I love Mexican food, but Bug’s nut allergy has limited our options. When I realized I had a Margaritas nearby, I brought him to try it out. Honestly, the outside looked like a dive bar. I almost didn’t bring him inside. But once we stepped through the doors, we fell in love. Margaritas is colorful and bright with beautiful Mexican artwork everywhere you look. And, in case you’re wondering, the art is not only authentic, much of it is uniquely handmade. More on that later, though. We’ve gone back for LadyBug’s birthday and they sang and presented her with a little sombrero. She thought it was pretty cool. So… naturally, when I was invited the Waltham location to preview their fall menu (including the Two-pound Taco Gigante), I wasn’t about to say no.
We started out with a selection of fall beverages. My favorite is the Apple Cinnamon Margarita made with Cinge tequila and Sour Apple Pucker, and rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Mmmm. It tasted like a fall celebration and I had to remind myself that I was driving home. They also had two pumpkin sangrias, a red and a white. I don’t generally like sangria, but I thought both of them were delicious. They are on the sweeter side, so be forewarned if that’s not your thing. It’s mine, so I’ll happily finish yours off… While we sipped, we enjoyed chips with guacamole covered in bacon. It’s kind of a theme of this meal, but I don’t really like guacamole, , and I couldn’t stop eating theirs (maybe it was the bacon!).
We sampled quite a few dishes… there were Honey Habnero Camarones, a lightly fried shrimp with a spicy dipping sauce. Delish. And guess who doesn’t even like shrimp? You guess it. Moi. We also had Mexican Corn Cakes with braised beef, avocado, salsa fresca, poblano crema, and queso fresco. I’m no expert in Mexican food, but this dish just tasted like I think Mexican food should taste like. The corn cakes were sweet, the beef a bit smoky, and then the toppings creamy. They just came together so beautifully.
The “big” moment came when we were introduced to the Taco Gigante, a two-pound taco filled with 14 different ingredients. I was skeptical. It sounds gimmicky, right? But, oh. my. goodness. It may have been created as a conversation piece, but they still made sure it had a killer taste. It starts with a fried 12” tortilla and is then piled with all kinds of goodness… pork carnitas, taco beef, seasoned chicken, refried beans, and Mexican rice. And then you’ve got lettuce, salsa fresca, jalapeños, cheese, crema, and a few kinds of sauces. There was a full strip of bacon sitting on top. It’s hard to get a sense of perspective, but you could easily share this with a couple of other people. I took some home and had it for lunch the next day. I’m thinking I may have to go back, order a whole one for myself, and then bring home the leftovers! The Taco Gigante is just $10.99, which I think is a pretty good deal. It’s only available for a few weeks (until October 28), so if you’re curious, don’t delay.
The last dish of the meal were the Honey Habanero Chicken Fajitas. They brought us our “cold plates” first…
And then a sizzling sampling of the chicken. Keep in mind that this is a small portion served on a mini skillet, not the normal portion size. With all of the food they provided, we were pretty stuffed by this point. I really like the honey habanero sauce. It’s sweet with a slow kick of spice and I kind of wish I could just bring a bottle home to put on everything I eat.
All that said, it wasn’t the food that surprised and impressed me the most. There’s a reason I enjoy media events, and it’s not just the freebies. I like learning about the corporate culture behind the brand, and I enjoy hearing from employees about their experiences with and enthusiasm for the company. I hadn’t expected much from Margaritas (beyond yummy food, of course), so I was pleasantly surprised to learn about their passion for sharing the culture of Mexico, as well as giving back to the community. We were told that while they don’t claim to serve authentic Mexican food, they can say that they provide an authentic Mexican environment. They do that through an artist-in-residency program, as well as by importing artwork, furniture, dishes, and more from Mexico.
We had a great tour of the in-house artwork and learned more about the styles and the stories they represent. We also learned that Margaritas teams up with local schools and that kids often come in to have a similar experience, as well as to meet with the artist-in-residence. Margaritas also hosts fundraising events for local charities and families in need. They are passionate about their educational and charitable arms of the company and I love to see that even among employees.
The last hurrah was a brand new Dessert Gigante. It’s fried ice cream (vanilla ice cream rolled in pretzels and fried) with sopapillas (puffs of fried dough), and drizzled with chocolate and honey. And, of course, there’s whipped cream and a cherry on top. It’s $9.99 and meant for sharing… and sharing.
The lovely folks at Margaritas gave us the fixin’s to make our own Margaritas, as well as some of their salsa to take home. I had such a wonderful experience, I can’t wait to go back with my family. Bug’s birthday is coming up, after all…
Disclosure: I received a free sampling of the fall menu, plus some additional goodies to enjoy the Margaritas experience. There was no additional compensation and the opinions in this post are my own.