We pulled into the parking lot at Alvarez Mexican Restaurant but didn't like what we saw - the place was deserted except for 2 elderly white people picking at their plates. (For the record, I'm not biased against old people or white people - it's just that whenever we drive through Palmetto we get the impression there are lots of Mexicans living there, and therefore there must be good authentic Mexican restaurants somewhere in town. Alvarez just didn't give that impression.) We saw the sign for El Durango across the street, an unattractive cinder block rectangle with a completely full parking lot. We decided to check it out.
When we opened the door we found the place was jam packed full of Mexican families. We didn't hear a word of English, no other gringos in the place, and we gave ourselves a self-satisfied smile - this had to be a great Mexican restaurant. The waitress was friendly and polite, the menu looked good. It was before noon, so we got breakfast-y dishes: huevos rancheros for my wife, chilaquiles for me. I was extremely disappointed with what I got: a plate of scrambled eggs with the standard American-Mexican accompaniments of refried brown beans and that reddish-orange rice. Is there some parallel universe where chilaquiles means scrambled eggs? And what is it with beans and rice as a side dish? Is there anywhere in the United States where you can go into a Mexican restaurant and not get that? Those things don't exist in Mexico, at least not as an unavoidable blob on whatever meal you order.
Anyway, I'm willing to give this place another try. The service was friendly, the vibe was authentic Mexican, the fresh juices (jamaica, horchata, etc.) were home made and delicious, the salsas were spicy and delicious, and they must be doing something right to be pulling in the crowds. But I was sorely disappointed. I'm still jonesing for chilaquiles, and scrambled eggs ain't it (even if they were pretty good scrambled eggs).
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