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


Alpha Beta ESA Plans 27th Annual Taster’s Luncheon

Alpha Beta ESA’s 27th annual Taster’s Luncheon to benefit the Walter E. Boehm Birth Defect Center takes place on Saturday, Sept. 20, at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 7111 Lee Highway. Organizers said, "This event not only provides delicious hors d’oeuvres, salads and desserts, but includes a fabulous fashion show with clothing by CATO, a $100 cash drawing, a Chinese auction ... (click for more)

The Egg & I Restaurant Opening In Chattanooga On Sept. 1

The Egg & I Restaurants announced the opening of its 105 th  restaurant on Monday, Sept. 1. The restaurant opens at 6 a.m., and is at 1825 Gunbarrel Road, a half mile Southwest of Hamilton Place Mall. On Sunday, the restaurant will donate 100% of all proceeds from its private, pre-opening training day to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.The food bank’s mission is to lead ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)