My friend Alice and I were out by Hamilton Place Mall and we decided to stop for lunch at Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an embassy, but I thought we were dressed okay to go in.
We were greeted and taken to a table in the middle of the restaurant as soon as we walked in. Alice whispered to me that it reminded her of a school cafeteria. The restaurant had an open floor plan and the tables were close together. I don’t know if it was the way sound carried or if the arrangement encouraged loud talking, but we were able to hear every conversation going on around us.
The hostess took our drink orders and we began to look over the menu. I was trying to read my menu, but I couldn’t help overhearing what the waitress at the next table was describing to a fellow customer.
As soon as I heard her say the words “incredibly spicy” I didn’t have to read any further and I knew exactly what I wanted. I found the mentioned Queso Diablo for $7.95 on my menu and Alice said she would share the appetizer with me, though she was afraid that it would be too spicy for her to handle. I pointed out that if she didn’t like the dip, she could always just eat the complimentary chips and salsa they served.
Our waitress came back with our drinks and we placed our order. While waiting for our spicy appetizer, I ordered the Firecracker Shrimp Tacos for $10.99. I figured if I didn’t get enough spice from the appetizer, I would be sure to get a bang with the firecracker shrimp! Alice asked for the half order of Pescado Guerrero for $13.99.
We enjoyed looking at a huge mural painted on the end wall of the entire restaurant. It seemed to depict different historical figures, but neither of us knew who they were.
Our waitress brought out the Queso Diablo along with our chips and salsa. The cheesy dip was orange and looked like something poured out of a can and not made fresh. I hoped that it would taste better than it looked. When I took a bite, I waited for the fire the devilish name promised. There wasn’t any fire …in fact, there was hardly any spice at all.
After I told Alice that it wasn’t spicy, she took a bite. She said it tasted more like a chili cheese dip than anything else. I double checked the appetizer menu and noticed an entry called Chili con Queso and figured they must have brought us the wrong item. When I questioned our waitress, she seemed to think they “must have mixed the two dishes.” I didn’t say a word - I just minded my own business.
I left the not-so-spicy cheese dip for Alice to finish. I did enjoy sampling the three different kinds of salsa that had been brought to our table. None of them were very spicy, but one had enough of a bite to satisfy me until my Firecracker Shrimp Tacos arrived.
After a few moments, our waitress came back with our entrees giving Alice her half-order of Pescado Guerrero. I thought if that was just half of an order they must need a wheelbarrow for the whole thing. The plate was jam-packed with fish fillet, shrimp, scallops, rice, and vegetables and topped off with what looked like white-wine sauce. I doubt if my son Jack could even finish a plate double the size of what they served Alice.
My firecracker shrimp tacos were placed before me and they smelled spicy. They were filled with cabbage, carrots, and a mango salsa. I took a bite and again was disappointed about the lack of fire. In fact, I was disappointed by the lack of shrimp. I opened up my taco and noticed that it was filled mostly with the veggies and only had two small pieces of shrimp. The mango salsa had a good flavor, but it was nowhere near a firecracker …or even a sparkler.
Overall the food was tasty and we enjoyed our meals, though we could not finish them or order dessert. Maybe if I hadn’t ordered the appetizer, I would have tried the margarita pie – maybe THAT would have given me the kick I was looking for.
Abeulo’s offers a good portion of delicious food and for a good price, but if you are like me and like to have your fuse lit, you might need to bring your own matches.
11:00 am – 9:00 pm