought Jack’s Chimichanga and brought a plate for me. I was finally able to put my fajitas together and start eating now that everything was lukewarm. Because of the confusion, I failed to get a picture of the Chimichanga.

Jack didn’t like the queso dip and I wasn’t fond of the fajitas, but he did like the Chimichanga. I ate less than half of my meal and that same boy that rushed from the kitchen came out with another Chimichanga. And, just as fast as he charged out, he saw Jack already had one and he turned on his heel and went back! I guess the computer fixed itself.

As our entertainer belted out Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” our waiter asked how everything was. I wasn’t going to lie. I just shrugged and said, “Eh.” He didn’t apologize. But just handed Jack the check and asked if we wanted boxes.

They were pretty busy and I thought perhaps it was one of those things where because it was very good most of the time, it was very busy and, because it was very busy it was not very good.

A party of eight or more were seated at the table near our booth and chairs were added and another table. Jack was trapped and could barely get out of the booth. We just wanted to leave. This was not a relaxing or enjoyable evening.

As we passed by the musician he belted out, “Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged…” Jack and I just wanted to get out!

I understand they were busy and people must like this place so take it for what you will. But nothing about our evening was anything that would make us want to go back.

Hours:

Sunday - Thursday: 11am-10pm

Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm


Wally's – Good For What Ails You

The colder it gets outside, I knew I could talk Crazy Betty into going to breakfast with me. It’s hard to get Lois to get out with me on really cold days and Lou has been doing some traveling. We decided to meet at Wally’s in East Ridge. This is a fairly old establishment with a location on McCallie Avenue as well. They let you seat yourself when you walk in, so I picked ... (click for more)

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill – Dim Some

Lois and I wanted to try Firebirds Grill on Gunbarrel Road for some time now, but it has been quite crowded (even during the time old folk usually eat dinner). The lights were so dim I could barely see where the gal headed when showing us to our table. I gathered right away that this must be one of those ‘ambiance’ places you take your sweetheart. It does set a certain mood ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)